Photo credit: @julesdwit.
A not-for-profit media organization supported by people like you.
A sign held by a low wage worker calling for an increase in the minimum wage.
Minimum wages are going up by nearly a dollar in New York and New Jersey on January 1. Charlie Herman, business and economics editor for WNYC News, reviews the details and explains who's exempt and who's eligible for a higher "living wage.”
None of this has anything to do with the Federal Reserve Bank or US monetary or fiscal policy. It all has to do with the fall of communism and the rise of Asia and others within international trade in the last 20 years in particular. Billions of slaves under Communism and Socialism were freed from involuntary servitude. The West was hit by a tsunami of Asian business and massive amounts of labor willing to work hard and long for a fraction of a Western wage. And now it is even coming to AFrica. So it will take time for a new equilibrium to be struck.
You can blame the Federal Reserve for most of that. They keep everyone focused on the meaningless CPI while the real cost of living consistently goes up. For example. 50 years ago, the cost of a house was similar to an average annual income. Today, not so much.
Until the cost of production starts to equalize around the world, the US middle class will continue to remain repressed, and the 30-year postwar "golden aga" for the middle class will fade into memory and folklore. All that artificially raising minimum wages does is to raise prices and keep hiring low.
got news for u, jack. raising the minimum wage doesn't keep up with even the annual rent increases in nyc and as soon as people have a little more money in their pocket, everyone from the state (tolls) to sellers ( the $1.99 store) and yes, your fxxxing landlord or mortgage bankster will find ways to ....increase the rent (or fines or interest rate or...)...even more.
it ain't enough because the real state of under-reported inflation, gross inequality, the lack of unions and open company ledger-books and the ownership of politics by property owners, developers and speculators is really the problem...and even paying people $9 an hour will probably come with more legally-attached "exceptions" ("but not for retailer store employees, adjuncts, super assistants, busboys, etc."). By itself alone ( no progressive tax code, no robin hood tax, no...), it's just another systematic scam....and inequality will not change.
Why should the minimum wage be LESS than that portion of per capita GDP that is income, that is half of GDP divided by the population? Approx. $24,500 in today's economy.
Entities that pay their working heads of household less than a living wage are taking advantage of the safety net and should be fined the amount of public assistance that they are consuming.
How can the system put buying power back into middle class incomes? 50 years ago, average income was $4,396 in an economy that produced $654 billion. Flash forward to today, the economy produces $15.7 trillion. In order to have the same buying power as the average earner of 1963, a worker would need to make $105,000! That is about $30/hr more than the current average pay. It is twice the current median household income. We are being robbed by the rich. Not with a gun but with a pen...with the system that we have created and support. As Warren Buffett put it, “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
Email addresses are required but never displayed.
Brian Lehrer leads the conversation about what matters most now in local and national politics, our own communities and our lives.
Subscribe on iTunes
WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820 are New York's flagship public radio
stations, broadcasting the finest programs from NPR, PRI and American Public Media, as well as a wide range of award-winning local
programming. WNYC is a division of
New York Public Radio.