If Democrats/liberals really wanted to help the poor, a good place to start would be raising the minimum wage. The exact amount is different depending on where one gets their information, but based on what I’ve read, if we took the minimum wage in 1968 and indexed it to inflation, these workers would make roughly $10.50/hour – not a bountiful haul by anyone’s standards, but a lot better than the present situation.
Presuming a household has two full time earners making minimum wage, this equates to roughly $46,000/year ($10.50 X 2 X 2080hours/year). Again, nobody’s living large on this, but at least it’s close to the median US household income.
Moreover, most people making minimum wage are not working the kind of jobs which can be shipped overseas either: Wal-Mart employees, convenience store employees, low-level health workers, etc. Yes, raising the minimum wage would cause prices to increase a bit, but the world isn’t going to end if I have to pay a bit more for services which are more a luxury than necessity.
Fears of inflation are overblown as well. Australia has a minimum wage of roughly $15.50/hour and it’s roughly $17.00/hour in the Canton of Geneva in Switzerland. Neither of these countries is being rocked by inflation. Yes, services cost more, but again most of these services are luxuries not necessities. If I have to pay a bit more to go out to eat, see a movie or purchase consumer goods, I’ll be just fine. I’d rather see people be able to live in dignified conditions, put food on the table, clothe their children and pay for heating, than be able to get LOW LOW prices from Wal-Mart on cheaply made breakable crap. If I have to pay a bit more for a haircut or eat out less, I’ll live.
It also has the benefit of broadening the tax base…
Choosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor from