All of which makes $15 an hour sound too high. Hardly. Over the last half-century, American workers have achieved productivity gains that can easily support a $15-an-hour minimum wage. In fact, if the minimum wage had kept pace over time with the average growth in productivity, it would be about $17 an hour. The problem is that the benefits of that growth have flowed increasingly to profits, shareholders and executives, not workers. The result has been bigger returns to capital, higher executive pay — and widening income inequality.
Efforts by the states and the federal government to raise the minimum wage are an important way to counter that dynamic. But they must be seen as modest and partial steps in the direction of fair wages. Other steps include more progressive income taxes, enhanced rights to form unions without retaliation, and government job-creation programs, because a tighter labor market would force employers to compete for workers.
Fast-food workers, Walmart employees and staff of federal contractors have all been agitating recently for higher pay from profitable employers. They deserve raises, and they deserve to have the federal government behind them.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
NYT Endorses $15 Minimum Wage
Does anyone at NYT understand how free market wages are set? I think not. Here's NYT's editorial board on SeaTac, Wahington's plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. NYT really holds the Marxian exploitation theory of labor, as if workers currently suffer without gains in their standard of living, as though they can't afford air conditioning, cell phones, personal computers and a place to live: