Last week, Washington, DC’s mayor supported Wal-Mart by vetoing a law that would raise the minimum wage in DC to $12.50/hour. The bill targeted big-box retail, so it wasn’t a straight wage increase. Still, Kathleen Geier wonders why Democrats (and she lists a lot of them) are so reluctant to make a stand against Wal-Mart:
As always, I completely understand why Republicans and conservatives love them some Walmart. But when liberals support pro-Walmart policies, there is a huge disconnect. They say they want one thing — a higher minimum wage! a guaranteed minimum income! good jobs! decreased economic inequality! And yet they are strongly supporting policies that will virtually ensure that they will get the exact opposite: jobs with miserable wages, no benefits, and no prospects for advancement; the further immiseration of working people in this country; and the tragic, slow-motion obliteration of one of the most powerful politically progressive institutions this country has ever known.
In other minimum wage news, California’s legislature voted to push the minimum wage into double digits: $10/hour by 2016. That’s still below what it would have been if the March on Washington had gotten its goal of a $2.00 wage, which would be $13.39 in 2013 dollars. It is more than the maximum minimum wage, which peaked at $1.60 in 1968, which is $9.44 in inflation-adjusted 2013 dollars.
One of the justifications given by wage supporters in California is that 3 of 5 minimum wage earners are over 25 years old. True, but so what? There are lots of 18 year-olds (and younger) supporting families, paying their way through college, and doing the same things older adults do. They all deserve a decent minimum wage.