Time to raise the minimum wage

June 21, 2013

Illustration for Bloomberg News by Rand Renfrow: $15 Minimum Wage

Illustration for Bloomberg News by Rand Renfrow: $15 Minimum Wage

Robert Reich put it succinctly at his Facebook site [links added here]:

Nick Hanauer, one of the nation’s most successful businessmen, proposed yesterday that the minimum wage be raised to $15 an hour. But wouldn’t that cause employers not to hire workers who were “worth” less, and thereby lead to higher unemployment? No, says Hanauer. By putting more money into the hands of more people, it would stimulate more buying — which would generate more jobs than any jobs that might be lost. Hanauer understands that the basic reason the economy is still limping along is workers are consumers, and workers continue to get shafted, which means consumers lack the purchasing power to get the economy off the ground. A minimum wage of $15 an hour, combined with basic worker standards such as paid sick leave and a minimum of 3 weeks paid vacation per year, should all be in a national campaign for better jobs and a better economy in the 2014 election.

That’s the case, in brief.

Last March Reich said raising the minimum wage to $9/hour was a “no brainer.”

Alas, he didn’t account enough for the anti-brain lobby.

What do you think?

More:

Also good, an update:


Cliffhanger avoidance, from Robert Reich

November 30, 2012

Economist/policy wonk/good guy Robert Reich sends along notes on the discussions in Washington (at his Facebook site, and at his personal site) (links added here for your benefit and ease of use):

Robert Reich

Rhodes Scholar, former Secretary of Labor and UC Berkeley Prof. Robert Reich

Apparently the bidding began this afternoon. According to the Wall Street Journal (which got the information from GOP leaders), Tim Geithner met with Republican leaders and made the following offer:

— $1.6 trillion in additional tax revenues over the next decade, from limiting tax deductions on the wealthy and raising tax rates on incomes over $250,000 (although those rates don’t have to rise as high as the top marginal rates under Bill Clinton)

— $50 billion in added economic stimulus next year

— A one-year postponement of pending spending cuts in defense and domestic programs

— $400 billion in savings over the decade from Medicare and other entitlement programs (the same number contained in the President’s 2013 budget proposal, submitted before the election).

— Authority to raise the debt limit without congressional approval.

The $50 billion in added stimulus is surely welcome. We need more spending in the short term in order to keep the recovery going, particularly in light of economic contractions in Europe and Japan, and slowdowns in China and India.

But by signaling its willingness not to raise top rates as high as they were under Clinton and to cut some $400 billion from projected increases in Medicare and other entitlement spending, the White House has ceded important ground.

Republicans obviously want much, much more.

The administration has taken a “step backward, moving away from consensus and significantly closer to the cliff, delaying again the real, balanced solution that this crisis requires,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) in a written statement. “No substantive progress has been made” added House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio).

No surprise. The GOP doesn’t want to show any flexibility. Boehner and McConnell will hang tough until the end. Boehner will blame his right flank for not giving him any leeway — just as he’s done before.

It’s also clear Republicans will seek whatever bargaining leverage they can get from threatening to block an increase in the debt limit – which will have to rise early next year if the nation’s full faith and credit is to remain intact.

Meanwhile, the White House has started the bidding with substantial concessions on tax increases and spending cuts.

Haven’t we been here before? It’s as if the election never occurred – as if the Republicans hadn’t lost six or seven seats in the House and three in the Senate, as if Obama hadn’t won reelection by a greater number of votes than George W. Bush in 2004.

And as if the fiscal cliff that automatically terminates the Bush tax cuts weren’t just weeks away.

But if it’s really going to be a repeat of the last round, we might still be in luck. Remember, the last round resulted in no agreement. And no agreement now may be better than a bad agreement that doesn’t raise taxes on the wealthy nearly enough while cutting far too much from safety nets most Americans depend on.

If Republicans won’t budge and we head over the fiscal cliff, the Clinton tax rates become effective January 1 – thereby empowering the White House and Democrats in the next congress to get a far better deal.

Watch that space.

It’s especially interesting to me how House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) will work to get a solution, if the GOP continues its blockade to almost all action.

More:


Reich’s right, again: Budget deficits are NOT the problem

November 16, 2012

Robert Reich‘s so good he can dispense wisdom in four 140-character Tweets:

His three following Tweets:

1. The real issue is ratio of deficit to total economy. If economy grows, deficit shrinks in proportion. That’s why austerity dangerous.

2. Public investments in education, infrastructure, and basic R&D should be made regardless, if public return is greater than their cost.

3. Biggest driver of future deficits rising healthcare costs (Medicare & Medcaid) but they’re slowing, so deficit projections exaggerated.

Three simple points.

Robert Reich speaks at the World Affairs Council

Robert Reich speaks at the World Affairs Council (Photo credit: tharpo)

To get more people to understand those points, Reich and his friends want to put out a film — but they need cash to finish it off, and they ask for your contribution

Alas, I can’t embed the proprietary video format here on WordPress. So you’ll have to go to the KickStarter site to see the trailer and money plea. Please do.

Print it out on a 3 x 5 card for your boss, if you’re the secretary to a Member of Congress, eh?

More:


Did taxpayers finance Romney’s wealth?

April 14, 2012

Mitt Romney’s fortune comes mostly from his work at Bain Capital Management.

Capital management?  What is capital management, exactly, you ask?

Prof. Robert Reich explained how private equity firms like Bain make their money, and fortunately MoveOn.org had a camera running when he did, “How exactly did Mitt Romney Get So Obscenely Rich? Robert Reich explains The Magic of Private Equity in 8 Easy Steps”:

Any questions?

Oh, I have one:  Prof. Reich, can you explain how Warren Buffett got so obscenely rich, and tell us the differences in the methods Buffett used, from those Romney used?

I have another question, too, but I’m not sure where to direct it:  Romney says he wants to “help out” the U.S. with his budgeting expertise; to whom does he expect to sell the U.S. government once he’s wrung out all the savings?

More, and Related articles:


Hard truths about the U.S. economy

June 15, 2011

Robert Reich tells the truth.  Can you be bothered to listen?

Tip of the old scrub brush to MoveOn.org.  Is there any wonder why the would-be oligarchs work so hard to discredit MoveOn.org?


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