Small business owners. Laura Clawson of the Daily Kos reports a surprising result from a poll of small business owners. 57% favor increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. Even owners of small restaurants and retail shops favored the change. While the poll was conducted by a Democratic firm, most of those polled identified themselves as Republicans.
Who else should want an increased minimum wage? Conservatives who want to cut spending on food stamps. In a second article, Clawson cites a study from the Center for American Progress that claims an increase in the minimum wage would cut food stamp spending by 1.9%. That might not sound like a large number, but it would total $46 million over ten years. Republicans want to cut the program by $40 million over that time. Those Republicans should do the conservative thing and vote for an increase in the minimum wage since it would lead to an even bigger decrease in spending on food stamps. Increasing the minimum wage – an issue every conservative should love.
Laura Clawson of the Daily Kos has written two recent articles that show how poverty is a growing problem in the U.S. First, she explores how households headed by working single mothers are falling deeper into poverty from 54% in 2007 to 58% in 2012. Beyond the challenge of finding a good job with decent pay, many of these women are challenged by a lack of affordable day care. Many of our politicians claim to the pro-family, but they don’t seem to care about these women and their children.
In a second article, Clawson dismantles the claims that Medicaid and food stamps keep people in poverty. Instead, she shows that without these program our national poverty rate would be 28.7%, much more than the currently shameful 16%. Most of the people benefiting from these programs work, and – despite their hard work – they can’t get ahead. Who does get ahead? Clawson points out that the most successful beneficiary of social safety nets are large corporations who know that they can continue to pay low wages as long as the government will subsidize them. The problem can be summarized in two words: corporate welfare.
Lies, damn lies, and statistics? Laura Clawson of the Daily Kos examines Walmart’s claim that its average salary for employees is over $12. She finds that this claim may have a little statistical validity, but it was calculated by excluding the wages of part time workers and including those of department managers. Washington DC is debating a law that would require large employers like Walmart to pay a living wage. The city’s mayor has not yet signed the law, which the city council passed.
Many critics of the law say it will take jobs and shopping opportunities from poor parts of the city. An answer to that claim is that companies like Walmart that pay low wages rely on public-sponsored resources such as food stamps, rent vouchers, and Medicaid to keep their workforce alive and healthy. Rather than debate the virtues of the living wage, maybe we should take a hard look at corporate welfare and how America’s wealthiest families benefit from the taxes of poor, working class, and middle class citizens. It’s not just about jobs. We have to think about wages and, in the case of low wage workers, who is paying for the supplementary services those workers receive.