Laura Clawson of Daily Kos is not an economist. She is a great writer on labor issues who knows how to do good research. She has found a study that shows job have grown in states that have raised their minimum wages since the beginning of 2014. Critics of a minimum wage increase claim that it is common sense that increasing the wage will lead businesses to close and more people to lose their jobs. Clawson notes that the study’s writer insists that we cannot link causality between an increase in the minimum wage and job growth. But it does disprove the claim that raising the wage is a “job killer.” America needs a raise, and where it has gotten one, business seems to be doing all right.
The former Secretary of Labor takes on those who claim that a raise in the minimum wage would be a “job killer.” Instead, Reich, a trained economist, points out a simple fact: economies grow when people spend. People living on $7.25 an hour can only cover essentials, and often can only do so with the help of safety net programs, which are being cut. Reich points out that Walmart could have raised the wages of its $9 an hour employees to $15 by using the money spent buying back stock on salary.
If we want more jobs and higher wages, we need more spending (and less billionaire greed). Raising the minimum wage (and extending unemployment benefits) would give working class people discretionary income. As they spend more, companies will need more workers to make and sell things. Reich is outlining common sense. Opponents of the minimum wage have no good data to support their claims, so they rely on fear-based rhetoric like “job killer.” They used the same language to demonize the Affordable Care Act. I’m with Reich and President Obama: “America needs a raise.”
Three cheers to Common Dreams for giving thinkers like Reich a platform that is not found in the corporate media (which includes PBS).