Raise the Minimum Wage to $10/hour

In Chris Hedges’ most recent column, he reports Ralph Nader’s recommendation to the Occupy movement:

forge a powerful alliance with millions of working men and women around a national call to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour…. Some 70 percent of the public supports raising the minimum wage…. Barack Obama promised during his 2008 election campaign to press to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2011, a promise that, like many others, he has ignored. But the ground is fertile…..

The federal minimum wage of $7.25, adjusted for inflation, is $2.75 lower than it was in 1968 when worker productivity was about half of what it is today…. The infusion of tens of billions of dollars into the hands of the working class would increase tax revenue, open up new jobs and lift consumer spending.

Past campaigns to raise the minimum wage have proved very popular. ACORN, in 2004, organized a statewide referendum in Florida to raise the minimum wage by a dollar. Once the proposal was on the ballot, corporate forces launched a lavishly funded assault against the initiative. The battle to defeat the measure was spearheaded by fast food corporations such as McDonald’s and Burger King as well as chain stores such as Wal-Mart and Kmart. There was no money to fund ads to counter the corporate propaganda or support the proposal. The initiative, despite the public relations onslaught, won by 71 percent….

“How much political courage does it take to stand up for guys making $7.25 an hour while the head of Wal-Mart is making $11,000 an hour?” Nader asked. “What medieval period had that kind of wealth disparity?

Read the rest here.

What do you think? Do you support economic justice for low-income workers? Is raising the minimum wage a potential rallying-cry to galvanize the next stage of the Occupy protests?

I welcome you feedback in the comments section.

The Rev. Carl Gregg is a trained spiritual director, a D.Min. candidate at San Francisco Theological Seminary, and the pastor of Broadview Church in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland. Follow him on Facebook (facebook.com/carlgregg) and Twitter (@carlgregg).

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  • http://nitecaravan.blogspot.com/ Br. Jay

    I think his words are worth thinking on. It is interesting for someone like Ralph Nadar to offer conversation with the Occupy movement, as so many others talk about them but not to them.

  • A Watson

    This is a no-brainer. Who can live on $7.25 an hour? It’s not a fair wage at all. $10 would still be difficult but at least in the right direction. We need corporations and shareholders that dignify all workers with wages and benefits that are fair and secure.

    • Carl Gregg

      I agree. My passion for a minimum wage that is truly a “Living Wage” began when I was in seminary and met a recent graduate of the college religion department at the same university. Instead of going to graduate school, she was in her second year on the grounds crew of the university in order to be in solidarity with those workers and help them collectively bargain for increasing their salary to a living wage. A powerful and challenging story for me.