How NOT to Argue With Liberals
We used to all agree, if you’re in America, that if a person keeps their nose clean and works hard at it full-time job, they should make enough to be able to raise a family. It was the rationale for the minimum wage.
But billionaires like the Walton heirs have fought to keep the minimum wage at a level below what could be called a living wage for decades. And so, instead of paying their workers well, the Walton heirs take so many billions out of the company themselves that those six individuals own more wealth than over 100 million Americans combined.
The minimum wage in 1968, which in today’s dollars would be about $10.25, was at least a starting point to a livable wage.
Raising our minimum wage to where it was 1968 would lift millions of people out of poverty, and reduce our welfare and food stamp rolls. And it would not mean that burgers or goods Wal-Mart would be more expensive; it would mean that the billionaires would have to bake only hundreds of millions instead of billions.
Nobody who lives in the richest nation on earth and works hard through their life should have to live in such grinding poverty that it impacts the ability of their minds to function. This is a moral crisis for America.
If the only way a business can run is by paying below poverty wages and relying on taxpayers to subsidize the company by supplementing their employees food and living expenses with things like food stamps and section 8 housing, that business should not exist.
More concerning is Hartmann’s historical fantasy that “we used to all agree, if you’re in America, that if a person keeps their nose clean and works hard at it full-time job, they should make enough to be able to raise a family. It was the rationale for the minimum wage.” I agree with the former, hard work ought to be rewarded. But actually, the original rationale for the minimum wage was to serve as a protectionist and eugenicist strategy by vested labor unions to suppress employment of new immigrant groups. Frankly, ignoring the harmful effects of the minimum wage while staunchly advocating for its increase is a form of race and class complicity unacceptable for anyone with a reliable Internet connection (See: Bernstein and Leonard 2009 and Leonard 2009).
True liberals would be better to devote attention to social processes causing unarguably harm to the poor such as the war on drugs, our overzealous criminal justice system, mass incarceration, our failing public education policies, and immigration controls.