Republican politicians and their corporate backers have long fought against the raising the minimum wage, which has been stagnant for decades. Billionaire Donald Trump, who began his career with a “small $1 million loan,” somehow argues that “our wages are too high.” Marco Rubio asserts that “in the 21st century, it’s a disaster. If you raise the minimum wage you’re going to make people more expensive than a machine.” Ted Cruz thinks that “if you raise the minimum wage, the inevitable effect will be, number one, young people will lose their jobs or not be able to get their first jobs.”
Of course, none of these doomsday opinions have anything to do with facts or reality. The state of Washington raised its minimum wage to $9.47 in January 2015; the city of Seattle has begun phasing in a minimum wage of $15 an hour. Contrary to the naysayers, the state is “far outpacing” the nation in both employment and wage growth. Employment grew by 3.7% during the fourth quarter of 2015, mostly in the industries of “construction, information technology, professional services, and leisure and hospitality industries.”
Private sector analyst group ADP gave Washington an index score of 117.9 on their annual Workplace Vitality Report – 11 points higher than the rest of the nation. While Republicans, FOX News, and Koch-funded think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute constantly warn of horrific job losses and an economic cataclysm, in reality they are simply terrified of having to pay their workers a fair wage and give up having the government subsidize their poverty wages. It’s clear that the anti-minimum wage campaign is nothing but a conspiracy by multinational corporations and the oligarchs to keep funneling money to the very top – at the expense of the American economy as a whole and the well being of the American middle class.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.