The US has nearly doubled its minimum wage before
In 1949, President Truman prevailed over critics who said going from 40 cents to 75 cents an hour would be a disaster. It was anything but.
After all, it's not as if the nation has ever raised the minimum wage by nearly that much, right?
Well, not in a while, but it has happened. As The Huffington Post pointed out with some help from historians, President Harry Truman got the nation's lowest-paid workers an 87.5% raise in 1949 despite a faltering economy and staunch political opposition.
The U.S. had gone into its second deep recession in a four-year span. Congress had refused to raise the minimum wage from its 1938 level in both 1947 and 1948, while the coalition of Southern Democrats and Republicans that controlled both chambers outwardly resisted Truman's extension of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal, with the so-called Fair Deal.
Regardless, Truman proposed nearly doubling the minimum wage from 40 cents an hour to 75 cents. That would be the equivalent of raising a $5.70 minimum wage today to $10.70.
Considering the absolutely frigid reception President Barack Obama received when he recently suggested raising the minimum wage to $9, Truman's gambit would be a long shot even today.
But he wasn't going to budge on the 75-cent figure, so Truman surrounded his proposed minimum wage hike in other ideas that made it seem downright conservative by comparison. The original White House bill sought industry-specific rates as high as $1 per hour. It wanted to extend minimum wage protections, from one-third of the labor force to nearly a half of all workers.
In a master stroke, Truman included language that would have allowed government agents to sue employers for back wages.
That last bit put all of the suits out of sorts. Big companies including S.C. Johnson, Metropolitan Life Insurance, Standard Oil and General Motors (GM), lobbied against the proposal. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- which is still the dummy to corporate ventriloquists -- wailed that both inflation and unemployment would rise if the minimum ent up.
In negotiating with Congress, Truman simply used the other portions of the proposal as leverage. If they'd allow the minimum-wage hike, he'd strip away the other parts that offended them. By the time the bill came up to a vote, the minimum wage clauses were protected. The measure passed the Senate by 50 to 23, and Truman signed it into law on Oct. 26, 1949.
Of course, the minimum wage hike came with just about none of the negative effects critics had predicted. Unemployment didn't rise, business kept chugging along and a 1954 Labor Department study found at least 1.3 million people received immediate raises when the increase took effect.
Truman wasn't nearly as successful with the rest of his labor agenda and found himself bogged down by the Korean War, but he still scored enough bragging rights to say during his last State of the Union address in 1952 that "our democracy has not forgotten how to use the powers of the government to promote the people's welfare and security."
A two-decade boom followed.
Minimum wage was never supposed to be able to support a family, where did this notion come from? Minimum wage jobs were meant for young workers (high school entry jobs, and retired seniors). They are meant as a stepping stone to the workplace, where you gain experience and work to better yourself and your career.
So what happens with "skilled workers" making $15 an hour? Do they get bumped to $30 and hour?
And the $30 and hour people? Do they get raised to $60?. Most construction jobs don't reach the $15 range until a skill set has been established. Does a new minimum wage give all workers an automatic raise in appropriation?
A federal minimum wage does not make sense. In places like New York and California workers might need $15/hr just to get by but in the midwest that is more than enough to live comfortably. This issue should be settled at the state or even city level. Professional careers in the midwest pay less than those in California and mcdonalds shouldn't be forced to pay teenagers in the midwest the same as those in california.
A slight increase in the minimum wage may have been warranted if there was not Obama Care. Not only do employers have to pay for Obama Care but the other regulations and more aggressive tactics by the IRS in collecting penalties for being one day late in filing etc. has made it really rough time to be a small business.
The large companies or the 1% as a lot of you call them will not suffer. They will move more jobs overseas if it saves them money and will make decisions that benefit them. Those that will suffer are the middle class which is already shrinking. One of the main components of the middle class still left is the small business owner. This is just another way of throwing them under the bus.
The real issue in this country are simple. 1) There are families that are struggling with the high cost of health care, high energy costs, gasoline prices and rising rents. 2) The government is over spending and most of it is wasted. 3) The education system in this country is a mess where there are more administrators then teachers at all levels of the system from elementary school right up to colleges which are part of the ever increasing property taxes paid by home owners and landlords (economics 101 the renter eventually pays the property taxes via higher rent). 4) The salary levels and retirement benefits of government workers far exceed those of ordinary citizens who are struggling to survive. 5) Both political parties cater to the wall street bankers, lawyers, and others since their campaign contributions are what got them elected in the first place. The president got more money from wall street and Hollywood then his challenger in the last election cycle.
Higher wages are an additional way for the government to increase its tax coffers. The Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes, and higher marginal rates benefit the government more than the individuals receiving them who will not benefit because of the inflationary pressure.
SCORE! I'm looking forward to that extra 100 grand. I'll need it for that $18 double cheese burger.
Where is the money coming from to fund the organization of these minimum wage workers? It's coming from union organizers. They have been trying for years to infiltrate the restaurant and fast food business. Do people realize that unions have written into their contracts, clauses tied to the minimum wage? It is written as a percentage. So if minimum wage goes up by 100% then their pay increases by 100%. So all those public employee unions that are already a major burden of municipalities will put the final nail in the coffin.
Payroll, as with any expense in a company, needs to measured for it's return on investment. If you provide the company a higher skill set you deserve more salary than another employee that cannot do the tasks you can. Regardless of the amount of time you have been doing the job. If you want to make more money, make yourself worth more to the employer.
And there was no "Fast Food" Industry in 1949. Nearly all of the restaurants of that day had wait staff that depended on tips for their pay. They were not making minimum wage before, or after the increase you note.
Another revisionist history effort by MSNBC to support their position.
Paying a burger flipper $15 per hour is rediculous. My first job out of my 4 year B.s. program paid $10 per hour and required the degree, a high level of scientific knowledge, and A LOT more effort and motivation than working at McD's. I do agree that the minimum wage needs to rise, but not $15 an hour, and not across the board.
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