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17 million reasons to increase the minimum wage

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren writes that the minimum wage in the US is too low to raise a child in a secure environment. The Massachusetts Democrat says almost 5 million single mothers would get a needed raise.

By Mar 26, 2014 5:20PM

This post comes from U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., at partner site on MSN MoneyI have 17 million reasons for wanting to increase the minimum wage.  Yes, 17 million -- the number of children whose lives would be a little more secure if their moms and dads earned at least $10.10 an hour.

Caption: Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) © Joshua Roberts/Reuters
When I was in junior high, my daddy had a heart attack. He was home for a while, the medical bills piled up, and we lost our family station wagon.

So my mother did what she had to do: She went to work answering the phones at Sears. The job paid only minimum wage, but it was enough to make sure we could keep our home.

No one should work full time and live in poverty. In 1968, the minimum wage was high enough to keep a family of three out of poverty. In 1980, the minimum wage was at least high enough to keep a family of two out of poverty. Today, the minimum wage leaves a working parent with one child in poverty. This is fundamentally wrong.

For a long time, as our country got richer, both investors and workers made more money. The pie got bigger and we all got a little more. But now the benefits go to those at the top.  If minimum wage had kept up with increases in productivity, it would be $22 an hour today. But it didn't – and today millions of hard-working moms and dads work full-time and still live in poverty.

Who would benefit from a minimum wage increase? The numbers tell the story: 88 percent are adults, and one in four has kids. More than 15 million women would see their pay go up, including 4.8 million working mothers — more than one-fifth of all working mothers with a child under the age of 18.

Raising the minimum wage is good economics. It means that people will have more money to spend, and that helps propel the economy forward and give a much-needed boost to many small businesses. Besides, with a higher minimum wage, fewer people will need to count on food stamps or other kinds of government assistance to feed their families. A higher wage means people can provide more for themselves.

So why have the Republicans refused to budge on the minimum wage? Who are they protecting? Certainly not the families and their 17 million children who would be helped.

Who doesn’t want an increase in the minimum wage?  Businesses that have already made it big don’t want any increase in wages that might cut into their profits. The system is rigged in their favor, and they have an army of lawyers and an army of lobbyists to make certain that the system stays tilted their way. Powerful interests might need to be dragged kicking and screaming to raise the minimum wage, but I'm going to keep fighting along with the rest of the Democratic caucus in the U.S. Senate. This is an economic issue, but it is also a moral imperative.

When I was growing up, full-time work would keep your family out of poverty. Now, the game is rigged against working families. It doesn’t have to be this way. For more than a generation now, the middle class has been squeezed, chipped at, and hammered. A higher minimum wage will help build a stronger foundation to grow America’s middle class.

Raising the minimum wage is one way we can start to level the playing field for working families. We should be honoring and rewarding work, and we should be making sure that families who work full time have the chance to raise themselves out of poverty. It’s time to increase the minimum wage for hardworking men and women across the country.

When I think about the minimum wage, I think about my mom and what she did for us.  And then I think about the 17 million kids whose moms or dads could do more for their families, if they just had a fighting chance.

This story Op/Ed contribution to does not necessarily represent the views of the company or its affiliates.

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Mar 26, 2014 5:59PM
Wage/personal financial issues could be easily (more easily) resolved by you numb-nuts politicians by: 1) decreasing taxes. It never ceases to maze me that money/funding falls short every year EXCEPT for the politicians' pay raises and benefits increases, which they ALWAYS find money for and which they ALWAYS take right off the top of every tax increase. 2) decrease politicians pay and benefits. None of you are royalty. You do NOT deserve more than the CITIZENS you are SUPPOSED to be SERVING. You're not rulers. You're servants. Learn your place. 3) Stop signing into law laws that directly benefit your friends' pockets and yours'. That has NEVER helped the economy of this country. Of course, neither have any of you... this has been especially true in the last 20 years. The stimulus was a moronic idea. Passed for no other reason than to add more wealth to a handful of the already wealthy. It put a tremendous tax burden on the taxpayers, especially the middle class. HOW did that help the financial situation of the working sector? A substantial increase in minimum wage will undoubtedly be passed on to the consumer. Prices will increase on EVERYTHING, and even more people will lose jobs as businesses, especially small businesses, try to stay afloat. I don't begrudge anyone making a decent living, but this isn't going to help this country.
Mar 27, 2014 8:03AM
The liberal batch has no clue. Raising the minimum wage is a terrible idea. How about real jobs and less regulation instead.
Mar 26, 2014 10:07PM
Warren is spouting meaningless cliches as no employer could afford to pay every worker enough to provide the worker with a house, car, entertainment college for children etc.  What if the employee had 10 kids and was also supporting parents and in-laws.  Warren made a career out of lying about being Native American and grew up wealthy.  The story of mom having to go to work for minimum wage is probably a lie as well. I really did grow up in a family of five supported by a widowed mother who worked in a hospital that did not even pay minimum wage at that time.  I retired with four pensions because I was not satisfied with working one job and for minimum wage.  The only time I worked close to minimum wage was as a student at McDonald's.  Warren like the other lying lefties never explains how much a living wage is and in places like New York City and Boston to support a family in middle class comfort  it would have to be 100 dollars an hour and  that's more than the owners of those businesses make.  Minimum wage laws are useless as no business can stay in business if it has to pay worker's more than the value of their labor.  People who make a career of working for minimum wage are lazy ,drug addicted or  criminals as anyone else can acquire a marketable skill if they want to. The Government gives a free ride at College to single moms who can't otherwise afford it.  Warren herself cashed in on the free ride for minorities at Harvard by lying about her roots.  I actually have some Native American ancestors and also have DNA proof but I never tried to claim a benefit based on  that.  
Mar 27, 2014 12:04PM
This country has 17 trillion reasons (our debt) to stop handouts!  Personal responsibility, hard work, and entrepreneurial spirit is what made this country great. One can only hope these misguided politicians come to their senses before they totally destroy this country. I have goldfish that have more common business sense than the current Democratic caucus.
Mar 27, 2014 8:05AM

Why I can’t catch up

Every time I make a little money the government steals 20-30% of it away from me to give away to other countries, lazy Americans and illegals. If my wife and I work longer or work extra, the government hits us with the marriage penalty. If my wife and I work longer or work extra the government penalizes me for saving in a Roth. If I do well in the market, the government hits me with the AMT. My income is nowhere near $250,000. The only hope for this Republic is true Libertarianism.

Mar 27, 2014 8:27AM
How is the single mother going to better off when she can't find work because the skills she has are not worth the new minimum wage.
Mar 27, 2014 9:27AM

Bet ya that within a week of rasing the minimum wage all consumer prices will rise proportionality eating away any benefits the lower wage makers were going to receive. Gas, utilities, food, service, insurance, everything will go up. Causing those not working and those on assistance to need a larger increase in thier benefits to meet the new higher prices. It's a vicious circle.  


Mar 27, 2014 9:02AM

How did the Senator Warren come up with $10.10 as the hourly wage that will help 17 million kids? Will raising the minimum wage to $20.20 help 34 million kids? How is the poverty line determined? I do admire Senator's Warrens mom for raising a family on her own-no doubt extremely challenging; but she secured her job at minimum wage because the employer was willing to pay that wage for her talent- not because the government mandated it. Labor is a commodity and supply and demand is important in determining the price level. The health, skills, flexibility, location, network, criminal history and motivation of an employee are probably more important in determining the appropriate wage then a government mandate.


If the government could legislate away poverty, then just make the minimum wage $100 per hour. What would happen?

Mar 27, 2014 8:04AM

The End of a Dream

            It didn’t happen all at once, but the dream that was the United States of America, the Great Republic, has died. Other countries hostile to the idea of true freedom didn’t cause it; it wasn’t caused by a radical religious organization. The downfall of the United States was all from within its own borders, by its own people. The people, for whom others have died, have allowed the country to die a slow death. The me too, me first attitude that started many years ago, along with the idea that all are entitled to the fruits of others hard work, has allowed this country to bleed to death. When the British raised the tax on tea, our forefathers should have just shut up and paid the tax. Almost 240 years later, what has changed? Thousands have died for absolutely nothing.

Mar 27, 2014 12:52PM
"This country has 17 trillion reasons (our debt) to stop handouts!  Personal responsibility, hard work, and entrepreneurial spirit is what made this country great."

Yet it's that massive DEBT which has funded Trillions in Corporate Welfare. Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Jail has proven beyond a shadow of a Doubt that neither the Government nor Corporations take personal Responsibility nor Hard Work seriously. 

Entrepreneurial spirit, that died with Henry Folk and Nikola Tesla Decades ago. All that's left is mostly a Corporate America pumped up on Crack Dollars.
Mar 27, 2014 10:48AM
Get rid of the 12 million illegals and all firms would naturally be required to pony up more for even menial jobs (greater competition from fewer work force numbers). But no, let's regulate our way out of another perceived problem.
Mar 27, 2014 3:28PM
Sen. there's a pillar of integrity.  Especially with her "native American" roots and all.  
Mar 27, 2014 8:05AM

The Truth

The majority of Americans consider themselves victims. Yes, THE TRUTH HURTS and it comes from the jackass on top, who is still blaming the previous administration, the radical founding fathers, Christians and Evangelicals for all his problems. Americans have become a mentally sick group of people. The democratic socialist mentality of false victimization is what is destroying this country, and the world.

Mar 27, 2014 8:04AM

Is it really Corporate Greed?

To those of you who say jobs have moved oversees because of corporate greed, here are some questions for you.

How far out of your way are you willing to go to buy American?

How much more are you willing to pay to buy American?

Is it really just corporate greed or is it also union and worker greed that caused jobs to move out of this country?

How many benefits are you willing to give up to have some of these jobs back?

How many of you have agreed with government over-regulation of business?

How many of you have stood side-by-side with your employer to fight over- regulation?

How many of you have asked stores to carry American Made items in stock?

Mar 27, 2014 1:58PM
Warren, AKA "liawatha" and "fauxahontas", made over $350,000 teaching ONE CLASS in Massachusetts, then campaigned on a platform of fighting for the "99%" of the people who were getting "hammered" by the "wealthy"! She is an ultra-liberal, on the left fringe of the Democratic Party. She is a hypocrite, a "faux" Senator.
May 29, 2014 6:22PM
Just think how good the economy would be ( profits for big business) if we reenacted  slavery !

In North Dakota, the most insignificant job pays more than $15.00 per hour.  They can't get enough workers to fill a MacDonald's franchise.  So go there to get a job that pays more than a minimum wage.


One thing I forgot to tell you:  Housing, goods, services and food are all more expensive in North Dakota than they are in New York City.   The high wages of North Dakota are still not enough to pay for room and board IN THAT AREA.


The $15.00 minimum wage in Washington will help until people realize they can now charge more for their goods and services.  Then those people making their $15/hr and others working for more than minimum wages will start to feel the pinch caused by the Democrats raising the price of goods and services with their foolishness.


If the present wages are not enough, it would be somewhat better to educate people so they can get a better paying job.  But if everyone is educated the same, the jobs will still be scarce as you would have the same number of jobs, only more people looking for it.


The only way out of this is for industry to create more jobs like they have in North Dakota throughout the rest of the country.   Then wages will go up with supply and demand, not from Gov't vote buying.



Mar 27, 2014 11:53AM
KChallenger says, "Bet ya that within a week of rasing the minimum wage all consumer prices will rise proportionality eating away any benefits the lower wage makers were going to receive"

The proportion that prices go up are never the Doom and Gloom rise that the typical posters state. So what has happened to prices when the controlling 1% have rewarded themselves with massive pay increases. So what has happened to prices when Corporate America has engaged in massive Corporate Buybacks and Dividend payouts.

Funny how workers can face massive price increase due to lost wages due to Corporate Greed but the moment Workers ask for just a little bit more, there's a freaking problem. Look at the total amount spent on just Corporate Stock Buybacks and CEO types Compensation over the last decade. But that's just fine and dandy, let everyone else eat dirt while making the same or less.
Mar 28, 2014 10:16AM
Warren is running for libtard queen.  One step behind Nasty Nancy and Hilterly.
Mar 27, 2014 1:00AM
Posters have and will continue to post farce stories about their own lives since you can always claim anything about your life when all you post under are ip masked clones and aliases. Posters have and will continue to disregard the Realities of today's ongoing Push of Right to Work far Harder for far Less. This has happened in spite of rising Worker Productivity but wages the same or lower over time. This has happened however with rising costs from energy bills to just about everything else.

So as the wage GAP has widened from 40 to 1 to WELL over 400 to 1, why is it some posters continually tell Americans and the World that it's only fair and just for mostly the top 1% to benefit off the BACK and Labors of the 99%? Why is it only just and FAIR for Luxury Sales to soar while Poverty does the same? Corporations controlled by the UNION of CEO types and the Board members have voted themselves bogus raise after raise while cutting the Workforce and requiring those left to do FAR MORE at usually the same pay grade or less.

This is the result of those who preached for decades, Trickle Down Economics as the saving Grace of the American Economy while in Reality it has become it's ultimate CURSE. The Recovery in Corporate Profits and Cash Hoards didn't result in better pay nor MORE Jobs. So what do folks think will happen when the next Down Cycle occurs? One thing is for certain, since most didn't have the STONES to demand better wages now, you darn sure won't see better wages when things turn really South.

Too Big to Fail and Too Big To Jail are still insolvent and the proof is the massive Balance Sheet of the Global FEDS which by the way is still growing, fast approaching $5Trillion in America alone. Savers have been punished just to reward all the Bad Players of the Great Recession whom have only gotten far Bigger and less solvent than before the crisis. That means more Control for them and less Democracy for everyone else.

There should be Full Time Work that can keep most folks out of Poverty. That hardly means folks working a Fast Food Job are those expecting those job types to be that job. Yet that's exactly the type of horse dropping you will hear daily on these type of sites. Our better Jobs have either been outsourced to Slave Labor overseas and or automated. Meanwhile, those that have not done a thing but use those resources to cut jobs here have been rewarded. Meanwhile, everyone else is expected to get by with the same or FAR LESS. The Dumbing Down of America continues. Soon there won't be anyone left to Afford nor buy the products the Companies are actually trying to sell. The FED won't be able to Bail anyone out again and all the Corporate Financial Engineering will be shown for the farce that it truly is.

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