Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Case for a Maximum Wage

The New Yorker satirist Andy Borowitz says that Americans Favor Fifteen Dollars an Hour for Congress.

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – Americans took to the streets in large numbers on Thursday to show their support for a fifteen-dollar-an-hour wage for members of Congress.

In major cities across the nation, fast-food workers and other service employees held signs, shouted chants, and gave impassioned speeches to demonstrate their conviction that Congress deserves a maximum hourly wage of fifteen dollars.

“Members of Congress are people, just like you and me,” Tracy Klugian, a McDonald’s employee who took part in the Washington protest, said. “They should be paid what they deserve.”

Assuming that they continue to take off approximately two hundred and forty days a year, members of Congress earning the proposed maximum would see their average annual income adjusted from a hundred and seventy-four thousand dollars to thirteen thousand five hundred dollars, a salary that many marchers called “fair and equitable.”

“I know what members of Congress will say: ‘I can’t live on that,’” Harland Dorrinson, a protester in Chicago, said. “Well, if they want to earn more, they should go out and acquire some skills.”

While organizers of the marches proclaimed today’s protests a success, in some cities the demonstrations met some opposition from counter-protesters, who argued that fifteen dollars was too much.

Actually, $15 is well within the rage of minimum wages set to go into effect this coming year reports ABC News in Minimum wage to increase in more than 20 states in 2020. At least 17 cities will hit or surpass $15 an hour, according to estimates. Congress could vote themselves a minimum wage higher than $15 - but not by very much.

While many state and local governments will raise their minimum wages in 2020, there are no public plans for a federal increase.

Congress set the federal minimum at $7.25 per hour in 2009. While many states have passed higher wage floors, the federal rate has remained the same for the past 10 years, the longest period of time without an increase since the Roosevelt administration implemented it in 1938.

“There is a bill in Congress for a $15 minimum wage by 2025, I believe,” [said a researcher at the National Employment Law Project (NELP)]. “And it passed the House, but it’s stalled in the Senate and is not being brought up to the floor by the Senate leadership or the (Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions) committee chair.”

Scriber is aware of the attitudes by Senate leadership favoring holding the federal minimum at $7.25. One of my anonymous GOP sources favors paying members of Congress the federal $7.25 minimum. “Imagine what would happen if Congress gave themselves a $15 hourly wage. Every Tom, Dick, and Harriette would want the same.”

Most marchers interviewed by Scriber’s Usually Unreliable Sources have a more expansive view. They favor a maximum wage. “Think about it”, said one marcher. “That $15 cap on CEO pay would be more than enough to fully fund the $15 minimum wage for the rest of us.”

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