As usual, columnist Orlando Delogu (Policy Wonk: “Debunking myths about a higher minimum wage”) writes about a controversial economic issue with clarity and reason. He marshals an incontrovertible argument, laced with data, to support raising the minimum wage. Every reader should come to that conclusion after reading Delogu’s column.
Sadly, this will not be the case because many, including a preponderance of conservatives, are unswayed by the facts on the ground. My suggestion to Delogu is to add a values-based argument. Everyone who puts in a day’s work (or more) deserves a “living wage”: compensation to stay above the poverty line.
Dishwashers, ditch-diggers, delivery people, designers, dancers, dentists, even divorce attorneys, deserve decent wages and benefits. It’s about equity (fairness), and democracy, and an economy that works for all.
The only issue I would raise with Delogu is his contention that the momentum for raising the minimum wage is “fueled by the president’s unrelenting focus on the $10.10 minimum wage plan.” The president’s initiative was itself fueled by the unrelenting struggles of fast food, retail, and domestic workers for a living wage and essential benefits (e.g., paid sick days). Without such campaigns by low-wage workers, there would be little action by politicians. Ultimately, this is a power struggle, and columns such as the ones written by Delogu are important in building a narrative that supports the struggles of workers and their families for lives with dignity.