Dozens Arrested In Minimum Wage Strike, While Conservatives Claim Low Pay Is Good

Living wage pushes are happening all throughout the country, with minimum wage slowly rising in an attempt to get hundreds of thousands of hourly workers out of poverty. Conservatives, however, are still trying to convince the public that a minimum wage job is one that is primarily populated by teens, that no one is using that work to support a family, and that it will harm — not help — the workers themselves if they get a raise.

“It is true that most low-wage workers will experience a rise in income if the federal minimum wage level is raised,” opines political scientist Thomas Sherrer in a Forbes column. “But it is also true that much of the increased income would accrue to families who are relatively well off, and raising the minimum wage sharply above its current level is likely to reduce employment among young and low-skill workers…Economic research is tricky business, but the literature consistently shows that getting and keeping a job is key to upward mobility. So while it’s probably fair to assess that most low-wage workers will benefit from a minimum wage increase, we must also acknowledge that there is a tradeoff involved, in this case, reduced employment opportunities for the most vulnerable among our workforce. And that is something certainly worth considering.”

What Sherrer is claiming is the idea that if an employer has to pay more, he can only keep on so many employees, in essence threatening workers with the idea that to get a raise would be risking being fired. Any economist with his or her degree has to acknowledge the number of details being left out of the argument: a) a business needs a base number of people to run, and cannot reduce its labor force to less than that without being able to function, regardless of what it costs to continue to employ them; and b) more workers with more money means having disposable income, which allows them to be customers who are able to purchase the products or services that the business is offering.

Minimum wage workers, meanwhile, understand that although economic analysts can wax poetic about the real world impact of raising the hourly wage, for them, it’s truly a matter of life or death. Just last week we saw that in action when a woman juggling four minimum wage jobs died after falling asleep in her parked car between shifts.

Workers are no longer content to work to death, piling up minimum wage positions in order to scrape by. This week, workers across the country have created a day of action to protest for a $15 minimum wage, more than double the current rate. According to Mother Jones, this strike is different from past civil disobedience events, as home health care workers have joined in with fast food workers from dozens of cities. “The Service Employees Industrial Union, which has backed the workers from the start, hopes the addition of some of the nation’s 2 million home healthcare aides to the growing movement will put additional pressure on states and localities to raise their minimum wage,” reports Erika Eichelberger.

The “Fight for 15″group, which is located in St. Louis, has been organizing the efforts in cities throughout the United States, working not just to raise the minimum wage but to allow minimum wage workers the ability to form unions, too. Dozens of activists have been arrested in civil disobedience sit downs during the Thursday protests, including nearly 20 workers at the McDonald’s franchise in Time Square. One worker, who was 81-years-old, is on his seventh arrest from striking for a minimum wage hike.

There are over 3 million workers in the U.S. who earn the federal minimum wage or less. Yes, a raise may bring up the cost of your hamburger. It would also allow them to live without assistance, bringing down the amount spent in social safety net programs, and stimulate the economy with more available spending, creating new jobs.

Even a Forbes economist should be able to see that those are good things, not something to fight.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim Ven10 months ago

thanks for the article.

Eric Lees
Eric Lees2 years ago

"A Nonprofit Restaurant Falls to the Minimum Wage
Michigan’s jump to $8.15 an hour ended Tastes of Life—and the help it offered to those in need."

Robert Hamm
Robert Hamm2 years ago

SOOOOOooooooo WE have to become 3rd world because the rest of the world is. WE must do with LESS because the rest of the world is. WONDERFUL. JUST what Americans want to hear. We arent doing this to bring the rest of the world to OUR level…..we are doing it to bring us DOWN…….alllllllll the whille Corporate Profit is RECORD BREAKING!! And we are supposed to sit here and be happy with that.

Robert Hamm
Robert Hamm2 years ago

Estonoia has a population of 1.3 Million. Dallas/Forth Worth Metroplex is over 6 Million.

And there are bigger cities in Texas. Thats jsut ONE state. Comparing us to Estonia is LUDICROUS!!! Its costs WAY more to maintain OUR country. Estonia also has no standing Military that costs as much as ours to maintain. We have MANY costs they don’t have. Trying to pin alllllll of their success on Taxes alone is simply ludicrous.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown2 years ago

By the way, you can just save that old "double taxation" nonsense. Money is taxed when it changes hands.

That is like arguing that people should be exempted from state sales tax because they already paid state income tax. It is just another "red herring" (right up there with the so-called "death tax").

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown2 years ago

So some TWO TRILLION dollars in tax cuts (mostly to the rich and corporations is "not that huge" to you? Wow, you must have a funny definition of huge.

The Bush tax cuts were always meant to be permanent. Instead, they came with a 10-year expiration date, because Congress passed them through an arcane budget process known as “reconciliation.”

Most of the Bush tax cuts are still in place. The Bush tax cuts reduced the then 39.6 percent rate to 35 percent, the 36 percent rate to 33 percent, the 31 percent rate to 28 percent, and the 28 percent rate to 25 percent. It created a new 10 percent bracket, and there was no change to the 15 percent rate. The fiscal cliff deal retained all those rates except the top rate, which it allowed to rise back to 39.6 percent.

Prior to the Bush tax cuts, the tax rate on capital gains was 20 percent. Dividends were taxed at the same rate as wage and salary income; therefore, most were taxed at 39.6 percent. The Bush tax cuts reduced both of these rates to 15 percent to greatly reduce the tax bias against investment. The fiscal cliff deal allowed the rate on capital gains to rise back to 20 percent and set the rate on dividends at that rate as well.

So I am sorry but your argument fails to stand up to scrutiny. Oh by the way, these numbers come from the ultra-conservative "Heritage Foundation." Even the neo-cons can't spin the train wreck of the Bush tax cuts.

Eric Lees
Eric Lees2 years ago

@Dennis D. Not at all. Besides the Bush tax cuts being temporary they did not cut the corporate tax rate nor did they remove the double taxation which would be the key tax drivers discouraging a company from bringing global profits back to the USA. So they were not designed to re-shore jobs.

We are one of the few countries that tax American companies foreign earnings if they want to invest them in the USA.

As a result many global corporations are setting on piles of profits from overseas operations and then borrowing money for investments inside the USA thanks to the FED zero interest rates. Talk about distortion of the market.

We need to evolve to the changing world, an isolationist tax code does not work in a global economy. As a result our trade deficit has been growing for over 40 years.

But let's not address that, let's make American workers even more expensive to hire. You guys are geniuses.

Eric Lees
Eric Lees2 years ago

Where would you manufacture in the global market?

"2014 International Tax Competitiveness Index"

The ITCI finds that Estonia has the most competitive tax system in the OECD. Estonia has a relatively low corporate tax rate at 21 percent, no double taxation on dividend income, a nearly flat 21 percent income tax rate, and a property tax that taxes only land (not buildings and structures).
France has the least competitive tax system in the OECD. It has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the OECD at 34.4 percent, high property taxes that include an annual wealth tax, and high, progressive individual taxes that also apply to capital gains and dividend income.
The ITCI finds that the United States has the 32nd most competitive tax system out of the 34 OECD member countries.
The largest factors behind the United States’ score are that the U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world and that it is one of the six remaining countries in the OECD with a worldwide system of taxation.
The United States also scores poorly on property taxes due to its estate tax and poorly structured state and local property taxes
Other pitfalls for the United States are its individual taxes with a high top marginal tax rate and the double taxation of capital gains and dividend income.

Dennis D.
Dennis D2 years ago

Eric L.
7:32am PDT on Sep 17, 2014
@Kevin There were not huge tax cuts, there were only temporary reductions. Businesses invest for the long term, no business is going to shift manufacturing around the world due to a temporary tax cut.
Read more:

With out even realizing it. You just made the very argument why there should not have been any tax break then or now..

Robert Hamm
Robert Hamm2 years ago

IC so they have to be HUGE tax cuts to stimulate their desire to hire people. How convenient of you to move the goal posts….lololol.

Matbe we, as country, should also just buy all of their raw material for them to so they dont have that needless expense too. When did it become OUR job to keep large corproations profitable. THey are here to serve humanity…..not the other way around.