In a growing trend Los Angeles is joining other major cities in raising the minimum wage. The City Council by a 14 to 1 vote instructed their City Attorney, Mike Feuer, to prepare an ordinance to carry out the wage hikes. The final vote will take place in around a month from now. In an incremental basis the wages by 2020 will be raised to $15 dollars an hour for approximately 800,000 workers in the second largest city in the United States.
There already is an article scheduled for the 21st of May from Bloomberg attacking the measure on the basis that it will hurt workers. What a joke! In a state where the cost of living is amazingly high raising the minimum wage will only help many at the lowest end of the income ladder have a better life. No one should work full time in America and live at the poverty level. Nine dollars an hour is the current minimum wage both in the state of California and in the nation. Nine dollars an hour might be not as bad in Mississippi but it is impossible to live in California and live independently of your parents at a minimum wage of $9 per hour even if you worked 60 hours a week.
There is a new aristocracy in our land who seems to think that it is okay to live in a state of hopelessness. Workers are experiencing a new form of slavery. A form of slavery exists, where there are no visible chains but there are chains nevertheless that keep many workers in poverty with little or no chance of escaping their plight.
On the morning stock market shows on CNBC, Allen Greenspan used to talk about wage inflation. Nonsense, the only people who are doing better in the last 20 years or so are the wealthy. Their wealth has increased dramatically. I have no problem with people making a lot of money the old fashioned way, they earn it by working hard. But there is a growing sense that the astronomical corporate salaries and stock gifts are making a new super wealthy class in America.
If one recalls history, the Great Depression lasted longer than other depressions because with the huge income inequality that existed at the end of the 1920’s there were not enough people making enough money to buy the goods that we produced in America. Henry Ford had the right idea. He knew that his workers should make enough money to buy the cars that they made.
Now we have, today, a greater wage disparity than what existed in the days that led up to the Great Depression. If enough people have their wages raised, more goods will be bought and more taxes will be paid and America will see a return to a time when the American Middle Class was the envy of the world.
We will continue to be stuck in the Great Muddy, of mediocrity and a lack of social mobility as long as wages are stagnant and as long as the only class that sees better times is the wealthy class that already makes more money than anyone needs.
Let us not forget, that during the time when America’s Middle Class became the envy of the world, Eisenhower was President. Not only did President Eisenhower reside over our greatest growth and prosperity he had a top tax rate of 91% and he balanced 3 budgets and expanded our transportation system by having the Interstate Highway system spur growth to parts of the country that needed to be connected to the rest of us.
Trickle down economics doesn’t work. What we need is a flood of increasing wages so that Americas income will spur the robust return of the American consumer. So congratulations Los Angeles, you have helped to give hope to those who had little hope of getting out of the hole financially. What America needs is a return to fairness to a place where Americans no longer feel as if the deck is stacked against them.