Schmudget Blog
— filed under: ,

Minimum Wage Increase Right for our Economy

Posted by Lori Pfingst at Jan 14, 2014 11:15 PM |
Filed under: ,

Fair pay for hard work is the cornerstone of a strong economy.  By highlighting the need for a minimum wage increase of $1.50 to $2.50 in his State of the State address, Governor Inslee is taking a bold step to strengthen our economy by rebuilding the middle class.

For too long, workers have not received their fair share of the economic activity they help generate. In spite of being one of the most productive economies in the world, wages and income for Washington state’s workers have stagnated (see chart), while companies have posted record profits and the stock market is at all-time highs.  The benefits of Washingtonians' hard work and productivity have largely gone to the richest one percent, whose income gains dwarf the gains made by people with lower and middle incomes (see chart).  

justifying_min_wage_3

 

justifying_min_wage_4

This is not a sustainable model for a strong middle class.  Only when everyone benefits from growth will our economy fully thrive. An increase in the minimum wage is one important step toward reversing these damaging trends.  Even with the highest state minimum wage in the country, a worker supporting a family of three would be living in poverty if they worked full-time (see chart).  

justifying_min_wage_2

The vast amount of research on minimum wage increases shows that it boosts the incomes of low wage workers without hurting the economy or resulting in massive job loss.  In fact, it can stimulate the economy by increasing demand for local goods and services, which is good for businesses. Businesses need customers to thrive – the well-being of workers and business are interdependent.

If we say we value work in Washington state then we need to value workers.  An increase in the minimum wage is a crucial step of what should be a broad economic strategy to reduce income inequality, increase social mobility, and rebuild the middle class.   

Document Actions
HIGHLIGHTS

Budget Matters 2016 Save the Date

Watch the Poverty Forum Video

If you missed the half-day Poverty Forum that we co-hosted with Partners for Our Children in May 2016, you can watch it on YouTube now. It features a range of speakers and panelists talking about policy solutions for addressing income inequality and poverty in our state.

We're Hiring!

Come join our fun, hard-wording team of people who are passionate about social and economic justice! We're seeking a Development Manager and a Policy Analyst/Senior Policy Analyst. (For the analyst position, we will be giving priority review to applications received by Wednesday, August 3.

Our Legislative Agenda

Our agenda for the 2015-2017 biennium calls for an equitable, sustainable revenue system in addition to state investments that: promote a world-class education system; sustain a strong middle class; produce living-wage jobs, and ensure that all Washingtonians have equal opportunity to get ahead. 

Testimonies in Olympia

We testified in support of a number of important bills during the 2016 legislative session. Take a look:

  • Our testimony (at the 23:23 minute mark) on the House Bill that would take a two-generation approach to preventing poverty 
  • Our testimony (at the 1:54:09 mark) on the House bill focused on aerospace-related tax breaks
  • Our House testimony (at the 9:25 mark) and Senate testimony (at the 1:44:54 mark) on the two-generation approach to poverty prevention bill 

10-year design element 72 dpi