Ralph Nader Letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner

The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker of the House
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

March 5, 2014

Dear Speaker Boehner,

What will it take for you to bring a raise in the minimum wage to a vote?  A recent poll shows that 80% of Americans, including 62% of Republicans, support raising the minimum wage. Seven Nobel Laureate economists explained that a moderate increase in the minimum wage would “provide a much-needed boost to the earnings of low-wage workers” while having “little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers.” Conservatives Ron Unz, Peter Thiel and Phyllis Schlafly argue eloquently that a higher minimum wage will decrease public assistance spending. And yet, you still refuse to let “The People’s House” vote on this broadly popular, long-awaited and much-needed raise in the heavily lagging minimum wage.

Despite your lack of support for this long overdue restoration of the minimum wage to its peak purchasing power, I present the appeal of another constituency: six members of your own caucus. In July 2006, 26 Republican House members, including six current members of Congress, wrote you a letter urging you to schedule a vote on providing a “substantial increases in the minimum wage.” In the letter, they argued that the annual income of a minimum wage employee working full time — $10,700 per year — would leave a single parent with two children thousands of dollars below the federal poverty line.  They capped their argument with the strong and powerful statement: “Nobody working full time should have to live in poverty.”

Today, the poverty line for a single parent with two children is $19,790, which by 2016, adjusted for inflation, will be $20,633 per year, still thousands of dollars above the annual [...]

By |March 5th, 2014|Correspondence, Press|Comments Off|

Statement by Ralph Nader on Minimum Wage and CBO Release

The Congressional Budget Office’s report on the the effects of a minimum wage increase to $10.10 failed to reflect the modern economic consensus on minimum wage raise’s employment effects. The weight of evidence from the economics literature has found that increases in overall business costs resulting from moderate wage increases are modest and can be absorbed by slight price increases, lower employee turnover costs, and adjusting distribution of companies’ total revenues. In fact, two recent meta­studies of dozens of papers over the past years – the first by Hristos Doucouliagos and T.D. Stanley in 2009 and the second by Paul Wolfson and Dale Belman in 2013 – have concluded that modest minimum wage increases have little to no significant negative employment effects. Even more, the stimulus effects of an increase in wages to at least $10 – monies likely to be spent promptly – could, according to the Economic Policy Institute create as many as 140,000 net new jobs over the phase­in period of the increase.

Even more, the $10.10 an hour value by 2016 ­­ which would, by the time it is fully implemented, have a real value of only $9.69 an hour in 2014 dollars ­­ is modest relative to many minimum wage benchmarks. A minimum wage of $10.40 an hour by 2016 would set the minimum wage at half the median wage, which is a standard that the minimum wage levels of most OECD nations (as well as the United States itself in the 1960’s and 1970’s) meet without any employment crises. 100 economists have lent their support to a minimum wage that catches up to the 1968 inflation­adjusted federal minimum wage, which would be $10.92 an hour today. A “March on [...]

By |February 20th, 2014|Press|Comments Off|

Ron Unz: A $12 Minimum Wage: Transforming Policy Idea into Political Reality

As most readers have no doubt already heard, early last week I filed the text of an initiative that would raise California’s minimum wage to $12.00 per hour, a figure far higher than that of any state or city in America. The heavy resulting coverage in The New York Times and numerous other major media outlets demonstrates the timeliness and public resonance of the issue, which taken to a national level should boost the incomes of America’s lower-wage workers by well over $150 billion each year, a very sizeable amount.

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By |December 4th, 2013|News Coverage, Press|Comments Off|

Letter from Ralph Nader to Grover Norquist About Minimum Wage

Read the letter here.

By |November 14th, 2013|Press, Resources|Comments Off|

Gov. Brown signs bill to raise minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2016 : LA Times

Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that will raise California’s minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2016, a move celebrated by workers but criticized by many businesses.

The wage hike will go into effect in two phases: The current minimum of $8 an hour will be lifted to $9 on July 1, 2014, and then to $10 on Jan. 1, 2016.

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By |September 27th, 2013|Press|Comments Off|

Mayor Gray vetoes ‘living wage’ bill aimed at Wal-Mart, setting up decisive council vote : Washington Post

By Mike DeBonis

District Mayor Vincent C. Gray vetoed legislation Thursday that would force the city’s largest retailers to pay a super-minimum wage to their workers, ending two months of uncertainty over the controversial bill’s fate and setting up a decisive override vote at the D.C. Council as early as Tuesday.

The debate over the bill, the Large Retailer Accountability Act, has polarized local leaders while garnering national attention and putting focus on the low wages many retail chains pay their workers.

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By |September 12th, 2013|Press|Comments Off|