A Rational Minimum Wage Proposal

The goal: a relatively objective process, as opposed to just picking a number that sounds good

Charles Lane of the Washington Post authored a really interesting essay on the minimum wage. Here it is: http://www.bradenton.com/opinion/national-opinions/article158853904.html

His proposal:

Consider: Since 1938, the federal minimum wage has not exceeded 54 percent of average private-sector hourly wages, a level it hit in 1968, nor fallen below 28 percent, which is where the $7.25 federal minimum ranks today. 
The midpoint between those extremes is 41 percent, a number that felicitously resembles ratios between minimum and average wages in other advanced industrial countries. 
Multiplying 41 percent by the current average hourly wage, $26.22, yields a new federal minimum of $10.75. Phase it in over a few years, index it to wage growth or an equivalent factor - and move on to less contentious topics like health care, or how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

I LOVE this proposal.  First some background on why.

The minimum wage is designed to ensure that workers can afford basic necessities. It’s not an entry level wage – it’s supposed to be a living wage because in capitalist systems, wages tend to depress and that’s a problem because when wages are too low – people can no longer consumer and if you have no consumers, you have no business.

Setting a minimum wage helps ensure that no one cheats by paying employees less and all of society benefits from having wage earners who can actually support themselves without subsidy from tax payers and who can also afford to consume the goods and services created by a society.  People opposed to the minimum wage shouldn’t call themselves capitalists.

Mr. Lane’s proposal is reasonable, rational and can be tied to average wages, has some reasonable rational math to back it up and if implemented would mean that we NEVER have to have this debate again.   It can also be set at the state level  so that the variations in average wages are taken into account.

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