I’ve written before about the pressing need to raise the minimum wage for workers and today, a new poll from Hart Research Associates shows that a large majority of Americans—across income, regional, and even political party differences– would support its increase.
It’s a policy no-brainer. If we want to encourage people to seek work, allow them to escape poverty, and reduce the burden on social services, paying people closer to an amount of money necessary to live healthy and productive lives is an excellent start.
As Lawrence Mishel at the Economic Policy Institute notes, raising the minimum wage is critical to improving the condition of workers and reducing the growing income gap in the U.S.:
The last decade has produced no improvement in real wages of a broad range of workers, including those with either a high school or college degree. It has also produced a widening divergence between overall productivity and the wages or compensation of the typical worker. In addition, wage inequality has continued to grow between those at the top and the rest.
The declining value of the minimum wage has played a key role in these trends. Setting the minimum wage at an appropriate level can help spur broad-based wage growth and move us toward an economy where workers benefit from productivity growth.
As Montana Democrats search for candidates to run for the House and Senate, one of the first questions we should be asking is their position on the minimum wage. A candidate who can’t support a sensible, popular, and absolutely necessary component of economic justice simply isn’t the candidate for me.