Because $12.50 translates to just $500 dollars for a 40 hour work week ($2000 a month; $24,000 a year). Combine this minimum wage with Obamacare subsidies for health care, and you’ve got every full-time worker in the U.S. with a basic floor of dignity from which to live (capable of renting an apartment and making ends meet).
I would also gauge a $12.50 minimum wage to inflation so that no full-time worker in America ever again sees an erosion in his or her basic standard of living. If you work full time in the United States, you should know, at minimum, that you’ve got access to $2000 a month and health care. It’s motivating to know this; it’s spiriting.
I also favor a $12.50 minimum wage because worker productivity increases every year (primarily due to technology advances), but businesses do not tend to share this benefit to general efficiency with low-end workers. In other words, each year that the minimum wage does not increase, businesses are essentially pocketing the profits from low-end wage earners’ increased productivity. A $12.50 minimum wage would share the productivity gains of recent years with low-end wage earners.
And this is just. A $12.50 minimum wage gauged to inflation (or perhaps a tiny percentage above inflation) means that, if the average American worker is more productive year over year–generating more goods and services for the same hour of work–at least some of those productivity gains would be shared with workers at the lowest rungs of the wage scale.
I also favor a $12.50 minimum wage because unions are weak in the United States. If the government doesn’t step in and function as an honest broker on behalf of hard working Americans, it basically means that you are leaving the low wage worker at the mercy of lawyered-up people of means. One group has the leisure and resources to defend their interests, the other does not. In a democracy, one of the things that workers have going for them is the ballot box. They can use it as a substitute for union organizing by electing labor-sympathetic politicians, providing some push-back to the ever greater accumulation of wealth in the hands of the richest 1%.
So that’s why I favor a $12.50 minimum wage gauged to inflation. I acknowledge that it might not be good in the short term for inflation and unemployment (both might go up a bit on the initial implementation), but I think it would, over the long term, be good for society as a whole. Any negative effects would not be lasting.
What say you?