From Stephen Paolini, Civic Action <[email protected]>
Subject It's the wages, stupid.
Date December 10, 2020 11:40 PM
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We need 590 more people to sign our petition before midnight:

Demand Congress prioritize raising wages for everyday people!

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The New York Times editorial board just made the argument that we've been making for years: People in this country need higher wages because when everyday people have money, they spend money and grow the economy from the middle out.

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The editorial board even goes so far as to say, "Consumption drives the American economy, and workers who are paid more can spend more. The rich spend a smaller share of what they earn, and though they lend to the poor, the overall result is still less spending and consumption." Sound familiar?

While we've been shouting this from the rooftops for years, The New York Times editorial board's piece is important because it's an entire 180-degree turn from an opinion piece they wrote in 1987 titled, "The Right Minimum Wage: $0.00," which was penned during the fever pitch of Reagan-era trickle-down economics.

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Back then, the editorial board argued, "Raising the minimum wage by a substantial amount would price working poor people out of the job market. A far better way to help them would be to subsidize their wages or - better yet - help them acquire the skills needed to earn more on their own." As we have seen with McDonald's and Walmart encouraging employees to apply for food stamps and other social safety net programs, businesses will only use subsidies to fatten their own profit margins. Corporate profits never trickle down to workers if the company can help it.

We're glad the Times has come to its senses - though, given the way things have gone in the last half-century, they don't say by how much wages should increase. In any event, this is a watershed movement, and proof that the Overton window has shifted dramatically away from trickle-down economics. Since 1970, wages haven't kept pace with rising productivity. If income distributions remained consistent at 1975 levels, the typical working American would be earning $42,000 more every year.

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For us, what resonated most in the board's 2020 op-ed was when they said, "Raising the wages of American workers ought to be the priority of economic policymakers and the measure of economic performance under the Biden administration."

We wholeheartedly agree: The Biden administration should be judged on its ability to raise wages for everyday people and spur the economy forward. In fact, we think a worthy goal would be to DOUBLE the median wage. Raising the federal minimum wage to $15, empowering collective bargaining rights, and taxing the rich would be a great place to start. The middle-out growth fueled by rising wages would be a gigantic boon to our overall economy, creating more spending and more jobs.

Are you on board? We still need 590 more signatures before midnight, so add your name now:

Demand Congress prioritize raising wages for everyday people!

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