Forbes: Nick Hanauer's Near Insane $15 An Hour Minimum Wage Proposal
"Insane." That's what they called our push for a $15 minimum wage just eight short years ago.
We've come a long way in those eight years. In our home of Seattle, we helped pass a law that gradually raised the city's minimum wage to $15. And other cities, like San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; New York City; and San Jose have followed suit. Even Florida, a conservative state, voted for a $15 minimum wage increase in the last election - the same election in which the state voted for Donald Trump.
Today, the only insane thing is to stand against a $15 minimum wage.
That's why we were excited to see Democrats in Congress introduce the Raise the Wage Act of 2021, which would gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025. Thereafter, the minimum wage would be indexed to the median wage (the point at which half the population has income above that line and half of the population has income below that line), which means if the median wage goes up, the minimum wage would as well. This is a strong bill, and it should receive widespread, bipartisan support.
Just as conservatives and trickle-downers rolled out their usual rhetoric eight years ago, however, the same cries of economic doom have once again arisen from the right: This time, trickle-downers are calling the $15 minimum wage "radical."
They can call it "insane," "radical," or whatever else they want, but the fact of the matter is almost 70% of Americans support a $15 minimum wage, and they support it because it works. When people who work in restaurants have enough money to actually eat in restaurants, everyone benefits. We saw this firsthand here in Seattle. When we increased the minimum wage, it did not lead to massive unemployment, as the trickle-downers said would happen. Our economy grew and is now one of the most competitive economies in the entire country.
This shift - from the point where the $15 minimum wage was a fringe, "insane" idea, to the point where it is a platform plank of a major political party and supported by 70% of the country - is a direct result of our activism. That's what happens when we band together and fight for what we know is right. Now, the opportunity to solidify a $15 minimum wage nationwide is before us. Trickle-downers are rallying around their new "radical" talking point, and it's up to us to rise above it - to stay active, to organize, and to unite the vast majority of Americans who are in favor of this policy.
We won't rest until this is the standard across the country. The livelihood of our citizens, and of our local economies, depends on it.
We're glad you're on our team fighting for this idea - and so many more - to make the country better for everyone. We'll be in touch with ways to further this agenda in the days, weeks, and months to come.
Hey, while you're here: At Civic Action, we're trying to buck the status quo and expand the middle class through activism ann education. We're not afraid of making a little trouble, but we can't do it without your help. Will you pitch in to support our efforts? We promise to put every penny toward ending the neoliberal strangehold on our economic and political system. Pitch in now!