consultants are sandburs

Thursday, May 29, 2014

[UPDATED] A minimum wage saga. "The Odd Couple Converge." Strib carries a Dana Milbank - WAPO item, (but omitting links in the original).

WAPO, here. An excerpt, (like Strib omitting links):

Democrats have made the argument that an increase is morally right and that the only thing standing in the way is corporate greed. That may be so, but it hasn’t won them enough Republican support to get the increase through Congress. But what if Democrats were to make a free-market argument that a higher minimum wage would shrink the federal government and reduce the welfare state?

That’s the argument Ron Unz made to Nader’s gathering. Unz, a wealthy businessman known for his 1994 Republican primary challenge to California Gov. Pete Wilson and his fight against bilingual education, has serious conservative credentials, most recently as publisher of the American Conservative magazine. But now he’s leading a ballot measure in California to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour.

“The government spends over $250 billion a year in social welfare programs aimed at the working poor,” he said, addressing the group via Skype. “If we simply made the working poor much less poor by raising their wages to a much more reasonable level, a lot of that money would be saved, probably in the range of $40 to $50 billion a year.” The $250 billion spent on welfare for the working poor, Unz said, amounts to a “massive subsidy for businesses” that are paying less than a living wage and “forcing taxpayers to make up the difference.”

But what about the Congressional Budget Office study this year predicting that increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 would cost 500,000 workers their jobs? Actually, Unz argued, the study found that 98 percent of minimum-wage workers would benefit from a wage increase, while only 2 percent would lose their jobs.

One link WAPO gives, to National Review Online, here, an item quoting in turn from a Nov 25, 2013, NY Times item, here, noting:

[... Conservative Ron Unz] plans to pour his own money into a ballot measure to increase the minimum wage in California to $10 an hour in 2015 and $12 in 2016, which would make it by far the highest in the nation. Currently, it is $8 — 75 cents higher than the federal minimum.

Using what he sees as conservative principles to advocate a policy long championed by the left, Mr. Unz argues that significantly raising the minimum wage would help curb government spending on social services, strengthen the economy and make more jobs attractive to American-born workers.

“There are so many very low-wage workers, and we pay for huge social welfare programs for them,” he said in an interview. “This would save something on the order of tens of billions of dollars. Doesn’t it make more sense for employers to pay their workers than the government?”

Mr. Unz plans to submit the ballot language to the California secretary of state on Tuesday, declaring his intention to gather enough signatures to place it on the ballot in 2014.

Labor union leaders and top Democrats in the state said they were not aware of the plan, though Mr. Unz said he would welcome their help.

Presumably those in Minnesota employed full time [or part time to dodge employer-funded healthcare mandates] but still needing food stamps and/or other transfer payment assistance to survive would welcome Unz, whatever his motives, to spend a chunk of his own cash in Minnesota promoting the idea of paying a decent wage in exchange for an hour of labor. I bet Kieth Ellison would be open minded enough to talk to the man.

In the Pacific Northwest, do folks have a better approach?

An effort called "15Now" is promoted, with some saying "15 by 15" in wanting a $15 minimum wage to take effect next year; see, e.g., reporting at this link. The latest 15Now link is source of the below screen capture:

click to read, follow above link for detail

__________FURTHER UPDATE__________
If you know who Floyd B. Olson was, you might enjoy from that last/latest 15Now link:

15 Now in Seattle is a Model for Building Nationwide

Since 2012 low-wage and fast-food workers have taken strike action and raised the demand for a $15 minimum wage. Now, Seattle has become the first major city to win the fight for $15, a victory achieved by a historic grassroots movement. This is a step forward not only for 100,000 low-paid workers in Seattle but for everyone fighting to end poverty wages.

The movement in Seattle forced the political establishment to accept $15, especially the launching of the 15 Now campaign in January 2014 by the newly elected Socialist Alternative councilmember Kshama Sawant.

Even with some corporate loopholes in the deal – which could have been defeated with a stronger movement – the message is clear. We can take on big business and win! In Seattle alone, raising the minimum wage to $15 would put an additional $3 billion into the pockets of low-wage workers over the next decade.

Now is the time to spread the movement nationwide. Imagine what can be achieved across the country if 15 Now grows into a strong national organization of low-wage workers, unions, and community activists in a common struggle for a $15 minimum wage.

Hint to others, Floyd B. was FL before there was DFL, and has nothing to do with any football trophy, Gophers against Hawkeyes. Will such rhetoric energize tepid Minnesota labor council types, or are they too narrowly focused on short-term membership jobs via Wilfare? Best guess: The K-Street crowd will love to see that 15Now mentality grow legs nationally. It will distress their customer/clients who will bring them sacks of cash to have them lobby to have the Capitol crowd throw the kill-switch on any such "mischief." The Kochs will hold sessions in Aspen. Good business potential for that suppress-populism cadre, in any 15Now national thinking? May they be surprised; though the squelching of the Occupy movement suggests otherwise.

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