Bernstein: The Audacity of the Fight for Higher Wages
In his latest post for the New York Times’ Economix, CBPP Senior Fellow Jared Bernstein points to the struggles of low-income workers and what to do about them, noting:
Something’s broken here in an economy that serves up low wages to significant numbers of adults whose families depend on their earnings (the typical worker earning between the minimum wage and $10 an hour earns half of his or her family’s income; 88 percent are adults). And something’s broken when the media and economic pundits seem to devote a lot more energy to explaining why companies can’t pay living wages than considering what to do about it. . . .
If significant portions of some industries pay wages on which grown-ups cannot support a family, while other industries post historic profits, and, importantly, the gains to the latter fail to ever reach the former, then corrective policy is needed. Some of that should be done through wage subsidies and work support (for example, the earned-income tax credit, and health and housing support), and some should be through moderate increases in the minimum wage.
To me, that’s not radicalism. It’s plain common sense.