$22 Minimum Wage Matches U.S. Productivity, Says Senator

    March 19, 2013
    Sean Patterson
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Though the minimum wage in the U.S. has risen in recent years, the current $7.25 per hour minimum wage is still looking sparse when considered next to the rising cost of living in the U.S. Large hikes in the minimum wage aren’t likely due to the messiness of congress, but at least one senator believes the minimum wage should be at least triple what it currently is.

Last week, at a Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions (HELP) Committee meeting, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren compared the rise in the minimum wage since the 60’s to the rise in American workers’ productivity. Speaking to a University of Massachusetts Amherst economics professor, Warren stated that if the minimum wage had kept pace with productivity, it would be $22 per hour today. Warren pointedly asked the professor, Arindrajit Dube, why this wasn’t the case.

“My question, Mr. Dube, with a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, is what happened to the other $14.75,” asked Warren. “I sure didn’t go to the worker.”

Dube backed up Warren’s math, and even stated that if minimum wage had kept pace with the rise in income of the top 1% of taxpayers that it would have been around $33, before the recent recession.

Warren then went on to question David Rutigliano, owner of the Southport Brewing Company. Rutigliano took the side of small business owners, stating that his business doesn’t run the same way or with the same volume as a McDonalds, which Warren pointed out could weather a minimum wage hike with relative ease.

  • Joshua

    Ok lets do the math here, lets take 650 a month in rent, then say 250 a month for a RELIABLE transportation, then another 150 on average for Insurance on that reliable transportation, then because gas is crazy high lets say you spend about 350 a month in driving expenses that included a full 40 hr work schedule to and from work 5 days a week. Lets not forget the Utility bills of electric and gas and phone lets say thats around 200 a month. That all add’s up to lets see here 1,600 a month. Ok now lets see what 9.00 an hr times 40 week is 360 a week gross times that by 4 weeks a month you get 1,440. So if my outgoing is 1,600 a month just on the BASIC needs to live and yet the gov. says 9.00 an hr and bringing home only 1,440 (gross not net) is OK there is a serious problem. I don’t understand how Corporations and our gov feel the need to stuff the pockets till they burst but for the hard working men and women who do all the dirty work get left with a penny in there pocket and a pillow in the street. This U.S. gov needs to WAKE UP and wake up quick.

  • JOHN B

    Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren for president 2016 !! =)
    THIS is really what min wage should be .. fed min wage rate is from the 70’s and really unacceptable .. Good to see Massachusetts voted for a decent politician

  • kelly

    Exactly Joshua and forget about getting government help because you make to much money

  • Phil

    “I sure didn’t go to the worker.”
    That could not have been the actual quote.
    Interesting article, and overall well written, that part needs tweaking though.

    • Phil

      Just realized it’s just a missing ‘t’, makes sense now. I apologize for the previous comment.
      And in terms of content, I feel Senator Warren is in the right. It’s a very skewed economic system we have, and it’s absurd to imagine someone can work 40 hours a week at $7.25/hr and have any shot at upward mobility. Clearly the wage shouldn’t be as high as $22 (which she is not actually suggesting), but it should absolutely be higher. $9 or $10/hr are both legitimate.