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Monday, December 30, 2013

It's the Least We Can Do

Going into the 2014 midterm elections, many Democratic Party strategists think a proposal to raise the federal minimum wage will provide a potent source of ammunition in campaigns against Republicans.  The minimum wage, currently $7.25 an hour, was last raised in 2009, and President Obama has proposed that the wage should gradually increase to $10.10 an hour by 2015; in fact, if the minimum wage had simply been indexed to inflation since the late 1960s, then it would currently be just over ten dollars an hour.  Among the electorate, the idea of raising the minimum wage enjoys broad--and bipartisan support.  Many Republican lawmakers, however, claim that raising the federal minimum will hurt small businesses.

For those GOP politicians who resist raising the minimum wage, I have a question: You claim that cutting taxes on the wealthy--supply-side economics--makes fiscal sense.  You claim that the benefits of allowing the wealthy to keep more of their own money will "trickle down" to the general population through, say, greater investment in productive activities--which leads, theoretically, to increased employment and a more vibrant economy overall.  The metaphor frequently invoked to describe this situation is that "a rising tide lifts all boats."

So my question is this: Why does this boat-lifting rising tide come only from putting more money in the hands of those who already have significant fortunes?  Wouldn't putting more cold hard cash in the pockets of those who have less similarly cause some minor flooding along the shores of the American economy? 

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