Lew Promotes Wage Increase

Jack Lew

CNN Article

“We’re going to keep working at it,” he said. “It’s obviously not in our power to force Congress to act, but we can make the case for it and we can have the American people make the case for it and we’re going to continue pressing.”

Washington Democrats have argued for increasing the minimum wage to $10.10. But most congressional watchers consider that unlikely to pass.

Both critics and proponents of a minimum wage increase took something away from a Congressional Budget Office report this week. It found a wage increase would eliminate around 500,000 jobs but also bring 900,000 out of poverty.

My opinion: Raising the minimum wage is always a frustrating thing to talk about in economics. In principles courses, we usually tell students about how the minimum wage is a ‘job killer’ because of the price floor it creates subsequently leading to businesses not offering work to people for lower wages. Then we frequently use the adage, “Would you rather make $3/hr or $0/hr?”

I try to pepper throughout my principles lectures however that this concept is drastically simplified here and the real world is much more complicated; yet, if when you arm people with just a little bit of knowledge to support a view of theirs, they will quickly run with it.

All that being said, at this period in time I believe the US could benefit from a wage increase. America is doing better in comparison to other G7 countries (see chart below) and is projected to have a great year in 2014 — according to both Yellen and Lew . And it would disappoint me greatly if all of the new wealth gained in 2014 wasn’t fairly shared among the population.

Bg6PdU3CIAAM8je-image taken from Jamie McGeever’s twitter account: @ReutersJamie

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