Since the pandemic relief bill, known as the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, has passed the Senate, we can feel fairly confident that the major points will be there when reconciliation of the House and Senate versions are complete.

One aspect that was removed is raising minimum wage. Most Democrats in Congress have recognized that it’s past time to raise the minimum wage since inflation has eaten away at the buying power of a dollar over the nearly 12 years since it was last adjusted.

JC Dufresne is a liberal activist and current member of the State Democratic Executive Committee, representing Senate District 25.

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(1) comment

Shepard

As with the vast majority of columns produced by Mr. Dufresne, he only provides part of the argument, always shorting the side he opposes.

While most Republicans see that the minimum wage needs to be raised to account for inflation, its the way the Democrats are trying to accomplish it and the rates that are being considered. Moving to a $15 per hour rate over the next 5 years flies in the face of economic planning and reality.

Congress continues to ram through bills through combining various subjects and aims under one giant piece of legislation, not taking the harder road of voting for each item independent of other issues. It is appalling that the Democrats feel that you can include a plan to raise the minimum wage inside of a COVID relief bill, an action which shields members from the wrath of the electorate when they realize what has been passed in the name of 'the greater good'.

If the Democrats want to address the minimum wage, then do so in a stand alone measure.

The planned rate increase does not take into consider the nuances of economic planning, ignoring the inflationary effect this will have and individual state minimum wage initiatives. Many states have minimum wages which vastly exceed the Federal rate of $7.25. Why would it not be reasonable to look at the current rate, adjust that for inflation and issue the new rate of $8.89? That's what it would have to be to catch up to inflation.

The minimum wage, like Social Security, was never envisioned to be a 'living wage', but merely one to keep people from eating cardboard for sustenance and being taken advantage of. We have become a nation of babies, wanting every whim catered to, eliminating personal responsibility and family to have a monstrosity in D.C. become a parent.

Fully 70% of those earning the minimum wage now are either in the Services or Sales occupations, with 57% in food service. These areas have grown in my lifetime in percentage of industry with the explosion of 'fast food', always envisioned as one populated with the 16-24 age bracket (students). At this time, this group occupies 47% of those positions at minimum wage.

Mr. Dufresne and like thinkers are actually trying to push inflation with this proposal of $15.00 minimum wage and it's not realistic. The current forecasts note that the annual rate of inflation should be between 1.8 and 2.3 over the next 5 years; how about we use this as a basis for the discussion.

Let's have a rational bill put forward. One that raises the minimum wage to reflect both the inflation rate and the intention of the wage; $8.70 in 2021, $8.80 in 2022, $9.30, and revisit in Oct 2022 for possible change.

Like your other columns Sir, you fail to stay in the center of the road, but then I guess that's what happens when you become a socialist.

Welcome to the discussion.

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