I am surprised that the Minimum Wage problem is not among the active Forum topics on Will’s website.
It is time for Massachusetts to take a leading position nationally on this critical social justice issue, instead of falling behind other progressive areas of the U.S. Wage-earners who fall under the minimum wage law – and those in the bottom 20% of the income spectrum generally – have seen their effective incomes substantially reduced over the past 50 years, as the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation. In the same time period the upper 1% and 20% have seen their real earnings and spending capacity increase dramatically. The proposed bill by Sen. Pacheco would achieve basic and fair readjustment of this inequity – increasing the minimum wage in gradual steps and then indexing it to inflation to avoid re-skewing the problem in the future – and linking the tipped minimum wage as a percentage of the minimum wage (since it was unreasonably and unjustly uncoupled in 1998).
This socially just approach will help low-wage-earners achieve a living wage – which they do not have currently in our high-cost state – and be able to participate in the expanding “innovation economy” that Massachusetts enjoys. This change will improve overall economic activity in the state, by increasing the spending capacity of those who will directly use their added resources to purchase essential goods in the local economy. This is not an undue burden on businesses and employers of these low-wage earners, having only a minor percentage impact on costs. Rather it will grow and broaden economic activity, and yield benefits to local businesses and to individuals at all income-levels.
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