Well, that seems to be the sentiment of many pundits, at least. The rest of us care more about what economists, people who have actually scientifically studied things like the minimum wage, have to say. More than 70 economists today released a letter asking the president and congressional leaders to raise the national minimum wage to $10.10 per hour and indexing it to inflation for the future. The economists who have signed the letter include the AFL-CIO's chief economist William Spriggs, seven Nobel Prize winners and eight former presidents of the American Economic Association.
In late July, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) made widely condemned remarks that disparaged immigrants, saying that "for every one [DREAMer] who’s a valedictorian, there’s another hundred out there who weigh a hundred and thirty pounds—and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling seventy-five pounds of marijuana across the desert.” Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) are responding to the comments by making the case for a comprehensive immigration policy with a road map to citizenship in King's home district in Iowa. The two senators will be holding a round-table discussion with DREAMers, farmers, students and small business owners from across the state.
A new poll released today finds that 80% percent of Americans—including 62% of Republicans and 80% of Independents—support raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour and indexing it to the cost of living. It was last raised to $7.25 an hour in 2009.
The release of the poll came as low-wage workers and community, faith, union and other allies are staging a National Day of Action calling for passage of Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013.
As Congress left Friday for a weeklong vacation for the Independence Day holiday, a July 1 deadline passed without congressional action on student loan interest rates. New subsidized federal Stafford loans issued after that date will incur a new rate of 6.8%, up from the current 3.4% students pay. Time still exists to fix the rate increase, however, as most students don't sign their loan paperwork until early August. Without legislation to reverse the increase, some 7 million students will see rates on their subsidized loans double at a time when student loan debt has reached more than $1 trillion and more and more economists are saying the massive student loan debt problem is becoming a drag on the economy.
In a Progressive Leaders Forum Town Hall meeting that will air Wednesday on SiriusXM 27's "The Agenda" radio show, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) joined Nancy Altman of Social Security Works, Edward Coyle of the Alliance for Retired Americans and host Ari Rabin-Havt to discuss the future of Social Security, including Harkin's proposed legislation that would expand Social Security benefits. The Strengthening Social Security Act of 2013 (S. 567) would raise the monthly Social Security benefit by about $65 and would measure inflation not with the chained CPI (a benefit cut), but using a more accurate measure of inflation for seniors (the CPI-E).
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been under “relentless political attack [and] many elected officials are actively trying to shut the NLRB down,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said this morning as the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee (HELP) opened confirmation hearings on a package of nominees to the board.
On one side of the rope, students, workers, a polar bear, a walrus and Robin Hood stood. On the other side, a series of fancily dressed Wall Street executives. The tug-of-war was over a proposed half penny tax on Wall Street transactions designed to raise billions of dollars to pay for education, climate change mitigation and the improvement of public infrastructure. That was the scene Thursday when working family activists who are part of the U.S. Robin Hood Tax Campaign rallied at Hotel Palomar in Washington, D.C., where finance and environmental ministers of select developed countries met.
On Wednesday, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) introduced the Healthy Families Act, which would give workers the opportunity to earn paid sick leave they could use for personal illnesses or to take care of sick family members, among other uses. The act also would allow workers to use earned sick time to deal with the effects of domestic violence.
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama joined a growing chorus of voices demanding that the national minimum wage be raised. Tuesday, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representative George Miller (D-Calif.) announced they will introduce the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013.