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$500 minimum wage w/o pain; what a country!

Simple arithmatic shows how painlessly economic democracy could return to this country. Time for working folks to involk their majority vote to offset the market power of wealthier folks.
If, for some unaccountable reason, the top fifth income families donated 15% of their income to the bottom fifth: if the transfer phased in over 7 years, THE TOP FIFTH WOULD LIKELY COME OUT 10% AHEAD.

If, average per capita income should increase 15% over the next 7 years, the top fifth will do almost double that: 25% with ease.

The above does not exactly parallel my proposal to raise – or should I say RESTORE – the federal minimum wage to $500 a week ($64/wk in the year 1968 X 500% inflation + 50%+ per capita income growth = $500). But, the straight rich to poor families math is suggestive that a phased in, 150% raise in the minimum wage ($206 to $500/wk) might not cost our richest fellow citizens more than a one time slow down on their merry road of growth.

The second and third fifth families would have to gain – big – with a $500 floor under them (closer to $575 in current dollars, adjusted for per capita, after phase in). The fourth fifth of families, usually keep pace with both inflation and per capita on their own, but may go a little south or north during phase in; however, it will only be a once in a life time experience for them: after which all economic segments may proceed forward towards greater riches – together – with a doubly indexed minimum wage forming the bulwark of the working class share for the bottom three segments (hopefully locking the bottom fifth in at about 1/7th of the income to the top – currently at 1/10th).

It should be noted that drop from 1/7 to 1/10 was precipitated during a quarter of a century marked by stagnant growth – came during a period when most jobs on top could not claim to have become much more productive (obvious exception: medical profession); otherwise, why prolonged stagnation? – therefore seemed a phenomenon of market muscle (according to my taxi driver economics, anyway – in Chicago, for instance, we had one .30 increase in the milage between 1981 and 1997; at which 1990 point the city cut the out of town premium in half and began putting 40% more unneeded cabs on the street; Chicago Sun-Times columnist Laura Washington recently complained that half her cabbies cannot find simple addresses; in checker board Chicago, wonder why?). The doubly indexed minimum wage merely seeks to institute the 1968 pie slice as the standard for how low labor can go (bottom segment 1/7 of top fifth).

American workers should learn to use their voting majorities to stop is wage cutting that benefits only management: like Time Magazine contracting out their mail room to cheaper help. Lower income segments should start thinking in terms of applying their voting majorities to win any and all economic conflicts with the top fifth, like saving Napster (we love Madonna, but we don't care if she makes $20 million a year or $40 million).

American worker-voters can be sensible enough not to gang up on companies which want to lay off workers while maintaining the same volume of output – a European foolishness. American workers should accept these kind of layoffs as enhancing the productivity that can potentially double output every 25 years: $1000 a week for working in McDonalds by 2027?; riches beyond their dreams for the upper segments (is this a great country or what?).

Intelligently invoking majority voting power as the natural counter weight to minority market power has the potential to bring about the closest semblance to BOTH economic AND political democracy that the world has seen.

Denis Drew
Chicago
ddrew4u (at) cs.com
 
 

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