Green Party Calls For Livable Wages, Not Just A New Minimum Wage

Green Party calls for liveable wages, not just a new minimum wage

GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
http://www.gp.org

For Immediate Release:
Friday, March 8, 2013

Contacts:
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-904-7614, mclarty@greens.org
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, starlene@gp.org

WASHINGTON, DC — Green Party leaders today called for a liveable wage for working Americans, in contrast to President Obama’s proposal in his 2013 State of the Union address for a $9 minimum wage to be enacted by 2015.

“Instead of a minimum wage, working people need a wage they can live on. Anyone who works 40 hours a week should be able to afford a home, provide for others, and save money for the future. People who work hard deserve to enjoy economic security and prosperity,” said Mark Dunlea, a member of the Green Party of New York Executive Committee and long-time director of a statewide anti-hunger organization in New York.

“The $9 minimum wage is an inadequate improvement, not enough to lift many people who work hard at full-time and multiple jobs out of poverty and debt. Two generations ago, wage-earners could provide for a family of four on the minimum wage. Today, it’s difficult to provide for one person on the minimum wage, even on President Obama’s $9 minimum, which falls far short of the 1968 federal minimum of $10.50, adjusted for inflation. While worker productivity has increased, wages keep sinking,” said Mr. Dunlea.

The Green Party’s national platform endorses the liveable wage and the guaranteed basic income:

“All workers, temporary or permanent, must be paid a living wage… We support the enactment of living wage laws that apply to all workers. A major consequence of this law will be the lessening of the ever-widening gap between CEOs’ income and workers’ pay… We also support other programs such as a universal basic income (known also as a guaranteed income or Citizen Dividend, as described in True Cost Pricing and Tax Fairness) that will provide for those who nurture the next generation — work that is of incalculable importance to our society.” (http://www.gp.org/committees/platform/2012/social-justice.php#1001797)

Green Party activists noted that a minimum wage that matched current productivity growth would be more than $16.50 an hour (http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/cepr-blog/the-minimum-wage-and-economic-growth) and said that this figure should factor into the calculation for a liveable-wage guarantee.

Greens said that enacting a liveable wage would boost the economy by providing millions more Americans, especially low-income families, with spending power. Establishing a single-payer national health care program (“Medicare For All”) would further ensure individual and national prosperity — while slashing Social Security and Medicare, as President Obama has proposed, would have the opposite effect.

The Green New Deal, advocated by Green candidates including 2012 presidential nominee Jill Stein, calls for the creation of millions of new green jobs that pay liveable wages (http://www.jillstein.org/summary_green_new_deal).

“Democrats and Republicans and media commentators tend to measure the health of our economy according to Dow Jones, profit margins of top corporations, GDP — how much the rich are getting richer. Greens judge the economy by how many Americans have living-wage jobs with benefits, enjoy financial security and good health care, and are moving out of poverty,” said Cheri Honkala, the Green Party’s 2012 nominee for Vice President (http://www.jillstein.org/cheri_honkala).

When Barack Obama campaigned for President in 2008, he promised to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour. But when the Democrats controlled both houses in Congress, he took no action to raise the wage. Greens said that President Obama’s call for a minimum wage in 2013, when he’s unlikely to get such legislation passed in Congress, seems more about scoring political points than actually raising wages.

“While Wall Street may be celebrating record high stock prices, real wages for average Americans continue to stagnate and decline. The political opposition to liveable wages for people who work hard is not only an admission that unrestrained capitalism doesn’t work. It’s a confession that they don’t really want it to work, except for the One Percent,” said Barry Hermanson (http://www.notmypriorities.org/about-us), member of the California Green Party’s Coordinating Committee and former co-chair of the San Francisco Living Wage Coalition. In 2003, Mr. Hermanson co-authored San Francisco’s minimum wage initiative that improved wages for 54,000 people.

See also:

“Obama’s Back-Handed Response To Minimum Wage”
By Ralph Nader, Eurasia Review, February 15, 2013
http://www.eurasiareview.com/15022013-ralph-nader-obamas-back-handed-response-to-minimum-wage-oped/

“40% of Americans Now Make Less Than 1968 Minimum Wage”
By Dave Johnson, The Contributor, February 20, 2013
http://thecontributor.com/40-americans-now-make-less-1968-minimum-wage

“Minimum Wage: Who Decided That Hard-Working Americans Should Fall Behind?”
By Dean Baker, February 19, 2013
http://www.alternet.org/economy/minimum-wage-who-decided-hard-working-americans-should-fall-behind

Universal Living Wage
http://www.universallivingwage.org/

MORE INFORMATION

Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org
202-319-7191

Green candidate database and campaign information: http://www.gp.org/elections.shtml
News Center http://www.gp.org/newscenter.shtml
Speakers Bureau http://www.gp.org/speakers
Ballot Access Page http://www.gp.org/2012/ballot-access.html
Video Page http://www.gp.org/video/index.php
Green Papers http://www.greenpapers.net/
Discussion Forum https://secure.gpus.org/secure/GreenPartyForum
Google+ http://www.gp.org/google
Twitter http://twitter.com/gpus
Livestream Channel http://www.livestream.com/greenpartyus
GP-TV Twitter page http://www.gp.org/twitter
Facebook page http://www.gp.org/facebook

Green Pages: The official publication of record of the Green Party of the United States
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~ END

36 thoughts on “Green Party Calls For Livable Wages, Not Just A New Minimum Wage

  1. Deran

    No, neither, the purpose of a livable wage is to take, yes I mean take, more money from the businesses and distibute it to the employees so that they can then afford to live above the poverty line. Essentially what trade unions did after WW2, and we did not see inflation or dire economic catastrophe in the US until the Vietnam war, and then when the West lost control of the oil in the 1970s.

    The problem with the Greens is that they are Keynsians/social democrats and do not understand the systemic nature of the failures and crisis cycles of contemporary capitalism.

    We can regulate capitalism all we want, we can build civic democratic institutions as a bulwark against the inherent speculatory and short sightedness of capitalism, but the capitalist enterprises will always, eventually, find a a way around regulations (or, like Glass-Steagal, abolish them) and democratic and civic institutions can be bought, the way elections are in the US today.

    Asmuch as I deeply admore Ralph Nader, I no longer think that capitalism can be “made better” or a human face put on it. It’s a systemic thing. As we have seen since 2008.

  2. NewFederalist

    Why not raise the minimum wage or living wage or whatever name is put on it to $25 or $30 dollars per hour? That would eradicate poverty in this country within six months. Imagine, if you will, all the employees of Wal-Mart or McDonalds being able to afford homes and reliable autos. It is just a shame that this has not been done sooner.

    By the way, Egon was right in Ghostbusters that drilling holes in his head to let the voices out would have worked if Venkman hadn’t stopped him.

    See how easy this stuff is?

  3. Catholic Trotskyist

    Deran doesn’t like me, but the first paragraph of his comment was great. No libertarian or right-winger can convince me that anybody needs over 100 million dollars. If people won’t start businesses because they’re getting 100 million dollars instead of a billion dollars, clearly this shows how truly weak humanity is. Unfortunately the far left continues to think that it can make the situation better by running candidates outside the Democratic Party, including Ralph Nader whom I still think was secretly an agent of the Bush family. All far leftists need to join the Democratic Party to make it more like the Green Party. Oh and get rid of abortion rights nonsense.

  4. Oranje Mike

    Nobody “needs” over $100 million.

    “Need” isn’t the issue. Those who produce have a right to earn if they so choose.

  5. From Der Sidelines

    A change of the minimum wage from 7.25 to 9/hr is also an 81% tax increase. It gets worse going up to the suggested 16.50 due to jumping tax brackets.

    Such a raise would also make unemployment skyrocket and cause countless small businesses to go under.

    @1 had it right: Greens understand economics like Obama understands constitutional law–neither do either.

  6. DSZ

    Someone needs to tell them about cost-push inflation. The Greens should have an annual retreat in Canada. There, normal minimum wage is $10, and $8 for servers (almost 1 to 1 conversion rate with USD). See how much that’ll buy you…

    No, capitalism isn’t perfect. As Fernand Braudel long ago demonstrated, it tends towards monopolism/oligopoly with the cooperation of governments. This is clearly evident in the United States as well, where anti-trust acts actually encourage the formation of nationwide corporations at the expense of small business. Government DOES have a role in economics, but that should be to decrease entry barriers and encourage competition (for both workers or consumers).

  7. Andy

    DSZ said: “No, capitalism isn’t perfect. As Fernand Braudel long ago demonstrated, it tends towards monopolism/oligopoly with the cooperation of governments. ”

    Then at that point it is not free market capitalism, but rather crony capitalism, or corporatism, or mercantilism, or some other name that describes something other than what libertarians advocate, which is free market capitalism.

  8. Catholic Trotskyist

    So you all (except Deran here) believe the wealthy have a right to express their domination over society by being able to earn hundreds of times more than most people, even though they don’t work any harder and sometimes work even less hard than most workers. I admit small businesses present a serious economic problem for the Left though.

  9. Jill Pyeatt

    CT, if someone has the intelligence and opportunity to earn millions of dollars, then he (or she) certainly has the right to keep it. That seems so straightforward and so RIGHT. What’s your problem with that?

  10. Jill Pyeatt

    How is that “dominion over society”? That’s absurd. How do you know they didn’t work harder? How do you know they didn’t risk much and sacrifice an incredible amount to get where they are?

    Who in the world has the right to make a judgement like that about someone else, that there’s something immoral about their fortune? I’m offended by the very thought of it.

    Nevermind that the means of making that money more than likely provided jobs to others.

  11. Brian Holtz

    To raise worker wages in a durable way, you have to raise worker productivity:

    At best, minimum-wage laws are just a way to finance welfare regressively — i.e. on the backs of those who consume the output (e.g. fast food) of minimum-wage-paying industries.

    At worst, minimum-wage laws are a way for unionized labor to limit competition from the young and minorities by knocking out the bottom rungs of the wage ladder.

    Not all of the wealthy deserve their wealth. Be skeptical of wealth derived from copyright, patents, land development, agriculture, resource extraction/pollution, or any of the other major forms of rent-seeking in America.

  12. Jill Pyeatt

    What is this assumption that the person making lots of money didn’t work as hard as other people?
    Chances are he (or she) worked muched harder, took more more and made more sacrifices than the average worker. Who should be judging this anyway? Whose standards should decide who makes how much money?

  13. Jill Pyeatt

    Now I’m starting to get worked up about all this. So, someone has an idea for a an invention or a product that makes another’s life easier or more enjoyable, but yet gets punished by having his profits taken away and given to someone else. Why the heck would someone bother? If this was the way things were since day one, our world wouldn’t have progressed at all.

  14. Brian Holtz

    Who should decide?

    Juries should decide, within the margins defined by legislators and judges. Judges and legislators should decide, within the margins defined by voters and the Constitution. The voters and Framers should decide, within the the margins defined by the core libertarian and geolibertarian principles about what constitutes aggression and rent-seeking.

    I indeed have tried to summarize and enumerate those principles, but they are not my personal whim. Those core principles are truths that for political purposes can be considered self-evident. When those principles suffer a long-enough train of abuses and usurpations, then the debate clock runs out, and it becomes time to pledge to our self-defense our lives, fortunes, and sacred honor.

  15. NewFederalist

    Kind of a Thomas Jefferson speaking in the vernacular of Karl Marx sort of thing. Kewl!

  16. Brian Holtz

    @20 To clarify, the question I was answering was: who decides whether wealth derived in a given way is deserved?

    Wealth is undeserved to the extent that it is derived from aggression.

    @12 @14 It shouldn’t matter how hard one works, how much one risks or sacrifices, or how many jobs one creates. No individual or group has the right to use these considerations to decide whether one may keep one’s wealth. If you can get wealthy without hard work or risk or sacrifice or creating jobs, then that’s fine — to the extent that your wealth does not derive from aggression.

  17. Jill Pyeatt

    Thank you for your clarification in 20, Brian. I had just about decided you’d gone nuts. I don’t disagree with anything you say in 20. I disagree with just about everything you said in 18.

  18. Brian Holtz

    In 18 I merely endorsed 1) juries, judges, legislators, and voters all following a Constitution codifying libertarian principles, and 2) the Jeffersonian right of revolution against the state when it strays too far from those principles.

    This is vanilla libertarian minarchism. I thought that was pretty clear, so I’m curious how @18 could be read otherwise.

  19. Catholic Trotskyist

    The disagreement about me and Jill at 10-12 pretty much sums up the differences between liberalism and socialism v. libertarianism and conservatism. Jill does great posts on anti-war topics, but is fooled by the right-wing idea that anybody really accomplishes anything on their own. The only reason why people are ever successful at inventing anything is because of all the teachers who taught them, the doctors who treated them medically, the farmers who grew their food, the construction workers who paid their road, etc. Some people have unique talents for producing ideas that make money, but that’s mostly a matter of luck, since many people have great ideas which don’t make money, and they rely on society to get them where they ar.e Now where our language becomes totally different, is that I believe society needs government to facilitate everything, and most here believe a real free market would work better.

  20. NewFederalist

    CT… I just can’t believe what I just read. I am truly saddened. I thought you were just having fun here but the idea that individuals cannot accomplish anything on their own other that by dumb luck is just beyond reason.

  21. Jill Pyeatt

    I’ll weigh in again on this topic this evening. I MUST MUST MUST clean my house today!

  22. Brian Holtz

    Don’t buy into CT’s leftish strawman. It’s not the case that libertarians assume that an individual rightly owns all and only the fruits of her unassisted efforts.

    Rather, libertarians assume that an individual owns all and only the fruits her non-aggressive efforts.

    Libertarians don’t deny that individuals’ efforts are almost always cooperative. On the contrary, libertarians celebrate voluntary cooperation as the very essence of the free market.

    I believe society needs government to facilitate everything

    After almost three millennia of humans arguing from their intuitions about the need for coordination, this topic was finally reduced to a science about half a century ago. Unfortunately, most people haven’t yet gotten the memo.

  23. Catholic Trotskyist

    Sorry NF. It’s not purely by luck; hard work is part of it, but lots of people work hard without accomplishing much. Luck is a huge part of it.

  24. Jill Pyeatt

    It’s also important to work “smarter”, CT. Someone who digs a hole, then fills it in, then digs another hole, then fills it in, is working hard, but he would he not be paid as much as a neurosurgeon, for example. Luck as nothing to do with it! Hard work years before in going to college, financing college, etc, made it possible for that neurosurgeon to ply his trade which he is paid more, partly because there’s greater demand for an excellent heurosurgeon than a hole dogger-and-filler,, and also because his skill is more needed. Theneurosurgeon likely more intelligent than the the whole digger, though. Is that fair, or just luck? I don’t know. Should he be paid more for it? Since his skill is more important to our society, I say absolutely yes.

  25. paulie

    No, neither, the purpose of a livable wage is to take, yes I mean take, more money from the businesses and distibute it to the employees so that they can then afford to live above the poverty line

    No one has an obligation to remain in business or to keep anyone employed. On the margin, small businesses (and even some large businesses) can close down or lay people off, and large businesses (and even a few small businesses) can move jobs out of the US. And. to the extent that this doesn’t happen, more wages pursuing the same amount of good and services = inflation. How is this not immediately obvious?

    after WW2, and we did not see inflation or dire economic catastrophe in the US until the Vietnam war,

    There was a great deal of rebuilding after the depression and world war, although labor markets were much less global than now. Wages rose in response to real productivity and capital good growth in the economy, which is different than raising them by fiat.

    We can regulate capitalism all we want, we can build civic democratic institutions as a bulwark against the inherent speculatory and short sightedness of capitalism, but the capitalist enterprises will always, eventually, find a a way around regulations (or, like Glass-Steagal, abolish them) and democratic and civic institutions can be bought, the way elections are in the US today.

    You are correct. Free markets are a much better regulator of corporate capitalism than any government institution or edict.

    Asmuch as I deeply admore Ralph Nader, I no longer think that capitalism can be “made better” or a human face put on it. It’s a systemic thing. As we have seen since 2008.

    I agree!

    We need free markets, not capitalism.

  26. paulie

    No libertarian or right-winger can convince me that anybody needs over 100 million dollars.

    It’s not a matter of convincing you, or anyone else, what someone “needs.” People do what they do in response to incentives. You can try to change human nature, but history doesn’t show a good record of success in such endeavors.

    On the other hand I don’t see a real free market leading to many large accumulations of wealth, much less enduring ones. It would be far too turbulent for that, with the greater rate of churn leading to more equality, not through force but through natural results.

    Overall, though, it would produce such tremendous progress that the average or even poor person would soon easily have what a hundred million or billion dollars couldn’t begin to buy today.

    Your comment also seems to presume that all, or almost all, businesses make hundreds of millions or billions of dollars, although in fact many people work for small businesses.

    All far leftists need to join the Democratic Party

    Why? It is a corporate owned party, no different than the Republicans except in slight degree of disingenuous rhetoric.

  27. paulie

    Nobody “needs” over $100 million.

    “Need” isn’t the issue. Those who produce have a right to earn if they so choose.

    I wouldn’t presume that most wealth is legitimate, though. Most of it is heavily intertwined with government tilting the playing field to the big money players.

  28. paulie

    Someone needs to tell them about cost-push inflation. The Greens should have an annual retreat in Canada. There, normal minimum wage is $10, and $8 for servers (almost 1 to 1 conversion rate with USD). See how much that’ll buy you…

    Right again.

    No, capitalism isn’t perfect. As Fernand Braudel long ago demonstrated, it tends towards monopolism/oligopoly with the cooperation of governments.

    That’s why we need free markets, not capitalism, and a free market in governance services, not government.

    Government DOES have a role in economics, but that should be to decrease entry barriers and encourage competition (for both workers or consumers).

    The best way it can do that is by getting completely out of the way.

  29. paulie

    So you all (except Deran here) believe the wealthy have a right to express their domination over society by being able to earn hundreds of times more than most people,

    Depends on what you mean by “right to.” I don’t think it would happen, due to the laws of economics.

    On the other hand, it does happen in the real world, due to government interference with the natural economic order.

    It also happened in the Soviet Bloc, even though it was illegal.

    even though they don’t work any harder and sometimes work even less hard than most workers.

    It’s not a matter of how hard you work, it’s a matter of how much value to others your work produces.

    Working hard to create something of no value to anyone does nothing good whatsoever.

    I admit small businesses present a serious economic problem for the Left though.

    Let me know if and when you think of a solution.

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