Corporate media headline grabbing “presidential candidate” Donald Trump recently claimed raising the minimum wage would not help the nation stating:

“We can’t have a situation where our labor is so much more expensive than other countries’ that we can no longer win.”

Win what? Does Donald really want American workers to take jobs for less than 80 cents (China) or 28 cents (India) an hour? Besides the obvious this is exactly the type of thinking that contributes to our police state — and the largest prison population on the planet.

An over-simplified but common sense formula we know:

Poor Education Systems + Unemployment = Poverty = Crime

Aggressive policing and a massive prison system as a catch-all for every social ill only exacerbates the problem — creating employment barriers, making public benefits inaccessible, and disrupting communities.

When we take the primary wage-earner from a family and from a community and lock him up, what does that do to his family? His community? The larger nation as a whole?

Let’s look briefly at Germany (not because they are a perfect country) simply because they recently introduced a higher minimum wage and “have not shown signs of suffering any economic blow”.

German workers also receive paid family leave, universal healthcare, and paid vacation. As a comparison, of 38 nations the US is the outlier when it comes to even the most basic civilized consideration of paid parental leave.

Germany is further able to remain competitive while:
1) investing in education (free college)
2) investing their workers in corporate decision-making

Right now Germany has far less crime and a much smaller prison population (proportionally as well as numerically of course).

And yet even that is not enough. German poverty is at a record high and many say much more in the way of social services are needed.

But any concerns about raising the minimum wage from the dissenters have the face the reality that the majority of evidence from natural experiments point to little if any negative effect of minimum wage increases on employment. For good analysis of why, you can read Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman’s brief article on the matter.

The major point here being that we need to do everything we can  to eliminate income inequality. The USA is #1 on way too many lists of socio-economic disrepair. Of the 19 OECD nations, the USA has the highest rate of income disparity and poverty other than Mexico and Turkey. Today, American babies die at almost twice the rate of German babies (we lead the industrialized world in infant death rates). 

“On nearly all indicators of mortality, survival and life expectancy, the United States ranks at or near the bottom among high-income countries,” says a report on the nation’s health by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine.

Too many Americans today are living and working multiple jobs night and day just to live — the minimum wage as it is now is unlivable. Nearly half of new jobs don’t pay enough to make ends meet. 

People who enter the criminal justice system are overwhelmingly poor. Two-thirds detained in jails report annual incomes under $12,000 prior to arrest. And incarceration contributes to further poverty.

So we have poverty feeding the police state and the police state feeding the coffers of an industry built around human suffering. That is unacceptable.

So what can we do? One thing we can do is raise the minimum wage. 75% of Americans support it. And it is certainly affordable by America’s largest employers like Walmart, Yum! Brands, McDonalds, Sam’s Club, Target etc.


Right now, Bernie Sanders has been the most aggressive on this front having introduced a national bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2020:

“It is a national disgrace that millions of full-time workers are living in poverty and millions more are forced to work two or three jobs just to pay their bills,” Sanders said at an outdoor rally near the Capitol last month. “In the year 2015, a job must lift workers out of poverty, not keep them in it. The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage and must be raised to a living wage.”

Contact your congressional representatives and tell them to support the ‘‘Pay Workers a Living Wage Act’’

CLICK HERE to find out who your representatives are and how to contact them.
CLICK HERE to support Bernie Sanders campaign for president.

  • David Bergeron

    If the government wants to enforce a minimum wage, how about just increasing/modifiying the earned income tax credit and not burdening any specific business wth this cost. Allowing non-head of household youth to work for less than the stated minimum wage will help them learn responsibility and jobs skills which will help them be worth more, which is the sustainable solution.

  • Louis Erickson

    Love the videos and I am looking forward to your movie, but the solution for a large burdensome government is not more rules and regulations from the government. Having a mandated minimum wage enforced by men with guns is not a solution.

    • I deeply respect your point of view. Believe me. Where I think we need the regulations are on corporations of the size of huge mega corporations like Walmart, Yum! Brands, McDonalds, Sam’s Club, Target etc. Where I think we have way too much regulation is on mom and pop stores. When lemonade stands are being shut down by big government we know what this is about. But don’t forget, community activism earned us the weekend. The 40 hour work week is protected in certain markets. And lord knows I appreciate that. And would appreciate some more protections. It’s a balance for sure.

      • Louis Erickson

        Funny you say it that way I often joke with my leftist friends how
        large corporations help write laws that put certain burdens on them because
        they can afford them, but it keeps smaller companies from becoming a threat. The
        only reason we have complicated tax laws, codes, licensing, crony capitalism,
        pay to play, and other such clichés is that government is the enforcement arm
        of the corporations. Government isn’t the solution to control corporations;
        government is the tool corporations use to control people.

        I have a software company and my Intern who works part time, goes
        to college, and is 20 years old makes $15 an hour. He makes that because he has
        skills that are worth that and he is lowest paid employee I have. The free
        market can dictate what a person is worth if we get them out of government schools
        and actually have people learn skills that a worth something. Get government out
        of the education business and see how wages rise.

        Thank you for all you do. Your reasoned, high quality, and engaging content are going to do so much to help so many people.

  • As a small business owner (retail store), if the minimum wage was raised to $15 I would have to let go one if not both of my employees. I’m not sure where the correct ceiling is, or if there should even be one, but $15 would hurt small shop the size of my own. I’d imagine large corporations could more easily absorb the expense, but I would hate to see more mom and pop shops go away.
    My state’s current minimum is $7.25, and I pay my guys $10. They are dependable and good at their jobs, and I wish I could pay them more (with or without it being mandated). But as many weeks as not, they take home more than I do for working the same hours. I agree that the current minimum wage would be impossible to live on working 40 hour weeks, but doubling it would seem a bit extreme. Just sharing one small business owner’s perspective.

    • dollarbill

      The whole system’s gonna change, i would think tax relief for small business would too. No way Bernie Sanders lets anybody go downhill. He’s trying to help the regular folks. free health care, free college. Tax money that’s being spent on Bombs well be refocused on helping the American People. I Believe someone can beat the Banks an that someone is Bernie Sanders.

      • There’s no such thing as free education or free medical care. Both are far too expensive in the US, but they can never be free. The services and people providing them cost money, it’s just a matter of who pays for them.

        • dollarbill

          taxes not used on war used on people who pay taxes

    • Well adjusting for inflation this isn’t something that’s going to happen for a few years right? So the hope is along with some other good economic policies the mom and pop shops are the ones who will hopefully benefit the most.

      We’re talking about your employee wage spending going fro 2 employees from $20 / hour to $30 per hour in 4 or so years… That’s $10 less than double. And perhaps there could be dispensations for small businesses or other special circumstances. I have worked extra hard to be able to pay a livable wage, understanding it is very tough. But overall it should help all businesses as it stimulates the overall economy as well. Hence the stepped increase.

    • Your’e a small business owners with two employees…….we don’t expect you to be able to afford it. However, walmart can and should.

  • Love to hear your thoughts. Please respect the human beings behind any opposing views. The quickest way to lose an argument is to insult someone. (More of a note to myself than anyone else) 🙂

    • dollarbill

      Let the truth set you free