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I served in the US Navy from 2002-08; four of those years were as a Nuclear Propulsion Operator aboard an aircraft carrier. I engage in political activism in various Democratic circles when I am able to. I have a cat, and I am an uncle.

All opinions that I express are my own and do not reflect the views of any organization that I represent.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

RAISE THE WAGE (COLORADO AMENDMENT 70)





The current federal minimum wage is at $7.25 per hour. Here in Colorado it is $8.31 due to the state tying the federal minimum wage with inflation.

Amendment 70 would gradually raise the state’s minimum wage from its current level to $9.30 followed by 90-cent increments every 1 January to a $12 an hour minimum wage by 2020. From there the minimum wage is increased to coincide with cost of living increases. If there is a drop in cost of living, the minimum wage will not decrease. There is still a loophole regarding those that receive tips.

While I would prefer a more pragmatic radical approach (immediately raise to $12 beginning on 1 January 2017 to get to $15 in 2020, drop the ban on tipped income), this is a good start. If you are considering voting no because the measure does not go far enough or is not to your liking, then I suggest you start lobbying members of Congress to raise the federal minimum wage.

By the way… have you met this Congress…?

It is still very likely that Republicans will control at least one chamber of Congress, the House, after this election and the Republican plank on raising the minimum wage is “word harder peasant!”

Instead the raise the wage movement has focused on lower levels of government such as state and city governments to pass measures to raise the minimum wage. Unfortunately, in Colorado city governments cannot raise the minimum wage on their own due to a state law banning cities from doing so. Hmmmm… sounds like an issue of local control that Republicans are fans of. That is until Democrats or those aligned with those ideals pass something that Republicans don’t like (see fracking ban in Denton, TX; Charlotte, NC non-discrimination policy; Washington, DC on the path to loosening their marijuana laws).

Raising the minimum wage is not just a popular move in large cities such as Seattle, New York City, and Los Angeles, but in 2014 while Republicans were kicking the Democrats collective asses in the second Obama midterm, minimum wage increases passed in Alaska, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Those are not exactly liberal bastions so there is support on the other side.

Opponents to this claim that raising the wage would lead to increases in goods and services, layoffs due to small businesses unable to maintain their profit margins, and will hurt rural communities.

The thing is that those were the same arguments that were used against child labor laws, instituting a 40-hour work week, the creation of overtime, safety regulations, non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, and in previous debates concerning the creation and raising the minimum wage.



And the New York Times found that raising the minimum wage is helping the nation’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, better retain their employees as well as improve the presentation of their stores which results in more people shopping there.

Along with raising their wage it also puts more money into the pockets of people who are likely to spend money which will result in more goods being moved off the shelves and more goods being produced resulting in jobs that pay people so they can contribute to the economic cycle. In a way, raising the minimum wage is an economic stimulus.

I seem to be making the primarily economic arguments. There are many others: the social, ethical, and one that Republicans should embrace.

From one of the sayings about Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign: “It’s the economy, stupid.”

And in terms of people’s personal economy is it their bank account and how much gets deposited, is taken out to cover the bills, and how much remains.

So I strongly encourage a Vote YES on Amendment 70.

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