There is a lot of opposition to the idea of raising the national minimum wage. But, as Senator Elizabeth Warren, a democrat from Massachusetts, pointed out, that wage should actually be tripled to $22 per hour if it were supposed to keep up with economic growth.
The senator’s statements came during a hearing for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. She was responding to a report that showed how the federal minimum wage would actually be almost $22 per hour if wages had kept pace with economic growth over the past five decades.
“If we started in 1960 and we said that as productivity goes up… then the minimum wage is going to go up the same,” Warren stated. “If that were the case, then the minimum wage today would be about $22 an hour.”
Warren’s point was made in response to a report from Dr. Arindrajit Dube, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. His findings also indicated that, if minimum wage had followed trends for higher salaries (the top 1 percent of earners), then low-income workers would make about $33 per hour.
Following up on her earlier statement, Elizabeth Warren asked a question: “With a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, what happened to the other $14.75? It sure didn’t go to the worker?”
While this will obviously be disputed by those opposed to a minimum wage increase, this is one of the clearer points made on the side of those who want to increase pay for low-income workers. The cause has come to light recently due to President Barack Obama‘s stated goal to raise the federal minimum wage from its current $7.25 per hour to $9. Critics argue that raising wages will make business and manufacturing suffer.