Monday, July 10, 2006

Minimum wage bill signed into law

Governor Rendell signed the minimum wage bill yesterday. I'm intrigued that he chose a church in West Philly as the site for the event -- while my conception of Christianity is very much about looking after the poor (see here, if interested), I'm not sure that's the popular vision these days. It seems that there was a conscious effort to connect this bill to the "values" of the Democratic party, the existence of which is sometimes discounted.
"Politicians love to talk about religious values and moral values. Is paying less than the federal poverty level moral?"
More on Rendell's signing, the bill, and the effort that went into getting the issue out of its committee closet here.
Dodds, considered the "quarterback" of the effort, said the [Raise the Minimum Wage] coalition grew from 15-20 organizations in Philadelphia to 38 statewide. He and others raised money to run radio ads in key districts, such as Lebanon County, where the Senate Majority leader, David J. Brightbill, lives. The ads were aimed at getting low-wage workers to ask politicians to vote for the bill. ... They also targeted Senate President Pro Tem Robert Jubelirer in Altoona and Sen. Joseph Scarnati, chairman of the Labor and Industry Committee.
On his own blog, Marc Stier takes a look at the long campaign for this increase in the minimum wage, as well as what lessons that can be learned about the power of combined efforts on a single issue from both inside and outside the political system. [He promises a lengthier summary later of the details of what was done, for those who wish to learn more from the experience.]


Blogger Internet Esquire said...

How would you respond to the position that an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit would be a much more effective and equitable way of helping the working poor than raising the minimum wage?

1:48 PM  
Blogger ACM said...

I think both are great, and can't really claim enough expertise to distinguish the effects and relative benefits of small increases of one versus the other. However, one is government "rewarding" the working poor for their attempts at self-sufficiency, while the other is the country making a simple statement that there's a minimum financial value that should be put on the labor of human beings and that employers shouldn't be allowed to exploit (completely) the fact that desperation (or a pool of unemployed workers) exists. I would prefer that government set some limits on the (amoral) marketplace rather than just try to prop up those most crushed by it, but both will be necessary components of a humane society for the foreseeable future.

My first thoughts...

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Expansion of the EITC is not always effective because the working poor must apply for the program. People who are eligible are often unaware of the benefit and fail to apply.

Obviously you would not have the problem with an across the board wage increase.

4:06 PM  

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