$22 Minimum Wage: Sort of Proposed by Elizabeth Warren

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Elizabeth Warren has proposed what some believe is a radical idea: a minimum wage hike up to $22 per hour.

The Massachusetts Senator is basing that figure on the minimum wage of 1960 and multiplying it by workers' gains in productivity over the last 50 years.

Elizabeth Warren Picture

A a recent hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Warren inquired of the $7.25 current wage: why shouldn’t employees enjoy the benefits of such enhanced labor practices?

"What happened to the other $14.75?" she asked at the hearing. "It sure didn’t go to the worker."

Arindrajit Dube, an economist from the University of Massachusetts, backed Warren up and said those profits go into the pockets of corporate executives and they represent further proof of America's ever-increasing income inequality gap.

“It is quite remarkable that had the minimum wage kept up with overall productivity, it would have been $22 per hour in 2011,” Dr. Dube said. “Had it kept up with the growth in income going to the top 1 percent, it would have been even higher, at $24 per hour; and the wage would have exceeded $33 per hour at its peak in 2007.”

Neither Warren nor Dube are actually suggesting we implement such a huge minimum wage increase.

“Rather, the exercise demonstrates how different the growth rates have been for incomes going to those at the bottom of the labor market as compared to the economy as a whole and to those at the top end of the distribution,” Dube said.

Legislation has been introduced in the Senate that would bump up this wage to $10.10.

What do you think of a $22 minimum wage?

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