Martha, Millionaires, & Unions Agree—Increase the Minimum Wage

The combination of  Reaganomics’ Trickle Down’ theory, the “Don’t Tax The Job Creators” mantra, and the concept that increasing the minimum wage results in fewer jobs, has convinced many of us to think  that vast income differences between classes are normal and necessary.  The way to save our economy, we are told, would be to take more money from  the middle and poor class and direct it to the upper class. Just look at the Republican approved Paul Ryan’s Budget.


A CNBC poll of Millionaires tells us something different. A slight majority (51%) of the millionaires polled believe that Inequality is a Major Problem. Almost two-thirds of them support raising taxes and the wealthy (64%) and support a Minimum Wage increase (63%), including Mitt Romney.

Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor, on MSNBC’s The Last Word on May 8, 2014 explained:

“Unless the Middle Class and the Poor have more purchasing power,   they will  not be  customers for all the things American corporations have to sell. That means a lot at the top would do better with a smaller share of a rapidly growing economy than what they have now, a large share of an economy that is barely growing at all because there is not enough of a demand for their goods and services.”

We really didn’t need a poll of millionaires to confirm that workers’ purchasing power has experienced  a long brown-out.  Unions, including the Western New York Area Labor Federation (AFL-CIO) which has three Councils in the NY 23rd (Cattaragus/Allegany; Dunkirk; and Jamestown), understand that there is a need for co-operation between corporations and  laborers. The AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, in a 50 second video you can see on the WNY Area Labor Federation website, said:

An increase in the minimum wage creates jobs, it grows the economy, it shares the wealth, it is economically right, it is morally right, it a civil right issue, and it’s a woman’s issue. Most of minimum wage earners are women. It’s workers helping other workers to do better in life. “

Congressional Candidate Martha Robertson fully agrees with the Union on the need for a higher minimum wage. The following quote is posted on her website:

“I guess my opponent thinks earning $15,000 a year for full-time work is enough. We’re not talking about teenagers: the vast majority of these wage earners are adult women. It’s great that New York State is increasing the minimum wage, but all Americans need this protection. So I will fight for an increase in the federal minimum wage to give workers a better chance to support their families. These folks will spend the money for basic needs, so we’ll get more dollars circulating and stimulate the economy. I’ll fight for fairness and opportunity; it’s not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do for our economy.”

The problem is that the people in power, the Republican leadership (aka  the Tea Party), believe in the Trickle Down Theory, the Don’t Tax the Job Creators mantra, and in keeping the minimum wage minimum.

Rep. Tom Reed proudly agrees with the Ryan Budget.  In it middle class families, on average, will pay $2000 more in federal taxes in order to pay tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals and corporations. In New York State alone, over 38,000 millionaires will each receive an $87,000 tax break.

Isn’t it ironic that more than a third of  Reed’s $1.9 million campaign contributions (as of 3/31/14) came from businesses, and he voted against raising the minimum wage? We deserve better.


About pystew

Retired Teacher, political science geek, village trustee. I lean a little left, but like a good political discussion. My blog, the New NY 23rd (http://newny23rd) is about discussing the issues facing the people of our new congressional district. Let's hear all sides of the issues, not just what the candidates want us to hear.
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26 Responses to Martha, Millionaires, & Unions Agree—Increase the Minimum Wage

  1. whungerford says:

    Tom all too frequently focuses on just one side of an issue. I this case he cites concerns about costs to businesses paying minimum wage but ignores costs of inadequate income to families as well as benefits of higher wages to the economy. Keeping the minimum wage low is in effect a subsidy for some businesses–one way government picks winners and losers, which Tom sometimes says he opposes.


  2. josephurban says:

    He also ignores the fact that when working folks have less income, they spend less. Which means small business is hurt. When folks have less to spend they are much more likely to buy “cheap” rather than “local”. The working middle class and working poor are the real “job creators”.


  3. Deb Meeker says:

    Yes, we do deserve better; and so do the millions of low wage earners through out the US. We hear from those who follow Reed’s mantras, complaining about paying taxes only to have their money “wasted” on social programs. ” I got mine by working, why should I have to help you?”

    Tom Reed and his party fail to get the connection. When an employer pays a living wage in the first place, companies reaping the profits from their employee’s labor would be living up to their “personal” responsibility and, constituent’s precious tax dollars could be used for much needed infrastructure, thus creating more jobs. The incentive for, and dignity of the general working class people of the US should not be a bargaining chip, let alone used as a wedge, as Reed appears to encourage.

    Martha Robertson has proven she stands up for fair wages, and continues to work for that goal. As our US Congress member, Martha Robertson will carry that commitment, and many others to the presently dysfunctional Congressional dialogue. It really is time for a change!


  4. BOB McGILL says:

    There seems to be something missing in your reasoning. You say rich people(millionaires) and unions support a raise in the minimum wage, but you left out farmers and small business. The word UNION has been a bad word for over 40 years and nothing has done more damage to industry than unions. High union wages have driven more corporations out of the country than anything else. Large corporations just pass off the wage increases to the consumer and this makes cheaper foreign goods more attractive. Minimum wage laws should be left up to the states, because the cost of living is vastly different in different areas of the country. Your logic could be used to lower sales tax and state income tax, but NO, your Democrats in Albany wouldn’t stand for that ! Neither would your beloved Martha, she couldn’t live without taxing just about every dollar that everybody spends.


  5. BOB McGILL says:

    Forgot, why is there a state charge on a hospital bill and a nursing home bill ? Oh, I get it, it’s ok for Albany to tax health care because they are Democrats ! 🙂


  6. pystew says:


    I am honored that you come to me for answers to those questions, I have no idea about hospital or nursing home bills. You will need to ask your hospital and nursing home for that information. I don’t see how those questions relate to the article, so don’t be surprise if your question and this response disappears in a few days. We need to save space for appropriate responses.


  7. pystew says:

    I didn’t forget the backbone of America. Do you think having less disposable cash is good for small businesses? When people have a limited amount of cash they buy “cheap’ foods, How does that help farmers?

    “Union” is a bad word for people who have not been in unions. Forty years ago about 30% of the workers belonged to a Union. Forty years ago, pre-Reagan, the dream was a possibility for a much higher proportion of Americans. Today, less than 7% of the workers belong to unions, and we, hopefully, have hit the economical bottom, with hopes bouncing back and improving the purchasing power of the middle class and poor. As union membership declines, inequalities rises. The opposite also happens–as mentioned in the article, economic inequalities isn’t good for business—and our present situation kinda proves it.

    Check out this article:


  8. josephurban says:

    Actually, Bob, the time of highest economic output and growth was the time of the most unionization. It has been the lowering of wages due to de-unionization that has lead to the economic recession. Henry Ford understood this. Today’s conservatives do not. When pay is good, people spend money and pay taxes. When people spend and pay taxes the economy grows…for everyone. Wages are at a post WW2 low…profits at an all time high. Reaganomics has succeeded…but only for the 1 %.


  9. BOB McGILL says:

    You totally over look China, India, N&S Korea, Mexico, Brazil and others. You also overlook inflation. Glad you mentioned WWII because it took most countries almost 30 years to rebuild and become competitive.


  10. BOB McGILL says:

    🙂 😛


  11. BOB McGILL says: Cached
    Raising the minimum wage by … What they gain in market income they lose in reduced benefits, … That single parent qualifies for many means-tested federal benefits.


  12. BOB McGILL says:

    You totally over look China, India, N&S Korea, Mexico, Brazil and others. You also overlook inflation. Glad you mentioned WWII because it took most countries almost 30 years to rebuild and become competitive.

    I hate windows 8 and cheap wal mart computers


  13. josephurban says:

    Bob..So. you want the American worker to have the same rights and wages as workers in China? In India? In North Korea? I don’t. I prefer a model in which the people who create wealth, the workers, are able to enjoy the fruits of their labor. I guess we simply have different philosophies….And regarding the “rebuilding” of economies after WW2. You might consider that the Marshall Plan, a massive welfare program funded by the American worker, enabled Europe to recover rather quickly. Without that welfare program the entire world economy would have stagnated.


  14. BOB McGILL says:

    It wasn’t a welfare program, the US made a ton of money. I don’t want the American worker to have the same rights and wages as workers in China In India In North Korea but their workers want the same rights and wages as a US worker and they are destroying the US economy in the process, and it is your kind of logic that will allow them to succeed.


  15. BOB McGILL says:

    Democrats control the state, the state taxes health care, but democrats claim to be on the side of the poor. Why be so concerned about minimum wage and then tax the life out of everyone for everything ?
    My comments have been deleted before, I expect it to happen. However, if I reply to someone’s off topic comment, I should NOT be accused of not relating to the original article. Besides for a history teacher I find your reading skills to be lacking ! 🙂


  16. pystew says:

    Bob, when you get over your head you begin to throw out personal attacks, which will not be part of this blog. Maybe you should go to the forums for that type of activity.


  17. josephurban says:

    Bob….The Marshall Plan was approximately 20% loan and 80% grant. In today’s dollars the total plan would have been about $150 billion. By implementing this short term welfare program the US guaranteed that western Europe could develop their economies without relying on the USSR. The US did not make a ton of money. The US spent a ton of money, much of which early in the program came back to US businesses as European nations were able to buy products and technology. Bottom line. It worked….Regarding the idea that the Asian workers are destroying the US economy. Where did the investments in Asian factories come from ? All those tax breaks from the 1980s- 2000s. Patriotic US -based companies took the money and invested it in cheap labor overseas. Undercut US workers and taxpayers .


  18. josephurban says:

    Bob. I am concerned about the minimum wage for a couple reasons. Raising the minimum wage reduces welfare costs. Fiscally responsible. Raising the minimum wage increases tax revenues. Fiscally responsible. Raising the minimum wage reinforces the value of work. In my opinion every adult who works full time deserves a wage that allows him or her to participate in society. Which means you should be able to provide the necessities and maybe even have a little extra. What is wrong with that?


  19. BOB McGILL says:

    Well I just happened to be in France in the early 1950s, My parents couldn’t believe the attitude toward Americans. The French didn’t want us there, they would say ” Yankee go home ” and my father was in uniform. My father was decorated for Valor, by the French for his service during WWII, and just 6 or 7 years later he was treated like dirt.


  20. josephurban says:

    Sorry about your dad’s bad experience. That is too bad. I guess the French, like all of us, have made progress when it comes to prejudice. I was in France in 2001. As long as I was polite I found the French very friendly and courteous. As long as I tried to speak French (which I am not good at) they were tolerant and spoke English. The key is to start each conversation with “Bon Jour”. To do otherwise is considered impolite. Just a cultural difference. (Loved Paris, the French Alps and the Loire Valley….would go back in a NY minute).


  21. solodm says:

    There’s the key, isn’t it? Treating others with the respect we would want for ourselves..
    However, when one has proven to verbalize respect, but then vote for crushing burdens, it’s time to call a Tom – a Tom.


  22. BOB McGILL says:

    Foremost among these concerns, and the subject of a growing body of
    research by labor economists, is the relationship between technology and wage inequality. A series of studies over the past 15 years has documented the rise in wage inequality in the U.S. labor market and pointed to technological change—especially the development of microcomputers—as an explanation for the rise (e.g., Bound and Johnson 1992; Katz and Murphy 1992; Levy and Murnane 1992; Juhn, Murphy, and Pierce 1993).1 One piece of evidence that points to computer technology is timing: wage inequality began to rise in the early 1980s, just a few years after the invention of microcomputers (Katz 1999). Another key observation is that highly skilled workers—especially those with more schooling—are more likely to use computers on the job (Krueger 1993), suggesting that computer technology is complementary with human capital. Based on these facts and other evidence, the recent inequality literature “reaches virtually unanimous agreement” that the relative demand for highly skilled workers increased in the 1980s, causing earnings inequality to increase (Johnson 1997, p. 41). This hypothesis—that a burst of new technology caused a rise in the demand for highly skilled workers, which in turn led to a rise in earnings inequality—has become known as the Skill-Biased Technical Change (SBTC) hypothesis.

    Bluestone and Harrison (1988) focused on changing industry composition and institutionally based explanations for rising wage i


  23. BOB McGILL says:

    you need to visit Montreal


  24. Pingback: Tom Reed’s Extreme Position on the Minimum Wage | New NY 23rd

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