I am currently involved in a campaign to increase the minimum wage in Mountain View. The campaign has been opposed by unexamined economic thinking and neo-conservative political ideology.
Right-wing politicians at all levels seem blinkered in their economic views with a willful ignorance of the full complexity of the economic arguments. This is reflected in the response I received from a Mountain View council member opposed to increasing the minimum wage.
"There is no reasoned economic justification for politicians to selectively manipulate free exchange in business and employment by imposing arbitrary minimum wage rates or other price controls."
Such hands-off economic thinking spectacularly crashed the economy in 2008 and ordinary people have still not recovered. In 2012, 46.5 million (one in seven) people were living in poverty in the United States — the largest number in the 54 years the Census has measured poverty. However, the wealthy and big corporations are doing nicely.
When the people ask to be rewarded fairly for their labor and to share in the new wealth being generated, the response most of the time is a resounding "No!" Last week, Senate Republicans blocked a measure that would have raised the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour over the next three years, up from the current rate of $7.25 an hour. It would have been the first hike in five years.
Arin Dube, associate professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, in his testimony at the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee hearing on minimum wage and indexation on March 14, stated that recent evidence does not find job losses of any sizable magnitude due to minimum wage increases.
The ideological fantasy that government has no place in economics epitomizes an abdication of political responsibility and is even anti-democratic. It is not socialism for people to ask for fair returns on their labor. It is common sense.
All the best to Teacher Tim
Bravo and congratulations to Teacher Tim Dobbins. He has taught three of our four grandchildren at the Mountain View Parent Nursery School.
He was a wonderful teacher and much loved by all who knew him. We wish him well in his retirement. I am sure he will be missed.