Sen. Warren: 17 Million Reasons to Raise the Minimum Wage

Fed Chair Nominee Janet Yellen Testifies At Senate Confirmation Hearing
Getty ImagesSen. Elizabeth Warren, (D-Mass.)
By Sen. Elizabeth Warren, (D-Mass.)

I have 17 million reasons for wanting to increase the minimum wage. Yes, 17 million -- the number of children whose lives would be a little more secure if their moms and dads earned at least $10.10 an hour.

When I was in junior high, my daddy had a heart attack. He was home for a while, the medical bills piled up, and we lost our family station wagon.

So my mother did what she had to do: She went to work answering the phones at Sears. The job paid only minimum wage, but it was enough to make sure we could keep our home.

No one should work full time and live in poverty. In 1968, the minimum wage was high enough to keep a family of three out of poverty. In 1980, the minimum wage was at least high enough to keep a family of two out of poverty. Today, the minimum wage leaves a working parent with one child in poverty. This is fundamentally wrong.

For a long time, as our country got richer, both investors and workers made more money. The pie got bigger and we all got a little more. But now the benefits go to those at the top. If minimum wage had kept up with increases in productivity, it would be $22 an hour today. But it didn't -- and today millions of hard-working moms and dads work full-time and still live in poverty.

Who would benefit from a minimum wage increase? The numbers tell the story: 88 percent are adults, and one in four has kids. More than 15 million women would see their pay go up, including 4.8 million working mothers -- more than one-fifth of all working mothers with a child under the age of 18.

Raising the minimum wage is good economics. It means that people will have more money to spend, and that helps propel the economy forward and give a much-needed boost to many small businesses. Besides, with a higher minimum wage, fewer people will need to count on food stamps or other kinds of government assistance to feed their families. A higher wage means people can provide more for themselves.

So why have the Republicans refused to budge on the minimum wage? Who are they protecting? Certainly not the families and their 17 million children who would be helped.

Who doesn't want an increase in the minimum wage? Businesses that have already made it big don't want any increase in wages that might cut into their profits. The system is rigged in their favor, and they have an army of lawyers and an army of lobbyists to make certain that the system stays tilted their way. Powerful interests might need to be dragged kicking and screaming to raise the minimum wage, but I'm going to keep fighting along with the rest of the Democratic caucus in the U.S. Senate. This is an economic issue, but it is also a moral imperative.

When I was growing up, full-time work would keep your family out of poverty. Now, the game is rigged against working families. It doesn't have to be this way. For more than a generation now, the middle class has been squeezed, chipped at, and hammered. A higher minimum wage will help build a stronger foundation to grow America's middle class.

Raising the minimum wage is one way we can start to level the playing field for working families. We should be honoring and rewarding work, and we should be making sure that families who work full time have the chance to raise themselves out of poverty. It's time to increase the minimum wage for hardworking men and women across the country.

When I think about the minimum wage, I think about my mom and what she did for us. And then I think about the 17 million kids whose moms or dads could do more for their families, if they just had a fighting chance.

This story is an Op/Ed contribution to and does not necessarily represent the views of the company or its affiliates, nor those of or DailyFinance.

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tru_liberal,....... Elizabeth Warren describes how minimum wage use to support a family. Today minimum wage can't support a family let alone the yearly cost of owning a car.

The average owner of a sedan has to shell out nearly $10,000 a year to own and operate that car, according to auto club AAA.

A new AAA reports shows, on average, the cost of driving 15,000 miles a year rose 1.17 cents to 60.8 cents per mile, or $9,122 per year. Overall, that's a roughly 2% increase on the cost of operating a car last year.

Auto club AAA studies five cost categories – maintenance, fuel, tires, insurance and depreciation – for its annual "Your Driving Costs" study.

The biggest percentage increase this year was in maintenance costs, which grew by 11.26% to 4.97 cents per mile, on average, for sedan owners. Average costs in all categories are lower for smaller vehicles and higher for bigger ones.

The maintenance cost estimates are based on the cost to maintain a vehicle and perform needed repairs for five years and 75,000 miles, including labor expenses, replacement part prices and the purchase of an extended warranty.

March 28 2014 at 11:15 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

The song of liarwatha!

March 27 2014 at 8:48 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

Here is what's really going on. Every situation and every person and household is different, but at the current minimum wage, the government is probably stepping in at some point and helping. Food stamps, free and reduced lunches, etc, etc. There are many programs out there to help people. But the government is having trouble balancing the budget. How do you shift those costs off the budget? Raise the minimum wage. The people who are minimum wage workers are making, let's say $14-161k per year. With an increased minimum wage they might be making $20-22k. (Pick your own numbers, I'm just making a point here.) But they then aren't eligible for as many governmnental programs. The cost has been shifted out of the government budget to the private sector thus keeping the cost to the government down. This comes with it's own set of problems, but that's another discussion.

March 27 2014 at 5:15 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to xcourt4hand's comment

Great read. There's not that great of resistances on the hill, not to raise the minimum wage, its just the other party wants something for it.
If the objective is to find solutions to poverty, raising the minimum wage alone isn't going to do it. This wage hike is fazed in over a short period of years and if not combined with the EITC, accountability in schools, and a workable immigration policy, will land us right back to square one.

March 27 2014 at 7:39 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

One last thing before I go off to March madness. It certainly is worth reading the CBO report issued recently concerning the mim wage hike. The CBO depicts two reports. One for 9 dollar wage hike and one for 10.10.
The report also concurred, jobs lost could be more than 500,000 or..."less."
And disputes numbers on lifting people out of poverty. The report also will answer your questions on budget.
However, the CBO also has a different finding concerning the ACA.
In sum, either party at any time cherry picks their findings to support their views.

March 27 2014 at 9:12 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

There you go .. why dont they share thier "money", their "benefirts" .. always a lot easier when your spending other peoples money

March 27 2014 at 4:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can not believe how many people think it's ok to keep people working for third world wages LOL. Somebody thinks $10.10 an hour is living high on the hog. You people slay me and yes this country if full of a**clowns. 40 hours a week at 10.10 an hour minus taxes leaves a person enough money to buy a couple tanks of gas maybe pay rent and utilities and hope there is enough left for food forget new clothes. People are insane. They aren't asking for beer and dope money people this is making a lovely 21,000 a year before taxes. When people live in cardboard boxes maybe the people that think these low skill jobs will be compensated for correctly, especially since most of the do***bags here wouldn't know hard work if it smacked them in the head.

March 27 2014 at 3:48 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cassmana's comment

Its not about what you get paid .. its what you earn ..... Just by showing up doesnt get you what you want .. create value

Its so simple ..... its not keeping people working at 3rd world wages ... its earning your keep and not expecting to be rewarded for attendance

Welcome to the real world ....

March 27 2014 at 4:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What ever happened to individual effort and the rewards that hard work provides- Not enough of this ethic left in America- everyone wants ebvrything handed to them on a platter from Obama and his fellow idealogues!

March 27 2014 at 3:35 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply


March 27 2014 at 3:13 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

If you dont like your pay, get another job or start a business . Nobody owes you anything . The cream always rises to the top and slackers fall to the bottom . Deal with it and stop begging from motivated people !!!

March 27 2014 at 2:29 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

The Marxist handbook calls for creating a disgruntled angry working class that believe in wealth redistribution as a government policy to make things fair............The Marxist will also claim that those in business are only motivated by greed which dehumanizes business owners in order to justify the hatred towards those that have accomplished and accumulated wealth.....The useful idiots keep voting for the Marxists because they are motivated by recieving an unjust wealth transfer that was unearned......This leads to more dependency on politicians willing to steal from the producers and give to those that have unwittingly bought in the fallicy of Marxism.....It's an old playbook but works on those that want to blame thier lack of success on those that have succeeded!!

March 27 2014 at 2:02 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to TED's comment

That pretty much sums it up.

March 27 2014 at 2:05 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

We do need more money circulating and higher pay will make a difference but there is one fundamental problem. To compensate for higher minimum wage companies will lay people off and reduce hours. That's all about greed. I did a blog post on this recently. The best way to improve an economy is for corporations to invest in their companies. They are all holding onto record amounts of money. In the past, that would be invested into research and development. In turn, THAT created millions of jobs and led to a strong economy. Switzerland has the strongest Economy and doesn't NEED a minimum wage. They are so strong BECAUSE of that reinvesting. They are voting in May on a minimum wage of $24.73 an hour. We NEED a high minimum wage because of the greedy executives. The REAL fix for the Economy comes through reinvesting into the company and building better products through Research and Development.

March 27 2014 at 1:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Fran's comment

Probably not going to like this answer, Fran, but R&D in the US hasn't declined at all. Companies spend billions of dollars a year. The US currently ranks second globally on R&D investment, first is Asia.

March 27 2014 at 2:12 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to theycallmeroy3's comment

Thank you for pointing that out.

March 27 2014 at 2:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

Second only to the continent of Asia.

March 27 2014 at 2:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down