Saturday, April 01, 2017

16.4 - Not Good News: $15 minimum wage vetoed in Baltimore

Not Good News: $15 minimum wage vetoed in Baltimore

And unfortunately we also have some Not Good News this week, which serves as a reminder that even as movements gather strength, there will be setbacks.

In this case, the movement is the "Fight for $15," the push for a livable minimum wage, and the setback came on March 24 when Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh vetoed legislation which would have raised the city's minimum wage to $15 per hour. Although the city council could override the veto, that is considered unlikely.

Pugh made the same claims that opponents of wage increases always make, that it would damage the economy, that it would cost jobs, that it would drive out businesses, and no matter how many times history shows that to be untrue, no matter how many cities raise their minimums only to find the fearsome predictions did not come true - Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles being recent examples - still the same arguments get raised.

Pugh said cities and towns should wait for the state of Maryland. And of course just as cities claim they will lose to surrounding towns if they raise their minimums, states in turn claim they will lose to surrounding states. And so the buck gets passed to the feds, who just do nothing even as the actual buying power of the federal minimum wage sits below where it was in 1969.

And so the millions of adults who are paid minimum or low wages continue to lose ground. Because we dare not offend business.

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