Melissa Harris-Perry | February 16, 2013
>> the federal minimum wage has lost 30% of the purchasing power in the last decades. at the same time according to our friends at the new york times wonk blog, prices have soar and a share of the labor has flat lined and income has fallen.
>> well, melissa, this is an example that ideology has trumped actual empirical evidence . we have study after study that shows the employment effects of raising a minimum wage don't pan out the way that right-wing economics would tell us it does. so, let me give you an example. san francisco , we might think of san francisco as a good job zone, but the minimum wage city wide is $ 1 an hour and when they read it, i everybody said that the sky would fall and san francisco as far i can tell, it is doing well and with with $11 city minimum wage roughly, san francisco 's economy has grown faster that on the neighboring cities and the counties, and so it is not true empirically, when you look at the evidence. and the last thing i want to say about this is that christine owens mentioned that the minimum wage was passed in 1938 and the other part of the law was to end child labor , and --
>> if i don't have child labor , i will go out of business, and this is just not true.
>> and i am so glad that dorian said that, and we are on mhp and the one-year anniversary, and real talk , so nobody is against the minimum wage anymore. they like to sound principled so that the conservatives position themselves that way. and we have raised the minimum wage 13 times since 1938 . and nobody says that you should stand up to work --
>> well, except for janitors.
>> and weakening the child labor law . and there is nothing to be done, but that at the margins, yes, people say, well, 15 versus 16 or $6 versus $8, but the bottom line is that we need minimum, because otherwise, you thrive a society that has a basically indentured servitude that denies the concept. a -- consent. and the thing about the no child labor laws , is that we don't want maximums, but this is the about the values and republicans have tried to find a binary opposition, because it is difficult to say, that you are just against a little bit more money for the poorest people who are working and have jobs.
>> if we have empirical evidence of the long and historical and ethical position that ari is giving us, but in the break, kate, you said experience as a small business owner, and this is not my experience.
>> well, there's small business chaos out there anyway. i'm a kid who started to work at 14 years old shining shoes and working at my father's auto parts store, and i understood the value of the dollar and the minimum wage which was $2 in my beginning career. but the federal government will try to make it better, but i agree that the minimum wage is going to be a populist issue and raise it to $9, but i remember what happened to me when i ran a business for 34 years, and that was my day job and night job was political activism. but i looked at how to increase the profits. it will make you better as a businessman and they will survive. they will survive in san francisco , and how much more can the government to put these mandates or recommendations. it did throw fire on the tea party 's ideas of that it will be government piling it on.
>> i want to put this context. since the late 1960s , minimum wage is around 15% less than it was then. the productivity and the economy is 100% greater. and the workers who aret the low-wage end are far more educated now than they were then. we have an economy that has not benefited most people over three decades. what is important about the minimum wage is that we need to start having standards where the employers are now competing gai against each other as to who can underpay their workers.
>> and provide and give the least of the workers. so one small employer may have minimum wage workers and when they raise the minimum wage , all of the other small employers in the same industry are going to have to pay the workers more. if one is hurt more than the other, it is because they are competing based on having lower wages. we need to have a labor standard , a wage floor . this is what i disagree with the president somewhat on this, and i think about it as christine owens does, because it is not a poverty thing, because we want to help the low-wage workers, but it is an adult working women's issue, and they live in families of 60th percentile, and the last thingly say is that as i have been following the research over the last two decades it is less than adult woman's issue, but more male adult issue as men are suffering from low wages. i don't want it to be suffering from the women, but let's talk about what is going on in the economy.
>> it is american workers and not just teenagers which is the argument that you will hear about the minimum wage . thank you lawrence michel and everyone else will continue to join us. next, my international letter of the week is going to have international postage, because it is going to rome.
>> sorry, i was just reading a great book on beauty and brains about e melissa harris-perry. congratulation, and many years