A picture of Representative Al Green
Al G.
Democrat TX 9

About Rep. Al
  • It is Time to Raise the Wage

    by Representative Al Green

    Posted on 2014-01-09

    submit to reddit

    GREEN of Texas. Mr. Speaker and friends, it is no coincidence that President Johnson declared a war on poverty within 6 months after Dr. King gave his ``I Have a Dream'' speech on the Mall in Washington. Whether by accident or whether by design, Dr. King and President Johnson worked in tandem with each other. They had something in common: they were both intelligent in their own right.

    But intelligence without courage can be intelligence wasted. They both understood the politics of their time, but understanding the politics of your time without courage can be an understanding wasted. It was courage that made the difference in the lives of people for decades after they each did what they had to do. I thank God that Dr. King and President Johnson acted in tandem and that they both had courage.

    The marchers on Washington had 10 demands. Number 8 on that list of 10 demands was a demand to raise the wage to an amount that people could make a living off of, $2 an hour. That $2 an hour, adjusted for inflation today, would be $13.39, more than $13 an hour. Mr. Speaker and friends, it is time to raise the wage.

    A UC Berkeley Labor Center report in 2013 connoted, denoted, and showed that families working in the fast food industry are subsidized to the tune of about $7 billion. It is time to raise the wage. That same report showed that 63 percent of all families receiving subsidies had a working member. It is time to raise the wage.

    Corporate welfare, corporations paying poverty wages, are indirectly subsidized with tax dollars when tax dollars provide food stamps, SNAP, Medicaid, and other assistance to workers. Indirect corporate subsidies will diminish and tax dollars will be saved when we raise the wage.

    Do you like trickle-down economics? If so, you ought to want to raise the wage because by raising the wage, we can assure that the earned trickle will get down to the worker that has earned it. It is time to raise the wage.

    Do you think people should pull themselves up by their bootstraps? Then raise the wage, and people will be able to pull themselves up out of poverty with their economic bootstraps.

    Can we afford to raise the wage? Mr. Speaker and friends, yes, we can. On February 13, 2013, The Washington Post reported that the United States has one of the lowest minimum wages among developed countries, even though we are among the richest countries in the world. One out of every 60 persons is a millionaire. One out of every 11 households is worth $1 million. According to the AFL-CIO, CEO pay has gone from $42 for every $1 a worker made in 1982 to $354 for every dollar a worker made in 2012. It is time to raise the wage.

    {time} 1100 According to Forbes, the top 25 CEOs of hedge funds--the top 25 earners at hedge funds--earn more than all 500 of the top CEOs in the Fortune 500 combined. It is time to raise the wage.

    In 2007, one CEO made $3 billion; $3 billion is $400 a second. It would take a minimum-wage worker working full-time 198,000 years. Some things bear repeating: it would take a minimum-wage worker 198,000 years to make what that CEO made in 1 year. It is time to raise the wage.

    If we can pay CEOs $400 a second, we can raise the wage. If we can pay corporate CEOs 354 times what workers are making, we can raise the wage to $13 an hour.


  • submit to reddit
  • Register your constituent account to respond

    Constituent Register