Why Run on Wages
A Note to Candidates
On behalf of the Patriotic Millionaires, I urge you to run on passing a livable minimum wage.
We cannot undersell the urgency of this issue. The federal minimum wage was last raised in 2009 to $7.25 an hour. For an employee working a standard 40-hour week, 52 weeks per year with no days off, that comes to just $15,080 before taxes, before housing, before food, and before health care. This is not enough for anyone in America, no matter where they live, to survive.
This must change. A full-time 40-hour workweek should guarantee basic economic stability for American workers and their families. Our nation realized when the 13th amendment was passed in 1865 that the free market does not work for labor. The government must act, and it must do so by raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
We do not want to live in a country with a few rich people and lots of poor people. That is not the kind of place where we can make investments and build businesses. We remember the gross inequality in apartheid South Africa — and how that did not end well for the rich.
We can give tens of millions of Americans a raise and in the process grow our economy from the bottom up. In an economy that is 70% consumer demand, giving consumers more money to spend is the best way to create sustainable, lasting economic growth. A higher minimum wage isn’t a losing proposition for businesses, it’s a win-win that leaves everyone better off.
Please let us know how we can help.
Chair, The Patriotic Millionaires
Former Blackrock Managing Director