As Obama Signs Executive Order, Financiers and Business Leaders Call for Minimum Wage Increase for All Workers

A group called "Smart Capitalists for American Prosperity," which boasts some of the country's top financiers, business leaders, and investors, is in the nation's capital today to do something that all foreward-thinking citizens should consider doing: Announcing their support for raising the federal minimum wage.

The group supports raising the wage to least $10.10 per hour and indexing it to inflation. Former publisher of The American Conservative Republican Ron Unz; venture capitalist and Managing Director of Greycroft LLC Alan Patricof; co-founders of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield; entrepreneur Leo Hindery, Jr; former investment banker and Harvard Business School professor Rob Kaplan; and investor Daniel Berger are among those in the 1 percent who do not think that people can survive on $7.25 an hour in the richest country on Planet Earth.

Since Congressional Republicans have been consistently recalcitrant on the issue, President Obama, in his recent State of the Union address, promised to sign an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contract employees to $10.10 per hour, and today he will do so. That's a start, but it's not nearly enough for the hard-working Americans who toil in retail, healthcare, restaurants, and other industries where an honest day's work earns you poverty. The Smart Capitalists sent a letter recently to the President and Congress demanding a higher minimum wage for all working Americans.

Today, the Smart Capitalists group will meet with senior White House officials to discuss strategy to get Americans the raise they need. They will be joined by NETWORK Executive Director Sister Simone Campbell and fellow "Nun on the Bus" Sister Richelle Friedman. On Thursday, the group has planned meetings with several U.S. Senators to demand action.

The momentum to increase the minimum wage has been increasing in recent months and will likely influence the 2014 mid-terms. Polls show that most Americans support a raise. Congress is debating the Harkin-Miller Fair Minimum Wage Act while Majority Leader Reid considers the timing of a Senate vote.

Smart Capitalists spokesperson Erica Payne said that it is time to "increase income, build demand for American products, raise the standard of living for millions of working citizens without costing Americans a cent in new taxes. This is a non-partisan no-brainer."

Ron Unz, who was recently interviewed by Steve Rosenfeld on AlterNet and wants to raise the wage to $12.00 per hour, added that "raising the minimum wage would drive up demand and increase revenues for American business. It would also save taxpayers billions by ending the backdoor subsidy to low-wage businesses through food stamps and other government programs."

Interesting that Unz, a Republican, backs a better raise than our Democratic president, isn't it? Well, at least somebody took Econ 101.

Now if we can get all these folks on board with expanding Social Security, we'll really be in business.


AlterNet / By Lynn Stuart Parramore

Posted at February 12, 2014, 9:35am

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