Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts said the federal minimum wage would have been at $22 an hour if it kept up with the increased rates in worker productivity. She spoke up at a Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor and Pensions hearing.
The Huffington Post quoted Warren as saying, "If we started in 1960 and we said that as productivity goes up, that is as workers are producing more, then the minimum wage is going to go up the same. And if that were the case then the minimum wage today would be about $22 an hour."
Warren was speaking to Dr. Arindrajit Dube, a University of Massachusetts Amherst professor. "So my question is Mr. Dube, with a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, what happened to the other $14.75? It sure didn't go to the worker," she said.
"During my Senate campaign, I [frequently] ate a Number 11 at McDonald's. It cost $7.19," she added. "If we raised the minimum wage to $10.10 over three years, the price increase on that item would be to about $7.23. Are you telling me that's unsustainable?"
Dube said according to the Huffington Post that minimum wage income has grown at the same pace as it had for the 1 percent of top income earners and noted that it would actually be closer to $33 an hour than the current federal minimum wage which is $7.25.
"It didn't appear that Warren was actually trying to make the case for a $22 an hour minimum wage, but rather highlighting the results of a recent study that showed flat minimum wage growth over the past 40-plus years coinciding with surging inequality across a number of economic indicators," reported The Huffington Post.
President Obama said in his State of the Union Address that he called for an increase in the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour instead of the current $7.25. Warren argued for raising the federal minimum wage in the next two years to $10 an hour with incremental steps.
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