Today We Have Bipartisan Support for Raising the Minimum Wage!

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Over at NRO, Kevin Williamson says that he likes the idea of indexing the minimum wage to inflation and being done with it for good, but Democrats are simply too treacherous to negotiate with:

The problem is that in the current political climate, a deal is never a deal. Republicans might agree to a small increase in the minimum wage in return for indexing it to CPI and then leaving it alone — if not forever, then at least for some meaningful period of time. Once the long-term rule is established, markets can adjust, and investments can be made. In theory, that would be a pretty good deal, but there is nothing to stop Democrats from advocating further increases to the indexed minimum wage every time they feel the need to trot out a little class-warfare artillery, which is about once a week, apparently.

Well, I guess there’s never any guarantee that some Democrat or another won’t “trot out” a proposal to increase the minimum wage whenever the mood hits them, but will “Democrats” do this? Let’s take a look at an analogous situation. For the first three decades of its existence, Social Security benefits were increased sporadically, whenever Congress had a collective mind to do so. Then, in 1975, benefits were indexed to inflation.

So what happened after that? Have Democrats been pressing for benefit hikes every week or so? I’m not an expert on the legislative history of Social Security over the past 38 years, but I’m pretty sure the answer is no. In 1983, Dems agreed to a small benefit cut as part of the Greenspan Commission deal. In 1993, Bill Clinton effectively cut benefits again by approving a measure that raised taxes on Social Security payouts for higher income beneficiaries. In 2012, Barack Obama expressed a willingness to cut benefits yet again by changing the way CPI is calculated.

But higher benefits? That’s never really been on the table. What has been on the table, of course, are relentless efforts from Republicans to slash benefits in various ways, which Democrats have almost uniformly opposed. If Republicans do the same for a minimum wage indexed to inflation, they can probably expect the same.

But my guess is that an increase to nine bucks, along with indexing the minimum wage to CPI, would satisfy most Democrats for quite a while. It wouldn’t satisfy all lefties, but that’s a rather different thing. It’s congressional Democrats who have to stick to the deal, and there’s really no good reason to think they wouldn’t.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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