Raising the minimum wage: What does it mean to be “lifted out of poverty”?

In the present economic environment, “lifting 5 million out of poverty” will bloat what Newman and Chen call the “missing class,” those who are “decidedly not middle-class Americans” and yet “beyond the reach of most policies that speak to the conditions of life among the poor.”


The Huffington Post today reported on a study from University of Massachusetts-Amherst economist Arindrajit Dube.

Together they claim that a proposed Federal minimum wage increase from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 “could help lift nearly 5 million people out of poverty.”

If Congress were to go through with a plan backed by President Barack Obama to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour, it would reduce the poverty rate among Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 by as much as 1.7 percentage points… That would bring about 4.6 million people out of poverty directly and reduce the ranks of the nation’s poor by 6.8 million, accounting for longer-term effects.

A $10.10 minimum wage would help to reverse some of the damage done by the Great Recession. The economic downturn, which technically ended in 2009, and recovery have been marked by high unemployment and stagnant or falling wages. After the recession, many jobs that did return were low-paying — with many offering just minimum wage or close to it.

Three-fifths of the new jobs created during the economic recovery paid low-wages, according to an August 2012 analysis from the National Employment Law Project, a left-leaning advocacy group focused on low-wage workers.

The combination of many Americans not working at all or working for not that much money contributed to a 3.4 percent increase in the poverty rate during the recession that has not abated. A $10.10 minimum wage could go a long way in reversing some of that economic damage, according to Dube.

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The Crisis and The Way Out Of It: What We Can Learn From Occupy Wall Street

The Occupy Wall Street movement more effectively addresses the cause of the financial crisis than economists and discussions in the mainstream press. Further, this movement embodies democratic solutions for a way beyond the crisis. This essay focuses on Occupy Wall Street’s facilitating of political action from disparate, heterogeneous partisans; increasing of transparency and participation in decision-making; and relying upon both human-scaled and participatory technologies. Through these processes, the Occupy Wall Street micro-community embodies a vision for a pluralistic, direct democratic society and demonstrates it through practice. Continue reading

Characterizing a paradigm shift: The UN discourse on sustainable development as the greening of globalism

Below is the introduction to a 15,000 essay I just completed, summing up the theoretical and historical basis for my critique of UN environmental discourse, particularly the UNCED documents. This was completed for a graduate social theory course, and will be used in different sections of my thesis. I have only provided the first 3 of 61 pages here. People who wish to discuss these points more specifically may email me, and will send the entire document for further discussion.

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