Patriotic Millionaires group make strong case for raising the minimum wage

By Cedric Johnson - NC Justice Center

A group of successful well-off business leaders makes it clear that raising the minimum wage is a good thing for businesses, North Carolina and the national economy. A statement released by Patriotic Millionaires, a group of high-net-worth Americans who are committed to building a more prosperous, stable and inclusive nation, states that the core intent of recent legislation passed by North Carolina state lawmakers – known as the “bathroom bill”—was designed to prevent cities and towns across North Carolina from putting more money in the hands of potential customers. This was achieved by state lawmakers prohibiting the ability of local governments to increase their respective minimum wages.

Here are some facts regarding public support for raising the minimum wage.

– 80 percent of business leaders nationally support a higher minimum wage, finds a survey conducted by the US Chamber of Commerce. The public is likely unaware of this fact because the US Chamber is against raising the minimum wage, so suppressing this important fact serves the national Chamber’s interest.

– The majority of Americans support raising the minimum wage, with nearly half supporting raising it to $15 an hour.

– 62 percent of North Carolinians support a minimum wage of $15 an hour. Despite this majority support, state lawmakers refuse to take action on this issue.

– Consumer demand represents 70 percent of the nation’s economy. Accordingly, increasing the amount of dollars in workers’ paychecks by raising the minimum wage contributes to a stronger, more robust national and state economy.

The best way to build strong, thriving businesses is to increase the buying power of North Carolinians in communities across the state, the statement highlights. Artificially depressing the wages of millions of potential customers does not make our state more “business friendly,” as no patriotic American entrepreneur would decide to locate a business in North Carolina because they would be allowed to pay poverty wages. For those concerned that a higher minimum wage will hurt business by only focusing on the “cost,” the report notes that these people refuse to acknowledge that the revenue side is just as important.

Other recent developments that benefit a small group of powerful businesses in the state at the expense of workers are highlighted in the statement. Voting rights restrictions that disenfranchised thousands of North Carolina citizens and the elimination of discrimination protections for employees are among these developments.

The Patriotic Millionaires group states that when each and every citizen in this country is stronger – better educated, more prosperous, and safer – the benefit accrues to all of us. Investing in our roads and bridges, helping build the fortunes of Black Americans, ensuring that citizens have equal power in our democracy, and making certain that workers earn enough money to afford their basic needs are highlighted as ways to ensure that North Carolina and our country thrive.

Cedric Johnson is a Policy Analyst for the NC Budget & Tax Center.

By Cedric Johnson

NC Justice Center

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