Ralph Nader: 30 Million Workers Would Benefit from Raising Minimum Wage to 1968 Level
RALPH NADER: Well, President Obama has done nothing since he promised in 2008 to go to $9.50 by 2011, as you pointed out. This is a problem of the Democratic Party, Amy. The case for the minimum wage going to $10 is overwhelming. That’s why Jesse Jackson called it “Catching Up with 1968.” That’s when the economy was half the size of it is today and half the worker productivity as today. So, if you look at the political scene, all the stars are aligned for the Democratic Party to take the lead and push this through Congress in an election year. For example, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney have been on the record of saying they want to—wanted a minimum wage keeping up with inflation. That would break the grip of McConnell, Senator McConnell, and Speaker Boehner over 100 percent of their Republicans and split the ranks. Furthermore, all these large membership groups like the AFL-CIO and the NAACP and La Raza, Center for Council on Budget Priorities [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities], all of them and many more, are for an increase in the minimum wage. This is the signal issue of the old Democratic Party, when the minimum started in 1938 under Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But the Democratic Party has become a party of caution, cash and co-optation. And so, they don’t even know a winning humanitarian, moral and political issue if it was put on their desk.