Bret Baier kicked off the first GOP presidential debate with a bang by asking the presidential hopefuls to prove – with a show of hands – their Republican fealty. Hands down indicated a pledge to support the Republican nominee whoever it turned out to be. Hands up offered the possibility of an independent bid. Donald Trump, of course, was the lone candidate to raise his hand, having decided that some things are more important than party loyalty. Bucking the establishment proved popular and Trumps poll numbers have continued to climb.
On Wednesday, CNBC has their chance to ask a ‘show of hands’ question. Here’s one to consider:
“Is there anyone on stage – can I see hands – who is willing to pledge their support to a policy that would save taxpayers millions of dollars, decrease dependency on government programs, and provide a significant boost to the economy while simultaneously re-asserting a central tenet of the American social contract? Again, we’re looking for you to raise your hand now, raise your hand now if you will make that pledge tonight.”
The question, of course, is about the minimum wage.
In addition to the various effects listed above, raising the minimum wage would offer regular Americans a game-changing economic victory. At long last, a full-time working American would be guaranteed wages above the poverty level. These workers would begin to become more economically self-sufficient and thus would have to rely exponentially less on government assistance programs in order to survive.
There is also a simple way that we can settle right now and take the politics out of forever: indexing the federal minimum wage. This would make permanent the guarantee of providing a basic level of economic security to working Americans and avoid future toxic political battles that leave working families as economic casualties.
The minimum wage would never fall below the poverty line again. Successfully raising and indexing the minimum wage would redefine the social contract between Americans and their government, and between business owners and their employees. America’s economic system would no longer perpetuate a permanent underclass, but rather would ensure that no one working full time lived in poverty.
Despite overwhelming public support, the conservative political establishment as a whole remains entrenched in resistance. One reason for this stance is that conservatives are adamantly against government regulation of any kind. Despite the fact that this policy would benefit employers, employees, and our broader economy, conservatives fear being branded as buying into the “liberal agenda.”
It is important for them to note that raising our minimum wage is not a part of a “liberal agenda,” but is a part of an “American agenda” — an agenda which provides fairness and opportunity to all of our citizens. To have the dignity not living in poverty while working 40 hours a week. To give working Americans the ability to better their current situation and improve the future prospects for their children and grandchildren. Ultimately, it is about giving workers a real shot at achieving the true American Dream.
So in this week’s debate, I hope that the moderators will be courageous on behalf of the American people and ask all participants for a show of hands. For the sake of America, I hope the candidates themselves have the courage to stand up for the middle and working class of this country by saying — “IT IS TIME TO RAISE THE WAGE.”
Tell CNBC: Ask Republicans for a ‘Show of Hands’ on Minimum Wage.
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