As many of you know, I like to shift perspective, so as to avoid being sucked into the din of the "he said, she said" of right-left politics. On that note, I offer this, some would say radical, idea. The problem of wage stagnation and income inequality in the U.S. has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH AN ARBITRARY MINIMUM WAGE. Even if it did, the idea that $10.10 an hour is even vaguely close to a living wage is utterly laughable.
The problem with our current system is not how much the folks at the bottom of the pay scale are making, it's about how grossly those at the top are overpaid. My proposal is this: Instead of raising the minimum wage, how about we set a MAXIMUM WAGE?
Lat's pass a law that says that CEO's and upper management types can only make, oh, I don't know, say ten times what the lowest paid employees in the company make. This would accomplish two things.
First, it would prevent the hoarding of wealth by those at the top of the pay scale. Second, it would make minimum wage increases nearly automatic. Everytime the CEO gets a pay bump, so does everyone else down the ladder.
Let's see what this would look like from the bottom up at $10.10 an hour. $10.10 times 40 hours times 52 weeks is $21,008 per year. With a maximum wage set at a factor of 10, the CEO that pays this paltry sum to any of his or her employees would be paid $210,080 per year. To you and I, that sounds like a pretty good wage, but I doubt that it would support the lifestyle to which many of the management types have become accustomed.
From the top, down, it would look like this. Pay a CEO $1 million per year, and all of a sudden, the janitor on the night crew is taking home $100k annually. Now, nobody in their right mind would want to pay that much for unskilled labor, so the maximum wage would be a reflection of how much that company thinks their lowest paid employee is worth. The "minimum wage" at that point would be a reflection of how much the company thinks their CEO is worth.
Raising the minimum wage does absolutely nothing to drive the wooden stake into the hearts of the real economic vampires; the folks at the top who spend for one, but get paid for 20, 30, 40, and more, and in some cases, tank the companies they're running just the same.
Raising the minimum wage is ineffective at addressing the concentration of wealth at the top of the pay scale, but setting a maximum wage actually deals with both sides of the equation. Raising the minimum wage may very well "put more money into the pockets of hard working Rhode Islanders," but where will it come from if not from those earning in the top 10 percent?