All tagged Economic Justice
Yes, a higher minimum wage would make it harder for me to compete for good attendants. I expect what I pay will have to keep rising. Nonetheless, I’d like people to be less strapped all the time, as mine are.
Consumer spending is two-thirds of our economy. So when we scratch our heads about why Hawaii’s GDP is not growing as fast as the rest of the country, the answer lies in how much money our residents have to spend. At $10.10 an hour, our low-income workers clearly do not have enough to buy food and pay rent — in short, be “self-sufficient.”
Increasing the minimum wage is a priority for the Hawaii Democratic Party, which passed a resolution last year advocating for a living wage in Hawaii. Currently, the minimum wage in Hawaii is $10.10 an hour, which equates to about $21,000 annually for full-time workers.
And why $17 an hour? The State of Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism in its 2016 study, says that a single Hawaii worker needs at least $17 an hour to survive.
During previous hearings in the House, the bill received significant opposition from business interests, but substantially more support from others. Supporters cited research that increases to minimum wage does not substantially harm businesses — often quite the contrary.
“Wages have just not kept up with the cost of living. Even with the last increase to $10.10, I see more and more people becoming homeless because they cannot afford a place to stay. I came to speak on their behalf because they cannot leave their jobs to advocate for themselves.”
Equally shocking is the fact that when reviewing 20 Western, industrialized countries, children in the United States are the ones least likely to survive long enough to attend kindergarten. The huge income differences and high poverty rate in the United States, compared to other wealthy nations, are the major responsible factors.
INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAIʻI looks at the pros and cons of raising the State’s minimum wage, and how it will affect our local economy.
Who would be a typical minimum wage worker in Hawai‘i? Research shows that, of the 88,000 minimum wage workers in Hawaiʻi, the majority are female, over 25 years old, and not trainees.