Martin O`Malley on Jobs
O'MALLEY: This was not merely theory in Maryland. We actually did it. Not only were we the first state in the nation to pass a living wage. We were the first to pass a minimum wage.
Q: You're calling for a $15 an hour wage now but why did you stop at $10.10 in your state?
O'MALLEY: $10.10 was all I could get the state to do by the time I left in my last year. But two of our counties actually went to $12.80 and their county executives would also tell you that it works. The more our people earn, the more money they spend, and the more our whole economy grows. That's American capitalism.
O'MALLEY: The most it's been in since the depths of the recession.
Q: Republicans are saying, after 6 years, this is not emergency aid, this is something you have to factor in and pay for in the budget. What's wrong with that logic?
O'MALLEY: Well, a lot of the ideologues that now steer the Republican Party always seem to find money for continued tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of Americans. But when it comes to those moms and dads that are still looking for work after a huge structural recession, they start squawking about fiscal responsibility. The way you make an economy grow is from consumer demand. And every economist will tell you that if workers have less money, they will spend less and your consumer demand will go down and your economy will not grow. So if only from an economic growth standpoint, we should be extending unemployment benefits for those that are still out there searching for work.
O'MALLEY: Well, it's interesting, if you look at the minimum wage since 1968, and if it had merely kept pace with inflation, it would be a little above $10 an hour. If it had kept pace with productivity, it would be $20 an hour. And if it had kept pace with the earnings of the top 1 percent of Americans, it would be $28 an hour.
Q: So which one do you like?
O'MALLEY: I think we're zeroing in on around a $10 an hour minimum wage in Maryland, where, over the last five years, our people have achieved the distinction of attaining the highest median income of any state in the nation, the best public schools of any state in the nation. And we went four years in a row without a penny's increase to college tuition, because we believe in expanding opportunity to grow our middle class, to drive consumer demand. And that's why we're coming out of this recession better than other states.
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