Over 600 PhD economists have signed an open letter—initiated by Economic Policy Institute President Lawrence Mishel and Harvard University professor Lawrence Katz—to the president and Congress in support of the Harkin-Miller Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013. Signatories include 7 Nobel Prize winners and 8 former presidents of the American Economic Association.
The letter urges lawmakers to immediately enact a three-step raise of 95 cents a year for three years, which would mean a minimum wage of $10.10 by 2016, and then index it to protect against inflation. This increase would mean that minimum-wage workers who work full time, full year would see a raise from their current salary of roughly $15,000 to roughly $21,000. The proposals would also raise the tipped minimum wage to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage.
“The fact that so many economists support this legislation makes it a no-brainer for Congress,” said Mishel. “Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would restore the value that it’s lost to inflation over the years, giving working families a raise while providing modest economic stimulus.”
President Obama has endorsed the Harkin-Miller bill and is expected to call for an increase to the minimum wage in his upcoming State of the Union address.