The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kelsea-Marie Pym,, 202-446-0489

42 Million Americans Mark Inexcusable Milestone

“To reject any increase in minimum wage is tantamount to admitting you disdain facts”


Today, an estimated 42 million American who make under $15 an hour mark the 8th year since the last time the federal minimum wage was raised. These working Americans, a majority of them over the age of 30 and with some college education, are the victims of partisan politics. In the past 8 years, the GOP refused to hand President Obama a legislative victory, and now refuse to sign onto a Democratic bill.

It is an inexcusable milestone that has real consequences. As leaders of the business community, the Patriotic Millionaires refute any arguments against raising the minimum wage. In an economy that is 70% consumer driven, it's a great stimulus when you put more money in the hands of the people who will spend it.

In their own words:

"There has never been a more critical time to raise the minimum wage," said Chair of the Patriotic Millionaires Morris Pearl. "We know that in order to thrive, a consumer economy like ours needs customers with money to spend. Raising the minimum wage will put more money in the pockets of people who will spend it. That spending will create jobs which in turn will fuel more demand. The vast majority of Americans understand this, that's why they support raising the minimum wage.

"I am sick and tired of business owners complaining that their business will not allow them to raise their employees' wages to a level that they, the employees, can actually live on. What these business owners are really saying is that they don't want to take the extra money out of their (the business owner's) pockets to share with the people who are making them the money their business makes. Bottom line: Greed! What they don't want to recognize is that they have created a situation that is forcing their employees to invest in the business that they own, but the employees get no investment return. Underpaid employees are subsidizing their companies in the form of low wages. I think it is a shame!" said Vice Chair Stephen Prince, President & CEO of Card Marketing Services.

"To reject any increase in the minimum wage is tantamount to admitting that you both disdain facts and evidence-based solutions and that you are suffering from an almost pathological lack of compassion," said Patriotic Millionaire George Zimmer, founder Men's Wearhouse.

"Some companies view their workers not as vital, valued assets who deserve safe working conditions and fair wages, but as disposable parts; as just an expense line on their financial statements. Some of these companies earn substantial profits, which we should applaud, but fail to ensure their workers receive a fair share of that success by failing to pay them living wages, counting on taxpayers to make up the difference in public assistance to their underpaid workforce and putting businesses who do want to pay their workers fairly at a disadvantage. They put their employees in a no-win situation. It is why I strongly support the Raise the Wage Act in favor of a $15 an hour minimum wage," said Patriotic Millionaire TJ Zlotnitsky, Co-founder iControl Data.

"The current minimum wage of $7.25 is a national disgrace. It is so low that Americans who work full time for the minimum wage are entitled to receive government benefits available only to those earning poverty level incomes. Paying workers a truly living wage supports the dignity of hard work and a motivated work force, increases consumer spending and saves governments billions of dollars a year now spent on providing necessary benefits to poorly paid workers," said Patriotic Millionaire Patricia Martone, lawyer.

"I urge corporate America to do its part to create an economy that works for all by paying its employees a living wage. As a businessman who has created content and sold goods to consumers for decades, I can say with certainty that a guaranteed living wage improves the economy for everyone" said Patriotic Millionaire Richard Foos, CEO Shout! Factory

"The fact is that it's nearly impossible for anyone to live on the minimum wage in this country. The economy is on the mend and we need to make sure all boats have a chance to rise. We need to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and we need to do it now," said Patriotic Millionaire Keith Mestrich, President Amalgamated Bank.

"The Republican party has a remarkably naive understanding of what has happened to our middle and lower class since Reagan. Increasingly, the rewards are going to the most wealthy, while middle class and lower wages remain stagnant. They promise to miraculously solve the problem simply with increased economic growth. The rewards of the technological revolution are going to capital and top executives, not to workers. This is a role for government, to assure that our workers are fairly treated. Do we really believe that any of these legislators want their children working for less than $15 per hour?" said Patriotic Millionaire Dale Walker, financial services executive.

"It's far past time to discard once and for all the wrong-headed 'trickle down' theory of economics which has led to crushing income and wage inequality throughout the nation. It's also far past time to return the nation to fair progressive taxation. And it's now time to couple these changes with a minimum wage - an 'entry-level' wage - which better matches the cost of living in the United States," said Patriotic Millionaire Leo Hindery, Jr., managing partner Intermedia.

The Patriotic Millionaires are encouraging Americans everywhere to call their elected officials to demand they sign on to the Raise the Wage Act.

The Patriotic Millionaires is a group of high-net worth Americans who share a profound concern about the destabilizing level of inequality in America. Our work centers on the two things that matter most in a capitalist democracy: power and money. Our goal is to ensure that the country's political economy is structured to meet the needs of regular Americans, rather than just millionaires. We focus on three "first" principles: a highly progressive tax system, a livable minimum wage, and equal political representation for all citizens.

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