Ed Markey:  $15 An Hour Minimum Wage Maybe Isn’t High Enough

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2020/02/24/ed-markey-15-an-hour-minimum-wage-maybe-isnt-high-enough/

Massachusetts U.S. Senator Ed Markey advocates for a $15-an-hour minimum wage, but what about a $20 an hour?

Markey sounded game during a recent interview with New Boston Post.

Over the past year, some Democrats have signaled support for a minimum wage higher than $15 an hour. Presidential candidate and billionaire Tom Steyer voiced his support for a $22 an hour minimum wage earlier this month. And last July, U.S. Representative Rashida Tlalib (D-Michigan), a self-described democratic socialist and member of “The Squad,” argued the minimum wage should be around $20 an hour.

Up for re-election this year, Markey has a primary challenger in Rep. Joe Kennedy III. Markey made a few campaign stops on Saturday, February 22, including one at Brockton High School at the Brockton Democratic City Committee’s caucus. 

A New Boston Post reporter attended the event and asked Markey if he would support legislation that would raise the minimum wage to more than $15 an hour, perhaps as high as $20 an hour as other Democrats have supported. 

He said he’d be for it.

“Absolutely,” Markey told New Boston Post. “For a state like Massachusetts, we have a stronger economy. Federally, we’re a long way from even getting $15. If we had 15 by 2025, I think that would be great for the whole country. But that’s gonna be on the ballot for us. But we’d have to go first because Massachusetts has a very strong economy. You want people to have a living wage and 20 times 40 is 800, so you’d be in good shape. We have to fight for that, and I’m gonna be there fighting for it.”

Currently, Massachusetts’s minimum wage is $12.75 an hour, but it is on track to be $15 an hour by 2023. The federal minimum wage for non-tipped workers is $7.25 an hour. It has not changed since 2009.

There are no official government figures on how a $20-an-hour minimum wage would impact jobs in the United States. However, the Congressional Budget Office did a report last summer on the impact of raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. It found that such legislation would raise hourly wages for 17 million American workers, but would eliminate 1.3 million jobs.

According to a recent poll released by the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, Markey’s primary race is highly competitive. The poll said Kennedy has 35 percent support while Markey has 34 percent. Some 23 percent of those who responded were undecided.

Two Republicans are currently contesting the 2020 GOP primary for U.S. Senate:  Kevin O’Connor, a lawyer from Dover; and Shiva Ayyadurai, who ran for U.S. Senate as an independent in 2018. Whoever wins the Republican primary will be a longshot in November against whoever wins the Markey-Kennedy Democratic primary.