Friday, January 28, 2005

Been ridiculously sick. Here are a few good bills

I've spent most of the last five days in bed, so missed out on all the new House committees. There are some excellent public interest bills introduced that ought to become law. Some of my favorites (disclosure: I'm working on some of them) include two tax measures designed to make Illinois a wealthier place by shifting some of the state's tax burden from our low-income earners to our high-income earners: HB 135 (Representative Willie Delgado) and HB 155 (Representative Will Davis). Currently we put too much of a burden on low-income earners (who can barely afford to make ends meet now). This ought to change.

Our state's minimum wage of $6.50 will get eroded with inflation next year. The best way to protect against this erosion of purchasing power is to index the minimum wage to inflation. Two bills would do that: HB 411 (Representative Toni Berrios) and SB 37 (Senator Lightford). Public employees get a cost of living increase in their salaries. Pensioners get one. Most higher-income jobs include an annual raise. Our lowest paying jobs should adjust for inflation as well -- because if we don't adjust for inflation, then we are docking the pay of minimum wage workers every year.

Another reason why it's good policy to increase wages -- it would help solve the Social Security funding gap. I read somewhere that if real wages hadn't dropped over the last 35 years, we wouldn't have such a huge gap in Social Security liabilities. Makes sense. If people are making more money, there's more money to go into the pension system.

There are more, but I'm too out of it to write about them now. Time for more drugs. . . .

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rather than continually raising wages, which contributes to inflation, why not get prices under control?

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

I think prices are pretty much under control. Inflation is pretty low (so wages wouldn't rise that much at all) -- I think the Consumer Price Index is 3% this year, so the $6.50 wage would rise by 20 cents or something in 2006.

Anonymous said...

Gas, milk, education, health care. All much more than 3%.