Thom Hartmann Says $10.10 Is “Magic Number” For Minimum Wage

“There’s no such thing as a free market,” says Thom Hartmann. The radio and television host recently delivered his third annual “State of the Union” address, where he outlined his plan for a more progressive America. Among his points: raising the minimum wage.

Shortly after his speech, Hartmann appeared on The Costa Report to explain why $10.10 is the “magic number” for a minimum wage increase. The national minimum wage today would be at $12.50 if it had been indexed to inflation from 1968 to 2014. “We’ve seen an actual collapse in the purchasing power of the minimum wage,” said Hartmann.

By failing to raise the minimum wage, Hartmann claims the federal government has allowed major U.S. companies to “game” the system by paying workers just enough to qualify for free government services and subsidies. As an example, Hartmann points to a recent study from the Center for Economic and Policy Research which found that one superstore retailer store costs taxpayers $1 million a year in subsidized employee benefits. Hartmann says that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would put this practice to an end by forcing major corporations to pay their employees a “living wage” – one which does not allow workers to become dependent on food stamps, welfare and Medicaid.

But Hartmann’s plan is not without its skeptics, including critics who argue that a wage increase will be passed down leading to higher consumer prices on essentials such as food, gasoline, etc. Hartmann responded to this viewpoint by saying, “there are ways to mitigate the harm while you’re advancing the benefit.”

Hear the full interview with Thom Hartmann at The Costa Report.