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Guild comes out early In favor of ‘Raise the Wage Act”

Liz Burleson / Red Dirt Report
Congressional candidate Tom Guild has been a long-time supporter of raising the minimum wage.
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Would support efforts to have minimum wage raised to $15 by 2024

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma Congressional District 5 Democratic candidate Tom Guild came out as an early supporter of new legislation introduced nationally last week that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024.

Guild, of Edmond, said he supported the “Raise the Wage Act” that was introduced by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Patty Murray (D-WA) along with Congressmen Robert “Bobby” Scott (D-VA) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) recently.

The legislation will increase the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024 by first raising it to $9.25 this year, and then gradually raising the rate until it reaches $15 in 2024.

The bill will also gradually eliminate the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers, which has been $2.13 since 1991, as well as the sub-minimum wage for workers under the age of 20 and disabled workers.

 Once the minimum wage reaches $15 per hour under the Raise the Wage Act in 2024, the legislation will index the minimum wage to median wages, so as wages grow for the workforce overall, they will also grow for the lowest-wage workers.

“People can’t live on minimum wage, even in Oklahoma where we have a lower cost of living,” Guild said. “I hate to see people in the wealthiest country in the world work 40 hours a week and still not be able to survive.”

Guild said the legislation would gradually increase the minimum wage over a period of several years, thus not “shocking” the economy like many opponents fear.

“We live in a world of political reality, and I think this legislation is brilliant because those who introduced it took the opposing side into consideration by raising the wage gradually as to not ‘shock the system,’” Guild said.

“I think the other thing that is important is that if we get to the place where $15 is not adequate, then we can index it to the median wage, like we did in the 1970s and 1980s.”

Guild, a Professor Legal Studies at the University of Central Oklahoma and a former attorney with District Attorney’s Office State Judicial District 11, said he did not agree with some economists that predict that higher minimum wages would cause job losses or that small- and medium-sized businesses can't afford the higher labor costs.

However, a recent Congressional Budget Office estimated in a 2014 report that an increase to $10.10 would cost 500,000 jobs.

A study commissioned by the City of Seattle by The University of Washington also concluded that the city’s minimum wage increase to $11 an hour created some declines to employment rates and hours worked for minimum wage workers. W

“If you talk to two different economists, you’ll get three different opinions,” Guild said.

“Too often, working people are given the back of the hand by the political ruling class. Raising the minimum wage to $15 for American workers will help them escape poverty and once again give them hope of achieving their version of the American Dream, that  many Americans feel is no longer within their reach.”

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Heide Brandes

Heide Brandes is an award-winning journalist and editor with more than 18 years of experience....

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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