Senators there are working on legislation to increase the state’s minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to $10 an hour. An analysis by the Economic Policy Institute found that more than a million workers will have more money in their pockets thanks to the minimum wage hike, and thus will have more money to spend in their local economies.
What technocrats in Europe and Republicans in the United States who are pushing austerity don’t understand is that economies function best when people are spending money – not when rich people have a lot of money sitting in the bank. Raising the minimum wage, building new infrastructure projects, and broadening the social safety net will all be effective in getting working people spending money again and getting our economy growing again. Let’s hope other states follow Illinois’ lead.