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Sewell supports regional minimum wages

Tuesday, Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-Selma) wants to raise the minimum wage; but thinks that different regions of the country should have different minimum wages. Rep. Sewell and Jim Kessler wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. Kessler is a former congressional aide who is now the Vice President of Policy at Third Way.

“It’s time to rethink the national minimum wage,” Rep. Sewell said. “It’s too low, but Congress has trouble raising it when different areas of the country have drastically different costs of living. I’m proposing a better idea – let’s pass a regional minimum wage, one that works for families whether they live in Selma, Alabama, or Manhattan.”

Congresswoman Sewell and Kessler wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “It’s time to rethink the national minimum wage. It’s too low at $7.25 an hour, but there’s a reason Congress hasn’t voted to raise it since 2007. Think Spokane, Wash., Midtown Manhattan and Selma, Ala. In Spokane a 2,700-square-foot home with four bedrooms and two bathrooms is on sale for $165,000, with a $600 monthly mortgage—roughly what New Yorkers pay to rent a parking spot. In Selma, the median home is valued around $90,000, according to Niche, a company that analyzes real-estate markets.”

Sewell and Kessler argue that Spokane, Manhattan, and Selma should not have the same minimum wage as the cost of living in the three places are widely different.

“Instead, America should have a minimum wage that provides roughly the same standard of living across the country,” Kessler and Sewell wrote. “Regional minimum wages would be based on the cost of living.”

Conservatives would argue that instead of a government ordered approach to wages the free market should determine the wages. Supply and demand will set the minimum wage as employers compete for labor. Sewell and Kessler argue for a government ordered minimum wage but rather are proposing different minimum wages for different regions of the country.

Under the plan put forward by Kessler and Sewell, the minimum wage in Selma would be raised to $9.80 an hour; while the minimum wage in Spokane would be $11.30 an hour and the minimum wage in New York City would be $12.70 an hour.

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The Third Way are centrist Democrats who oppose both Trump and the Republicans as well as the Bernie Sander Ocasio-Cortez socialists.

Congressman Terri Sewell represents Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District. Sewell is seeking her fifth term in the Congress. Sewell does not have a general election opponent so her re-election is assured.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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