Posts Tagged ‘Nebraska’

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It was a bad night for Democrats—and for neoclassical economists.

Republicans, as the world knows, took back the U.S. Senate, increased their majority in the U.S. House, and retained their hold on many state governorships. (That’s what happens when the Democratic Party runs away from its national standard-bearer and from the issues that have historically defined it as a political party, and fail to blame the GOP for blocking any further progress at the national level and within the states.)

But it’s also true that neoclassical economists—the group of economists who oppose minimum wages—also lost last night. Voters in all five states that had ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage above the federal level and their current state levels approved the initiatives.

All four states passed the measures, most by significant margins. More than two-thirds of voters in Alaska agreed to raise minimum wage to $9.75 by 2016. Sixty-five percent of Arkansas voters set the state on course to adopt an $8.50 figure by 2017. In Nebraska, 59 percent said the number should be $9 an hour by 2016. Only South Dakota stood out with a slimmer margin; 53 percent voted to raise minimum wage to $8.50 an hour next year. In Alaska and South Dakota, minimum wage is now pegged to inflation, meaning that it will rise as the cost of living does.

And the fifth state, Illinois, where the ballot initiative was non-binding, also approved the measure—by 67 to 33 percent.

In addition, voters in San Francisco decided to start paying workers a nation-high $15 per hour and Massachusetts voters passed mandatory paid sick leave.

All in all, last night was a pretty bad night for neoclassical economists.