Political common denominator:
If you want "non-liberals" on your social agenda (I'm prolife and prowar myself) to vote in their own economic interests: IT MIGHT HELP IF YOU ACTED LIKE YOU WERE REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR ECONOMIC INTERESTS! Charity covers a multitude of sins (e.g., abortion?).
Double the minimum wage to $13/hr (a mere 30% over LJB's 1968 level; after a doubling of average income since -- LBJ's minimum apparently WAS about 75% of his median income which in those days was nearly identical to average income *) -- perhaps with inflation adjustment guarantees for incomes under $100,000 (not really needed as 100% increase in the minimum should result in only 3% inflation, spread over a few years).
Fully reconstitute unionization with the bargaining power booster shot used around the world (in first, second and even third world economies): sector-wide labor agreements (French-Canadian "lite" version?), under which everyone doing the same job in the same geographic locale works under a commonly negotiated contract even for different employers. Supermarket workers and airline employees would kill for sector-wide -- should be the easiest Democratic program to sell of all time.
I just found out looking at a chart in the State of Working America 2006/2007 (the new one should be in the mail) that the 1973 median wage $14.35/hr (in 2008 dollars) -- and the 2005 median wage as $15.75/hr.
Average income is $25/hr in 2008 (I believe we could make that closer to $30-35/hr if we larded in capital gains). Working backwards from 170% to 100%, AVERAGE income should have been (guess what?) in 1973: $14.75/hr -- virtually the same as 1973 MEDIAN income of $14.35/hr. So it seems (I never worked this out before) that average income and median income really can -- and should? -- be about the same.
*Looking at a chart in the State of Working America 2006/2007 (the new one should be in the mail) that the 1973 median wage was $14.35/hr (in 2008 dollars). Average wage ** in 2008 is about $25/hr (not counting capital gains). Working backwards from 170% down to 100%, average income in 1973 would have been (guess what?) in 1973: $14.75/hr -- virtually the same as 1973 median income of $14.35/hr (40 cents difference). So it seems that average income and median income really can be about the same. (Average income is now about $9/hr more than the median wage.)
All of which means we do not have to match LBJ's minimum wage by portion of median wage -- I'm talking about a median that is almost the same as today's average wage ($25/hr) in this mental rearranging of the labor market. It is intriguing though to think that LBJ steamrollered into law a minimum wage about 75% of the median (the ideal median) and the world did not end. Got to make you wonder what would happen if we tried it again. Since I am not likely to get elected dictator this may not happen soon. :-)
** I saw $25/hr somewhere -- probably not called average wage; don't remember what the $25/hr was officially designated. I know what is officially called the average wage is something like $16/hr. I divide the $14 trillion GDP by 2/3 to get income; divide the resulting $9.24 trillion by our 140 million person workforce to get $66,000/yr; divide that by 2000 hours to get $33/hr. Which solidly backs up my $25/hr which I saw somewhere. ???
I don't know where they get their $16/hr. I know the average wage part of my social security retirement calculation will only allow only 20% increase in counting my income of 1968 even though there has been a 100% increase in average income since.