SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — On Wednesday, the California State Senate overwhelmingly adopted a resolution authored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) that directs the federal government to use its constitutional treaty powers to require trading partners to gradually raise their minimum wages, raising the standards of living in those countries and making U.S. workers and exports more competitive.
According to Gatto, artificially depressed global wages, like Indonesia’s minimum wage of 46 cents an hour, make it nearly impossible for higher-paying nations to compete. These practices are increasingly viewed as a form of unfair trade, much like the currency manipulation that Mitt Romney so famously decried during his 2012 presidential campaign.
Congress, by statute, has ordered the United States Trade Representative to seek input from the fifty states on the effects of, and policies relating to, globalization. Assembly Joint Resolution (AJR) 12 states California’s position on that issue: future treaties, trade agreements, and relevant international protocols should require a gradually increasing wage in developing countries.
Since the dawn of the republic, the United States has used its treaty power to require things like free elections (with Iraq, after the Iraq war), respect for U.S. companies’ patent and intellectual property rights (in various treaties), and of course, currency valuations (in the various Bretton Woods accords, etc.).
The Senate passed AJR 12 by a vote of 26-10.
“American workers and companies are having trouble competing because workers are paid inhumane rates in some other countries,” said Gatto. “This ‘race to the bottom’ hurts workers around the world and causes thousands of U.S. jobs to be sent overseas each year. Gradually increasing international wages, even from 50 cents an hour to one dollar, would make U.S. exporters, from movie makers to automakers, more competitive, and would help raise billions out of poverty.”
The concept in AJR 12 has been supported and championed by economist Richard Duncan, author of “The Corruption of Capitalism: A strategy to rebalance the global economy and restore sustainable growth,” and a frequent television contributor. Duncan is the Chief Economist for Blackhorse Asset Management, which is affiliated with several high-performing hedge funds. Duncan is not alone among cutting-edge economists who view this policy as one of the few proposals that can actually help correct the vast trade and currency imbalances caused by globalization.
Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the California State Assembly. He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake. www.asm.ca.gov/gatto