Justin Miller

 Justin Miller is a senior writing fellow for The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

No, a Fair Wage Is Not a ‘Free Lunch’

A liberal Washington Post columnist drinks the trickle-down Kool-Aid about raising the minimum wage. 

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) In this July 24, 2017 photograph, Otibehia Allen, a single mother of five, peers outside her rented mobile home in the same isolated, low-income community of Jonestown, Miss., where she grew up among the cotton and soybean fields of the Mississippi Delta. She works 30 hours a week at barely over minimum wage. trickle-downers.jpg T he U.S. Chamber of Commerce has long used its ample power and influence to convince economists, politicians, and influencers that raising the minimum wage—and enacting any other policies that benefit workers—will be an unequivocal job-killing, robot-creating catastrophe that devastates the very people those bleeding-heart liberals are trying to help. They’ve done a very good job of turning that threat into mainstream economic gospel (though the Milton Friedman wing of the economics profession didn’t require any persuading). That increasing the minimum wage will create untenable levels of job loss, leaving workers on the margins of...

Nissan Union Loss Underscores Labor’s Big Dilemma

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) Nissan employee Morris Mock, left, consoles colleague Antonio Hoover as he expresses his disappointment at losing their bid to form a union at the Nissan vehicle assembly plant in Canton, Miss., Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. L ate Friday night, the American labor movement was dealt yet another body blow—an increasingly common occurrence in the Trump era—as it became clear that the United Auto Workers had lost its long-shot bid to establish a union at a Nissan manufacturing plant in Canton, Mississippi. Workers at the factory voted 2,244 to 1,307 against unionization, a devastating landslide defeat for the Detroit-based union and worker activists who had been trying to organize since the plant first opened nearly 15 years ago. “We’re disappointed but not surprised by the outcome in Canton,” said Gary Casteel, secretary-treasurer of the UAW, in a statement. “Despite claiming for years to be neutral on the question of a union, Nissan waged one of the most illegal and...

Gutting Health Care Not Enough? Trump Moves to Undercut Overtime for Millions

As a thank you to his working-class supporters, the billionaire takes the next step toward eviscerating the Obama-era overtime expansion. 

(Shutterstock) I f the millions of voters—most prominently, workers in the Rust Belt—who switched their loyalties from Barack Obama in 2012 to Donald Trump in 2016 were crying out for anything, it probably wasn’t for the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division to submit a Request for Information about the Obama-era rule that was supposed to expand overtime pay to millions of workers last year. But that’s precisely what happened Tuesday as Trump’s Labor Department gave its clearest signal yet that it intends either to considerably weaken or simply eliminate the Obama overtime update that would greatly increase the number of salaried workers who would qualify for overtime. The move is a swift kick in the teeth to those forgotten men and women who voted for Trump—as well as the millions of workers who didn’t. The last time the overtime salary threshold was substantially heightened was in 1975, when President Gerald Ford set it at $23,660—about $58,000 in today’s dollars. That change...

The Perils of $7.25

Reflections on eight years of a minimal minimum wage

(Photo: AP/Mike Groll) A man listens to a speaker during a rally to raise the minimum wage outside a McDonald's restaurant at the Empire State Plaza concourse in Albany, N.Y in May 2014. O n July 24, 2009 the federal minimum wage was increased from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour, the third and final increment of a bipartisan-backed law passed in 2007. In the eight years since, the United States’ wage floor has remained stuck at that level, the prospects of an increase stymied by congressional inaction and hostile corporate influence. For decades, the federal minimum wage was a rather effective tool for ensuring that workers could earn enough to support a family. Now, its power has been all but eroded. At the minimum’s peak value in 1968, a full-time minimum-wage worker earned about $19,500 in today’s dollars, enough to keep a family of three above the poverty line. Through the early 1980s, the minimum wage remained strong enough to keep a family of two out of poverty. Since then, the minimum...

House GOP Budget Comes Straight from the Trickle-Down Playbook

The Republicans’ budgetary blueprint paves the path for tax cuts for the wealthy, a military buildup, and spending cuts for entitlement programs. 

(Photo: AP/J. Scott Applewhite) House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady, House Budget Committee Chair Diane Black, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Greg Walden participate in a news conference on Capitol Hill on March 10, 2017. trickle-downers_35.jpg F resh off Senate Republicans’ botched attempt to deliver tax cuts to the rich by gutting Obamacare and Medicaid, House Republicans have unveiled their 2018 federal budget —a plan in the best reverse-Robin Hood tradition of the Republican Party. Overall, House Republicans are proposing to balance the budget by 2027 through more than $5 trillion in spending cuts, chiefly to programs that help low- and middle-income Americans, which would allow them to finance a huge military buildup and deliver tax cuts to the wealthy and to corporations. Even with those cuts, their budget requires deliriously rosy economic growth forecasts to come up with numbers showing a budget in balance. “In...

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