Second, provide for automatic, modest annual increases, based on an appropriate inflation factor.
Third, augment the earned-income tax credit, a cash supplement to wages that works like a negative income tax. It has been gradually replacing the federal minimum wage as a poverty-fighter in recent years but remains too small for certain workers, such as childless single adults.
Our proposal has all the poverty-fighting advantages that proponents of a $10.10 minimum claim for their idea — with the sole exception that it raises the minimum less rapidly than they would like. It also has additional, compensating advantages: It would remove future minimum wage increases from political contention and it would have less dampening effect on employment. We’d say it’s more politically feasible, too, if we had any confidence that either Republicans or Democrats were actually interested in a practical solution.