Donald Trump is President of the United States. Ali is a waitress in Maine. So, who has done more to fight for working people and raise wages?
Hint? She doesn’t have the nuclear codes.
We are now 100 days into the Trump administration and he has not lifted a finger to help working people as he promised almost every day on the campaign trail. In fact, he’s done the opposite. The short list:
- In literally his first hour in office, Trump signed an executive order that canceled an Obama administration policy that was set to lower the cost of mortgages for millions of people with FHA-backed loans, first-time and low-income buyers.
- Trump aggressively lobbied Congress for a health care plan that the Congressional Budget Office estimated would eliminate health care coverage for 24 million people.
- Trump’s first nominee for labor secretary was in favor of eliminating the minimum wage and ran a fast food empire riddled with labor law violations.
- Trump proposed a budget in March that would eliminate grants for job training and placement programs for low-income youths and senior citizens. It would also gut programs many low-wage working families depend on, such as housing grants, food stamps, and home heating assistance programs.
- Trump supports a national right-to-work law, a measure that would gut unions and result in falling wages for working people (in 2014, union members earned 27 percent more than non-union workers, and the difference was even greater among people of color).
He’s clearly failed to fight for working people.
So what was Ali doing while Trump was making promises to working people he never intended to keep, such as saying he would create “higher wages” and he would “get your salaries and wages up” and “massively increase jobs, wages, incomes, and opportunities for the people of our country” and “put more money into the hands of our poorest workers?”
Ali was helping to raise wages for 181,000 Mainers with her work to pass a ballot measure last November that will increase the minimum wage in her state by $4.50 an hour over four years and phase out the lower sub-minimum wage for tipped workers. When the wage is fully phased in, minimum wage workers in Maine will have earned an additional $24,960 above what they would have earned had the wage not been increased.
Ali wasn’t alone. Voters in four other states and Washington, D.C. decided they were done waiting for lawmakers to increase their wages. The federal minimum wage sits today at the ridiculously low $7.25 an hour, an amount no individual could live a decent life on anywhere in the country, certainly not a family. Congress? Congress has not increased the wage since 2009.
Voters approved ballot measures to significantly increase the minimum wage in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington state. In two other places, California and Washington, D.C., lawmakers finally agreed to raise the wage, citing pending ballot measures as their motivation. Altogether, more than 8 million workers will see their wage increase because of these initiatives. I’m proud to say that our organization along with our state partners played a role in all six places.
Final score in Trump v. Ali and the thousands of other activists around the country who worked in their communities to achieve higher wages?
While the counter was ticking on Trump’s first 100 days, another counter was ticking. This one measures how much more money has gone into workers’ pockets as a result of the increases in the minimum wage brought about by ballot initiatives. You can see that counter at www.thefairnessproject.org. (Spoiler Alert! The counter shows workers have taken in nearly $1 billion in raises since January 1.)
So, Ali vs. Trump? It’s really not a fair fight.
Ali in a landslide.
Looking for real change? Join The Fairness Project today to take power out of the hands of charlatan politicians and put it into your own.