Voters know they need higher wages
Voters in Arkansas “aren’t dumb,” said the Texarkana Gazette. Sure, they might be “reliably red,” but when they hear the “same old” conservative argument that raising the minimum wage would create job losses and higher prices, they aren’t buying it. What voters see are their own daily struggles. “And they know that despite the soaring economy, high corporate profits, and rising executive compensation, not much has trickled down for them.” That’s why Arkansas voters passed a ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage, to $8.50, in 2014. And why they did it again last week, with 68 percent of Arkansans voting to bring it up to $11 an hour by 2021. Another red state, Missouri, did the same, with residents hiking the minimum wage from $7.85 an hour to $12 by 2023. The initiatives will boost earnings for 300,000 workers in Arkansas and 677,000 in Missouri. Citizens had to turn to ballot initiatives because legislators merely pay “lip service” to their constituents. “Both business and lawmakers failed to pay attention to—or worse, just didn’t care about—the very real struggles of low-income Arkansans.” The lesson here is that if workers are ignored, they can take their case directly to the public.