Minimum Wage


"The federal minimum wage has been stuck at $5.15 an hour for more than eight and a half years. If Congress fails to pass an increase by December of this year, it will be the longest stretch of stinginess in American history. The states are sick of waiting.

"In the past sixteen months, eleven states and the District of Columbia have raised their minimum wage...

"Across the nation there is massive support for raising the federal minimum wage; according to a recent Pew poll, 86 percent of American favor an increase. Even if Congress continues to ignore the popular will, the battle for a higher minimum rages on in the states" (Katrina Vanden Heuvel and Sam Graham-Felsen. "Giving American a Raise." The Nation, April 10, 2006: 7-8).


"... [there are] living-wage ordnances in 112 cities and counties... the expression "living wage" has seeped into the national discourse, along with the notion that working families shouldn't have to rely on public assistance or private charity to make it from month to month.

"Yet the federal minimum wage remains stalled for the eighth year in a row at $5.15 an hour -- a shocking $10,712 annually for fifty-two weeks of full-time work...

"If the minimum wage had been raised with inflation and the productivity rate since 1968, when the minimum wage was at its peak... it would be $14.50 an hour...

"It's still an open question whether the city minimum-wage movement will take flight and elevate wages on a broad scale for private-sector employees trapped in a Wall-Mart economy. And state-level fights are key... (Currently, there is legislation in place in at least ten states to preclude local minimum-wage hikes)... activists will need to marshal considerable statewide political clout to protect those hard-won victories..." (Bobbi Murray. "Minimum Security." The Nation, July 12, 2004: 24-26).


"There is no need to solve the Social Security problems with a raise of taxes or a cut in benefits. There might not even be a need to raise taxes from those earning over $90,000. There is a better solution.

"Get more tax money from those on the bottom of the pay scale. Yes, raise the minimum wage. The workers will appreciate the increased wages and the Social Security trust fund and Medicare will become solvent again with the increased payroll taxes.

"Some 30% of the work force now earn less than $8 an hour. These are the people who can save the Social Security "crisis." (And they are the ones who benefit most from the Social Security checks later.) They haven't received a raise in eight years" (Letters. Progressive Populist, May 1, 2005: 4).


"The ratio of average CEO pay (now $11.8 million) to worker pay (now $27,460) spiked up from 301-to-1 in 2003 to 431-to-1 in 2004, reports United for a Fair Economy. If the minimum wage had risen as fas as CEO pay since 1990, the lowest paid workers in the US would be earning $23.03 an hour today, not $5.15 an hour" ("CEO Inflation." The Progressive, Nov. 2005: 11).


"There is no need to solve the Social Security problems with a raise of taxes of a cut in benefits. There might not even be a need to raise taxes from those earning over $90,000. There is a better solution.

"Get more tax money from those on the bottom of the pay scale. Yes, raise the minimum wage. The workers will appreciate the increased wages and the Social Security trust fund and Medicare will become solvent again with the increased payroll taxes.

"Some 30% of the work force now earn less than $8 an hour. These are the people who can save the Social Security "crisis." (And they are the one who benefit most from the Social Security checks later.) They haven't received a raise in eight years" (Letters. Populist Progressive, May 1, 2005: 4).


"...two-parent families are spending 16 percent more time at work, or 500 more hours a year, than in 1979" (Joan Blades and Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. "The motherhood manifesto." The Nationm May 22, 2006: 11).


Colby Glass, MLIS