Friday, January 06, 2006

Why we must raise the minimum wage

I'll try to convince you with numbers.

The minimum wage has not been raised since September of 1997, more than 8 years ago. It was raised twice during Bill Clinton's 8 years in office, against the will of many in the Republican-controlled congress. George Bush has been in office for a bit more than 5 years now, most of that time with a congress completely under his thumb. No movement at all.

I don't think he'll raise the minimum wage in the next 3 years either.

Over a long period of time, America has had an inflation rate of about 3%. This means that something you buy today for $100 will cost you (more or less) $103 in a years time. Periods of rapid recession or inflation will skew this numbers, but over time, we tend to even out at about 3% inflation. Indeed, some people are lucky enough to receive "inflation" raises every year.

In 1997, $5.15 would buy you $5.15 worth of stuff (in 1997 dollars)
In 2006, that same $5.15 will only buy you $4.07 worth of stuff (again, 1997 dollars)

To have the same purchasing power of the 1997 minimum wage, the 2006 minimum wage should be raised to roughly $6.50 . I would advocate it be raised even higher, but $6.50 is, at least, a good start.

Without a raise, those earning the minimum wage are effectively getting a pay-cut every single year. Over an 90-hour work month, they have lost nearlly $100. Over a year, that is well over $1000 dollars. Progressives don't need to be told this, but that $1000 ($1166.40 to be exact) can mean the difference between getting by and not.

They must get their money back.


At 1:48 PM, Blogger Xpatriated Texan said...

You know, I live in a state that has raised its minimum wage - and despite what all the conservatives say, we haven't destroyed our economy. In fact, it's creating more jobs than bordering states.

Funny how that works.

Consider this a standing invitation to join us at Blue Texas (



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