Monday, August 20, 2012
Raising Minimum Wage Is Necessary
There is no way any person making so little can afford to live on that wage. In fact, it has recently been shown that there is no state in this country where a minimum wage earner could afford to rent a modest two bedroom apartment -- even if he/she spent their entire paycheck for that rent (which of course would mean they couldn't pay for food, clothing, transportation or any other expense). Simple decency would demand the minimum wage be raised.
The Republicans are opposed even to the existence of a minimum wage, and they are quick to tell a litany of lies to prevent raising it. They say it would hurt the economy. Studies have shown that not to be true. States with a higher minimum wage (than the federal level) have just as good (or better) economies as those with a low minimum wage. Republicans say it would be a disadvantage for businesses. This one doesn't even make sense, because the minimum wage would apply equally to all businesses (giving none either an advantage or disadvantage).
They say the minimum wage just applies to teenagers. Not true. A huge majority of those living on a minimum wage income are adults (many with children). They say raising the minimum wage will cost jobs. Again, not true. Studies have shown this to be untrue. The truth is that businesses will hire the number of employees they need regardless of the minimum wage level. There are a lot of good reasons to raise the minimum wage, and no really good reasons for not raising it.
But there is one aspect that I have not discussed before. The minimum wage will affect working women more than men in this country (see the above chart from Think Progress). And a lot of these women are single mothers, trying to raise children on an inadequate income. We already know that most of the poor in this country (except for the disabled and elderly) are working full-time (or would like a full-time job). And a huge hunk of these working-poor are single women with children.
Republicans like to tell us that people should pull themselves up by their bootstraps (i.e., work their way out of poverty). Well, most of the poor are working. They just don't receive a decent wage for their work. If you truly want to eliminate poverty, then one of the best things you could do would be to raise the minimum wage to a decent level.
House Democrats have proposed raising the minimum wage to $9.80 an hour. That wouldn't bring it back up to 1968 levels, but it would be a big improvement (it should be raised to $10.50 or $11.00 an hour). But the Republicans control the House of Representatives, so the Democratic proposal will probably never see the light of day. But why? Is this just another chapter in the Republican war on women (since raising the minimum wage would help women more than men)?
This is just one more (of many) reasons to vote against the Republicans in the coming election. Their policies are creating a nation of haves and have-nots (with no middle class), and it must be stopped. We need to flip the House of Representatives in November -- and then raise wages to a decent level for all Americans.