A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Minimum Wage Is Not A Livable Wage

The Republicans in Congress would like for Americans to believe that only teenagers living with their parents are paid the minimum wage, and therefore that wage should not be raised. In fact, some of them even want to eliminate the minimum wage altogether (saying it would encourage the hiring of more teenagers). They also claim that raising the minimum wage would put a hardship on businesses, and cause them to lay off workers.

There's only one problem with those arguments -- they are lies. As the chart above shows (from the Economic Policy Institute), about 88% of the people working for minimum wage in this country are 20 years old or older -- not teens. And 56% are women, while at least 28% are trying to support children on that ridiculous salary. In addition, numerous polls have shown that raising the minimum wage does not cause lay-offs or hurt businesses. In states with a minimum wage higher than the federal level, businesses are doing quite well (better than in many states with the federal minimum wage).

The truth is that the minimum wage is not a livable wage, and even though it was raised to $7.25 an hour a few years ago, it has about 1/3 less buying power than it had back in the late 1960s. The minimum wage needs to be raised, and it needs to be raised significantly (to at least $10.00 an hour). And the American people want it raised, saying they could not live on it themselves.

This is verified by a recent YouGov Poll (which surveyed 1,000 adults on August 30th and 31st). The poll showed at least 63% of Americans think the minimum wage should be raised, and 74% of the public says they couldn't live off the minimum wage -- and that cuts across all age, racial, gender, educational, regional, and political preferences (including 63% of Republicans). Here are the poll results:


With this many people admitting that the minimum wage is not a livable wage, and with a significant majority of Americans wanting to see the minimum wage raised, a person has to wonder why the congressional Republicans are so opposed to it. The sad fact is that those in the congressional GOP have sold out to the corporations, and since the corporations want to depress wages instead of increasing them (in spite of their record-breaking profits), the Republicans are just doing the bidding of their corporate masters.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure when the first minimum wage went into effect, but when I started working for Sears in 1964 my hourly wage was $2.30/hr. I worked my way up to $2.80 by the time I was ready to attend my freshman year in college in 1965. I lived at home and saved everything I made. I knew I wanted to go to college because of the promise of a better job with higher wages. I couldn't have lived on that money back then and I know I couldn't live on the minimum wage of $7.25/hr now. Minimum wage today is only $4.45/hr higher than I made in 1965. Do the math, people. At least slaves are given food and shelter.

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