The Truth About Minimum Wage
Rep. Louise Slaughter, Democrat from New York, posted the following facts on minimum wage on Daily Kos:
*Because Republicans are blocking the minimum wage, families are struggling to make ends meet. A full-time minimum wage worker in 2006 earns only $10,712 - which is $5,888 less than the $16,600 needed to lift a family of three out of poverty. Due to Republican inaction, the minimum wage is at its lowest level in more than 50 years, when adjusted for inflation. [EPI, 6/06]
*About 6.6 million workers would see their paycheck grow from a minimum wage increase - the vast majority (71 percent) of whom are adults. And 44 percent of them work full time and many are responsible for more than half of their family's income. This would include 1.6 million who are parents with children under the age of 18, so that 3.1 million children would benefit. Another 8.2 million workers would likely get a pay raise with an increase in the minimum wage. [EPI, 6/06]
*A fair increase is long overdue. No one who works full-time should have to live in poverty. Since 1997, 20 states and D.C. have enacted minimum wage rates above the $5.15 Federal level.
*A minimum wage increase has not had negative economic impact. In the four years after the last increase, the economy enjoyed its strongest growth in over three decades, adding nearly 11 million new jobs. In fact, small business employment between 1997 and 2003 grew more in states with a higher minimum wage than in Federal minimum wage states (9.4 percent versus 6.6 percent). [Center for American Progress and Policy Matters Ohio, 5/2006] More than 500 economists agree that an increase would improve the well-being of American families without adverse effects.
*Despite rising health care, college and energy costs, the minimum wage has been frozen for nearly nine years. (In 1996, Congress raised the minimum wage over several years from $4.25 to $5.15 in September 1997.) Except for the 1980s, this has been the longest period in which Congress has refused to increase the minimum wage. If today's minimum wage had the same value it did at its highest point (1968), it would be $9.05 - nearly $4.00 more than the current level.