Had the federal minimum wage kept pace with inflation since 1968, it would be $10.56 instead of today’s $7.25 per hour. In those 45 years, the minimum wage has lost one-third of its value. In the same time, average CEO compensation has skyrocketed over 900 percent! Something is wrong when we can live in a world where that is considered okay.
Critics say that raising the minimum wage would increase unemployment, harm small businesses, and that most minimum wage workers are just part-time teenage workers. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth! Studies have shown that previous increases to the minimum wage did NOT increase unemployment. Two-thirds of minimum wage workers are employed by large, profitable corporations, and over 75 percent of minimum wage workers are at least 20 years old.
A report from the Economic Policy Institute shows that raising the minimum wage to $10.50 could add at least $60 billion in consumer spending to the economy. And a Chicago Federal Reserve study shows that for each dollar increase to the minimum wage, the result is $2,800 more annual spending from that minimum wage worker’s household. On top of all of this, poll after poll has shown that 70 percent of Americans support increasing the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation.
Public support. Better jobs. Economic stimulus. What is Congress waiting for?
—Patrick T. McGann