March 21, 2006

9 Years Without a Pay Raise

In the past nine years, workers making the minimum wage have not gotten a single raise.

Not one.

In the meantime, the President and Congress of the United States have given the ownership class hundreds of billions in tax breaks. The reasoning has been that all that money all those rich people will be saving is going right back into the economy and is helping all those low income, poor, and other working American stiffs to have a better life. Can't you feel it? Can't you just see how your savings account is filling up? how much more secure you feel in your employment? how your credit card debt is shrinking? how your children's college fund is growing?

Can the lie of this reasoning get any more obvious? We only have to look at Americans earning the minimum wage as example.

While the wage of $5.15 an hour has stayed the same, its value has dropped dramatically because of inflation, putting workers further and further behind. Worse, the minimum wage ties millions of other low income workers to a wage floor that is a national disgrace.

It’s long past time for Congress to do something about it. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) has introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act, and you can help by signing on as a citizen co-sponsor of the bill.

Since 1997, Congress has voted eight pay raises for itself but not one dime for workers making the minimum wage. Think about that.

The annual salary for members of Congress has gone up by $31,600 in that time, while a minimum wage employee working full-time has continued to earn just $10,700 a year.

Just this year, Congress gave itself a $3,100 raise.

It’s time for Congress to stop working for itself and start working for America’s families. Sign on today to be a co-sponsor of the Fair Minimum Wage Act.

The Fair Minimum Wage Act would raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour in three steps:

$5.85 60 days after enactment.
$6.55 one year later.
$7.25 one year after that.

Even so, raising the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour would mean only an additional $4,370 a year for a full-time worker. But that would be enough to pay an average of nine months of rent, pay 18 months of heat and electricity, or a full year’s tuition for a community college degree. While an extra $31, 600 for members of Congress has probably meant that they can fly first class more often, or take nicer vacations, or have more expensive dinners in Washington DC, $4,370 more for low income workers can make a huge difference in the quality of their lives. And this increase would have an immediate, direct impact on more than 7 million workers and an indirect impact on millions more, because the "floor" would be raised.

Right now, there are 37 million Americans—including 13 million children—living in poverty in America, and raising the minimum wage is the easiest thing we can do to stop the rising tide of poverty.

Please take action today and sign on to become a citizen co-sponsor of the Fair Minimum Wage Act.

Take Action Now

Thanks to

1 comment:

Michael Miller said...

So help me out here: $7.25 times a full 40 hour work week times 50 weeks a year comes to a gross income of $14,500. Is that a living wage? Not really. But that's just waaay too much and will destroy businesses and cost jobs. Grrr....