Its time for millions of Americans to get a raise. Its waaay past due, about 45 years past due in fact.
Deflating Minimum Wage Costs Workers Billions of DollarsWith millions of Americans forced into accepting poverty level wages by the Great Recession, the low level of the minimum wage is putting a bigger drag on the US economy today than at any time in the last 45 years.
By Ralph Nader and Jeff Musto
A single minimum wage worker who has worked continually for the federal minimum wage since 1968 has been deprived of over a quarter million dollars in wages over the course of those 45 years. $293,735.12 to be exact. A new white paper released last week, Lost Wages, revealed this fact.
The reason for these lost wages is simple: The minimum wage is not tied to inflation, which lowers its purchasing power every year. And far too many Congresses and presidents have failed to act to ensure that it increased with inflation since 1968.
In the 45 years that the minimum wage has lost nearly one third of its value, the compensation of large corporations' CEOs has shot up through the roof, increasing over 900 percent. Large corporations and their executives have been benefiting from and taking advantage of cheap labor and have achieved windfall profits in the past few decades.Neglecting the the minimum wage habitually for the last 45 years means we have been stealing from the poorest Americans in many cases to give to some of the richest Americans who run the big fast food chains, and dozens of other large corporations like WalMart. That is obscene. I don't know how else to describe it.
Meanwhile, the annual income of a minimum wage worker working full time is $15,080. This doesn't come close to the poverty line for a family of three. Minimum and low-wage workers are left struggling with ever deeper debts just to afford basic necessities such as food, housing, transportation and healthcare. Individuals and families are working more -- and paying more -- for less, often without health insurance or paid sick leave.
History has shown that large multinational corporations who care solely about ever-greater profits won't take care of their workers on their own. They would pay slave-wages if they could. FDR knew that large corporations would resist these changes and warned Congress and the public not to be frightened by their fear-mongering, exclaiming, "Do not let any calamity-howling executive with an income of $1,000 a day, ...tell you...that a wage of $11 a week is going to have a disastrous effect on all American industry."A very interesting thing happened along Washington's border with low wage Idaho
when my state made our Minimum Wage the highest in the US (of this I am very proud).
For $7.93 an Hour, It’s Worth a Trip Across a State LineIn my estimation the two things that could boost the US economy the fastest are: 1. Raising the Minimum Wage substantially 2. Unionizing WalMart
By Timothy Egan
Published: January 11, 2007
Nearly a decade ago, when voters in Washington approved a measure that would give the state’s lowest-paid workers a raise nearly every year, many business leaders predicted that small towns on this side of the state line would suffer.
But instead of shriveling up, small-business owners in Washington say they have prospered far beyond their expectations. In fact, as a significant increase in the national minimum wage heads toward law, businesses here at the dividing line between two economies — a real-life laboratory for the debate — have found that raising prices to compensate for higher wages does not necessarily lead to losses in jobs and profits.
Idaho teenagers cross the state line to work in fast-food restaurants in Washington, where the minimum wage is 54 percent higher. That has forced businesses in Idaho to raise their wages to compete.
Any country that claims to be civilized and value social justice shouldn't turn away from its poorest citizens. Citizens who wield the least political power when these decisions are made, or are being ritually procrastinated on by politicians who have little contact with the poor, except across the counter at a fast food restaurant.
All work deserves a measure of dignity and decent compensation.
The Minimum Wage isn't just a Labor issue its a an issue about our decency to each other as a society.