"Anyone who works hard and plays by the rules should not live in poverty. Yet 47 million Americans now qualify as the working poor. Raising the minimum wage helps families make ends meet," Miller said in a statement accompanying the bill.If you work at the current minimum wage for 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, with no time off at all, the $15,080 you earn puts you $50 below the poverty threshold for a family of two. That—and the fact that many minimum wage employers keep workers at part-time levels—is why so many working people are forced to rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Medicaid and other aid programs. It shouldn't be controversial to say that if you work, you shouldn't be poor. But to today's Republican Party, that counts as a radical statement.
Raising the minimum wage won't even come up for a vote in Speaker John Boehner's House. We need a Democratic majority and Speaker Pelosi for that, just as we did in 2006 when Republicans had been blocking minimum wage increases for years. If ever you're tempted to think there's not enough difference between Democrats and Republicans to bother voting, remember that Democrats are the ones trying to give 28 million workers a raise in a way that will stimulate the economy.