President Barack Obama has proposed raising the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to $9.00, and immediately the Republican Party comes out strongly against it.
If a person is making the minimum wage full time, he or she is earning an annual income of about $15,000, while if the wage is raised to $9.00, the annual income is about $19,000. Neither is an adequate income for anyone to live on, but it is a step upward toward leaving poverty over time, as one, hopefully, moves up at work, and gains a higher wage with growing responsibility on the job!
When the minimum wage was passed into law in 1938, under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation known as the Fair Labor Standards Act, the pay was 25 cents per hour.
Wage increases kept up with the cost of living until 1981, when Ronald Reagan worked to lower the minimum wage, and failing at that, refused to sign an increase in the minimum wage. And George W. Bush did not sign an increase for the first six years of his Presidency.
As a result, the minimum wage fell behind the cost of living, and if it was to match the level it had been from 1938 to 1981, it would now have to be $13.00, or an annual income of $27,000.
Can anyone, realistically, live on even $27,000 and be able to pay one’s every day expenses? The answer is NO, so raising it to $9 an hour is far from bringing back the cost of living to what it had been, but it is an important first step, and would increase purchasing power and aid the growth of the economy, and would only increase costs to consumers by one to two percent, in the estimate of most economists.
A popular idea, it is time for the Congress to do what is right, and help low wage workers to help themselves! It would actually improve the image of the Republican Party among such workers, and would help to revive the chances of the GOP rising from the ashes of losing the popular vote for President five of the last six Presidential elections, and its low ratings among the American people in public opinion polls.