Saturday, September 02, 2006

Cost of Living and the Minimum Wage

The federal minimum wage is $5.15 an hour. During the past nine years, while the minimum wage has remained the same, members of Congress have voted to give themselves pay raises -- technically "cost of living increases" -- totaling $31,600, or more than $15 an hour for a 40-hour week, 52 weeks a year.

While the minimum wage has remained stagnant since 1997, Congress has enacted legislation that has reduced estate tax burdens in eight of the past nine years. The minimum wage bill that passed the House but was rejected by the Senate last month, would have benefited 5.6 million workers, while the estate tax reduction primarily benefits 8,200 very wealthy estates.


Westy said...

Interesting statistics, Arloa.

A minimum wage tied to inflation seems to make sense to me. I hope in the next year this issue is again raised.

Arloa Sutter said...

Me too. Let's help raise it.

*Does* Work For Food said...

I don't really understand the minimum wage. Where do market forces fit in? If you have much labor, wages drop (That's why people are willing to work for 'minimum wage' today). If you have a shortage of labor, wages go up. If you raise the minimum wage, aren't you just forcing everybody to increase their prices so they can maintain their profit margin? I've lived places where you couldn't give away a job; and the wages go up. I've lived places where everybody wants work; and wages bottom out. Might it be better to find a way to make new jobs? Maybe, instead of teaching high school students 'how to get a job,' we should be teaching them 'how to make a job' (for themselves and for others, i.e. their employees).

Just my $0.02

Arloa Sutter said...

I agree with you. Job creation is the way to go, to help people set up their own businesses. We need to explore ideas.