Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Rapidly Evolving Living (Minimum) Wage

In 2007, Congress incrementally raised the $5.15 an hour minimum wage by 40% making it $7.25, effective July of 2009. At that time we were told that $7.25 an hour was a "fair" wage; or, in other words: a "living wage".  In fact, the law responsible for the increase was called the "Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007". Now, if that $7.25 wage was truly a "fair wage" in 2009 and, if it had been automatically adjusted for inflation each year, then the "fair wage" of today should be about $8.

Instead, in 2013, President Obama kicked off a national debate on what is a "fair wage" by campaigning around the country promoting a 24% increase to $9 an hour.  A year later, he  was pushing a 40% increase to $10.10; or, more than $2 above a supposed fair wage if that $7.25 had been inflation-adjusted all these years.  Meanwhile, unions, who don't have a single minimum wage earner as part of their membership, have decided $15 is a living wage and picketed company stores like those of McDonald's and Walmart to give their cause public attention.

As a result of all this, the public is left with the impression that millions of Americans earn the minimum wage and are, literally, living in poverty.  Believing all this, 63% of those surveyed in a recent Hart Research poll support a $15 minimum by the year 2020.

The truth about the $15 minimum wage was exposed when the unions in Los Angeles asked the city council to provide an exception to the law for unionized operations in the City.  This, after those very same unions had pushed hard by picketing and lobbying to pass the $15 wage in that city.

Suddenly, they realized that a bunch of inexperienced 16-year olds, working part time at cash registers at fast food restaurants, would earn as much or more than their supposed experienced union members.  This is because 71% of the 1.25 million workers earning the minimum wage in this country are part-timers.  In Los Angeles,  union members can make as little as $12/hour.  That apparently was a good enough "living wage" for their union members.  Let's hear it for the brash hypocrisy of the union living wage argument.


Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007:

Feb 12, 2013 · President Obama wants to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour, the first increase since 2009:

March 5, 2014: Obama pushes for $10.10 minimum wage:

Unions and the $15 Minimum Wage:

Hart Research Poll on Minimum Wage:

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Characteristics of a Minimum Wage Worker for 2014:

Hypocrisy Thy Name Is Union; Unions Demand Exemption From LA's $15 Minimum Wage:

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