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Sat Jan 5, 2013, 11:17 AM

New York Times editorial calls for increase in the federal minimum wage

And at the Bottom of the Wage Scale ...
Published: January 4, 2013

Nearly a million low-wage workers in 10 states will get a modest raise this year. In Rhode Island, a new law has raised the state’s minimum wage by 35 cents an hour, to $7.75, which will work out to an average annual raise of $510 for 11,000 Rhode Islanders. In nine other states — Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington — laws that peg the minimum wage to inflation will result in increases of 10 cents to 15 cents an hour, for hourly wages ranging from $7.35 in Missouri to $9.19 in Washington.

By contrast, the federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2009. In all, 19 states and the District of Columbia set their minimums above that level, providing a much needed lift for the lowest-paid workers. But state efforts are no substitute for a higher federal minimum because the ability to earn a minimally acceptable income should not depend on where a worker lives.

Will Congress finally raise the federal minimum wage this year? It would be the least that lawmakers could do. In the fiscal cliff deal, lawmakers locked in big tax breaks for wealthy investors and for heirs of multimillion-dollar estates. At the same time, they allowed the payroll tax cut for low- and middle-income taxpayers to expire, without enacting new provisions to ease the blow. The lowest-paid workers will be hit the hardest. In the states that raised their minimum wage this year, much of the increase will be eaten up by the higher payroll tax. In the other states, paychecks will simply be smaller.

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A higher minimum wage is also an obvious way to counter the accelerating trend toward low-wage work and growing income inequality. For decades, various forces, including the decline in unionization and the global competition for jobs, have pushed down wages in the United States. But the situation has become worse in the last few years, as most of the middle-wage jobs lost during the recession have been replaced with lower-paid work.

Raising the minimum wage is always a fight. Congress has approved legislation to do so only three times in the last 30 years. President Obama promised to take on this fight back in 2008, when he called for a federal minimum wage of $9.50 an hour by 2011, indexed to inflation. It is past time to keep the promise.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/05/opinion/meanwhile-at-the-bottom-of-the-wage-scale.html?hp&_r=0

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Reply New York Times editorial calls for increase in the federal minimum wage (Original post)
flpoljunkie Jan 2013 OP
cilla4progress Jan 2013 #1
LiberalFighter Jan 2013 #2
flpoljunkie Jan 2013 #3
democrattotheend Jan 2013 #4

Response to flpoljunkie (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 11:58 AM

1. I think this follows one by my great governor,

Chris Gregoire, and Gov Kitzhaber of OR on Politico, about positives of highter minimum wage.

Our minimum wage here in WA state is now $9.19 an hour. Still not a livable family wage, but better than almost every other state!

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Response to flpoljunkie (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 12:27 PM

2. There needs to be a maximum salary or something along that line.

At least make sure all compensation is treated the same for tax purposes.

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Response to LiberalFighter (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 01:26 PM

3. That's not feasible, but a living wage ought to be a given in the richest country in the world

We can only hope that president Obama will push an increased federal wage indexed to inflation--as he did when he ran in 2008.

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Response to flpoljunkie (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 06:09 PM

4. K&R

I am surprised I have not heard any push for raising the minimum wage lately. It would not only help lift people out of poverty, but it would also increase payroll tax revenues and give people more purchasing power to jump start the economy.

And research shows that any job-killing effect of a modest increase in the minimum wage is minimal. You always hear a lot of complaining from restaurants, but it is unlikely to put most restaurants out of business, because their competitors also have to pay the higher wage.

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