Wednesday, December 06, 2006

HOT OFF THE SHOW! Should we increase the Minimum Wage? Facts & Stats

We talked about increasing the Minimum Wage on the show yesterday, and you might be surprised to hear my perspective on the issue, as I was to see that 50% of our Changing Worldviews readers in our poll this week said they would...favor an increase.

Sen. Ted Kennedy said in an audio clip we played on the show that this is a moral issue...and a civil rights issue.

Sen. Edward Kennedy said that increasing the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 would be his top priority as chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Incoming Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, says an increase in the minimum wage would be taken up during the first 100 hours of the next Congress.

President Bush said last week that he would consider some Democratic priorities such as a minimum wage increase.

But critics say it kills jobs because employers end up hiring fewer entry-level workers to make up for the higher wage expenses. Some claim that every ten percent increase in the minimum wage results in a loss of 100,000 jobs.

Some Facts:
A full time minimum wage worker makes only $10,712 per year, which is well below the poverty line.

Minimum wage jobs rarely include health insurance coverage, but some companies do give coverage such as Trader Joe's which give part-time employees health coverage.

And history shows that with each increase in the minimum wage, low income workers suffer the most because of job loss. Highest on the list are teenagers 15-19 years of age, males ages 15-24, blacks and high school drop-outs.

The first a minimum wage set in the United States was in 1933 at $.25-per-hour.
The current federal minimum wage is now $5.15 an hour.

During his presidency, Bill Clinton gave states the power to set their minimum wages above the federal level, and as of April 2006, 18 states had done so.

On November 7, 2006, voters in six states (Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, and Ohio) approved statewide increases in the state minimum wage. The amounts of these increases ranged from $1 to $1.70 an hour.

What's your position on this issue?


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