Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Rochester, N.Y. — Who says economic policy has to be wonkish and boring? Not John Schmitt, senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). He gets right to the point in his new report, “The Minimum Wage Is Too Damn Low.”

The minimum wage was last increased-- to $7.25 an hour-- nearly three years ago. He writes that the minimum wage is now far below its historical level by all of the most commonly used benchmarks-- inflation, average wages and productivity. If it kept pace with the Consumer Price Index, today’s minimum wage would be $10.52 an hour.

Click here for the full report.

In another recent report, CEPR showed that the costs of family health insurance and college tuition for minimum wage workers are incredibly out of reach. Click here.

Until decision-makers in Albany and Washington understand the plight of America's working poor, our economy will continue to suffer. And, for the record, there is a huge difference between minimum wage and a living wage. The only way to fiscal wellness for families, federal, state and local governments is building a strong middle class society-- lifting working folks out of poverty so they can become contributing consumers of a global economy.

Pressure rises to raise worker wages

As the nation’s economy slowly recovers and income inequality emerges as a crucial issue in the presidential campaign, lawmakers are facing growing pressure to raise the minimum wage.

State legislators in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois and elsewhere are pushing to raise the minimum wage. These moves are giving momentum to an effort to persuade Congress to embrace a higher national minimum wage. Progressive and labor groups, capitalizing on the energy and message of the Occupy Wall Street movement, are urging Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa and chairman of the Senate Labor Committee, to head a Congressional effort to raise the federal minimum to $9.80 an hour by 2014. NYS Democratic Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver is overtly pushing for raising the minimum wage.

Although some states raise the minimum wage automatically every year as the cost of living increases, federal law does not provide for an automatic increase. Stay tuned to further developments.

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