|Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is introducing a bill which would raise minimum wage to $10 an hour and index future raises with inflation:
Jackson said his bill, the Catching Up to 1968 Act, is needed to help low-income workers "catch up" to inflation, which he said is eating away at the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. He also said it would give these workers more income and boost overall demand for the struggling economy.
"The bill will affect more than 30 million workers and give the economy an immediate boost by significantly increasing aggregate demand," he said of his bill, which would impose the hike immediately. "Most economists that I've talked with said there was no economic reason to increase it incrementally over a couple of years."
Under the bill, H.R. 5901, the minimum wage would be indexed to the Consumer Price Index, allowing it to rise automatically above $10 an hour as inflation rises.
"In 2007, Congress raised the federal minimum wage by $2.10 per hour - from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour - as a first step toward restoring its historical value, providing an additional $1.6 billion annually in increased wages," Jackson said. "It's now time to complete the job and index it into the future."
As always with anything that is desperately needed for working America, this measure has been needed to even things out for a long time now:
The CHART OF THE DAY shows that after adjusting for inflation, the federal minimum wage dropped 20 percent from 1967 to 2010, even as the nominal figure climbed to $7.25 an hour from $1.40, a 418 percent gain.
The decline would have been worse if not for increases that took place from 2008 through 2010 in how much employers were legally obligated to pay. Combined with more stable consumer prices, those adjustments helped trim the reduction in earnings from 41 percent at the end of 2007, following a decade of no change in minimum pay.
"Hardship is increasing for lower-income levels, and the minimum wage reflects those at the lower end of the payroll spectrum," said Ellen Zentner, a senior economist at Nomura Securities International Inc. in New York. "With those meager wages in place, it makes it hard to imagine families doing with even less."
A jobless rate that has exceeded 8 percent since February 2009, the longest stretch of such levels of unemployment since monthly records began in 1948, is one reason why workers have little leeway to press for higher wages. Adding in part-time workers who would prefer full-time jobs, and discouraged workers who would take a job if one were available, pushes the rate up to 15.6 percent as of November.
Sadly however, anything that helps working America over big business in this country is doomed to defeat no matter how much sense it makes for our country as a whole. While our government has no problem helping the greediest and least patriotic among us horde their profits, dodge their taxes and detroy our economy while getting bailed out it will do nothing to help our country and economy as a whole.
And while we should fight for the rights of all workers the sad truth is that the American people will once again be distracted by the shiny object of propoganda and fail to fight for themselves or their neighbors once again.
I guess we can still hope that Americans will rise up for the truth and start fighting for our rights to the American dream once more.