Minimum wage workers are screwed. While Republicans in Congress want to drop or throw away the federal minimum wage – new data shows that the minimum wage in America is woefully inadequate. The current minimum wage is pegged at $7.25 – but given the price increase of pretty much everything over the last few decades – from healthcare to housing to education – that $7.25 doesn’t get you very far.
In fact – today’s minimum wage needs to be nearly ten dollars to have the same buying power as it had in 1968. The Center for Economic and Policy Research found that somebody earning the minimum wage would wipe out an entire year's income JUST to pay for a family health insurance plan. During the heyday of the middle class – from the 1940’s to the 1970’s – one good union job could support a family of four and provide all the basic essentials.
That doesn’t exist anymore – and now we’re a nation made up of the working poor who are collecting wages that give them no chance of chasing down the American Dream. Economies grow when working people have money in their pockets – not when the super-rich are given trillions of dollars in tax cuts and are expected to trickle that money down to the rest of us. It’s time to put in place a real living wage that a family can actually live on.
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