On 13th anniversary of last minimum wage hike, Democrats urged to raise ‘deplorable’ $7.25 floor
Marking the 13th anniversary of the last increase in the federal minimum wage in the United States – a meager increase from $5.15 to $7.25 in 2009 – progressive activists on Sunday urged congressional Democrats to make a new effort to increase the national wage floor as inflation continues to diminish workers’ purchasing power.
“Congress must act to raise wages for the tens of millions of workers who are just struggling to get by.”
“Today is a sad anniversary in the United States,” said Morris Pearl, president of the Patriotic Millionaires, a group that advocates progressive economic policy. “For 13 years now, Congress has not acted to raise the federal minimum wage by $7.25. Lawmakers have turned their backs on the tens of millions of low-wage American workers and shown themselves beholden to the short-sighted interests of some of them. their ultra-wealthy donors.”
According to recent analysis by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the real value of the federal minimum wage is currently at its lowest point in nearly seven decades amid record inflation, which has led to lower hourly earnings. actual averages between June 2021 and June 2022 as corporate profits soared.
“Last July marked the longest period without a minimum wage increase since Congress established the federal minimum wage in 1938,” EPI noted, “and continued inaction on the federal minimum wage over the past year has only further eroded the value of the minimum wage”.
In 2021, Senate Democrats removed a proposed $15 federal minimum wage from their coronavirus relief package on the advice of the House Congressman, an unelected official tasked with offering nonbinding advice on compliance. the legislation to the rules of the Senate.
Eight Senate Democrats joined Republicans in rejecting Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) last-ditch attempt to re-include the provision, which was approved by the House.
Amid more than a decade of federal inaction, states and localities across the United States have raised their hourly wage floors in response to pressure from the grassroots Fight for $15 movement.
But $7.25 an hour remains the minimum wage in effect in 20 states. Tipping minimum wage is still $3 an hour or less in 22 states.
If the federal minimum wage had risen at the same rate as Wall Street bonuses, it would now be $61.75 an hour instead of $7.25. If the minimum wage had kept pace with worker productivity since 1968, it would have been around $23 an hour last year.
‘Regressive politicians across the country have kept our wages low for years’, fight for $15 wrote in a Twitter post. “That’s why it’s important that we get at least $15/hour federal minimum wage. That way no one will be left behind.”
Morris of the Patriotic Millionaires said Sunday that “$7.25 was already insufficient in 2009, when the minimum wage was last raised, but now it’s downright deplorable.”
“Since 2009, working people have endured the Great Recession, a global pandemic, historic inflation and massive changes in the cost of living,” Pearl added. “And what did they get in return? A minimum wage that’s worth 27% less than its 2009 value, a wage that’s no longer enough to afford even a one-bedroom apartment in 93% of the country.”
“In the face of rapidly rising costs for American families, Congress must act to raise wages for the tens of millions of workers who are just struggling to get by. They must immediately raise the federal minimum wage to at least $15. an hour. Our country can’t afford to reach a 14th anniversary of $7.25.”
And if Congressional Democrats can’t muster “the political will” to raise the federal minimum wage to at least $15 an hour — a move that would boost the incomes of more than 30 million people across the country —” then the president has to act,” Pearl said.
“When President Biden took office, he raised the minimum wage for federal contractor employees to $15,” he said. “Given the rising cost of living, he should now raise the minimum wage for federal contractors even further, to no less than $20 an hour. This move will benefit hundreds of thousands of workers, will prove voters that Democrats care about working people and provide a strong example to inspire Democrats in Congress to take action.”
“The president,” Pearl added, “is meant to be the leader of our country — it’s time for Biden to lead on this critical issue.”