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Congress Stiffs Low-Income Workers

The House of Representatives recently passed a pay raise for itself but just killed a bill to increase the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour.

CNN’s Lou Dobbs today offers some choice criticism of these actions:

Raising the minimum wage … would positively affect the lives of more than 8 million workers, including an estimated 760,000 single mothers and 1.8 million parents with children under 18 … Don’t you think these families just might need that cost-of-living increase a bit more than our elected officials who are paid nearly $170,000 a year?

With no Congressional action on raising the minimum wage since 1997, inflation has eroded wages. The minimum wage in the 21st century is $2 lower in real dollars than it was four decades ago and now stands at its lowest level since 1955, according to the Economic Policy Institute and Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Also, since the last time Congress increased the minimum wage for our lowest-paid workers, buying power has fallen by 25 percent. Yet over that time our elected representatives have given themselves eight pay raises totaling more than 23 percent.

For more information about living wages, check out the Let Justice Roll Living Wage Campaign: www.letjusticeroll.org.

The minimum wage is where society draws the line: This low and no lower. Our bottom line is this: A job should keep you out of poverty, not keep you in it.

The Campaign conducts an ongoing educational program to inform people of the severity of conditions facing low-wage working people and what must be done to bring about constructive change. It is organizing actively at the federal level and in selected states to raise the minimum wage.

To contact your Representative, visit www.house.gov/writerep.

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