by Rebecca Rooy
It’s all about perspective.
The House discussed a bipartisan-supported bill today to introduce a federal minimum wage increase. For much of the nation, particularly the 5.6 million people who support themselves and their families on a minimum wage income, it is long overdue. It has been ten years since a minimum wage increase has been seriously considered in Congress. The current federal wage of $5.15 an hour has been in effect since 1997, although many attempts and bill presentations have been made since that time. However, this House bill finally falls in majority favor. The current bill pushes for a $2.10 increase over 26 months through a series of steps.
The bill is expected to pass on the House level, and will proceed to the Senate shortly thereafter. The Senate is projected to examine a compensation of sorts for the small business community. The health of small businesses is always a strong concern for Congress, and this wage increase in accordance to tax compensation is contingent on that perspective.
Economists and politicians seem to have an exhaustively continuous debate concerning the effects of minimum wage. However, after a study in October of 2006, a group of Nobel Prize winning economists declared a minimum wage increase was in order. The economists claimed that the wage increase would not hinder employment growth as has been projected by some. When adjusting the current wage of $5.15 an hour for inflation, the study shows the minimum wage is the lowest it has been since 1951.
At this point, 28 states already offer a higher minimum wage than the federal minimum wage. It seems that the federal government is taking heed.
For me, it’s about supporting the working class. I hail from a county that has been deemed the second poorest in the state of Michigan . A large part of its population depends on the government’s awareness of the incessant struggle between the cost of living and the minimum wage. I have learned about the effects of a living wage and the benefits of valuing a worker. Since the majority of minimum-wage workers are women or minorities, it is increasingly important to show this type of continued support. It’s all about merging the business perspective and the living person perspective: this bill will set the course to reinstate the significance of compassion through business to the workers who drive the country to its true success.
Chipman, Kim. “House to Lift Minimum Wage; Senate May Add Tax Breaks.” Bloomberg. C-Span News. 10 January 2007 . <www.bloomberg.com>.
“‘100 Hours’: House Dems Eye Minimum Wage Hike.” CNN News. 10 January 2007 . <www.cnn.com>.