USA Today’s story about states raising their minimum wages begs a question: why aren’t more following? It is terrific that 11 have done so since 2004 — but where are the rest of the states?
Surely they aren’t expecting the feds to raise the minimum wage anytime soon. The Bush administration has refused to consider serious minimum wage legislation, while Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) has tried to eliminate the minimum wage for 7 million people. This, even though economic data shows that corporate profits are rising, while wages are stagnating.
California is a good example of a state that needs to explain why it hasn’t raised its minimum wage recently. The Los Angeles Times reports today that while CEOs at California’s largest 100 public companies saw their compensation rise by almost 20 percent from 2003, the average California worker saw his or her pay rise by less than 3 percent — barely keeping up with inflation. That has at least something to do with the fact that, in 2004, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed minimum wage legislation.