Over 80% of Americans support a raise in the minimum wage, and only 6% oppose it. Its purchasing power has fallen every year since 1997, and it is worth less today than it has been worth in all but two of the last 48 years.
And yet, yesterday the Senate rejected two proposals to raise the minimum wage (which is a ghastly $5.15 an hour and has not been raised since 1996). By this point an increase is so overdue it hardly seems worth fighting over raising wages a dollar — which is why some people have turned to working for a living wage.
The Kennedy amendment to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour was defeated 46–49, and Santorum’s bill lost 61–38. The latter bill was shamelessly duplicitous. The bill pushed a wage increase (to a whopping $6.25) but would have cut overtime pay by abolishing the 40-hour work week, and would have forced local governments to adopt a 100% tip credit (which means that if you earn tips where you work, you would get virtually no paycheck if your tips equaled the minimum wage).
In and of itself, the fact that Congress has not raised the minimum wage in 8 years is disgraceful. Couple that with the fact that over the past five years they have given themselves raises totalling $28,500 and it is simply un-American.