But the greedy Republicans in Congress aren't about to give it to us. The Senate today voted down a raise in the minimum wage that would have brought it up from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour.
The vote was actually 52 senators in favor of raising the minimum wage. Six Republicans broke ranks with their party leadership to vote for it. And all the Democrats voted for the increase to the minimum wage.
But the Republican leadership, seeing they would be defeated, stuck a procedural clause into the bill that required it to pass by 60 votes. Thus they proved that rather than risk a fair up or down vote, they would change the rules to guarantee their favored outcome. So much for fairness and democracy.
It’s important to realize that a typical minimum wage earner is often a single mother who is the sole support of her family, struggling to get by on a salary of $10,712 a year. She hasn’t had a raise – an increase in the minimum wage - since 1997. In that same time period, Congress has voted to increase its own salary by almost $35,000.
Those who voted against the minimum wage cited the same tired arguments for opposing it that they always give, including the following: 1) Higher wages will cause a loss of jobs because it puts an undue burden on small business owners and slows down the economy; 2) the marketplace should determine the value of peoples’ work and the salaries they are paid.
We can shoot down the first argument quickly. There is no proven link between raising the minimum wage and economic slowdown. Nor has it ever been proven that raising the minimum wage leads to an overall loss of jobs.
But what has been proven is that prices are rising and wages are staying flat at all levels of the workforce. Wage earners are not keeping pace with inflation and it's a special burden for those at the lowest rung of the ladder.
And the argument about letting the marketplace decide the value of wages is a laughable objection coming from this Congress.
After all, where was that marketplace when Congress unilaterally decided to raise its own salary? Where's Congress' concern for the slowdown of the economy or the undue burden on the small businessman, whose taxes presumably went to pay for that wage increase? Heck, where was its concern for the little guy taxpayer like you or me?
Since politicians take polls all the time, I think they should poll us, the taxpaying public, to see who we want to see get a raise?
Do we want to give Congress a $35,000 salary increase, or give a raise of $7.25 an hour to some single mom working as a clerk in Wal Mart?