Senator Hillary Clinton of New York introduced a bill last week, the Standing with Minimum Wage Workers Act of 2006, that would provide for an increase in the federal minimum wage, from its current $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour within two years and then index future minimum wage increases to Congressional pay raises.
The minimum wage hasn’t been increased nationwide in a decade, and inflation over that span has reduced the impact of the minimum wage dramatically. A number of states have enacted their own higher minimum wage statutes, and the governor of North Carolina recently called for a statewide increase in the minimum wage.
My representatives, state and national, may think me a bit of a crank, but I’ve written to them all, asking for their support, possibly even co-sponsorship, of either Governor Easley’s or Senator Clinton’s initiatives to increase the minimum wage. Studies have debunked the traditional arguments against raising the minimum wage–that businesses will lay off employees, if not shutter completely; and that a higher wage will depress the economy as businesses have to increase prices to pay for higher labor costs. On the contrary, a higher minimum wage would benefit the economy as more workers would now have more dollars to pump back into the economy. Think of a minimum wage increase as “Trickle-Up Economics.”
Raising the minimum wage. It’s the right thing to do.