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GOP Rep: Abolish the minimum wage, 'it's outlived its usefulness'

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While the economy is moving forward, it's still not improving at the rate most were hoping for. At a time when wages are still kept at incredibly low rates, one Republican wants to eliminate the wage floor completely.

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour and hasn't been raised since 2009, but one Republican representative thinks that's too high - about $7.25 an hour too high. Speaking to the National Journal, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) stated that the minimum wage was outdated.

"I think it's outlived its usefulness...It may have been of some value back in the Great Depression. I would vote to repeal the minimum wage."

The problem with Barton's comments are that they aren't rooted in reality. A full time worker making minimum wage is only earning $15,080 a year and that is before taxes and not including any time missed for sickness or personal and holiday days off. According to research done by the National Employment Law Project, if tied to inflation, the minimum wage would currently stand at $10.55 an hour. What's even more alarming is what Salvatore Babones of inquality.org points out. If tied to the overall growth of the economy, the minimum wage would be over $20 an hour.

"A better way to update the minimum wage is to benchmark it to personal income growth in the economy as a whole. Per capita real personal income excluding current transfer receipts — that is, the personal income earned in the economy, excluding Social Security and other government programs, adjusted for inflation — has grown by 100.6% since 1968.

In other words, the NELP has it too low — by half. If our standard for minimum wages had kept pace with overall income growth in the American economy, it would now be $21.16 per hour."

Earlier this week, thousands of fast food workers protested in over 100 cities demanding a living wage of at least $15 an hour and received praise from some and backlash from others. Opponents claim that such a wage hike would leave companies no other choice than to heavily increase prices of their goods. Supports note that increasing the minimum wage would lift millions of Americans out of poverty and off the government payroll and inject billions of potential revenue into the private sector, giving companies a major boost of sales.

To even suggest that the minimum wage should be abolished is just not rational. At a time when millions of Americans are working hard and still struggling, it should be time to increase wages to a rational level, not lower them.

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