Senator Elizabeth Warren (D) of Massachusetts suggested at a recent hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions that minimum wage should be set at $22.00. Currently minimum wage is set at $7.25 and President Obama suggested raising it to $9.00. According to Yahoo News published yesterday, the logic behind the tremendous increase that Senator Warren is suggesting is that $22.00 an hour is the difference between what was made in 1960 and the equivalent amount for today. She is quoted as saying, “And why shouldn’t employees reap the benefits of their own improved labor practices?” Today, the actual minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. “What happened to the other $14.75? It sure didn’t go to the worker.”
“Those gains went to corporate and top-executive profits, said a witness at the hearing, Arindrajit Dube, an economist from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. That’s simply more evidence of how income inequality has grown in America, he said.”
Several senators are pushing for different minimum wage increases closer to the $9.00 an hour which President Obama is supporting. “The fact is that even tacking a few bucks on to today’s $7.25 minimum wage would be a hard political lift. It’s almost certain to face stiff opposition in the GOP-controlled House.”
David Rutigliano, a partner in SBC Restaurant Group of Shelton, Conn., at the Senate Health panel hearing stated, “At a time when many businesses are struggling to keep their doors open and in some cases employers are forgoing their own paychecks to avoid laying off employees, mandating wage increases will only hurt those employees which the proposal seeks to help,”
“The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 has been introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. If passed, it would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour by 2015, and adjust it each year after that to keep up with the rising cost of living. The legislation would need to be passed by both the Senate and the House for the increases to go into effect.” That law would reflect a 40 percent increase in the minimum wage over time.
“The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, if passed, will help restore much of the lost value of the federal minimum wage, providing America's lowest-paid workers with a raise while boosting the consumer spending that fuels the economy. With the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, over 30 million workers would receive a raise. 88% of these are adults over the age of 20, with 56% women, 50% workers of color, and 43% have at least some college education. More than 17 million children have a parent who will be affected by the Fair Minimum Wage Act.”
The minimum wage issue is a feminist issue. Second wage feminists such as Gloria Steinem fought hard for the status of women in the workforce and the issues which came with it. According to Feminist-At-Large, “When someone is not paid a living wage they cannot afford to pay for housing and food and childcare and healthcare. Instead they must make choices between all of these, prioritizing some over others. For a woman paid less than a living wage birth control is not a basic medical expense; it is a luxury. And without birth control it is harder to control the size and future of one’s family, something that dramatically impacts one’s economic reality. Healthcare decisions are harder, and for many people healthcare isn’t a reality at all. Childcare decisions are complicated, and women making minimum wage are more likely to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. Women work 2/3 of minimum wage jobs. If we want women to have the freedom to live their lives as they choose and to do so independently, we need to pay women a living wage. “