A $10 minimum wage could be a poverty killer
A restaurant worker group says boosting the federally mandated pay would significantly lift living standards for millions.
What would happen if the congressional push for a $10.10 minimum wage became federal law?
More than half the country's working poor -- 6 million adults -- would be lifted out of poverty, according to a new study from the advocacy group Restaurant Opportunities Centers United. The U.S. had 10.4 million individuals in 2011 whom the Bureau of Labor Statistics considered as the working poor, meaning they worked for at least 27 weeks but still fell below the official poverty level.
A $10.10 minimum wage would disproportionately help women and people of color, who tend to hold lower-paying jobs than white people and men, the study found.
About 54% of women who now earn the federal minimum wage of $7.25 would be lifted out of poverty, compared with 46% of men. For women in the restaurant industry, the higher baseline wage would lift 60% out of poverty.
While the calls for a higher minimum wage are growing louder, it's also controversial with some employers. The National Restaurant Association, for one, is lobbying against a hike, arguing that it would place a tough burden on restaurant owners. The association's members include large chains such as Darden Restaurants (DRI), which owns Red Lobster and Olive Garden, and Burger King (BKW) and McDonald's (MCD).
For workers earning the minimum wage, their $7.25 per hour actually buys far less than the baseline wage provided in previous decades.
If workers today earned the same hourly minimum wage as in 1968, that would be $10.58 per hour, adjusted for inflation, the Nation notes. That's $3.33 more than workers currently are guaranteed by law today.
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
Why not make it $100/hour? Wouldn't that ensure no more poverty anywhere? Then we could make it $1,000/hour followed by $10,000/hour and everyone would be rich. If we could just get to $1,000,000,000 an hour everyone could chip in some petty cash and solve the countries debt problem.
You liberals couldn't think your way out of a paper sack, could you. Hint: where is the $10/hour coming from? What has happened every time in the past when we raised the minimum wage?
The minimum wage was increased in 2007, 2008, and 2009, yet poverty today is worse now than before those increases. How is yet another increase in the minimum, and thus an increase in the number of unemployed people a good thing?
If a person isn’t getting paid $10.00 an hour it’s because their labor isn’t worth $10.00 an hour to their employer. If the government raised the minimum wage those people will not get $10.00 an hour, they’ll get fired.
Mark Twain said it best, :It's not what you make that counts, it's what you can do with it".
Raise the cost to produce goods and services and the price of those goods and services will rise.
It's time to start voting for free enterprise, free markets and freedom from big brother.
Let's just bring back slavery instead, anyone currently on welfare, foodstamps or section 8 gets auctioned off. Poverty problem eliminated, national debt reduced.
They clearly aren't capable of feeding, clothing and providing shelter for themselves, and this will never change. Let their new master provide it instead of their old master government.
Several bloggers have mentioned that raising the minimum wage is inflationary.
A more immediate consequence to higher minimum wage rate is the LOSS OF LOW PAYING JOBS. Any employer other than one with political connection is suffering the high cost of doing business. Fewer low-paid employees shall be retained and fewer new ones hired when their wages are driven up by government mandate while the workers produce no more than they did at the lower wage rate.
HIGHER UNEMPLOYMENT is thus an even more acute consequence of higher minimum wage than having grocery prices go up.
The cure to the poor worker's problem is to have MILD DEFLATION. Lower prices shift purchasing power towards ordinary people, away from the super-rich. [This could be why Fed Chief Ben Bernanke is so hell-bent on preventing deflation. All of the bad effects he cites about deflation hurt the big dogs, but for the little guy, lower overall cost of doing business is a boon.]
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A basic income policy can actually ensure a decent standard of living for everyone.
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