It’s been nearly 10 years since Congress last raised the federal minimum wage — the longest period in our nation’s history without an increase.
Due to this inaction, the minimum wage is worth 17 percent less than when it was last raised in 2009, and 31 percent less than it was worth in the 1960s. In fact, a full-time, year-round minimum wage worker today has annual earnings worth nearly $7,000 less than a full-time minimum wage worker in 1968. All this while Americans in the top 1 percent make 39 times more in income on average than the bottom 90 percent of workers. Over the last 40 years, the top 1 percent of households saw their after-tax incomes grow by 226 percent — nearly three times faster than the income growth among the lowest-income households.
That’s why this week, the House of Representatives will debate and vote on the Raise the Wage Act, a bill to gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. The bill, introduced by Budget committee member and Chairman of the Education & Labor committee Bobby Scott, would index future minimum wages increases to median wage growth while also ensuring tipped workers are paid at least the full federal minimum wage.
Ensuring every worker can earn a wage that lets them afford the basic necessities would provide a much needed raise to millions of Americans while also helping reduce income inequality in the country. According to an analysis conducted by the Congressional Budget Office this month, raising the wage to $15 an hour would:
While the GOP Tax Scam overwhelmingly benefited corporations and the most wealthy, raising the minimum wage helps Americans who work every day to put food on the table for their families. The millions of Americans who would see their incomes rise under this bill would immediately put that money back into their local economies.
House Democrats believe no one should work 40 hours a week and still struggle to make ends meet. Raising the minimum wage will put more money in the pockets of hard working Americans, help lift children and families out of poverty, and reduce inequality. That’s why Democrats will vote to pass the Raise the Wage Act this week.