September 01, 2005

Congress... Where do I sign up?

The federal minimum wage turns eight-years-old today.

The federal minimum wage has remained at $5.15 an hour for the last eight years. In that same time period, Congress has given themselves six "cost of living" raises totaling $24,500, raising their salary to $158,100. Yet they've left the minimum wage at $5.15 an hour for those they love to refer to, come campaign time, as hardworking Americans.

If an American citizen working for minimum wage works full time (40 hours per week) for one year (52 weeks) their gross salary will be $10,712. The poverty line for one individual is defined as making below $9,827. So our lucky worker is only earning $885 above the poverty line. Oh, and he very likely doesn't have health insurance.

But hey, passing a law to raise the federal minimum wage isn't as easy as you'd think. Congress was really busy this year trying to keep a vegetable alive and legalizing commercial space travel.

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