Mikey's Second Post
Hey, I was looking to post a min-wage comment and it wouldn't let me. Here it is
If we're going to start talking about the minimum wage and the benefits and/or consequences from raising it, we're going to have to get some ground info down.
The Federal Minimum Wage is $5.15 per hour. It was raised from $4.25 per hour to $4.75 per hour in October 1996 and to current level ($5.15 per hour) in September 1997.
44 states have minimum wage laws of their own in addition to the federal law. The six who do not are South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arizona.
13 States and the District of Columbia have minimum wages higher than the mandated federal rate: California – $6.75 (Indexed rate is $8.50), Washington - $7.63, Oregon - $7.50, Florida – $6.40, Minnesota - $6.15 (large employer) $5.25 (small employer), Wisconsin - $ 5.70, Illinois - $6.50, New York - $6.75 (becomes $7.15 on Jan. 1, 2007), Maine - $6.50, Massachusetts - $6.75, Maryland - $6.15, Delaware - $6.15, Rhode Island - $7.10, District of Columbia - $7.00
The Federal Poverty Level (FPL) for a one person household is $9,800. For a two person household it is $13,200. (These figures are annual gross income).
A person making minimum wage in South Carolina and working 40 hours a week has an annual gross income of $10,712.
Okay, those are the rough facts.
Now, onto what's been said already. Quoth S.A.W.B: "Hiking the minimum wage is absolutely asinine, considering it only affects 250,000 or so workers out of the 150-200 million employed individuals in this country."
I quoted S.A.W.B, but let's not single him out because Pat agreed with his point and both of them are absolutely dead wrong. Jared Bernstein, lead economist for the Economic Policy Institute testified before congress last year that raising the minimum wage to $6.25 would benefit 3.3% of the workforce (4.1 million workers) while raising the minimum wage to seven dollars would benefit 5.98% (7.4 million).
Now, for the old stand-by argument that raising the minimum wage would kill small businesses. Okay, let's see what happened when Florida enacted its own statewide minimum wage increasing the federal mandate to $6.40 per hour in June of last year.
Not only has Florida continued to see shrinking unemployment after the hike, the numbers are actually falling faster. "Between May 2004 and January 2005, Florida's unemployment rate dropped by only 12.8%, well below the 17.9% drop during the same period following the raise. (Florida International University Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy)"
I understand that some people are going to be philosophically opposed to raising the minimum wage, and that's fine. They can argue their philosophy all they want. The arguments are flat out wrong, but what do I care?
If their philosophy says that a person is either unable or unwilling to get a job that pays above the minimum wage, then they're welcome to it. I disagree, but they have their principles and I guess we should respect that.
My point is simple: if a single mother with one child works 40 hours a week at a job that pays minimum wage, in order to be at or above the FPL, minimum wage would have to be at least $6.35 per hour.
In order for her child not to be eligible for Medicaid through SCHIP, she would have to make $9.52 per hour.
In other words, philosophy shouldn't be what keeps that child living in poverty.