gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024SOURCE: U.S. Government Publishing Office
The only instances in world history when minimum wages have been set at the economic levels that will prevail in California and New York have been Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. In these cases, “good politics” turned out to be disastrous policy.
Raise the Wage Act is a feel good bill, not an effective way to reduce poverty or create jobs for low-skilled workers. Removing barriers to competition and entrepreneurship, lowering taxes on labor and capital, improving educational opportunities, and lowering inner-city crime would do more to help the poor than rigging the price of labor and making promises that can’t be kept.
Today, one in every three jobholders — 41.7 million people — earns under $12 per hour, which is just above the poverty line for a family of four. It is unconscionable that our federal minimum wage is so low that working people who put in an honest day’s work are unable to sustain themselves.
Today’s low-wage workers earn less per hour than their counterparts did 50 years ago. Employers that pay low wages force their workers to turn to safety-net programs for support, at significant cost to taxpayers - safety-net benefits for low-wage workers and their families make up more than half of spending on Medicaid, welfare (TANF), food stamps (SNAP), and the earned income tax credit, and cost federal and state taxpayers more than $150 billion a year.
We’re advocating for Congress to pass the Raise the Wage Act, which would give 30 percent of working women in the United States a raise. This bill would raise the federal minimum wage to $12.00 per hour by 2020, index it to the median wage, and increase the tipped minimum wage until it’s the same as the regular minimum wage.
...the bill would mean more than 41 million workers would get an average raise of nearly $3,500 by 2024, including 1 in 3 working women! For these women, a $15 minimum wage may mean they don’t have to choose between their health needs and their rent that month, between birth control and trying to put away some money for savings, between paying for their doctor’s appointment or their kid’s appointment.
Thanks to congressional inaction, the purchasing power of the minimum wage has been eroded by inflation. It now stands at 25 percent less than its peak in 1968. We can afford to pay the lowest-paid worker in America today more than what her counterpart earned half a century ago. Gradually raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2024 help make up for lost ground, directly or indirectly lifting wages for 41.5 million workers—29.2 percent of the wage-earning workforce.
It is unconscionable that our federal minimum wage is so low that working people who put in an honest day’s work are unable to sustain themselves and their families while the wealthy and big corporations continue to do better and better.
To show our appreciation for mothers (and all hardworking people) this year, Congress should pass the Raise the Wage Act. Nearly a third of working mothers (7.6 million) would receive a raise and almost half of all working single mothers (3.6 million) would receive a raise. Beginning in 2025, the minimum wage would also be indexed to median wages so that each year, the minimum wage would automatically be adjusted based on wage growth.
We welcome the introduction of the Raise the Wage Act, which would raise the federal minimum wage in eight steps to $15 an hour by 2024, gradually eliminate the tipped minimum wage, and sunset the ability of employers to pay working people with a disability a subminimum wage. Working people are long overdue for a raise, and the Raise the Wage Act is an important step in combatting the troubling inequality that continues to rise in our nation, hitting communities of color among the hardest.
This vital legislation will increase the federal minimum wage to $15.00 by 2024 by first raising it to $9.25 this year gradually until it reaches $15.00 in 2024. The bill will gradually eliminate the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers which has been $2.13 since 1991 as well as the sub-minimum wage for workers under the age of 20 and disabled workers.
The following is a statement by Emily Martin, Vice President for Workplace Justice at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC):
“It’s outrageous that the minimum wage hasn’t budged in nearly a decade. Nearly two of every three minimum wage workers are women. A woman working full-time at the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour earns just $14,500 and falls thousands of dollars below the poverty line if she has children to support. And the poverty rate for tipped workers—who haven’t seen a raise in their $2.13 minimum cash wage for more than 25 years—is double the rate for all workers. Raising the minimum wage to $15 would end poverty-level wages and give millions of women and the families who depend on their earnings a more secure future. It’s high time for America to make this a reality.”
Pass the Raise the Wage Act and create a long-term solution that lifts American workers and our economy today and in the long term. Please stand with us by supporting the Raise the Wage Act, which raises the federal minimum wage to $12 by 2020, indexes the minimum wage to increases in the median wage so that the minimum wage maintains its value for low-wage workers, and gradually eliminates the tipped-industry loophole.
In the eight years since the federal minimum wage was last raised, the buying power of a minimum-wage paycheck has fallen 10 percent due to inflation—and this erosion is not even half of the decline in the value that has taken place since the late 1960s.
“Targeting $15 by 2024 is a bold proposal, but it is absolutely necessary—otherwise the minimum wage will never provide a decent wage and overcome the many decades where it rose modestly or not at all.” said EPI President Lawrence Mishel.
For a directly affected worker who works all year, this equals a $5,100 increase in annual wage income, a raise of 31.3 percent.