Rep. Dennis Kucinich
August 31, 2012
This Labor Day, President Obama has the opportunity to defend the economic rights of millions of Americans by supporting a substantial increase in the minimum wage.
Presently $7.25 per hour, the federal minimum wage is inadequate. The purchasing power of a worker earning minimum wage in 1968 is equal to $10-11 today. That means, at $7.25 an hour, workers today have less wage power than workers in 1968.
Consider that an individual working full-time and taking no vacation or sick time will earn only $1,160 per month. Housing costs alone in a neighborhood in my hometown of Cleveland can easily approach most of the income of a full-time employee earning minimum wage. What about food? What about transportation? What about health care? What about providing for children?
The minimum wage is not a living wage. Taxpayers, through financing a range of social programs, end up subsidizing corporations who do not pay a living wage. Every worker should be paid enough to meet the essential needs of his or her family. Economically secure families make stronger communities which in turn strengthens our nation. This Labor Day let's show that our nation values families by increasing the minimum wage to $10 an hour.