In Spite of Republicans, 3.1 Million Americans Got an Increase In Their Wages Last Week

Chicago Raise the Min Wage Rally
An estimated 3.1 million Americans across the country started 2015 out with a real bang due to state and district increases in the minimum wage.

Read: Samuel Alito Is The Insurrectionist Threat To Democracy On The Supreme Court

Almost half of U.S. states and the District of Columbia passed measures to raised the minimum wage on January 1, 2015. Bloomberg reported:

Twenty states from Hawaii to Connecticut will see increases in minimum hourly pay after voters approved ballot measures and legislatures enacted laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In nine of the states, the lowest pay will rise because of indexing to inflation.

With the 2015 increases, about 60 percent of U.S. workers will be covered by minimum-wage laws that are higher than the federal level, said David Cooper, senior economic analyst at the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute.

“We’re going to reach a point where the federal minimum wage is only applying to a handful of states,” Cooper said. “At that point, the members of Congress in those states would be hard-pressed to think that they should leave their workers behind.”

Democratic House Leader Pelosi (D-CA) pointed out in a statement, “Last week, 3.1 million Americans across the country saw an increase in their wages… There are many more waiting to see bigger paychecks.  There are millions more pressuring their leaders to act.  That is why Democrats in Congress continue to remain determined to raise the minimum wage for all Americans.”

This is the very national agenda President Obama and Democrats have been pushing, with the President challenging Congress to follow his lead after he established a minimum wage for federal contractors of $10.10 an hour with the flourish of his executive pen.

But Republicans in Congress have been blocking attempts to raise the minimum wage. Faced with a Congress that was clearly not going to raise the minimum wage and Republicans announcing that a few dollars wasn’t going to help anyone, President Obama worked with state leaders around the country in order to help them raise the wage in regions so that they didn’t have to worry about losing business to neighboring states.

It was Republican Governor Scott Walker who happily condemned the greedy workers of America by announcing that $7.25 an hour is a “living wage”. Not one he has ever lived under, but that’s the Republican way when tamping down the common person from having a seat at the table. Yet, as RMuse pointed out yesterday:

According to research just last year, if the “federal minimum wage had kept pace with the earnings of the richest one-percent of income earners,” the hourly minimum wage would be $22.62 and that alone would “lift tens-of-millions of Americans out of poverty.”

The Democrats have been pushing to raise the minimum wage to $10.10, while Republicans have concern trolled the possible ramifications for corporations, because if ever there is a doubt, it’s best to let the working poor get the shaft rather than The Very Important Business Man. The Republican logic behind this is never explained, but emotions will be played. (See Republican former Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s Op-Ed this morning in which he manages to use the birth of babies to justify charter schools for the few and permitting crude oil exports – seriously.)

Republicans bury their obsequience to corporate America in faux concern for “jobs” (something they love to run on and promptly ignore), but there is no evidence that raising the minimum wage hurts the economy or kills jobs.

Happy New Year, workers of America. Some of you are getting a raise in spite of Republicans, while others suffer so that corporations don’t.


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