Forty years ago, CEOs earned $24 for each $1 workers got; in 2004, CEOs got $431 for every worker dollar. In 2004, total CEO compensation averaged $12 million, according to the Institute for Policy Studies.
You Senators and Represenatives make $165,200 per year and average an estimated 1.9 percent yearly cost-of-living increase.
What about minimum wage earners? Minimum wage has been stuck at $5.15 an hour since 1997. At $5.15 per hour, a person working full-time will earn just $10,700 annually. Adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage is now worth less than one-third of the average wage in the U.S. – its lowest share since 1949, when the minimum wage was worth more than half of the average wage. Research has shown that 7.3 million people would benefit from raising the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour, including 1.8 million parents with children under the age of 18.
Nearly three-quarters of minimum wage workers are over the age of 20 and many can’t afford to buy food. In 2004, 23 million people used food stamps, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, up from 17 million in 2000.
Every year, the Democrats vote to raise minimum wage, while the Republicans vote to keep it at $5.15.
This week, the Democrats will force a debate and a vote on raising minimum wage to $7.25 an hour over two years. This issue alone could get the working poor to the polls. The majority of the minimum wage earners I met on my six-month road trip didn’t even know that the government has the power to raise their wages. The problem is, the ‘liberal media’ doesn’t care about minimum wage and barely gives it any coverage.
“I challenge every Republican member of Congress who has spoken in favor of a minimum wage increase but who for years has allowed the Republican leadership to block House action to sign on to our petition,” said Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee. “It is immoral to tell working Americans that they should try to provide for their families’ needs while earning only $5.15 per hour. Democrats respect the value of work, and we have fought for years to try to ensure that the minimum wage keep pace with inflation and is updated periodically. American workers have earned it.”