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U.S. Congress Ignores Bill To Boost Minimum Wage
In June of 2006 the U.S. Congress decided to ignore a bill which would raise Minimum wage from the current, .15 (,712. annually) to .75 (,040. annually) This new amount would still be below poverty level for a family of four. The poverty level a family of four, living in the U.S.A. is ,660.00. Currently 1 out of every 7 Americans are trying to survive at, or below poverty level, That amounts to a staggering 42,800,000 Americans who are at, or below poverty level. (http://www.thebesthowtosite.com/Congressional_wages_vs_American_workers.htm)
The average wages for medium, and low income American workers has fallen since 1973. Wages have decreased by 18% for medium income wage earners from 1973 to 2003. While at the same time, the wages have decreased by 22% for the low income wage earners. In the same time period the high end wage earners have seen a 33% increase. Currently 1 in 7 American Citizens live at, or below poverty level. ( http://npc.umich.edu/publications/newsletter/fall05/ ).
Beginning in 1955 thru 1975, minimum wage stayed even with the poverty level. In 1976 things began to change. Gerald R Ford was the President, and we were in the middle of the Watergate Scandal. Between 1975 to present times, Minimum Wage has not kept up with inflation, and in 1980 Minimum wage was 30% below poverty level. This trend has continued to grow. In 1985 there was a 58% gap. In 1995 American workers earning minimum wage, were bringing home 76% less then those earning poverty level wages. To bring American workers wages back to the proper level, minimum wage would have to be raised to ,411 annually/.89 hourly.
Department Of Labor Figures Prove Congress Wrong
The main argument that Congress has against raising the minimum wage is that they believe that higher wages will increase unemployment. However, all one has to do is look at the current figures posted by the Department of Labor (taken from May, 2006.), and you will find that just the opposite is true.
Here are the current results from May, 2006:
1) 6 States have no Min Wage Laws, their current average unemployment is 5.36%*
2) 23 States use the Federal Min Wage Law, their current average unemployment is 5.5%*
3) 18 States have Min Wage set above the Federal min Wage, their current average Unemployment is 3.9%*
4) 2 States have Min Wage set below Federal Min Wage, their current average Unemployment rate is 4.3%*
(* Unemployment Statistics do not cover those who do not qualify for unemployment. If a person has 2 jobs, and they lose 1 job, they may not qualify for unemployment. )
(*You can find the chart at; http://www.thebesthowtosite.com/Min_wage_laws.htm )
U.S. Congressmen now earning .00 per hour
The U.S, Congress had no problem boosting their own wages in 2006. Despite the fact that we are spending billions fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Congress recently agreed to take another 3% increase from taxpayer dollars. To help fund this payraise Congress is looking into cutting out one third of the programs the U.S.A. currently funds. Currently the average Congressman makes a whopping 8,500.00 a year. That works out to just over .00 per hour. On top of the .00 hourly pay they also receive full coverage Health Care, and many other extra perks they have voted for themselves. The approximate total cost to American Taxpayers to pay for our Congress is well over 100 million dollars per year, just to cover their wages.
From 1975 to present time, The Salaries of the U.S. Congress has climbed 378%. While the cost of living has increased 351%. But the wages, for working Americans, has only increased a trivial 225%. Not even enough to keep up with inflation. At the current rate with jobs being outsourced out of this Country, and the lack of the American workers pay keeping up with inflation, it's estimated that by the year 2020, 40% of Americans will be living in poverty, and Congressmen will be earning well over 0,000.00 per year.
U.S. Congress Salary History
From 1789 to 1815 Congressmen received .00 daily, but only on the days they showed up. From 1815 to 1855 Congressmen received a modest salary, compared to the massive salaries of the Congressmen today. In 1855 their salaries increased to ,000 annually. Then in 1865 they gave themselves a 66% increase to ,000 annually. 6 years later they boosted their salaries another 50% to ,500 per year. The American People became so outraged by the greed that congressmen were showing, that congress was forced to take a 33% paycut, which lasted 34 years until 1907, at which time they gave themselves another 50% increase back to ,500 annually. They took two other paycuts, both of which were during the Great Depression, for a total of 15%. These are the only 3 times in American History that any Congressmen have ever taken salary cuts.
In 1935, Congress voted themselves a 19% increase, then they didn't receive another pay raise until 12 years later, when they gave themselves a 25% increase in 1947. In 1955 Congress gave themselves a whopping 80% increase. In the years 1987, and 1991 Congress received 2 raises per year. 3% + 20% in 1987, and 4% and 25% in 1991. Within the last 10 years Congress has raised their salaries 8 times for a total of 26%. While the lowest paid American Workers have only received 1 raise within the last 10 years.
In the last 25 years Congress has seen 18 salary increases totaling 277%. While the lowest paid American Workers have only seen 5 wage increases in 25 years totaling a mere 166%. In the last 25 years the cost of living has increased 251%. The Minimum Wage has not been increased since 1997. While Congressmen's pay has increased 8 out of the last 10 years. To see what Minimum Wage would be, if Congress had given American Workers the same amount of increases they took, go to: http://www.thebesthowtosite.com/what_minimum_wage_would_be.htm
To learn more about the history of Congressional Salaries go to http://www.thebesthowtosite.com/Congressional_wages_vs_American_workers.htm
About the Author: D. Pille is not a Scholar, or Economics Professor. He is just an average American, working for wages just above the poverty level, who can't afford health insurance, but who is just trying to survive. If your interested in making changes in the way this Country is being run down, please check out these groups, and become members. These groups will help keep you informed about what is going on in Washington, and what YOU can do to make a difference. There are many petitions you can sign, and you can donate money if possible. They can also inform you of protests you can join, as well as what candidates are best for the American Workers. It's not too late to make changes. Don't you owe it to your Children, and Grand Children? Shouldn't we make this Country better then it is? We can no longer afford to sit around and hope someone else takes care of things for us, and we cannot continue to believe "it will never happen to me". We have to stand up to our leaders and hold them accountable for what they are doing, and together, with one Loud American Voice we can do it. United We Stand!
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