Currently, the federal minimum wage sits at $5.15 per hour. H.R. 2 raises the federal minimum wage to $7.25 per hour over 26 months. Sixty days after the President signs the bill into law, the federal minimum wage will rise to $5.85. A year following, the federal minimum wage will rise to $6.55. A year following that, the federal minimum wage will rise to $7.25. There are twenty-one states that have their state minimum wage below this level, and will be forced to comply with the new dollar amount.
For some history about the minimum wage, check out this Wikipedia entry.
America's minimum wage had its highest purchasing value ever in 1968, "when it was $1.60/hour ($9.12 in 2005 dollars)." Of course, we all know that the minimum wage hasn't had that much value in a long time -- the rate has been stuck at $5.15 since 1997, the longest stretch without an increase.
So, who will a minimum wage increase help?
Our research shows that 5.6 million low-wage workers have earnings that place them in the affected range and thus would directly benefit from the increase. These workers are mostly adults (70 percent are 20 or older; half are 26 or up). About 40 percent of them work full time, and a similar share work more than 20 hours per week.
While many are not officially poor, their incomes typically place them within the bottom two-fifths of the income scale (less than $36,000).
Helping millions of American workers earn more money to support their families sounds like a good thing, right? Well, Mike Rogers doesn't think so. He voted no on H.R. 2 yesterday afternoon.
The State of Michigan already voted to increase the minimum wage last year (up to $7.40/hr by July 2008), but yesterday's vote clearly shows that Mike Rogers thinks this was a bad idea.
Mike Rogers says he works "for you", but if he truly valued the work of his constituents, he would've voted to support an increase in the federal minimum wage.