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H.R. 2, The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 (54 comments ↓)

  • This item is from the 110th Congress (2007-2008) and is no longer current. Comments, voting, and wiki editing have been disabled, and the cost/savings estimate has been frozen.

H.R. 2 would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide for an increase in the Federal minimum wage.

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Justin-Scott

January 11, 2007, 8:21pm (report abuse)

I agree with this bill; but how about we re-open 9/11 and give the citizens of this country a real investigation for once; the Dean-Hamilton-Zelikow commission (9/11 commission report) was not independent and did not fully probe ALL of the possible theories as to why 9/11/01 occurred. As American citizens, we deserve a REAL, INDEPENDENT investigation. RE-OPEN 9/11 in '07!

Minimum Wage is bad

January 11, 2007, 8:27pm (report abuse)

There is a consensus of economists that minimum wage laws actually cut jobs and increase prices. That's why racist South African unions in the Apartheid era supported minimum wage for black workers.

Nick

January 13, 2007, 5:32pm (report abuse)

I have to say that this bill is good for now, but once again workers are being screwed in the long run. A provision should have been added that would automatically keep the minimum wage at $7.25 in 2009 real dollars, so workers on the minimum wage would at least get a COLA every year until congress decided to give them a raise again.

Linda Fontana

January 19, 2007, 5:41pm (report abuse)

This increase has been long in coming about. Our families are suffering in poverty!!!!

Teacher

January 19, 2007, 7:33pm (report abuse)

How about tying this to education. You graduate from high school you can get 7.25, you don't, you still get 5.15. Encourage kids to finish high school.

Nick

January 22, 2007, 12:39am (report abuse)

Teacher, the problem with that is that kids 16-18 make up a lot of minimum wage earners, and they generally haven't graduated high school yet. They need this raise to save for college since the government refuses to help with that.

mapman

January 25, 2007, 5:38pm (report abuse)

Justin-Scott -

Give the 9-11 rhetoric a decent burial. The terrorist action on our country happened because the terrorists don't know how to live in peace.

Sure US had some idea of a terrorist threat, but being predominantly a peaceful country, (we only attack those that have attacked us or countries that couldn't defend themselves)

NO one could have foreseen a plan by a bunch of crazy muslims to hijack 4 airplanes to kill innocents because we don't think that way.

The fault lies only in the hands of the people who follow a book that has no sense of honor or love of life.

Jim

February 8, 2007, 8:27pm (report abuse)

Good job with the hike. Bad job with funding the related small business tax relief.

Moving to Switzerland

February 8, 2007, 9:22pm (report abuse)

This all sounds like a good thing, but you are encouraging people to stay in low paying jobs with low skill requirements, because now all they have to do is wait for the Government to raise the minimum wage, all the while moving me along with millions of Americans that much closer to poverty.

This is going to cost all of us.

A 40% increase over a two year period is insane.

Jessi

February 9, 2007, 11:21am (report abuse)

What is insane is that the minimum wage has not increased in 10 years. Good thing gas prices didn't go up either right? http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/issueguides_minwage_minwagefacts

Since September 1997, the purchasing power of the minimum wage has deteriorated by 20%. After adjusting for inflation, the value of the minimum wage is at its lowest level since 1955.

Wage inequality has been increasing, in part, because of the declining real value of the minimum wage. Today, the minimum wage is 31% of the average hourly wage of American workers, the lowest level since the end of World War II.

We wouldn't need 40% increases if the situation were addressed more than once each decade.

Ash

February 12, 2007, 8:03pm (report abuse)

Michigan along with other states is still more than what the nation will be at in two years and we are suffering from a poor economy.

I don't know how other states managed to live on $5.25 except the cost of living is different and even by the time the nation does reach the $7.25 mark, the cost of living will once again be expensive.

Brad

February 14, 2007, 12:40pm (report abuse)

Personally, I am against raising minimum wage. True, getting paid $5 an hour sucks. The fact of the matter is when businesses are forced to pay people more, hours and jobs are lost to accommodate the budget shift. If you want this bill to help teenagers, remember that many are supported by their families and would only be hurt in the long run. Evidence:

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0210biz-teenwork0210.html

Matthew

February 14, 2007, 2:03pm (report abuse)

Increasing the minimum wage is a bad idea. By raising the minimum wage, employers (especially small-business) are able to hire less people. This means more unemployment. This means more poverty. It hurts the small-business employer, because he can't hire people at a profitable rate for himself. So it hurts employers and it hurts employees. The only people it helps are politicians who bought a couple votes from people who haven't been truly informed about the issue.

Let the market determine. If the market decrees that minimum wage should increase, so be it. A government decree on this can only bring hurt.

As a side note, if you think increasing it to $7.25 is good, why not set the minimum wage to $50 an hour and totally eliminate poverty altogether. Everybody would be rich.

John

February 21, 2007, 3:31pm (report abuse)

This is fine, but they need to set it up so that the minimum wage automatically increases with inflation each year. Does anyone know if this changes the minimum wage for tipped employee's, which is currently $2.13?

Moe

March 1, 2007, 10:28pm (report abuse)

@ Mapman

How naive is that, we are a peaceful country ?

9/11 was the result of us screwing over other country in the world, this is a classic case of what goes around, comes around.

Expat

March 7, 2007, 12:52am (report abuse)

I support raising the minimum wage for 2 reasons. One, it hasn't been raised in 10 years. Two, as inflation and interest rates have risen, wages have not. On a percentage scale, the current wage levels are the lowest they've been in recent history, going back at least to World War II, further if memory serves me correct. With the deck already stacked against most of us, why not do all we can to help people survive?

Ivy

April 6, 2007, 1:27am (report abuse)

Why does everyone believe it's the government's responsibility to ensure a "livable" wage for everyone? Why do supporters for the minimum wage believe that businesses are so horrible and untrustworthy? Why do they never think their arguments through?

Controlling businesses through government regulation is bad news for everyone. It hampers economic growth, increases corruption within the government, and ultimately harms the citizens who are supposed to be protected by such legislation.

Dan

April 9, 2007, 5:05pm (report abuse)

Anyone who thinks that our government can help people out with price controls is living in a fairy tale. Just because the government declares that the minimum wage is 7.25 isn't going to help society. Think about it: wages and prices are not decided by the government they are decided by the marketplace and each worker's individual productivity and skill set. If the government declared the minimum wage to be $10 would we all be better off? How about $20? or $40? or $100? It does not make logical sense to believe that the government can declare poverty illegal by decree. Minimum wage is for naive people who are easily manipulated by the politicians who promise us the world and end up not delivering a thing.

Gabe

April 15, 2007, 12:04am (report abuse)

Minimum wage is a joke. The government should not mandate what wage I make. We live in a country of free enterprise the market should determine wages not not some rich liberal senator on capital hill.

Aaron

April 23, 2007, 5:44am (report abuse)

The minimum wage helps a few workers while hurting many. Businesses will keep skilled workers while firing or reducing the hours of less skilled workers. Think about it -- if the government said that no car could be sold for less than $30,000, which manufacturer would be hurt more -- Ford or Mercedes Benz? One thing is for sure, a lot of people would be walking more.

If you are truly interested in helping workers, there is a better, more economically logical way. Oppose regulation which makes it harder to start a businesses. The more businesses there are competing for labor, the higher wages will rise, especially for low-skilled workers.

ReparateMe.com

April 23, 2007, 1:38pm (report abuse)

This is an outrage.

We should let the market dictate what wages should be, not the government.

People are in hot debate about this at http://www.reparateme.com and are going wild!

Kevin

April 23, 2007, 2:31pm (report abuse)

Why stop with raising the minimum wage? Why not pass a bill that gives EVERY worker a raise?

Sound stupid? That's because it is, and so is a law that sets any wage. All this will do is reduce the number of low paid jobs. Most of the people currently earning minimum wage will simply loose their job.

Nobody Special

April 23, 2007, 5:24pm (report abuse)

Have you read freakanomics? The author makes a great point (paraphrase): morals are what we want the world to be, economics is how it really is. While some believe the gov't has a moral imperative to improve the lives of the lowest income families, the fact is that economics should determine what happens to this segment. When you regulate economics you are more likely to do more damage than good, despite best intentions.

Joe J

April 24, 2007, 1:09am (report abuse)

If regulating a minimum wage really worked, we could set it at $50 an hour. It's easy to see that at $50 an hour it would shut business' down and knock people out of work, totally crippling the economy. The same thing happens at $7.25 an hour. It hurts business' and knocks people out of jobs. If you want better pay, learn a skill that pays more, and you can earn more. I make over $20 an hour, but when you get your pay increase, I'm taking a pay cut, because I have to pay more for everything. So it's just another gov't handout, no different than welfare. Take from those that have earned, and give to those who do nothing. Then tell those who have earned nothing that the "evil" republicans are going to take it from you, so vote for us socialist democrats. "We Care, and we'll take care of you"

Matt

April 24, 2007, 11:33pm (report abuse)

I think there should be a raise but not for blacks or mexicans.

fcdallas

April 25, 2007, 2:19pm (report abuse)

Nick: "...They need this ... for college since the government refuses to help with that." I worked and paid my way through college without government help, and I'm just average. Not the Gov's job.

NY student

April 25, 2007, 8:52pm (report abuse)

Try surviving on minimum wage for atleast a week, most can't do it. Raising the minimum wage sets the base for the country but it also raises the bar for the middle class. With the increase in productivity that our nation experiences, some of it should be passed along to the workers. Would any of you rather the standard of living in 3rd world countries where there are little or no wage regulations? I think not. And this has implications. For those who are educated with a bachelors will wonder why bother to settle for $12 an hour in an office in New York, when they can just go work at McDonalds in France for $15. Seriously, the Min wage has become a joke and those who are educated will leave to countries that have managed to preserve Social Security without privitizing, with higher pay, and universal healthcare. Why again would I devote the next 40 years of my life working here if I cant get a decent wage and might not even get Social Security?

CO Independent

April 26, 2007, 5:14pm (report abuse)

I paid my own way through college, and I spent 6 years earning considerably less than minimum wage in the Navy. Any artificial price or wage controls hurt the economy, and the public, but most people are too easily duped by promises of something for free, or appeals for altruism. Raising the minimum wage will cause inflation, and will most hurt those who are earning marginally above minimum wage.

Freddy Whatchamacallit

May 4, 2007, 5:26pm (report abuse)

I believe everyone should be paid minimum wage no matter what. If the person is owns their own business and has people work for them they should still pay that person minimum wage. no questions asked.

dangfitz

May 7, 2007, 9:26pm (report abuse)

The net effect is to remove the bottom rungs of the ladder, hurting those we wish to help by shutting them out of the jobs that would be their entry into the marketplace.

George

May 7, 2007, 9:31pm (report abuse)

The point is that a minimum wage already exists, it's just been neglected; if this had been done steadily and gradually year on year with inflation very few would be arguing against it.

Sharper

May 7, 2007, 11:00pm (report abuse)

What right does the government have to tell teenagers and others new to the workforce that they aren't allowed to accept a job they are willing to do, but doesn't pay what some Democrat Congressman thinks is enough? I don't see the power anywhere in the Constitution to forbid people from working for whatever wage they're willing to work for.

This law doesn't set a minimum wage level that people must be paid, it sets a minimum wage level that people aren't allowed to work for less.

They're forbidding people from getting a job who otherwise would be able to work and earn money if an employer could pay them what is economically feasible for their current skill and knowledge level.

Conor

May 7, 2007, 11:12pm (report abuse)

Prove a minimum wage increase causes an increase in inflation, job loss, and hurts the poor. Put up or shut up.

Logic

May 8, 2007, 12:23am (report abuse)

Sharper: Money is simply a representation of work done. Right now, the representation of minimum work done is ~$5 an hour. That wage is reflected in the price of all goods, since all goods require work to produce them. The absolute minimum you can charge for a good that takes 1 hour to produce is $5, (and realistically, you'd be taking a loss, but we'll ignore other costs for now). If wages go up to $7, then the price of goods go up proportionally to compensate. If you still charge $5 for the item that took 1 hour to produce at $7/hr, then you're losing $2 per item. The prices MUST go up, therefore the "extra money" will still buy the same amount of goods.

Even for items which do not require labor to produce, like real estate, if everyone suddenly has $500,000 to spend instead of $100,000, then the prices will go up accordingly. The only way to make "more" money is to make more than other people are making.

Logic

May 8, 2007, 12:24am (report abuse)

Oops, meant to direct my comment to Conor.

Conor

May 8, 2007, 12:48am (report abuse)

Logic:

You're not taking into account the markup of goods once they are priced the market (most important in this case is profit) and the effect of competition on prices. A price isn't simply what it costs to make the goods.

Also, there is ten years worth of inflation between the minimum wage and the price of goods right now since the minimum wage hasn't increased in that much time. And considering the bloat at the top of the income ladder, it's about time a little of that was redirected. Though raising the minimum wage isn't a foolproof method.

All in all, it's a little reductionistic to suggest the market works in such a mechanical manner. And if we follow your logic the increase in wealth should lead to an increase in demand, then the usual overcompensation of supply, which means prices will eventually fall...

Noname

May 8, 2007, 4:43pm (report abuse)

Teacher: I think that would just encourage employers to hire high-school dropouts instead. Given a choice, employers will usually go with the cheaper employee (illegal immigrant vs. citizen). That would lower the opportunities for those who actually finished high-school, it would actually be easier for dropouts to get a job.

Ed

May 8, 2007, 9:31pm (report abuse)

People say, "let the market decide a fair wage.” Sadly, with Scrooges on every street corner, for many it's not a choice of good job vs. better job, it's poor job vs. no job. The few good opportunities that do exist have far more applicants than positions.

If the minimum wage didn't exist, many would be paid obscenely low wages that couldn't pay for anything above the barest of essentials, and would likely die at an early age. Most companies would go under since the average Joe couldn't afford to buy the goods or services they sell. Basically, we would become a 2nd world country where the only successful businesses would be Chinese importers like Walmart.

The only alternative to the economic apocalypse would be to sure up the poor with tax credits. Of course that money will have to come from the taxes paid by the middle and upper classes. So would you rather pay out to an inefficient, bureaucratic machine, or just pay the workers directly?

DM

May 8, 2007, 10:34pm (report abuse)

I am opposed to raising the minimum wage. My thought process is this...

If the job doesn't pay well, no one will want that job anyway. The business will have to raise the wage to get employees.

If that is the only job you can get, too bad so sad. Get an education, learn a new skill.

Raising the minimum wage, will make everything more expensive and bring more people down rather than bringing anyone up.

If you are an adult making minimum wage, I suggest you look in the mirror and ask yourself what you have been doing with your life.

A Voice

May 9, 2007, 1:46am (report abuse)

I come from the stand point of a person in the service industry, and I am not sure how this will affect my pay increase ( $2.13 hour + the crummy tips you f**kers leave ;], but I do know that this increase will make companies fire people to cut back on cost. We really don't need a law passed to be able to put food on the table or a roof over our heads, we need companies to simply give us a greater share of the profits of our labors, even if those hours we spend are toward the dreams of someone else. I think that Unionizing is the best way to go, for every skill, every position. Especially now that a BA or BS doesn't really take you that far in today's USA. Trade Skills and Sales seem to offer the most advancement for your time.

Choder

May 9, 2007, 2:40pm (report abuse)

Minimum Wage is just that, the minimum an employee should get paid. But we're missing the point of minimum wage jobs. They're not jobs for working families to support their entire household on, they are jobs intended for high school/college age people who need income and can work a crap job.

If you're supporting your family, yes minimum wage is too low, but you should reconsider why your trying to support a family by flipping burgers, and address that problem seperatly from raising minimum wage, and in turn the cost of living for those who make minimum wage.

Tim

May 9, 2007, 4:05pm (report abuse)

Should we institute a price ceiling on gasoline again while we're at it? That worked really well for us in the 70s.

Let the market decide how much an employee is worth and not the government pulling arbitrary numbers out of a hat so politicians can look good to their constituency.

Realist

May 9, 2007, 4:17pm (report abuse)

Minimum Wage increases is a horrid idea. What most Minimum wage earners dont seem to understand is that the cost increase to the employer will ultimately be placed right back on the worker. Every time a minum wage increase is done the cost for services also increase, do you think Mcdonald's is going to just eat the profit loss from having this increase. There going to raise the basic prices for goods made by these employees to maintain the profit margin. Effectively doing nothing but creating artificial inflation. Congress should reexamine higher education incentives for these workers.

Give a man a fish, feed him for a day.

Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.

Brad

May 9, 2007, 4:24pm (report abuse)

For those who think it's not a good idea, would they support lowering minimum wage?

Sure, that'd help out the economy and business at the cost of starving hundreds of thousands of families.

But yeah, $7.25 is WAY too much to ask for. Are you kidding me? I like this quote:

"What most Minimum wage earners dont seem to understand..."

They and their children understand poverty. Higher education? When are they supposed to attend school between their three jobs to support their children?

Any business that can't afford $7.25 needs to be OUT of business.

Give a man a fish while he's starving, and you save his life.

Teach a man to fish while he's starving, and he'll die before he learns.

Tim

May 9, 2007, 5:47pm (report abuse)

"Any business that can't afford $7.25 needs to be OUT of business."

who are you to say what a business can and cannot handle regarding their costs?

I don't have the data on me, but pretty much every economist you find will say that artificial price floors are a bad idea. There might be people starving at $5.50 an hour but there will be just as many, if not more at $7.25 because they won't have a job at all.

On top of that, what happens when all these bad businesses that you're referring to go out of business? Oh that's right, all those jobs that they had created are lost and those employees have to hope they can find a job somewhere else.

Nick

May 9, 2007, 5:57pm (report abuse)

Minimum wage increase is the wrong way to help poor families. This is because the benefit is diluted by recipients who don't need it, such as kids from wealthier families who work part-time after school, etc.

A better way to do this would be to take the same ammount of funds and target it more accurately through expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Phil

May 9, 2007, 7:04pm (report abuse)

Brad...

It takes a couple of weeks to starve for lack of food. If you can't learn to fish in that amount of time, you should probably be on social security. My wife, three kids and I practically lived off of the scholarships and grants she received while she was attending the community college. She got around $2,000 / semester in grants for attending full time, even while I was making over $20,000 / year.

Jeff

May 10, 2007, 2:25am (report abuse)

The minimum wage should be tied to the poverty threshold used to determine eligibility to receive foodstamps. I can't see how we can tolerate a minimum wage structure that would have a full-time employee earning such a small amount that would *still* qualify for financial assistance. And don't get me started regarding health care!

Jenn

May 10, 2007, 1:40pm (report abuse)

Granted, I base this strictly on anecdotal evidence and I have no hard statistics to back this up, but if this country wants to end welfare, they will raise the minimum wage. Making $6.50 an hour is barely enough to support an individual - let alone a family. When people see no option for bettering their situation, they will simply stop trying - hence the epidemic of high school dropouts, drug abuse, single parenthood, and alcoholism. Why struggle making $5 an hour in a thankless job when the government will pay you to have kids and stay home with them? Raising the minimum wage would stop the federal subsidy of these social scourges (which welfare effectively is). Raising the minimum wage will reduce welfare payments and increase self-sufficiency. I say this as someone who just graduated from college (after working a series of low-wage jobs for 4 years), and observing firsthand the poverty and hopelessness of many.

Jean

June 5, 2007, 1:18pm (report abuse)

Those receiving an > will pay more in federal income tax, McDonalds, Walmart will increase prices and have fewer "sales". The net result is to increase the poverty level via increased tax base. $5.25 40 hours 52 weeks +$10920 per year 10% tax rate. Overtime at that base is 10% tax rate to $15000 annual income. At the $7.25 rate, 40 hours per 52 weeks is $15,080 so all overtime in the new plan is 15% taxed, higher prices, fewer "sales" higher taxes is bad. Now if that person has "2" jobs, no overtime taxed at the 15% rate above $15,000 the actual poverty rate increases. government controls is a method to get more tax dollars, > poverty and get votes from those who got hurt and didn't know it.

Cherie

October 18, 2007, 2:01pm (report abuse)

For the guy who was in the Navy. If you lived on base you had no rent expense, and your food was free on base as well. Also, your medical needs and Rx were free too...should I say more?

ZacharyK

May 13, 2008, 8:03am (report abuse)

One of the underappreciated reasons why minimum wage laws are advocated in the United States is that some union contracts stipulate a minimum pay rate at some multiple of the established federal minimum wage. Hence, as the federal minimum wage increases, union workers earning at rates much higher than the minimum wage experience even greater wage increases. For a policy objective proposed to help the poor (even though many minimum wage earners are actually teenagers), the primary benefactors are members of heavily Democratic unions.

TOM SCOGGINS

August 28, 2008, 5:23am (report abuse)

READ THE BOOK "WHO STOLE THE FISHPOND" FOR A FREE (LIMITED) COPY WRITE 1524 N.CHURCH STREET, BURLINGTON , N. C. 27217 YOU WILL BE CONVINCED ONCE AND FOR ALL.

Ron Baker

December 11, 2008, 7:35pm (report abuse)

I strongly recommend the book mentioned at the bottom of this blog: Who Stole the Fish Pond. It explains in simple language about the government setting wages or prices.

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