Wednesday will be a day of action and protest for raising the minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour. If you are a low-wage worker making more than that, it would probably be less without the minimum wage law. This required federal minimum truly lifts all boats.
But not by much. Thanks to the tireless efforts of big business and their lobbyists, Congress is unwilling to hurt their true constituents by forcing them to pay what would still amount too little too late; the proposed Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 would raise the minimum wage to $8.20 per hour immediately and then take another two years to get all the way to $10.10.
Rev up your calculators, folks. $8.20 an hour comes out to an unbelievable $17,056 annually. McDonalds in a move so gutsy we just have to wonder if it was supposed to be a joke, created a sample budget in order to help their employees learn to budget. I wonder just how surprised these execs were at the outrage engendered by a budget that assumes the employee needs two jobs to survive. This also proves the point that there are a lot of people up the corporate ladder that are making way too much money than they are worth.
Now, when I googled "minimum wage," about the third site was MinimumWage.com. Oh ye trusting souls. As you read on that website, you will begin to feel the hairs on your arms prickle. You are reading about how an increase in the minimum wage cuts into the few cents businesses make on the dollar, and results in higher prices and less customer service, and of course fewer jobs.
But wait! If you haven't got the gist yet, the next paragraph authoritatively states that "award winning research" has proven that raising the minimum wage does not decrease poverty.
This is when you want to scroll back up to the About tab, where you will learn that this crock of nonsense is brought to you by the Employment Policies Institute .
Don't spend too much time there, though, because it is just too icky. Rather, take a look at its Wikipedia page. There you will find that this is yet another one of those evil right-wing "think tanks" that have taken on pretty much everything we hold sacred in our democracy.
Operated by Richard Berman of Berman and Associates in -- where else -- Washington, DC, this is just one of his many faces. Anti-union, anti-teacher, anti-science, anti-ACORN, and loads of other attack groups come under Berman's polluted umbrella.
So here we have, once again, come full circle. Pick an issue that is stalled in Congress, scratch the surface and you will find a sleazy corporate lobbyist who has made his fortune by spreading lies.
What's to be done? This first thing is to know that this is happening. When you talk to your Republican friends who seem to be voting against their own best interests, know that they have been fed carefully worded misinformation by groups like Berman and Associates and his Employment Policies Institute.
Then we need to spread the word.
Oh, and talk to everyone you know about the minimum wage, and how their wages won't go up if the minimum wage doesn't. And how small businesses can't hire and thrive if employees can't afford to buy their stuff. And how the rich have been getting richer because no one is forcing them to pay their workers a living wage.