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Minimum wage

January 11, 2007

Yesterday the newly Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed a bill that would, in three increments over the next 26 months, raise the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour. Cheers to the Dems; it’s been far too long (10 years, in fact—and can you guess who was president when the last increase was put into effect?) since the minimum wage was raised.

Did you know

  • … That the first country to enact a minimum wage law was New Zealand, in 1896?
  • … That the U.S. federal minimum wage was established in 1938, at $0.25 an hour?
  • … That the “highest” the U.S. min wage has ever been was in 1968, at $1.60 an hour (= $9.12 an hour in 2005 dollars)?

The people at McDonald’s, the people at Dunkin’ Donuts, the people who serve you lunch, pump your gas, and so on deserve better. They work just as hard, if not harder, than the people on yearly salary, and with worse (or no) benefits, to boot. Congrats to the 110th Congress for getting started off on the right foot; now let’s hope the Senate—and of course the president—will see this much-deserved and overdue increase through.

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