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As I See It

It is past time to raise the minimum wage

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A lot of things change in 13 years. Certainly there have been many changes just in the past couple of years. But our laws don’t always keep up. Sunday marked the 13th anniversary of the last time Congress raised the federal minimum wage. It has been unchanged at $7.25 an hour since, despite the recent record inflation. $7.25 an hour wasn’t enough for people to get by on when it was last raised in 2009, and it certainly isn’t enough to get by on now. Many have called for a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour. I’m not sure that’s the right number, but it should be higher than it is. The 13 years since it was last raised is the longest Congress has gone without increasing the minimum wage since Congress established it in 1938. If the minimum wage risen at the same level as Wall Street bonuses, it would now be $61.75 per hour. Since the wage was last raised, Americans have seen a recession, historic inflation and massive changes in the cost of living. In return, they’ve gotten not higher wages but rather a minimum wage that is worth 27% less than it was in 2009. Americans shouldn’t have to wait 14 years before getting a raise in their minimum-wage job. Congress should review the minimum wage law every year or two to make sure those on the bottom of the pay scale make at least enough to afford a one-bedroom apartment.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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