Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader Says President Obama’s $9 Minimum Wage by 2015 Is Far Too Little and Too Late

February 13, 2013


Ralph Nader made clear on Wednesday that President Obama’s proposal, in his State of the Union address, to increase the minimum wage to $9 per hour by 2015 is too little, too late.

“Thirty million workers are making less today than they did in 1968, adjusted for inflation!” said Nader. “Is $9 per hour the best that this President can come up with? They should be making at least $10.50 per hour to catch up with 1968.” That was the message Nader and other worker advocates took in demonstrations yesterday before the headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO (see here).

If the minimum wage had simply kept pace with inflation in the past 45 years, today it would be $10.56 per hour instead of the current federal minimum wage of $7.25. In about the same time that the minimum wage has lost nearly 33 percent of its value, the average value of CEO compensation has skyrocketed over 900 percent according to an annual Forbes survey.

“On the campaign trail in 2008, President Obama pledged to increase the minimum wage to $9.50 per hour by 2011. What changed?” asked Nader. “Are millions of the same hard-working Americans in 2015 worth 50 cents less per Obama-hour than they were in 2008?”

Despite his campaign pledge, in President Obama’s first term, not a whisper came from the White House on the minimum wage and 2011 came and went.

“Over four years has passed between when President Obama first suggested increasing the minimum wage and when he finally uttered a peep about it in his State of the Union address last night, he undercut his own 2008 pledge! The President has finally come back to the table on the issue, but he can, should, and needs to do better than $9 per hour by 2015 for many millions of hard-pressed, hard-working Americans and their children,” Nader concluded.

Poll after poll has shown that 70 percent of the American people support increasing the minimum wage to keep up with inflation. Even some Republicans have supported raising the minimum wage. Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney both supported raising the minimum wage to keep up with inflation – at least until Mitt Romney flip-flopped on the issue during the election.

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