Dear Sen. Rubio,
Over the past year, there have been advances in wages for workers. Many cities and states have increased their minimum wages providing millions of impoverished of Americans with a long-overdue raise. But at the federal level, progress is nonexistent. Because of party infighting, futile “Obamacare” repeal efforts and corporate lobbying, there has been too little focus on long-needed relief for suffering Americans.
You have spent a great deal of time talking wanting to expand the American Dream for the “New American Century.” You must work to make sure that the American Dream doesn’t turn into the American Nightmare of penury. One of the best ways to do that would be to come out in favor of a strong federal minimum wage. Adjusted for inflation, the federal minimum wage in 1968 would amount to about $11 per hour, significantly above the current $7.25 an hour. Does that seem fair when the CEO of Walmart makes over $12,000 an hour and lavish benefits?
Here are some facts about raising the minimum wage for you to consider:
- You can’t survive on $7.25. A worker making the federal minimum earns approximately $15,000 gross a year, far below the $24,000 poverty threshold for a family of four.
- The current minimum wage stifles economic growth. Since 1968, the minimum wage has lost one-third of its purchasing power, meaning that working Americans have far less than they need to spend on necessities
- A higher minimum wage will lead to fewer people on welfare: A 2014 study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would lead to a savings of $7.6 billion annually in social welfare programs.
- Raising the minimum wage is popular. According to a poll by Hart Research 75% of all Americans support a minimum wage hike, including 53% of all Republicans. And a separate poll by the American Sustainable Business Council found that 61% of small business owners support raising the minimum wage.
- Raising the minimum wage helps the economy. Studies show that raising the minimum wage to just $10.10 would have no adverse effect on the economy. In fact, The Economic Policy Institute predicts a $32.6 billion stimulus effect annually.
Even conservatives such as Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, author Phyllis Schlafly, conservative activist Ron Unz, and presidential candidates Ben Carson, John Kasich and Rick Santorum support raising the minimum wage.
Other supporters include Craig Jelinek, the CEO of Costco, who said a higher minimum wage, “…puts more money back into the economy and creates a healthier country. It’s really that simple.” Costco pays their employees on average $20 an hour, including benefits.
Ikea, the popular home furniture store, announced last summer that they would pay their employees a minimum of $10 an hour, and adjust wages for stores in communities with higher costs of living. At the store in College Park, MD, just outside of Washington, the starting wage will be $14.54 an hour next year.
Senator, you and the other Republican should take strides to help the people you hope to represent. By supporting an increase in the minimum wage, you can improve the economy and reduce spending by the government. Increasing the minimum wage is a left-right issue worth working on for all Americans. What’s your position?
Visit timeforaraise.org for more information.