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Power to the People?
Prior to last year’s legislation that required an increase in the minimum wage, workers steadily earned a measly $5.15 an hour since 1997. The first increase last year took the minimum wage up to $5.85 an hour, and this increase is set to raise it to $6.55 an hour. By July 2009, the wage will be set at $7.25 an hour. More money for workers is a great thing—but is this enough in the face of the rising cost of living just about everywhere?
Government officials state that this legislation comes at a time when workers struggle to make ends meet. The government says they’re helping the workers out. But, even at the new government rates, full-time workers are still earning below the poverty line. Don't believe it? Read Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America.
Businesses are also concerned with this new bill. Higher labor costs will make things more difficult for them and some economists fear now’s not the time to be forcing them to pay higher wages. With 70-80% of a businesses expenses coming in the form of labor, the extra cost is likely to be passed on to consumers, and a vicious cycle begins.
What do you think about raising the minimum wage? Will there ever be a way to get hardworking people the money they need? [CNN]