This upcoming Tuesday, the federal minimum wage will go up 70 cents, to $5.85/hour. With that increase, a person working full time - 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year - and earning the minimum wage will earn $12,168 a year. According to the AP article, other small increases are coming, too:
Minimum wage workers will get an additional 70-cent boost each summer for the next two years, ending in 2009 at $7.25 an hour. That comes to just above $15,000 yearly before taxes for a 52-week work year.
$15,000 a year is not enough to live on. Period. That's why we need to raise the minimum wage to $10/hour in that same time frame instead. We could even take a bit more time to make it easier on small businesses, but most small businesses don't see a significant impact coming from increases in the minimum wage anyway:
A PNC Economic Outlook survey done in April showed three out of four small- and middle-market business owners said raising the minimum wage would have little or no impact on their businesses. "In a tighter labor market, they already raised wages to be competitive," said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist for PNC Financial Services Group.
It's a good first step. And I think it's the first piece legislation the Democrats promised to push through during the 2006 campaign that has actually been passed. I wish they had a larger majority in the Senate...