Three years after last increase, business group calls for U.S. minimum wage hike

July 24, 2012

Bucking the usual tune of private sector lobbyists, a group called Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is calling for a hike in the minimum wage, saying it would boost business and the economy.

Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is a project of Business for Shared Prosperity, which describes itself as a national network of “forward thinking” business owners and executives.

The last step of a three-step federal minimum wage increase went into effect on July 24, 2009. The $7.25 an hour current minimum wage comes to just $15,080 a year for full-time work, below the poverty line.

Said the business group in support of a wage hike:

That hourly wage gives today’s minimum wage workers far less buying power than their counterparts did in 1968 when the minimum wage was at its highest value of $10.55 adjusted for inflation.

Proposals currently exist in Congress to raise the minimum wage to $9.80 by 2014 in three modest annual steps and then adjust it for the cost of living. According to Lew Prince, managing partner of Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis, Missouri:

Raising the minimum wage is a really efficient way to circulate money in the economy from the bottom up where it can have the most impact in alleviating hardship, boosting demand at businesses and decreasing the strain on our public safety net from poverty wages.

Businesses deal with higher energy, rent and transportation costs, yet some expect to keep the minimum wage unchanged year after year, said David Bolotsky, founder and CEO of UncommonGoods in Brooklyn, New York.

That traps workers in poverty and undermines our economy.

Business for a Fair Minimum Wage members supported the last minimum wage increase and believes another one is overdue, said spokesman Bob Keener.

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