Sen. Bernie Sanders is a cosponsor of Senate legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. More than 28 million workers nationwide – including 38,300 in Vermont – would benefit from raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. In a significant way, everyone would benefit because boosting the purchasing power of minimum-wage workers would stimulate the economy overall.
The minimum wage was last raised, to $7.25 an hour, in 2009. But the real value has been falling because of inflation. This year alone, the minimum wage is projected to lose 1.7 percent of its value. For a full-time worker, that $250 loss would be enough to buy groceries for a month or to pay a utility bill. If Congress fails to act, the real value of the minimum wage is projected to erode by 10 percent over the next five year. That’s a loss of more than $1,400 dollars of purchasing power for a full-time worker.
While many Republicans in Congress don’t believe in the concept of the minimum wage, the public overwhelmingly supports an increase. Just this week, 87 percent of voters in several Chicago precincts backed an advisory referendum calling for a $15-an-hour minimum wage, John Nichols wrote for The Nation.