Tyler Too

Minimum Wage Hike Makes History

By Gus Tyler

  • Print
  • Share Share

For the last ten years there was no increase in the federal minimum age. When the Republicans took control of Congress in President Clinton’s second year in office they turned their back on any minimum-wage increase. Ironically, the Congress of the United States voted to increase its own stipend in line with the rise in the cost of living. But a similar adjustment in the minimum wage was denied.

On May 23, the House of Representatives approved an increase in the minimum wage by a vote of 348 to 73. In the Senate, the vote was 80 to 14. Which means that the majority of Republicans in both houses voted for the bill. That made history!

But, if the past is a guide to the future, we may expect that the wage hike will have far-reaching implications. Workers who were earning more than the minimum found themselves at the bottom of the totem poll. They demanded increases and generally got them. In cases where workers are represented by unions, contracts are renegotiated to reflect the change in the minimum.

None of this should come as a surprise to those who are acquainted with the history of the minimum wage. In 1938, in the second year of President Roosevelt’s term of office, the minimum wage was part of a “fair labor standards act.” The proposed minimum was 15 cents an hour. The going wage in the apparel industry was about five cents an hour. Employers complained that a 15-cent minimum would drive them into bankruptcy. But it didn’t. The minimum wage raised buying power across the land.

Does the present support of Republicans for a higher minimum wage mean that they have seen the light? Not really. The minimum wage provisions are part of a total national budget that includes continuing support for the war in Iraq.

Once more we are reminded that politics makes strange bedfellows!


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Economics

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.