Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) and Ralph Nader introduced a bill today to hike the federal minimum wage up to $10 per hour.
Decrying that the minimum wage has been $7.25 since 2007, the Catching Up To 1968 Act of 2012 contends that the purchasing power of the minimum wage in 1968 would equal about $11 per hour today.
The bill would hike the minimum wage within 60 days of enactment instead of by gradual increase. One year after that takes effect, and each year thereafter, the minimum wage would be indexed in proportion to the increase in the Consumer Price Index. Workers basing the majority of their salary on tips would receive 70 percent of the minimum wage when the law takes effect, but in no case less than $5.50 an hour, adjusted annually as necessary thereafter.
“Most economists that I’ve talked with said there was no economic reason to increase it incrementally over a couple of years,” Jackson said in a statement announcing the bill.
Jackson and Nader formally unveiled the legislation in a press conference outside the Capitol this morning.
Jackson said the bill “would annually pump tens of billions of dollars into greater consumer (or aggregate) demand by low-income families in this depressed economy.”
“Research has shown no job loss resulting from reasonable minimum wage increases, even when the economy is struggling,” he added.
“In conclusion, I want to especially thank Ralph Nader for encouraging me to introduce this legislation,” Jackson said. “While he has not been able to secure the presidency, he has been right on the issues and for his vast contributions to the betterment of our country, every American should be grateful.”
“It is about gender and racial inequality,” Nader said. “Nearly two thirds of all workers being paid at or below the federal minimum wage are women. Black and Hispanic workers are also disproportionately impacted: Black workers make up 11.5 percent of the civilian labor force, but 15 percent of minimum wage workers. Hispanic workers make up 15 percent of the civilian labor force, but nearly 19 percent of the minimum wage workers. Millions of other workers are also laboring in this category between $7.25 and $10.00.”