The U.S. hasn’t raised its federal minimum wage of $7.25 since July 24, 2009, when “I Gotta Feeling” was the number one song in the country and Lebron James was still one year away from taking his talents to South Beach.
More than four years later, even Republicans agree it’s time for a bump.
According to a new Gallup poll released Monday, 58 percent of self-identified Republicans support raising the minimum wage to $9, compared to the 39 percent of them who are against it. That level of support still trails that of Democrats (91 percent) and Independents (76 percent). On the whole 76 percent of Americans are cool with all qualified workers making $9 per hour.
That Republican support for a $9 minimum wage dips dramatically, to 43 percent, if the wage must be pegged to inflation, a fear that is essentially exclusive to the party:
Why would anyone want to automatically increase the minimum wage as prices rise? Because the “real value” of the minimum wage -- as in, the purchasing power of it -- has been in steady decline over the last, oh, half-century or so:
A growing group of people now believe that even a $9 minimum wage isn’t enough. Among them is President Obama, who last week threw his weight behind a $10.10 minimum wage. "Here's the bottom line," Obama’s Secretary of Labor, Thomas E. Perez, said Friday. "No one who works a full time job should have to live in poverty."
Who’s not so into an increase? Well, this guy, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio):
And this guy, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who would have this pesky minimum wage thing abolished outright if he had his way:
Economists, for their part, were extremely divided over the idea that a $9 minimum idea would hurt low-skilled workers employment opportunities as recently as February.