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A 2005 Capitol Hill rally in support of raising the minimum wage. (AP file photo)

Ask candidates about the minimum wage

ASK THIS | April 26, 2006

It takes nearly two minimum-wage workers to earn what one earned in 1968. And then there’s Lee Raymond, who made $144,000 a day.

---One of an occasional series---

By Morton Mintz

Q. (For President Bush:) Do you think $5.15 an hour is a fair or unfair wage in 2006, and if you think it's unfair, why have you not sought to increase it?

Q. (For House and Senate candidates:) Do you think $5.15 an hour is a fair or unfair wage in 2006, and if you think it's unfair, will you pledge to increase it? (For incumbents seeking re-election:) Do you think $5.15 an hour is a fair or unfair wage in 2006, and if you think it's unfair, what did you do to increase it?

Holly Sklar, co-author of “Raise the Floor: Wages and Policies That Work for All of Us,” a new book on the minimum wage, says the minimum wage buys less today than it did in 1951 – more than a half-century ago – and that "at today's $5.15 an hour, it takes nearly two minimum-wage workers to earn what one made 38 years ago."

In April 2006, when gasoline prices soared to over $3 a gallon, it was reported that ExxonMobil's Lee R. Raymond had received $144,573 for each day of the 13 years he'd led the oil company, according to an analysis done by independent compensation consultant Brian Foley for the New York Times. By the time Raymond retired as chairman and CEO at the end of 2005 he'd received more than $686 million.

Also in April – a time when 46 million Americans have no health insurance – the Wall Street Journal disclosed that UnitedHealth Group Chief Executive Officer William W. McGuire received $1.6 billion in unrealized gains via UnitedHealth stock options.

Meanwhile, the minimum wage is 33% of the average hourly wage of American workers, the lowest level since 1949.

There May Be Another Option Instead Of Increasing Minimum Wage
Posted by Randolph Ferrantino - A Private Person From http://slantedfacts.forumup.org/ ISO Logical Solutions
04/26/2006, 06:35 PM

I think this idea may benefit more than a meager wage increase would.

I propose a "business incentive" to increase full time employee wages in increments of $1.00 per hour applicable quarterly (potential wage increase of as much as $4.00 an hour in one full year).

The reason is that it will still allow kids that have no or minimal work experience to earn extra money & experience in the summer.

Several of the benefits are:

1 - it gives an employer a beneficial reason to provide a better income by gaining the incentive offered quarterly.

2 - it will motivate employee's to try to do more for the work place.

3 - it will help people earn better things for themselves (auto's, tools, homes, things for their kids, etc.)

4 - it will create more jobs in sales, shipping/warehousing, & service sectors.

5 - it will generate more state & federal tax revenue's

When you consider all of the tax breaks and perks states offer to entice new business into an area - this may be a better motivator for them since they can create a great deal in incentives as well as capitalize on a motivated work force.

It seems that this would be a Win - Win situation for the whole of society!

At the risk of sounding callous - it would reward those who try and not become another entitlement program on the back of those who have risked their OWN money to become a business owner.

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