“There are people at WalMart who make under $10 an hour. The CEO makes over $11,000 an hour,” said consumer advocate Ralph Nader. The average income in the U.S. is $40,584. The current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
Nader joined member of Congress as they reminded reporters that, since the minimum wage was last raised in 2007, a taxpayer funded multi-billion auto and bank bailout was voted through Congress. Advocates pushing to raise the minimum wage say it’s time for average Americans to receive help in the form of an increase in the minimum wage.
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), who is the chief sponsor of legislation to increase the wage to $10, reminded reporters of President Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign position to raised the minimum wage.
“The President of the United State said himself as a candidate he wanted to see the minimum wage raised to $9.50. It is now 2012. I’m calling on President Barack Obama to honor his campaign commitment of 2008 and stand behind legislation that raised the minimum wage for the American people,” Jackson said. He told reporters the minimum wage should be raised to $10. Jackson is offering legislation, The Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2012, to do just that.
“A rising tide does not lift all boats,” said Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who is a co-sponsor on Jackson’s legislation. Kucinich may have been referring to President Obama’s 2009 reference as he answered a question on high Black unemployment. “The President would win the election if he did this,” Kucinich added. A raise in the minimum wage would effect roughly 30 million people.
“It will raise the morale of all Americans to know that this Administration is doing everything they can,” Conyers said referring to his hopes the White House will support the a minimum wage increase.
Jackson, Nader and Conyers asserted that raising the minimum wage should be bi-partisan. Nader claimed that former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum and presumptive nominee Mitt Romney have expressed past support for a raise in the minimum wage.
“Raising the federal minimum wage involves 30 million workers. These are not just liberal workers or progressive workers, these are conservative workers and libertarian workers. This is a unifying issue in our country,” Nader said.
“They are not lazy they are not on welfare, they are not seeking state subsidies… at the end of a hard days work they deserve $400 dollars a week or $20,800 a year,” Jackson said. Since the Democrats are in the minority it is doubtful Jackson’s legislation woud move forward though he claims Repubican support is not out of the question.
LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE, Politic365 Chief Congressional Correspondent, publishes the blog Crewof42 on the Congressional Black Caucus. She is heard every Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET on WMCS 1290 in Milwaukee on Earl Ingram’s show The Evening Rush as well as on WPFW every Friday at 6:30 p.m. in Washington DC. You can e-mail her at [email protected] follow her on twitter at @crewof42.