The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Michigan:
An electoral two-step over the minimum wage

Mar 13, 2006

Without any advance notice, Republicans in the Michigan legislature pushed through an increase in the minimum wage. Currently set at the federal minimum of $5.15 an hour, it will go up in three steps, hitting $6.90 an hour next October, and eventually reaching $7.40 two years from now.

Apparently, they were trying to upstage the Democratic governor who had let it be known she would support a referendum calling for an increase in the minimum wage – hoping of course, to benefit in her election this November.

Pretty amusing to see these two parties so worried about an election that they compete with each other to raise the minimum wage – if it weren’t for the fact that both proposals are inadequate.

The minimum wage has been frozen for nine years at a meager $5.15 an hour, with workers falling further behind every one of those nine years.

In fact, minimum wage workers have regularly been falling behind ever since 1968. If the minimum wage in that year – $1.60 an hour – had simply kept up with inflation, it would be $8.87 an hour today.

Even at its high point, the minimum wage was not enough to live on. But it’s an outrage that in nearly 40 years, during which the capitalists accumulated untold trillions of dollars, the minimum wage has been offering less protection, not more.

Don’t let either of these parties pretend they are doing us a favor!