The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

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

Minimum Wage Is Poverty Wage

Jan 7, 2013

Media outlets pushed the big news that ten states, covering a million workers, will raise their minimum wage on January 1, 2013 in order to take inflation into account. Washington state’s wage went up to $9.19 an hour, and Rhode Island’s went up 35 cents to $7.75 an hour, to name a couple.

So, are these workers in these states able to bask in the lap of luxury because they are getting another 15 to 35 cents? Hell, no! A gallon of gas, a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk can easily wipe out that $9.19 an hour. So what pays rent, transportation, insurance, utilities and clothes? Even the highest of the minimum wages is unacceptable, not to mention the $7.25 to $7.40 in most states.

The minimum wage–no matter which rate–is a poverty-level wage. In the richest country in the world, where bankers and CEOs make billions, the real issue is not how much to hike the minimum, but a social fight to demand that all wages should be good living wages.