Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) co-sponsored legislation Monday to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.80 over two years. The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2012 (S.3453) would then index the minimum wage to inflation to keep up with future cost-of-living increases.
"Lower income workers continue to get squeezed by stagnant wages and rising cost of living," said Senator Webb. "In the age of globalization and outsourcing, the average American worker is seeing a different life and a troubling future. While corporate profits are at an all-time high, wages and salaries are at an all-time low as a percentage of GDP. Raising the minimum wage is an important step toward addressing this disparity."
One of the first bills that Senator Webb co-sponsored in the Senate was The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, which established the first federal minimum wage increase in ten years. Senator Webb has supported a wide range of policies to promote economic fairness including raising tax rates on capital gains and dividends, taxing hedge fund managers' profits (carried interest) as ordinary earned income, and a one-time windfall profits tax for Wall Street banks that received bailout funds.
Key minimum wage facts:
* A full-time minimum wage earner makes about $15,080 per year, which is $4,010 below the federal poverty level for a three-person family;
* In 2011, 3.8 million workers earned wages at or below the federal minimum wage;
* The minimum wage is not currently tied to inflation, which results in an erosion of its value and purchasing power unless Congress repeatedly acts to establish an increase.