Seven Minimum Wage Facts That Have Democrats Worried
Liberals try to make this into something more than what it is. Do you think you should have to pay $15 for a gallon of milk or a drive thru burger?
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With the midterm elections just over 300 days away, nervous Democrats reeling from the Obamacare debacle are hoping a big push to raise the minimum wage will be the silver bullet that will spare them from the historic losses they suffered in 2010.
Democrats and unions are busy working to get minimum wage initiatives on state ballots in the hopes of creating an electoral “minimum wage magnet” to attract low-income, minority, and union voters to the polls.
Seven minimum wage facts, however, may diminish Democrats’ high hopes.
1. Just 2.8% of American workers earn at or below the minimum wage.
The U.S. Department of Labor says 1.6 million people make the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Another 2 million earn below that rate, such as restaurant servers who make tips in addition to a lower base hourly wage which, according to U.S. News and World Report, “in many cases actually puts them significantly above the minimum wage in reality, if not officially.” That means in a nation of 317 million people, just 3.6 million (1.1%) make at or below the minimum wage. As a share of the U.S. workforce, just 2.8% of people working make minimum wage.
2. Half of all minimum wage workers are 16 to 24 years old.
According to the Department of Labor, “minimum wage workers tend to be young,” and “about half of those paid the Federal minimum wage or less” are below age 25. Many of these are students working while in school or teenagers with part-time or summer jobs. That means half of the people most affected by a minimum wage hike are among those least likely to show up at the polls to vote, especially in a midterm election year. Indeed, minimum wage workers who are 16 and 17 years old are not even legally eligible to vote.
3. Labor workers already make well above the minimum wage.
Democrats and unions hoping labor workers will be energized by a minimum wage bump will be sad to know that laborers in every single sector of what the government calls “production and nonsupervisory employees”—like manufacturing, construction, mining, retail, transportation, etc.—already earn well above the minimum wage. In fact, in November 2013, the government reported that the average hourly labor wage across all industries was $20.31—a figure nearly three times the federal minimum wage. And as the unions themselves boast, a union member’s annual salary is already $10,400 higher than a non-union worker.