The overall federal minimum wage in current U.S. Dollars.
The overall federal minimum wage in current U.S. Dollars.  

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Still On Edge With Minimum Wage Increase
Published Friday, January 23rd, 2009

As a part of the emergency spending legislation of 2007 signed into effect by former President Bush, the three year-over-year increase in minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 will come to a conclusion this summer. This will end the longest span without a federal minimum increase. Enacted in 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act set the minimum wage at $.25 cents/hour. This legislation was set to enforce a minimum that workers could be paid which would lift the living standards of workers and families. Yet, according the a 2006 Congressional Research Service, linking the minimum wage to the dollar’s real purchasing power the wage would have reached $9.05 prior to the first of the three increases.

In 2008 federal poverty threshold for singles is $11,201; couples, $14,417; and for families of three, $16,841. Yet, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the thresholds reflect price changes in 2008; thus, they are approximately equal to the Census Bureau poverty thresholds for calendar year 2008. To put this into perspective, a person working at the minimum wage of  $7.25/hour at 40 hours a week will earn, before taxes, $14,872. Accordingly, if only one parent works at minimum wage, the family of 3 (2 parents and a child) will not meet the federal minimum for basic needs in 2009.

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