"The minimum wage reached a peak of 56% of the average wage in 1950 and remained near 50% throughout the 1950s and 1960s. The decline in the minimum wage relative to the average wage since 1969 has resulted from continuous increases in average wages while Congress has raised the minimum wage only modestly and sporadically. In January 2006, the average hourly wage was $16.41. To reach 50% of the average wage — the level experienced in the 1950s and 1960s — the minimum wage (currently at $5.15) would need to be raised to $8.20."
We should be ashamed in this country that we're breaking that record. It's come down to a matter of fairness. Jerald Fishman, chief executive of Analog Device, just picked up a payday worth $144.7 million (that's not a typo). Compare that to the $10,712 dollars a full-time, minimum wage worker earns in one year.
If hard work is a virtue we value in this country - and we claim we do - then it's time to raise the minimum wage to a reasonable level. In addition, once the minimum wage has been raised, it should be annually adjusted to prevent future erosion. That's the only way to help curb rising inequality in the United States and provide a more adequate floor for low-wage workers.