US candidates silent on minimum wage

by Project Censored

From presidential candidates to the local races, the focus of the United States’ 2012 elections was jobs and taxation, especially raising taxes on the rich, while the critical issue of raising the minimum wage was a non-issue in campaign speeches.

Finding a minimum-wage job means nothing if that wageā€“currently set by the federal government at $7.25 an hour, or $290 for a 40-hour weekā€“cannot support a family of three. In fact, there are no states in the US where the minimum wage will pay for a two-bedroom apartment. At no point since the ā€˜80s has the minimum wage been able to keep a family of three above the poverty level.

That most people donā€™t know this is the fault not only of politicians but of the media. The only salary stories that seem to get coverage is how much CEOs make, but these stories rarely reflect how much more the CEOs make than their employees, and how service industries such as restaurants pay employees even less than minimum wage.

Instead of focusing on these systemic problems, the media continue to castigate the Affordable Care Act for its claimed costs to small businesses. Coverage of the insufficient minimum wage tends to be left to the op-ed page, if itā€™s present at all.

References

Clawson, Laura. ā€œRaising the minimum wage: The right thing to do, and a winning issue, too.ā€ Daily Kos. Ā April 10, 2012. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/04/10/1082206/-Raising-the-minimum-wage-The-right-thing-to-do-and-a-winning-issue-too

Riley, Theresa. ā€œMaking the Rent on Minimum Wage.ā€ BillMoyers.com. April 2, 2012. http://billmoyers.com/2012/04/02/making-the-rent-on-minimum-wage/

ā€œHistory of the Federal Minimum Wage.ā€ FinancialRamblings.com. Sept. 17, 2012. http://www.financialramblings.com/archives/history-of-federal-minimum-wage-rate/

National Employment Law Project. ā€œRaise the Minimum Wage.ā€ Accessed Dec. 6, 2012. http://www.raisetheminimumwage.com

Additional Sources:Ā 

ā€œThe Federal Minimum Wage: Looking Back over Time.ā€ FiveCentNickel.com. July 25, 2008. http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2008/07/25/the-federal-minimum-wage-looking-back-over-time/

Condon, Bernard, and Christina Rexrode. ā€œAmerican CEOs hauled in record pay in 2011.ā€ Associated Press via MSNBC. May 25, 2012. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47565818/ns/business-us_business/t/american-ceos-hauled-record-pay

Student Researcher: Chris Ullery, Frostburg State University

Faculty Evaluator: Andy Duncan, Frostburg State University