|Maximizing and Minimizing the Minimum Wage|
|Key Words||Minimum Wage, Poverty, Tax Cut|
The U.S. Senate has voted down a bill that would have raised the minimum wage by 50 cents in January 1999 and another 50 cents a year later. The proponent of the bill, Senator Kennedy, argued that a higher minimum wage would have helped the 12 million full-time workers who make only $10,700. The poverty level for a family of three is $13,600.
Most Republicans, and business lobbyists such as that of the National Restaurant Association, were opposed to the bill. They argued it was too much too soon: combined with the 1996 increase, it would have increased the minimum wage by 45 percent in less than five years. It would have been harder to hire unskilled and inexperienced workers.
Republicans criticized the plan as a way to get them on record as being against increasing the minimum wage, just before Congressional elections. However, they felt that the passage of a tax cut would mitigate the political fallout.(Updated November 11, 1998)
|Source||Katherine Q. Seelye, "Senate Votes Down a Higher Minimum Wage, Citing Squeeze", The New York Times, September 23, 1998.|
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