I have 17 million reasons for wanting to increase the minimum wage. Yes, 17 million—the number of children whose lives would be a little more secure if their moms and dads earned at least $10.10 an hour.
When I was in junior high, my daddy had a heart attack. He was home for a while, the medical bills piled up, and we lost our family station wagon.
So my mother did what she had to do: She went to work answering the phones at Sears. The job paid only minimum wage, but it was enough to make sure we could keep our home.
No one should work full time and live in poverty. In 1968, the minimum wage was high enough to keep a family of three out of poverty. In 1980, the minimum wage was at least high enough to keep a family of two out of poverty. Today, the minimum wage leaves a working parent with one child in poverty. This is fundamentally wrong.
For a long time, as our country got richer, both investors and workers made more money. The pie got bigger and we all got a little more. But now the benefits go to those at the top. If minimum wage had kept up with increases in productivity, it would be $22 an hour today. But it didn’t – and today millions of hard-working moms and dads work full-time and still live in poverty.
Who would benefit from a minimum wage increase? The numbers tell the story: 88% are adults, and one in four has kids. More than 15 million women would see their pay go up, including 4.8 million working mothers—more than one-fifth of all working mothers with a child under the age of 18.