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Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 5, 2013 at 7:02 AM

Minimum wage keeping up with the times

Minimum-wage workers aren’t waiting for a raise

Mark Weisbrot seriously misleads readers by claiming that the minimum wage has lost ground to inflation since 1968. [“Should fast-food chains pay a living wage”? Opinion, Sept. 21.] The minimum wage is actually worth 6 percent more than it was 20 years ago.

And if you pegged the minimum wage to inflation from its creation in 1938, rather than cherry-picking a date that provides a better talking point, it would be just over $4 an hour — far below the current $7.25.

Weisbrot should also consider that minimum-wage workers aren’t waiting for a raise. Research shows that two-thirds of minimum-wage employees receive raises within their first one to 12 months on the job. But they can’t get that raise if they don’t have a job in the first place — an important fact to remember, given that 85 percent of most credible economic studies from the past two decades show that such hikes eliminate jobs for entry-level workers.

Michael Saltsman, research director. Employment Policies Institute. Washington D.C.

Comments | More in Economy | Topics: inflation, Minimum Wage

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