Sorry to sound like a broken record, but damn. No public plan until 2013? Yeah, that'll be a huge help to people like this. And in the meantime, lazy reporters write stories that are spoon fed to them by special interests:
WASHINGTON — The final installment of a three-part increase in the federal minimum wage is proving to be the most controversial.
Two previous wage hikes, one in 2007, the other in 2008, pushed the federal wage to $5.85 and then to the current $6.55 an hour. The third, which goes into effect Friday, will push it to $7.25 an hour.
That's not a life-changing raise — an extra $28 a week for a fulltime worker earning the federal minimum — though low-wage earners like Kendell Patterson in Oklahoma City, Okla., say it'll help.
Only someone who lives a relatively privileged life thinks $112 a month isn't real help. But then, our ladies and gentlemen of the media do seem to live in a world of their own!
But some economists worry that the wage hike is coming at the worst possible time and will only make the recession-battered job market tougher for the very workers it's intended to help.
"Some" economists? The story only mentions one, and guess what? She works for a front group, the Employment Policies Institute - run by lobbyists and funded by the usual suspects. From SourceWatch:
EPI has has been widely quoted in news stories regarding minimum wage issues, and although a few of those stories have correctly described it as a "think tank financed by business," most stories fail to provide any identification that would enable readers to identify the vested interests behind its pronouncements. Instead, it is usually described exactly the way it describes itself, as a "non-profit research organization dedicated to studying public policy issues surrounding employment growth" that "focuses on issues that affect entry-level employment." In reality, EPI's mission is to keep the minimum wage low so Berman's clients can continue to pay their workers as little as possible.
I'm guessing this entire story was grounded in a press release from EPI, making it sound like an impending economic crisis. You'd like to think that a decent news organization like McClatchy would catch things like this, but I guess that's where parasitic blogs come in handy.
The increase will have minimal impact in most states. Eighteen states and the District of Colombia already have minimum wages that are higher or equal to $7.25 an hour. In nine more, the minimum wage is higher than $6.55 an hour and so workers in those states will see their wages rise by only a fraction of the 70-cents-an-hour increase, from four cents an hour in Florida to 40 cents an hour in Nevada.
That leaves 23 states where minimum wage workers covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act will enjoy the full 70-cents-an-hour increase.
Patterson, a 38-year-old child care worker with two children, can certainly use the extra cash. Most of her $262 weekly paycheck goes for food, utilities, her car payment and $650 per month rent.
Her oldest son,19, is taking a fast-food job to help with the bills, but Patterson is still looking for a second job on weekends to help make ends meet.
She tried to get food stamps, but her income was too high.
"How can a person who makes minimum wage make too much money?" she said.
Patterson also needs help with her medical bills. She has no health insurance and recently found four lumps in her breast. She also suffers from asthma and takes several anti-seizure medications.
One medication costs $500 for 30-day supply while the other costs $350, she said. Sometimes her parents help with the costs. Other times she simply goes without.
Patterson said the minimum wage increase won't help her very much, but even a little help is appreciated because times are so hard.
Working her ass off to stay afloat, and she's supposed to hang on until 2013 if she wants help with her healthcare bills. Yes, this is indeed an economic Katrina - and the boats will be here in 2013.