By Holly Sklar
Op-Ed Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune News Service, February 8, 2007
Copyright (c) 2007 Holly Sklar
The minimum wage is headed for a raise -- back to the 1950s. That's right, even after rising from $5.15 now to $7.25 in 2009, the federal minimum wage will still be lower than it was in 1956, when it was $7.41 in today's dollars.
The minimum wage was enacted in 1938 through the Fair Labor Standards Act, designed to eliminate "labor conditions detrimental to the maintenance of the minimum standard of living necessary for health, efficiency and general well-being of workers."
The minimum wage was never meant to be the minimum the nation's worst employers want to pay. That would be as absurd as setting environmental policies to accommodate the worst polluters.