American workers have been repeatedly told by President Obama and his surrogates that "if you work hard and play by the rules," you can earn a a comfortable Middle Class living.
This turned out to be untrue a cynical promise for millions of workers who tried to live by those precepts. Millions of tough, obedient workers ended up in the ranks of the unemployed, many losing their homes and healthcare insurance.
Congress has traditionally been reluctant to raise the minimum wage of the working poor. It took ten years, not until 2007, for it to pass an increase in the minimums, but only as part of a measure to fund the war in Iraq.
The new legislation, signed by President Bush, provided for an increase in the minimum wage in two installments, from the then current $5.15 an hour to $7:25 an hour today.
Raising the Minimum Wage Would Also Help th Economy
For the past five years, efforts to raise the minimum wage a little closer to a "living wage" have languished for lack of a high-pressure campaign, the kind that the AFL-CIO with its more than 10 million members across the country, could launch.
But AFL-CIO leaders have been reluctant to fulfill their responsibility to the working poor, who are trying to survive with wages below the minimum wage line. They have done nothing to rally their members to fight for a higher minimum wage, in a spirit of compassion and solidarity.
Currently, 28 states and Washington, D.C. have a higher minimum wage than the federal government. At least some of these states have tied the minimum pay rate to inflation.