Why a Living Wage?
Since 1979 the buying power of the minimum wage has severely eroded. If the minimum wage had merely kept up with inflation it would be $6.92 today, instead of the current minimum wage of $5.15 an hour. In some places where housing is expensive, like Providence, Rhode Island, as one example, it takes at least $12.50 an hour to pay for housing and have enough left for other necessities.
The Living Wage movement has primarily been locally focused with laws introduced and passed in a number of cities around the country. Most Living Wage laws apply to city service contractors and a majority cover economic development assistance recipients. Other Living Wage laws apply only to municipal workers and businesses with large city contracts. In addition, some cities and states have raised the minimum wage above the federal level. The Cobb campaign encourages local efforts to create a Living Wage.
Everyone Deserves a Living wage
The Cobb campaign supports a Federal Living Wage that increases the minimum wage to the point where full time workers would be able to support a family and pay for housing without having to resort to public assistance. The Federal Living Wage should start at $10.00 per hour and be adjusted regularly for inflation.
Some arguments which have been offered against a Living Wage include: it will hurt the poor, it will put low wage workers out of a job, it will force businesses to shift jobs. But these fears have not been realized in places where Living Wage ordinances have been enacted. One of the weaknesses of enacting Living Wage ordinances city by city is that it allows businesses to flee to low wage communities. A Federal Living Wage would ensure that this wouldn't happen.
It is time that every worker in America made a Living Wage.