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By Martin Burcharth

February 14, 2013

The president's proposal to increase the minimum wage is well received by unskilled workers who must live on an hourly rate of $ 7.25. But an increase of $ 9 is not enough to bring the poorest families out of poverty

Saavedra Jantah is one of millions of poor Americans who will benefit from President Barack Obama's proposal to increase the minimum wage in the U.S. for $ 9 per hour.

She is 23 years old, mother and working 36 hours a week at Burger King in New York.With his salary of $ 7.25 per hour (40 million), she can not scrape enough money home to earn a living for himself and his son at 3 years.

In the past few years, she and her son alternately lived in a hostel for the homeless and in a room with Jantahs grandmother, who lives in an older home in Harlem. Her annual income of $ 13,500 is below the official poverty line.

So Saveedra Jantah it is a helping hand that President Barack Obama wants Congress to put the minimum wage up from 7.25 to 9 dollar an hour - an increase that should be done gradually over two years, and from 2015 onward regulated in relation to price developments.

"It was Mitt Romney and I agree during the election campaign last year," Obama reminded the Republican congressmen and senators about in his State of the Union speech.

However, the increase is not large enough, think Saveedra Jantah.

"It will help that wage rises to $ 9 per hour, but it is not even enough. It should be as high as $ 15 per hour, if I must be able to support myself and my son, "she says.

Campaign in New York

The lack of regulation of wages since Congress raised the rate in 2007, has resulted in a large backlog that 19 states have chosen to introduce their own higher minimum wage.

One of the 31 states that still follows the low hourly wage of $ 7.25, New York. This despite the fact that the cost of living in New York City is higher than in any other U.S. city. A total of 600,000 unskilled workers to live on minimum wage in the city.Nationwide, working 15 million. people for wage rate.

Trade unions as well as progressive independent institutions running currently a campaign advocating a higher hourly wage in the city as well as in New York State. Their claims are backed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor Andrew Cuomo.

"But Republican politicians, supported by major stores and fast food restaurants have managed to stick a foot in the door," said Maritza Silva Farrell from the Alliance for a Greater New York, which supports workers' and poor people's efforts to improve their living standards.

"President Obama's proposal to raise the hourly wage is a boost for our campaign," she said.

The social activist was just yesterday morning to meet with workers involved in the campaign to raise the minimum wage.

"They have become more optimistic, but we are also aware that Republicans and industry will resist. So now it's important that we put more pressure on our local politicians and members of Congress, "said Maritza Silva Farrell.

Narrowing the inequality

Along with Obama's health care reform and tax cuts for low-income groups aiming a higher minimum wage to narrow the growing income inequality in the United States.

The president also proposes that the federal government and the provinces are working together to offer free preschool to all children over 4 years. He said free schemes in the two republikanskstyrede states Georgia and Oklahoma. According to calculations from the White House, an increase in the minimum wage to $ 1.75 an hour recover between 10 and 20 percent of the incomes of low-income and people with average incomes have dropped since 1980.

"Over the past 20 years, economists' research documented that a higher minimum wage stimulate consumer spending and economic activity even in regions with poor economy and high unemployment," said Christine Owens from the think tank the National Employment Law Project in New York.

However, a higher minimum wage was immediately rejected by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. He is one of the Republican Party's young lions and delivered the official Republican response to Obama's State of the Union speech:

"I advocate that people should earn more than $ 9 an hour, but companies should not be forced. Some of them can not afford, and a higher minimum wage may also create wage inflation, "said Rubio to CBS News yesterday.

Slender documentation

It is expected that the Hispanic Rubio makes up for the next presidential elections in 2016, when his mentor, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, stay back. He and other Republicans point to the evidence of the positive impact of a higher minimum wage for poor families' economy is pretty tenuous.

Studies have shown that the vast majority of workers who earn $ 7.25 an hour, come from the middle class. These are often young students who need an extra income. Only 17 percent of Americans who receive minimum wage, live below the official poverty line.

If the government wants to improve all poor Americans circumstances, it requires other measures, according to a 2005 study done by Richard V. Burkhauser of Cornell University and Joseph J. Sabia at the University of Georgia.

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