While Republicans Fuss About Yoga, the Minimum Wage Drops Another 4 Cents in April 2016
According to information just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. minimum wage fell by four cents an hour in the month of April 2016.
Now, to be sure, the Bureau of Labor Statistics won’t come out and state the truth in those terms, but that doesn’t make the statement any less true. The U.S. minimum wage has stood apparently still at seven dollars and twenty-five cents an hour for years now — but you can’t eat money. The actual amount of in food, clothing and shelter that the minimum wage will buy continues to go down as inflation erodes the value of a dollar. This effect is measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In March 2016, the cost of goods as measured by the CPI went up by four-tenths of a percent, compared to February 2016. Seven dollars and twenty-five cents in March will only buy what seven dollars and twenty-one cents could buy in February. How hard a minimum-wage employee works hasn’t changed. How much value minimum-wage work creates for an employer hasn’t changed. Only what the minimum-wage worker gets for all that work has changed — and that amount has gone down by four cents an hour. Four cents an hour doesn’t sound like much, but this is a typical decline in the real, meaningful value of the minimum wage for any month. When this kind of change happens again and again and again, month after month, year after year, the effect is really noticeable, especially for someone whose wage wasn’t big to begin with.
In Congress, the Republican majority is busying itself with legislative tasks like banning yoga. (No, really, you can find the bill here.) Yet the same Congress hasn’t bothered during the year and a half it’s been in session to raise the minimum wage by any amount at all — not even to help keep the wage up in pace with the rate of inflation. The Congress has other priorities other than helping America’s poorest workers stay out of poverty. It’s got an exercise and stretching method to ban.