Minimum Wage Hike Could Destroy Economy, Members of Congress Warn

Congressional Budget Office

Congressional Budget Office

(Washington, DC) – During the 2014 State of the Union, President Obama (D-IL/Kenya) proposed increasing the minimum wage by $2.85 per hour. The proposal, which would provide the first raise in the current $7.25 minimum wage since its adoption on July 24, 2009, would provide a “living wage” of $10.10 per hour to low-wage Americans.

Congressional Republicans immediately criticized the idea if for no other reason than their opposition to every Obama initiative since January 20, 2009. Another concern is one shared by many Democrats: raising the minimum wage would deplete the coffers of their millionaire and billionaire benefactors.

Indeed, the completely and absolutely non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) today announced that the $10.10 rate would likely help between 16.5 million and 24.5 million Americans; 900,000 people would be lifted out of poverty. But the added financial cost to businesses could cost the economy between 500,000 and 1 million jobs.

John Boehner (R-OH)

John Boehner

“We will oppose any legislation that costs even one American job,” said a Tea Partyist spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We don’t care if they’re living on the streets, in homeless shelters, or in their cars. We won’t risk putting average, ordinary, everyday Americans on unemployment.”

Some in Congress view the minimum wage hike as a tax increase, and not just for businesses. “These average, ordinary, everyday Americans will have to pay more in taxes because they’ll be earning more,” said a spokesman for Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), speaking on condition of anonymity. “That’s a tax hike in our book, and we’ll never sign on to a tax increase for average, ordinary, everyday Americans, no matter how destitute they are. Boehner earns $223,500 per year, or about $107.45 per hour.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reacted by stating the “CBO report shows that raising the minimum wage could destroy as many as one million jobs.” McConnell earns $193,400 per year, or about $92.98 per hour.

Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Mitch McConnell

To further put the minimum wage hike in perspective, one should focus on the 2,080 hours per year the typical 40-hour workweek forces upon every American. At the current $7.25 per hour minimum wage, one can expect to earn $15,080 per year. The increase to $10.10 per hour would mean an annual salary of $21,008 per year.

In contrast, members of Congress earn $174,000 per year, or about $83.65 per hour. President Obama earns $400,000 per year, or about $192.31 per hour. And someone earning $1 million per year makes about $480.77 per hour.

“Congress doesn’t work 2,080 hours per year!” protested a Congressional critic, speaking on condition of anonymity. “They work for a few days and then take three weeks off. They’re not working 2,080 hours per year, they’re working 80 hours per year!

Given the numbers in the chart below, one can see just how dangerous it might be to actually pay Americans more for doing real, honest work.

Pay Per Hour Pay Per Year
$7.25 $15,080.00
$8.00 $16,640.00
$9.00 $18,720.00
$10.10 $21,008.00
$12.50 $26,000.00
$15.00 $31,200.00
$17.50 $36,400.00
$20.00 $41,600.00
$25.00 $52,000.00
$30.00 $62,400.00
$35.00 $72,800.00
$40.00 $83,200.00
$45.00 $93,600.00
$50.00 $104,000.00
$55.00 $114,400.00
$60.00 $124,800.00
$65.00 $135,200.00
$70.00 $145,600.00
$75.00 $156,000.00
$80.00 $166,400.00
$85.00 $176,800.00
$90.00 $187,200.00
$95.00 $197,600.00
$100.00 $208,000.00
$125.00 $260,000.00
$150.00 $312,000.00
$175.00 $364,000.00
$200.00 $416,000.00
$225.00 $468,000.00
$240.39 $500,011.20
$250.00 $520,000.00
$275.00 $572,000.00
$300.00 $624,000.00
$360.57 $749,985.60
$375.00 $780,000.00
$400.00 $832,000.00
$450.00 $936,000.00
$480.77 $1,000,001.60
$500.00 $1,040,000.00