The Center for American Progress

Almas Sayeed, Research Fellow, and John Burton, Research Associate for Economic Policy
Yesterday Senator Ted Kennedy proposed a minimum wage amendment to the Department of Defense appropriations bill. The amendment calls for a $2.10 increase to the minimum wage over two years. As it stands, the debate has focused on the impact of raising the minimum wage on [employers and low-wage earners]. Less attention has been focused on the [recent explosion of the payday loan industry] and its impact on low-wage families. The high fee and exorbitant interest rates of the industry continue to trap many low-wage earners and their families. Raising the minimum wage could increase families’ ability to save—and put a dent in their debt.

It is inexcusable for Congress to continue raising its own wages while ignoring America’s minimum-wage workers. Since President Bush took office, the number of Americans living in poverty has increased by 5.4 million. The minimum wage is currently at its lowest level in 50 years, adjusting for inflation. To give some perspective, it now takes more than a full day of work for a minimum-wage worker to earn enough money to [fill up a tank of gas.]

Employers and low-wage earners link:

Recent explosion of the payday loan industry link:

Fill up a tank of gas link: