Would Ayotte Still Say No to Raising the Minimum Wage If She Tried Living on $77 for a Week?
Washington DC – On the fifth anniversary since the last federal minimum wage increase, Americans United for Change dared Senator Kelly Ayotte to take the ‘Live The Wage Challenge’. The challenge: step into the shoes of a minimum wage worker, live on just $77 for a week, and then see if she still opposes giving 28 million workers an overdue raise. Earning just $7.25 an hour, the average full time minimum wage worker struggles to survive on only $77 a week after paying taxes and housing expenses. Earlier this year, Ayotte voted to squash even having a debate on legislation raising the minimum wage to $10.10.
SEE: ABC News: ‘Members of Congress Plan to Live on Minimum Wage for a Week’
Brad Woodhouse, President, Americans United for Change, the group behind the national ‘Give America a Raise Bus Tour’: “To Senator Ayotte who draws a six-figure government salary and says $7.25 an hour is a livable wage, I say walk the walk. Ayotte should try living the minimum wage if she’s going to keep voting against raising it for others, many of whom are struggling to support a family. Now five years after the last minimum wage increase, Ayotte may not have noticed that the prices of food, utilities, and basic necessities never stopped going up. But minimum wage workers certainly have. A frozen minimum wage combined with inflation is why more and more Americans are falling into poverty even while working full time, and that’s wrong.”
“History has shown time and again that raising the minimum wage is one of the best ways to jumpstart the economy and create jobs, unlike proposals Ayotte supports to minimize taxes for millionaires and corporations that ship jobs overseas,” added Woodhouse. “Putting more money in the pockets of minimum wage workers makes them stronger consumers, which leads to more hiring to meet a greater demand for goods and services. Businesses like Costco and GAP have proven that investing in workers and paying a livable wage is a recipe for success. Senator Ayotte has an opportunity to gain a little perspective on how difficult it is for minimum wage workers to stretch so few dollars and make choices between basic necessities. If she’s not willing to take the challenge, why not? What is she afraid of?”
Top 10 Reasons to Raise the Minimum Wage to $10.10:
- Nationally, raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 would boost the wages of 28 million workers by $35 billion, generate $22 billion in economic activity, and support the creation of 85,000 new jobs.
- In New Hampshire, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would increase wages for 113,000 workers by $143,575,000
- The 13 states that didn’t wait for Congress to act and raised their minimum wages on January 1 have since seen higher average job growth than neighboring states that kept theirs at the same rate.
- More than 600 economists and business leaders agree it’s time to raise the minimum wage.
- Nearly a quarter of all of minimum wage workers - including child care providers, janitors, and nursing assistants - are the primary bread winners in their family. 35 is the average age of workers who would benefit from raising the minimum wage to $10.10; 88 percent are older than 20, one third are over 40.
- Full time minimum wage workers earn just $15,080 a year. According to MIT, the living wage in New Hampshire is $20,140 to be able to afford housing, medical care, transportation and food. If full-time Granite State workers made $10.10 an hour, they would earn $21,008 a year.
- Raising the minimum wage would reduce government spending on Food Stamps by $46 billion over the next decade.
- Low Wages Cost Taxpayers A Quarter-Trillion Dollars Every Year.
- Six In Ten Small Business Owners Want A $10.10 Minimum Wage. Only 20% of Americans think they could live off Minimum Wage.
10. Workers making the minimum wage have been facing a continual pay cut since July 2009 as inflation has eroded the purchasing power of the minimum wage. Cumulative loss is over $6 billion.