NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 29, 2007

When liberals give us a picture of the typical minimum-wage worker, they are (more often than not) blowing smoke by portraying a parent with at least two children, who are unable to make ends meet.  Although this may be true in some cases, the fact is the great majority of "minimum wagers" are much different, says Georgia State Rep. Ron Forster.


  • The total number of people earning the federal minimum wage of $5.15 per hour is much fewer than most people imagine; as of 2006, only around two million workers.
  • Some 53 percent are under age 25 -- most of them students or weekend workers -- and 60 percent work only part-time.
  • Within this majority, two-thirds (66 percent) come from families with at least one other family member earning income, and four-fifths (80 percent) belong to families above the poverty line.
  • In fact, the average income of the family of a young individual earning minimum wage is just over $64,000.

Meanwhile, a hike in the minimum wage will hurt low-skilled workers most because those jobs will be increasingly difficult to find, says Rep. Forster.  The median hours worked by the highest earner of a poor household was 1,720 per year -- significantly less than full time (2,080 hours per year).

Even the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a liberal workers' rights organization, has sued the State of California in an attempt to avoid having to pay its own employees the state's minimum wage.  In its legal brief, ACORN said, "that the more it must pay each worker, the fewer workers it can hire."

Source: Rep. Ron Forster, "Ron Forster: Blowing Smoke," Catoosa County News, March 28, 2007.


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