When the minimum wage was enacted into law, Franklin D Roosevelt was president. Roosevelt was arguably our most popular president being elected four times, more than any other president in American history. He was also a champion of the working class.
In 1933, when Roosevelt was in his first term and when the federal minimum wage first was created as part of the National Industrial Recovery Act, Roosevelt said, “no business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.”
The fact that it’s virtually impossible to imagine any politician, Democratic or Republican, saying these words today tells you all you need to know about how far right both parties have swung. Nearly 60 percent of Americans support raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, according to a Reuters poll conducted in February. Still, most of our representatives in Congress and the White House are not willing to fight for it. They say they’re on the side of working people, but their actions don't match their words. When it comes to the minimum wage, they represent the Chambers of Commerce, corporate PACs and other business lobbies that benefit from keeping wages as low as possible.
Raising the minimum wage is long overdue. The reason it hasn’t happened in over 10 years is because most of our senators and representatives serve the rich. It’s time for the working class to fight back.