Sorry, Senator Kennedy


In the 1980s, U.S. companies have created more than 9 million new jobs, but the number of workers earning the minimum wage has dropped from 7.8 million in 1981 to 3.9 million in 1988. Last year, only 6.5 percent of hourly wage earners worked for the minimum wage. Even the percentage of workers earning just above it—up to $4.50 an hour—

Bureau of Labor Statistics

plummeted from 21 percent in 1981 to 13 percent last year.