President Barack Obama’s call to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour and boost it annually to keep pace with inflation is already getting a trial run. Ten states make similar cost-of-living adjustments, including Washington state, where workers earn at least $9.19 an hour, the highest minimum in the country.
The Washington region is well off financially. The area sits atop The Wall Street Journal’s list of America’s richest cities.
Opening the campaign’s last month, Mitt Romney ticked off indicators of economic misery Saturday night to suggest that a drop in unemployment hasn’t reversed what ails the nation. President Barack Obama’s campaign and Democrats posted an impressive fundraising haul, easing the party’s concerns that he would face a significant money disadvantage in the crucial closing days.
The ranks of America’s poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century. That means gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s are being erased amid a weak economy and fraying government safety net.
The stakes are high, measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars every election cycle. Precisely how much is not known, since the Federal Election Commission does not require federal candidates to tally donations raised via email or websites separately from those made in response to traditional mail, phone banks or candidate calls.