A new White House report released Wednesday makes the Democratic case for hiking the minimum wage to $10.10 and increasing tipped wages, a move that President Obama has said would help lift women and families out of poverty. The report is a blueprint for Democrats, who are staking their midterm chances on the economy, aiming to maintain their edge with unmarried women. Republicans have said that raising the minimum wage would cost jobs, citing the Congressional Budget Office report last month that said an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016 would reduce employment by about 500,000 workers.
According to the new White House report, as the above map shows, tipped workers across the country are subject to a patchwork of wage rates set by federal and state laws. The federal tipped minimum wage is $2.13 an hour — Democrats want to hike it to $4.90 by 2016 and are expected to vote on a measure in the coming weeks.
What do tipped workers do? Tipped workers number about 3 million, with servers making up the bulk of those workers, who are predominately women.
How do tipped wages stack up against the minimum wage? The tipped wage has pretty much flatlined over the last decade, remaining stuck at $2.13 since 1991, even as the minimum wage has gone up.
Poverty and tipped workers
Expect to hear more about hiking the tipped minimum wage as Democrats debate the issue and look for areas of compromise with red state Democrats up for reelection and also with Republicans, though that will likely prove to be an uphill battle.
“Raising the minimum wage won’t do anything for women without jobs,” said Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee. “The reality is that under Obama’s watch, life for women has gotten harder as we face higher levels of poverty, lower incomes and Obamacare continues to hold back economic growth.”