Minimum Wage and Your Retirement
In 1968 a minimum wage worker was worth more than at any other time since the inception of the idea that people should be paid for working. I think it was $1.60/ hour in 1968 dollars, which would be about $9.50 in 2012 dollars. Had minimum wage kept pace with the US workers productivity it would be between $22.00 and $18.50 today depending upon your details in the calculation.
If minimum wage growth had kept pace with worker productivity every minimum wage worker since 1968 would have contributed more into SSI than they actually have for the last 44 years.
If minimum wage growth had kept pace with worker productivity, then todays 3.6 million 'at or below the Federal minimum wage' workers would have contributed $6,514,559,982. more into SSI than they actually did in 2012.
If minimum wage growth had kept pace with worker productivity then the 60% of the US workforce currently earning less than $22.00/ hour would have all contributed quite a bit more than they actually did into SSI.
If minimum wage growth had kept pace with worker productivity, we would not be talking about saving Social Security, or raising the retirement age. We would be talking about retiring at 50 and lowering the cap on taxable income and the SSI "safety net" would be a steel reinforced concrete foundation to build the next century on, and Bill Gates would still be the richest man in the USA.
The only real question we need to answer now is how hard do we have to tax the financial industry for the bad advice it gave us, in order to set things right and reward honest work, instead of idle income.