Today the Maine Senate will be taking up legislation on the minimum wage. Ezra Klein at the Washington Post says you only need to see this one graph of corporate profits and labor share in order to know it should be increased, but here’s another chart just in case:
The data here is from the Maine Department of Labor, adjusted with CPI figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. If the Maine minimum wage had kept pace with inflation since the late 1960s (when the wage began to be broadly applied), it would currently be more than $10 an hour.
The proposal before the Senate would increase the minimum wage in stages to $9 an hour by 2016 (when it will be worth somewhere around $8.40 in today’s dollars, according to current CPI forecasts) and then index it to inflation.