Jeff Jacoby (The Debate shifts to the left, Boston Globe, January 7th., E9) argues that the minimum wage does not need increasing because many of the minimum wage earners are young people living at home with their families.
But these young people may well be working in order to pay for or save for a college education. According to the College Board the average amount (in constant dollars) actually paid (after taking into account scholarship support) has increased 29% at Public 4-year Colleges (and almost 26% at Private 4-year Colleges) over the past 10 years.
Over the same period, the value of the minimum wage has eroded from being worth $4.75 in 1996 to being worth $4.04 in 2006 -- a decline of almost 15%.
To maintain the affordability of College, we should be increasing the minimum wage to about $8.00 rather than to $7.25.