Not surprisingly, it turns out the Democrats are right.
According to the survey, in 2013 more than 25 million people earned less than $10.10 an hour, which amounts to an annual salary of roughly $21,000. That’s nearly eight times the number of Americans who work for the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour or less. Low-wage workers tend to be older than their minimum-wage counterparts: Nearly 60 percent, or 15 million Americans, of this group is 25 years old or older compared to about half of minimum-wage workers.
So these aren't teenagers, and Republicans are ignorant. Shocking, I know.
What we really want to know, however, isn’t how old these workers are — it’s how many of them are trying to support themselves and their families on these wages. To estimate that number, we first need to define what we mean by “supporting themselves.” We’ll start by eliminating both teenagers and retirees from our count, limiting ourselves to people between the ages of 20 and 64. A substantial — and increasing — number of young adults are living with their parents, so we’ll also exclude anyone under 30 whose parent is in the same household. A trickier question is how to handle multiple-earner households; we’ll include anyone who is unmarried, whose spouse is absent or doesn’t work, or whose spouse is also a low-wage worker.
Which all seems like a pretty good set of criteria.
Based on that definition, there were 13 million Americans, out of the 25 million low-wage earners, who were trying to support themselves on less than $10.10 per hour in 2013. Some 4.5 million of them were also raising children.
More than half of people earning under $10.10 an hour are trying to live on that wage.
In other words, when Bush became President and took a giant crap on the economy, the percentage of people trying to live on the equivalent of $10.10 an hour or less in 2013 dollars went from 37% in 2001 to 51% in 2009. It's still about 52% today.
That's what his "compassionate conservatism" and wasting trillions in Iraq and Afghanistan did.