America's Minimum Wage Problem

1114 Words3 Pages
America is currently working on the issue of whether the minimum wage should be increased from $7.25 to $10.10 and economists are studying the effects of the possible increase. Minimum wage workers deal with struggles such as affording health care, paying for education, providing food for their families, putting many hours of work in while making little income and paying their bills. America’s decision to raise the minimum wage would help low wage workers to make higher incomes and would overall strengthen the economy, pulling Americans out of poverty. Americans may hold a minimum wage job if they do not have money to attend a college or university to obtain a degree in order to find a career. On the minimum wage, it is impossible to afford healthcare and education without making sacrifices. In “Affording Health Care and Education on the Minimum Wage,” John Schmitt and Marie-Eve Augier write “We ask ‘How many hours did a minimum-wage worker have to work to pay for a year of college education (at various kinds of institutions) or a year of health insurance for an individual or a family?” (Schmitt & Augier, 2012). Their findings were that “By 2010, minimum-wage workers at $7.25 per hour had to spend 923 hours to cover the $6,695 annual tuition at a public four-year college,” (Schmitt & Augier, 2012). This means that much of their work must go to education, which leaves little of their income left to pay for bills, fuel, healthcare, and other necessities. As a result, many workers must make the choice between shelter and food before education is even an option. By 2011, around 749 hours of work go to health insurance and these workers do not have money for the cost of living. Minimum wage workers salaries do not match up to the cos... ... middle of paper ..., 2013). America’s unemployment rate is 7.5% with a petty minimum wage that is $6 to $8 less than the minimum wage pay of workers in foreign countries. An increase would benefit the lower class and families would have less of a struggle. Overall, an increase in the minimum wage could bring many benefits to Americans such as families being able to afford education, healthcare, food, and other necessities without having to choose between resources. The workers incomes are not sufficient to cover a family's needs, so an increase could raise a family's income, create more economic equality, and help consumer spending. The economy could improve if the wages increased because families would not be torn between where their money must be spent. An increase in the minimum wage could create a thriving economy if the wealth was distributed equally to help Americans in need.
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