"Why We Need to Raise the Minimum Wage." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 10 Mar. 2013. Web.
With President Franklin Roosevelt’s cries for “A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work,” the Fair Labor Standards Act established minimum wage in 1938 (Grossman). Overtime, the minimum wage has been raised in order to account for inflation (BLS 14). However, what the overall economic impact of raising the wage will be is once again a daunting and extensive question. The controversy over raising the minimum wage seems to come from often conflicting economic opinions. While raising the minimum wage is done with good intentions, critics argue that a higher minimum wage will harm those it is actually trying to help.
The Truth about Minimum Wage A federal minimum wage has been around since 1938; starting out as a way to set wage precedents for workers, minimum wage has grown and changed in accordance with growing inflation for the past 76 years. Although a federal minimum wage allows workers to have a minimum amount of income that is necessary to survive and pay the bills, and it forces businesses to share some of the vast wealth with the people who help produce it, federal minimum wage costs the economy thousands of jobs and makes little sense due to cost-of-living differences throughout the country. People tend to believe a federal mandated minimum wage helps the poor, and counteracts poverty. Darius Ross, of the Rockland County Times, believes that “raising the minimum wage will put more money in the pockets of workers who most need to spend those dollars. It will boost consumer spending at local businesses across the state.
Faster workers went on strike in many cities to demand better pay and right to unionize. $15 an hour is part of their demand when they protested in August of 2013 across fifty cities. In this current economy, people ages 25 to 54 are the largest group to hold fast food jobs. Since these jobs pay so little, these workers qualified and used $243 billion in public benefit per year (Covert). Although this is a popular policy, economists and journalists are conflicted in their analysis of the effect of increasing the minimum wage.
Considering the poverty rate and poor living conditions present today, this vision is no longer being fulfilled. In order to create a nation with acceptable living conditions, lowered poverty rates and income inequality, and a stable economy, the minimum wage must be raised to a livable rate. Opponents of an increase argue that the economy would suffer, but the reality is quite the opposite. Economic conditions could be greatly improved with a rise in minimum wage, and that is exactly why this is an issue much larger than just the working class. Minimum wage affects all classes and has a large effect on the state of the economy.
Many areas could be affected by a change in minimum wage, but potentially the most drastic change would be to unemployment. Advocates of a higher minimum wage insist that a raise would significantly decrease the unemployment rate in the United States and improve the quality of living. However, there are conflicting opinions on this. Higher minimum wage would mean higher labor costs for business owners, thus making it more difficult for employers to maintain the amount of workers they have, let alone add new employees. Raising the minimum wage does not increase the value of the worker's labor; it increases the cost of the worker's labor.
In fact, servers are twice as likely to use food stamps as the rest of the U.S. workforce and three times as likely to be living in poverty. The main reason for this is the existence of the tipped minimum wage, which since 1991 has stayed set at $2.13 per hour. Not many people even realize that the tipped minimum wage exists, but according to the DOL, servers in 43 states get paid less than the regular minimum wage hourly based on the assumption that the rest of their wages will come from customer tips. In fact, 22 states pay their tipped workers less than $3 per hour. Although tips can often lead to servers making well over regular minimum wage per hour, overall, tips are very inconsistent and are completely dependent on restaurant customers.
Historically, many employers and fiscal conservatives violently opposed the law arguing that minimum wage could hurt employers, much as they argue now. But President Roosevelt'... ... middle of paper ... ....S 1)" as people who earn this wage can not afford health insurance. It is not enough to handle the different needs of the people who work in different work places and is not acceptable for people who work for far less than they legally should get. Works Cited Soltas, Evans. "Two Reasons Not to Raise minimum WageWage".