The Minimum Wage War

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On Saturday, June 25, 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed 121 bills. Among these bills was a landmark law in the United States’ social and economic development—Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) or otherwise known as the Wages and Hours Bill. This new law created a maximum forty-four hour workweek, guaranteed “time-and-a-half” for overtime hours in certain jobs, banned oppressive child labor, and established the nation’s first minimum wage. By definition, a minimum wage is the lowest wage permitted by law or by a special agreement (such as one with a labor union). Throughout the years, the minimum wage has been a central debate topic for the socioeconomic world and now in 2014, the debate has broken through the surface once more. In order to make a choice of whether the wage should be increased or decreased, the history of the wage is needed to make an informed decision. The United States hasn't always had a minimum wage. Before the minimum wage was introduced during the Great Depression of the 1930s, there was no national minimum wage, or indeed any legislation to protect workers from exploitation. Due to this lack of regulation, tens of thousands of workers were routinely subjugated in sweatshops and factories, forced to work in horrible conditions, and for only pennies a week. Early attempts by labor unions to create a mandatory minimum wage were ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court on the grounds that they “restricted the worker's right to set the price for his own labor.” This allowed employers to continue abusing their workers through the Great Depression of the 1930s, when the incredible demand for jobs caused wages to drop even further to an all-time low. Luckily, after winning the 1936 presidenti... ... middle of paper ... ...n economic claims. We must rely on the pragmatic evidence; studies have tested the implications of an increased wage and found clear information. With this information, people can now make an informed decision on whether or not raising the minimum wage is a worthy notion. Works Cited Dickinson, Tim. “The Minimum Wage War.” Rolling Stone. 13 March 2014: 33-36. Print. 17 March 2014. Dorn, James A. “Obama’s Minimum Wage Hike: A Case of Zombie Economics.” Cato Institute. 20 February 2013. Web. 28 March 2014. Krugman, Paul. “Better Pay Now.” New York Times. 1 December 2013. Web. 27 March 2014. Lowrey, Annie. “Minimum Wage Increase Would Have Mixed Effect, C.B.O. Report Says.” New York Times. 18 February 2014. Web. 27 March 2014. Sherk, James. "What Is Minimum Wage: Its History and Effects on the Economy." The Heritage Foundation. 26 June 2013. Web. 19 Mar. 2014.

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