For several years, Americans have debated whether or not Congress should vote to increase the federal minimum wage. Effective July 24, 2009, it rose to $7.25 per hour. Consider five important reasons to increase the minimum hourly wage for employees in the United States now:
1. Minimum Wage Has Not Kept Pace With The Cost of Living Index
Unfortunately, the federal minimum wage has not kept pace with the cost of living in most cities in the United States. In 2015, the Economic Policy Institute calculated the cost of living for a single person residing in major U.S. cities. Monthly necessities at that time ranged from a high of $3,632 in San Francisco, CA, to a low of $2,117 in Cincinnati, OH. Yet a 40 hour-per-week minimum wage job pays only $290 weekly, or $1,160 monthly, far below the amount required to sustain a single adult. As inflation pushes the cost of living upwards, minimum wage workers fall increasingly behind the bare minimum required to survive in urban areas.
2. A Low Minimum Wage Contributes to Income Disparities
The average CEO in the USA currently earns 933 times more than a full time minimum wage worker. This huge disparity contributes to economic class divisions within the society.
3. Raising The Minimum Wage Would Reduce Food Stamp Payments
In 2014, an article in The Washington Post calculated that increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would save taxpayers $4.6 billion annually in food stamp expenditures. Greater earning power within minimum wage households would decrease hunger and create less dependency upon the federal government.
4. The Minimum Wage Has Failed to Keep Pace With Rising American Worker Productivity
Automation, computerization and increases in education have helped U.S. worker productivity greatly outstrip increases in the minimum wage. One recent study concluded by 1968 minimum wage standards, current increases in worker productivity should have resulted in a current minimum wage of $21.72. Instead of subsidizing inefficient or substandard workers, the minimum wage today may in fact currently benefit inefficient businesses which rely on the federal government to help support an undercompensated work force with living necessities via food stamps and Medicaid.
5. Decrease Child Poverty
An estimated 7 million parents receive minimum wage salaries. Increasing the federal minimum wage to $10 would assist literally millions of children who depend upon minimum wage providers.
The minimum wage was created not as a wage for teenagers to learn how to work but as a living wage for adults, some even with families. It is no longer able to support those same types of people as it has in generations before. Increasing minimum wage is necessary to limit the financial struggles of an entire generation.