A Glance at the Minimum Wage Issue
Should the minimum wage be increased? And if so, by how much? What sort of effects will an increase have? Is it necessary? These are the types of questions that must be asked when talking about minimum wage.
The Federal mandated minimum wage currently sits at $7.25 per hour. If someone worked 40 hours per week for 50 weeks a year, he/she would earn $14,500 for the year. But he/she would not be taking all of that home. 6.2% of that total goes to Social Security and 1.45% goes to Medicare.
Fast food workers around the U.S. have continually petitioned and protested the low wages stating that it is not enough for them to live on. Large, planned strikes have drawn a lot of attention to the issue. For instance, a nationwide strike planned for Thursday, December 4. See Article 1 to read more.
The President has called for an increase in the minimum wage stating, “Even with the tax relief we’ve put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong.” See Article 2 to read more.
An increase in the Federal minimum wage is gaining traction with polls stating that most Americans and politicians support an increase. However, economists are divided on it with some worried that jobs could be lost as a result of higher wages. See Article 3 and Article 4 to read more.
Though both sides of the argument will argue that they are right, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. A higher minimum wage will not drastically lower the amount of employed workers and it will not automatically make everything perfect and wonderful. See Article 5 and Article 6 to read more.
States and municipalities have stepped in and have been enacting their own minimum wage increase measures. For instance, California recently passed a law that will increase the state’s minimum wage to $10 by 2016. See Article 7 to read more. Seattle recently voted on Proposition 1 which proposed a minimum wage of $15 for some airport and hospitality workers. The vote was, as of December 3, narrowly in favor of the proposition but is being recounted. See Article 8 and Article 9 to read more.
As the 2014 midterm elections near, the push for more minimum wage increase measures gains traction with politicians looking to boost voter turnout and win more votes. See Article 10 to read more.
One of the arguments for a higher minimum wage is that other first world countries have a higher minimum wage. “By the standards of other rich nations, the U.S. minimum wage, at $7.25 an hour, can look pretty measly. Australia’s minimum for full-time adult employees works out to almost $15, these days. France’s is around $12. For almost a year now, American fast food workers have been going on strike to demand that kind of pay. But in some senses, those high wages abroad aren’t quite as high as they sound. The reason: cost of living.” See Article 11 to read more.
This article from the University of Pennsylvania gives a great overview on the minimum wage debate.
It is likely that lawmakers will increase the federal minimum wage. By how much and what effects the increase has will have to be seen.
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