The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Many states have a higher minimum and several states include an automatic COLA. The great debate is now about raising the federal rate. For some reason many people feel that the supply and demand for generally minimal or low skilled work cannot fairly determine the minimum wage. Hence the push to have the government determine the minimum. Others claim there is a need to raise the minimum because the rate has not kept pace with inflation.
That is not correct. In fact, taking the minimum wage established in 1938 by the Fair Labor Standards Act and adjusting it for inflation to 2013 you find the inflation adjusted wage if considerably less that the actual wage.
A full time worker earning the minimum wage makes $15,080 which clearly is poverty level especially for a family. However, most minimum wage earners are part-time, young and not the main breadwinner for a family.
So isn’t the real issue not merely raising the minimum age, but rather finding more ways to help those earning the minimum and who want to, to raise their skill level and thus their potential income? It seems we tend to frequently focus on the symptom of a problem and not the real problem itself. Doing this means we only perpetuate the problem.
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