The Federal Government should Raise Minimum Wage

Arielle Jean, Columnist

   The national minimum wage was created by Congress under the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938 with the primary goal of preventing employers from exploiting desperate workers in exchange for their labor. It consequently protects workers from working for their basic survival and instead provides them with a basic “living wage” that should allow them to acquire food, clothing, and shelter. Yet the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour fails to provide laborers with the necessary income and resources to support themselves in contemporary America.

Should the Federal Government raise the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour?

  • Yes (80%, 4 Votes)
  • No (20%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 5

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   A common argument against raising the minimum wage is that inflation will follow suit and the average cost of living will only increase and thus cause the raised minimum wage to be ineffectual. However, by raising the minimum wage our government wouldn’t be unnecessarily boosting the standard of living but instead adjusting the means of such to be an accurate reflection of the average cost of living in the US in correspondence to the natural inflation that our economy has witnessed in the past fifty years. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), in the time that the minimum wage was created, it has only been adjusted to reflect economic growth and inflation up until 1968 where there was an immediate decline in the correlation between general economic productivity and the minimum wage. Hence, despite inflation’s natural occurrence and growth, the minimum wage has not been adjusted and is thus no longer truly reflective of the state of our economy, or the cost of living in the US. If the minimum wage had continued to grow alongside the average cost of living in the US it would presently be an estimated $24.00 per hour (CEPR). 

   Furthermore, multiple studies conducted by Georgetown University have shown that increasing wages also increase worker productivity as employees who believe they are being paid a fair wage consistently outperform their counterparts, have higher morales, and miss work significantly less. This positive correlation between worker capacity and the minimum wage is largely associated with the notion that employees would no longer be desperate to pay their bills and thus become worn out by “decision fatigue,” but they would instead be able to work towards luxuries such as nicer cars or vacation opportunities. The drive to work does not become obsolete, but the motivation for such transforms into something less dire and significantly more human. 

   It is the duty of the federal government to create and enforce laws that serve the best interests of the people, and it is absolutely necessary that the minimum wage be raised from $7.25 per hour to $15 per hour. It is within the basis of general human compassion and American ideals that we should hope for a society where hard work is enough to live beyond paycheck to paycheck in America; the current federal minimum wage does not support this and must be changed.