Why We Need To Raise The Minimum Wage To $12.00/Hour
The minimum wage was made law in 1938. At that time the minimum wage was set at 25¢. That is equivalent to $4.19 when adjusted to 2015 dollars (the last year data is available for). The minimum wage hit it’s “all time high” in 1968 when is was set at $1.60, that would be $10.86 when adjusted to 2015 dollars. The current minimum wage is set at $7.25 where is has been since 2009. So basically working 40 hours a week in 1968 would give you an annual income of $22,588 in today’s dollars. At the current $7.25 rate you’d make $15,080 annually. This equates to a real dollar loss of $7,508 annually. Effectively a 33% wage cut between 1968 and today. It is time to raise the minimum wage.
The minimum wage has been raised 19 times in the 79 years since its implementation. That averages to an adjustment every 4.15 years. We haven’t had an increase since 2009. It is time to raise the minimum wage.
The poverty level in 2016 was $11,880 for a single individual, $16,020 for a family of two, $20,160 for a family of three and $24,300 for a family of four. Interesting that a person working full time would be well below the poverty threshold if he/she had a spouse and two kids to support… so much for a “stay at home mom” raising her children. A single mom with one child would not meet the poverty level working full-time at today’s minimum wage. It is time to raise the minimum wage.
There are lots of complainers out there spouting off about all the people on welfare, food stamps, heat assistance and Medicare… “these freeloaders should be working!” they say, “they are taking advantage of the system” they insist. Well, I would ask: Why should they work when the best they can do is get a minimum wage job that does not give them enough to feed and house their families? It is time to raise the minimum wage.
Just where should the minimum wage be set to provide incentive for people to get a job to better their lives and not become trapped in the welfare system; to provide not a life of luxury, but a life with financial security for one’s family, a life with dignity. We could set it at $10.86, just to bring it up to the standard that was set in 1968. We could set it to $11.68, the hourly rate one would need to support a family of four at the poverty threshold. Or we can find some other economic measure upon which to base a new minimum wage rate because it is time to raise the minimum wage.
Of course some people might be a bit upset if McDonald’s has to raise the cost of a Big Mac 10¢, Wal-Mart has to cut into the family profits that have made the Waltons their $140 billion dollar fortune (they are the richest family in America per Forbes magazine), or if Papa Johns has to charge an extra 25¢ for a pizza. I, however, think that the offset of people being willing to take those better paying minimum wage jobs and get off of public assistance will result in so much savings in government spending that it will lower all of our taxes so when everything shakes out the average middle class taxpayer, like myself, is no worse off.
So if you want to do something to actually improve the lot of the poorest of those in our communities, to raise up those who only want a decent, liveable wage for their work, vote for me for your State Representative in Harrisburg. I want to make things better for everyone, not just that top 1%!
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Friends of Sarah Donnelly
4939 State Route 54
Elysburg, PA 17824