The Smoke Signal

It’s Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

Is+it+time+to+raise+the+minimum+wage%3F++Protests+have+been+occurring+more+and+more+across+the+United+States.
Is it time to raise the minimum wage?  Protests have been occurring more and more across the United States.

Is it time to raise the minimum wage? Protests have been occurring more and more across the United States.

via money.cnn.com, Andrew Burton/Getty Images

via money.cnn.com, Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Is it time to raise the minimum wage? Protests have been occurring more and more across the United States.

Isabel Molina, Writing Editor

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In the past few months, employees in the fast food industry and other careers have brought up many concerns and have even gone on strike about their wage, $7.25 an hour, the minimum wage.  These employees are making the bare minimum and it isn’t enough anymore.

In the 1960s, minimum wage could keep a family of three out of poverty.  In the 1980s, it could keep a family of two out of poverty.  Now, it leaves even an individual in poverty, unable to make rent or afford a decent meal.

If the minimum wage kept up with inflation and costs today, it would be $22 an hour.  No one can live a decent life off of minimum wage.  Subsequently, government subsidies make up the difference, at the taxpayer’s expense.

If employees earned a higher pay, it would put more money back into the economy, benefiting the United States as a whole. While it may not stimulate the economy in a significant way, it would amount to a 1.25% increase in the US GDP, which, considering that workers’ lives are at stake, is more than enough.

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Those against raising the minimum wage often claim that it is mostly teenagers making pocket cash or adults without a “decent” education that are on minimum wage, when 75% of minimum wage earners are adults and 31% graduated high school, 34% have some college experience or an associate’s degree, and 7% have a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  If these numbers are added up, 72% of minimum wage earners have received what is considered a “decent” education.

Another common argument is that raising the minimum wage would kill jobs, but according to a recent survey conducted by Paychex and IHS, this isn’t true.  It suggests that it may even increase employment.

It is not acceptable that the rich and powerful get away with giving their employees scraps and making taxpayers pay the difference.  It is time to raise the minimum wage.  Americans deserve a living wage.

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