In recent years, I have stepped back from most political issues, mostly for my own health. I am so tired of living in a nation whose government has basically stopped functioning in any sort of effective way. That being said, the minimum wage battle is one about which I feel very strongly. I remember earning minimum wage many years ago, and I was extremely fortunate in that I was not dependent upon this hourly wage to survive. However, far too many in our society are doing just that: attempting to survive on minimum wage earnings.
What bends me so out of shape by this whole argument is precisely what bends me out of shape about most political arguments: The complete inability and/or unwillingness of those in power (aka the job creators) to effect positive change, choosing rather to hold on to the old “because that’s how we’ve always done it” argument with every fiber of their mean little beings.
Bah, I say.
Anyway, I thought I’d offer a very clear cut presentation of the pro side of the argument.
An EPI (Economic Policy Institute) paper entitled “Raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 would give working families, and the overall economy, a much-needed boost” by David Cooper and Doug Hall examines the demographics of minimum wage workers, as well as the GDP and economic impacts that would result from an increase in the minimum wage. Key findings include the following:
- Increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 by July 1, 2015, would raise the wages of about 30 million workers, who would receive over $51 billion in additional wages over the phase-in period.1
- Across the phase-in period of the minimum-wage increase, GDP would increase by roughly $32.6 billion, resulting in the creation of approximately 140,000 net new jobs (and 284,000 job years) over that period.
- Those who would see wage increases do not fit some of the stereotypes of minimum-wage workers.
- Women would be disproportionately affected, comprising 56 percent of those who would benefit.
- Over 88 percent of workers who would benefit are at least 20 years old.
- Although workers of all races and ethnicities would benefit from the increase, non-Hispanic white workers comprise the largest share (about 54 percent) of those who would be affected.
- About 44 percent of affected workers have at least some college education.
- Around 55 percent of affected workers work full time, 70 percent are in families with incomes of less than $60,000, more than a quarter are parents, and over a third are married.
- The average affected worker earns about half of his or her family’s total income.
For some very basic facts about the minimum wage, click here.
- Op-Ed: Join campaign to raise federal minimum wage (jta.org)
- Boosting the minimum wage: a long, uphill fight (nbcnews.com)
- Rogers on Justice at Work: Minimum Wage Laws and Social Equality (lawprofessors.typepad.com)