The current minimum wage, $7.25 an hour, forces individuals and families nationwide to rely heavily on government programs, like foodstamps (SNAP), welfare, WIC, etc. Raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour would give 1.7 million workers enough of a raise to stop relying on federal programs, reducing government expenditures on current income-support programs by $7.6 billion per year, says a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

Not only would it mean less government spending, the EPI report also says that raising the minimum wage means 4.6 million people would be lifted above the poverty line immediately.

According to Republicans like Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker, $7.25 is a livable wage and raising it would kill job growth. Currently, a full-time minimum wage worker cannot generate enough income to make rent anywhere in this country, according to data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. $7.25 is not a living wage by any means, and raising it to the recommended $10.10 would boost the economy by $22 billion and create 85,000 new jobs, said the EPI earlier this year.

Republicans have an outstanding history of blocking bills introduced by Democrats to raise the minimum wage, despite supporting federal wage increases under the Bush administration.

Because a higher minimum wage means less government spending, raising the minimum wage would be beneficial to the economy, job growth, and the Republicans who claim that’s what their party really stands for.


Alex Chastain is a writer with Ring of Fire.