Twenty states raised the minimum wage starting the first day of this year, leaving 35 and the federal government that have not risen the wage, reported TruthOut. Though it sounds like good news for these 20 states, the menial increase is almost an insult.
For instance, Florida raised its minimum wage by only 12 cents per hour. That’s it, and as TruthOut noted, other states like Montana, Arizona, and Missouri raised the wages by only 15 cents. These increases will do nothing to help the stagnating wages of American workers.
These piddling increases in the minimum wage are simply not enough to support a single person, let alone sustain a family comfortably. According to the Alliance for a Just Society, a liveable wage in America would have to be over $15 per hour, which is the basis for the number of Fight for 15 protests that have been going for the last two years.
If a parent wants to be able to support their child comfortably, that wage would have to be closer to $23 per hour. As has been noted several time before, women and minorities consistently earn less than white males. Even President Obama acknowledged the hard plight of American low-income workers in.
“If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, go try it,” said Obama. “If not, vote to give millions of the hardest-working people in America a raise.”
The last time that an American could live off of minimum wage, which was a progressive issue, was 1968. That year, the minimum wage was $1.60 per hour, which was comparable to $10.70 today. However, the rate of inflation has vastly surpassed that, weakening even the 1968 estimated buying power.
That $1.60 wage supported a family of three in 1968. It doesn’t even support a family of two, now. American workers work hard for those peanuts just to barely get by. Raise the minimum wage, and let the American worker prosper. Americans would be able to buy more, thus stimulating business output and the economy.