5 Reasons to Raise the Minimum Wage Right Now

Written by Bryce Covert

Wednesday marks the four-year anniversary of the last time the minimum wage was raised. It has stayed stuck at $7.25 an hour since then, but if it had kept up with inflation since 1968, it would be $10.40. President Obama has called for a raise to $9 an hour, while Democrats in Congress have called for increasing it to $10.10. As minimum wage workers wait for action, here are five reasons for why it would be smart to raise it immediately:

1. It would boost the economy: A recent study by the Chicago Federal Reserve found that raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour would increase household spending by about $48 billion the following year, amounting to a .3 percent boost to GDP. And while opponents warn that a raise would hurt jobs, several studies have shown that it doesn’t have a negative effect on employment and may even help boost job growth.

2. It would lift millions out of poverty: A full-time minimum wage worker earns just $14,500 a year, meaning that if she has two kids she lives at $3,000 below the poverty line. The wage isn’t enough to make rent in any state in the country. But raising it to $10.10 an hour would lift nearly 6 million workers out of poverty.

3. It would help close the gender wage gap: Women make up two-thirds of the minimum wage earners in the country, which is why 13.1 million would be impacted by a raise. Evidence already suggests that a higher minimum wage is related to a smaller gender wage gap at the state level, pointing to a raise as a good way to help change the fact that women make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.

4. It’s an important racial justice issue: Three and a half million people of color would be lifted out of poverty with a minimum wage raise to $10.10, representing the majority of those lifted out of poverty. People of color are much more likely to work minimum wage jobs, making up 42 percent of those workers even though they make up 32 percent of the overall workforce.

5. Americans support a raise: A poll released on Wednesday shows that 80 percent of Americans support a raise to $10.10 an hour, including more than 90 percent of Democrats and even two-thirds of Republicans, as well as 83 percent of low-income adults and nearly 80 percent of those who make more than $100,000. Voters also decided to raise the wage in three cities in November, and in fact when ballot initiatives include a raise, voters nearly always approve it by substantial majorities.

This post was originally published at ThinkProgress.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

168 comments

Jeanne R
Jeanne R2 months ago

TYFS

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R2 months ago

TYFS

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R2 months ago

TYFS

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R2 months ago

TYFS

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R2 months ago

TYFS

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for the article.

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Monica Buchanan
Monica Buchanan3 years ago

The people at the top are paying themselves Millions$ but they want the rest of the work force to be slaves/servants. If the people at the top were being paid realistic salaries, there would be plenty of money to pay every a decent wage.

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Jenevieve P.
Past Member 4 years ago

BTW,.. my podiatrist (foot doctor) walks in, sits down,.. aks "How's the foot,.. would you like a shot," gets up and leaves and then sends me a bill for $234. mind you, the fellow has more than one practice, and he's been out of school for probably 30 plus years. I'm sure his students loas are paid off? .. while I do get that he has to pay his their minimum and he does have to pay for his yearly mal practice insurance (hehehe) You gotta ge that this guy is still sitting comfy, while the average school teacher in Hawaii, who works in the Waianea schools makes a starting salary of $33,100 per year, which comes out to $17 per hour to sit ALL day in a room filled with school children and teach. .. and,.. he or she has to pay for all their own room supplies.
Where is the rationale there? You would think teachers deserves alot more! Yet when you take what a podiatirst does,.. and compare it to an all day job at Walmart or Kohl's, everyday working folks deserve alot more than $7.50 to $8.00 per hour! They do a hell of lot more than a podiatrist does!

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Jenevieve P.
Past Member 4 years ago

Stanley R.,.. I whole heartedly agree with you that minimum wage should be $35 per hour, but you do know how much computer techs and mechanics make per hour don't you? My Computer tech charges $145 per hour and my mechanic charges $65 per hour. Lawyers charge between $250 to $500 per hour. Hair dressers in the big cities are getting away with charging $400 for a HAIR CUT! If a woman walks into a salon and sits in a charge to have her hair cut and highlighted, the minimum she will walk out paying is $125. That's MINIMUM! that's about $41 per hour , yet you have to bring in the cost of supplies. resume writers are getting a minimum of $175 to $500 for a basic resume, and Executive resumes are now costing $1,000. That's pretty well up there will what doctors get per hour, as an example a podiatirst gets on average $234 (minimum) per visit.

I wonder what would be found as an average in wage if economists were to sit down and look at every type of service there is, and detail the "wages" or fee these folks demand, includiing everday folks who work their butts off for a "minimum" hourly wage, and then see the reality of what a REAL minimum wage should ACTUALLY look like?

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Stanley R.
Stanley R4 years ago

Minimum wage should be $35/hr, Maximum salary $2 million/yr. Fair?

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