Increasing the minimum wage may help hard working families make ends meat. The first federal minimum wage in 1938. Started at $.25 an hour. In 1968 it reached its peak value.
Since then the value has fallen thirty percent, so that today’s minimum wage of $5.15 is equal to $4.18 which is equivalent to the value in 1995 (women, 4). Some states have decided to raise the minimum wage above $5.15 an hour even though the senate ultimately sets the minimum wage. There was a push to raise the minimum wage two dollars in the next two years.
The average yearly income for a person who works minimum wage is around $19,000. In the United States there are over 1.6 million minimum wage workers. Fifty-three percent of minimum wage workers are high school, or college students, seventeen percent are the retired, and thirty percent being unskilled workers. Because the minimum wage is not enough for most people to live on, in 1994 local union leaders and activists have helped to pass more than 100 living wage ordinances. A living wage is designed to help low wage workers and their families to live above the poverty level
They have decided on minimum wage on different things but they are looking to increase it since minimum wage workers that make up a family of three are making $5000 below the poverty line.
There are some positive aspects to raising the minimum wage. Bernstein and Schmitt from the Economic Institute in Washington, D.C. studied the effects of raising the minimum wage in 1996-1997 from $4.25 to $5.15 found the following:
Nearly ten million workers or 8.9% of all people with jobs benefited from the full increase to $5.15.
2. Most of these workers were adults (71%) and females (58%).
Close to half (46%) up to beneficiaries work full time and another third work twenty to thirty-four hours per week.
4. The average minimum wage worker brought home more than half (54%) of his or her family’s weekly earnings.
5. The increase primarily benefits the working poor– 35% goes to the poorest working households and 58% goes to the lower 40% of working households. (New Orleans, page 16)
This concludes that there were financial benefits for all of those people who got the minimum wage increase.
The report issued by New Orleans looked at three separate family situations to measure the benefits of the minimum wage raise, the first is a family with one working adult and one child; family with two adults and two children, including one adult with a paying job; a family with two adults and two children, but with both adults holding paying jobs. All three families had an increase in there gross income but there disposable (how much could actually be spent) income did not increase a lot. This was because all families got support from federal Food Stamps and Earned Income Tax programs. The other two things mentioned that these families benefited from were greater access to bank loans or other forms of credit to purchase homes or get higher education and the other was dignity. It has been found that the vast majority of people in this country would prefer to work for a decent wage than to receive government or welfare benefits. (New Orleans, page 15) The government also benefits when workers earn more money because they aren’t as dependant on federally funded programs like food stamps.
The New Orleans report also felt business in poor neighborhoods would benefit because workers would spend there money in their neighborhoods.
Just as many people however are against raising the minimum wage. They argue that job losses will occur. Employers may need to pay workers more money in wages than they are receiving in labor. An example is that McDonalds can install a French fry basket loader that loads a specific amount of fries into a basket. This job was previously done by a minimum wage employee.
Such jobs that pay minimum wage are fast food worker, a person who washes dishes, waiter or waitress, a person who works a cash register or a bus boy/girl who goes around clearing the tables. The people who work minimum wage usually fall into three categories. High school .