The concept of a minimum wage has been around for over a century; New Zealand was the first country to have a minimum wage, enacted in 1894. The United States introduced minimum wage during the Great Depression in 1938. (Anderson) A minimum wage is a price floor; this sets a base line wage that companies have to pay their employees. Currently in the United States nearly 75 million people work minimum wage jobs. (Goldstein) In 2004 the federal minimum wage was $5.15 an hour and only 12 states had higher minimum wages. (Wall Street Journal) Today it is $7.25, last updated in 2009. Polling shows that the public supports an increase in the minimum wage. (Kusler) Minimum wage brings together theoretical economics and real world economics, by coming up with a number that is as close as possible to the natural equilibrium while still providing a wage that workers can live on. It has positives and negatives, but I think the positives outweigh the negatives.
Proponents of the minimum wage want a base line wage that workers can earn so they are not taken advantage of and can earn enough to provide for their families. This side of the argument assumes that the employers are making a profit for themselves and will exploit their workers as much as they can. Minimum wage is a protection for workers from getting exploited and not being able to provide for their families. Many argue that minimum wage is too low at this time, leaving millions of workers still needing assistance from the government, which is paid by tax payers. As tax payers we are picking up the slack of low wages paid to low earning employees. By increasing the minimum wage, we would be giving more purchasing power to the people who are most likely to spend it. For example, in 2009 in Georgia the minimum wage was the current minimum wage of $7.25. If you spend a third of your income in housing, the recommended amount, to rent a one bedroom apartment in Atlanta of about $800 you would need to earn $16 an hour....
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