Raising the Minimum Wage

Topics: Minimum wage, United States, Poverty in the United States Pages: 9 (2262 words) Published: May 8, 2014

Raise the Minimum Wage
There has been a lot of discussion regarding the increase of minimum wage across the nation. Currently, the wage is set at a low amount of $7.25 an hour. In today’s society it is almost impossible to live on only an income of $7.25 an hour especially for those who are raising a family. In President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address, the president proposed to raise the minimum wage to 9 dollars by the year 2015 (Luhby). A higher minimum wage would help people living in poverty by providing better means of financial stability, and it would also improve the chances of those people trying to escape poverty stricken living conditions. Another bonus to increasing the minimum wage is that it could potentially help lift the economy back up out of recession. For example, if people have more money, they are more likely to spend more money, therefore creating an increase in revenue for the nation as a whole. An increase in the present minimum wage to $ 9.00 per hour will boost the economy, promote sufficient funds for the standard of living, and enhance equality among all United States citizens. To fully understand the argument circulating around the minimum wage law, it is first essential to recognize the reasons it was established. In 1937, the United States was still recovering from the Great Depression (Wilson). The Great Depression, a direct result of World War I, was a historical low point in United States’ economy. During this period of time, President Franklin D. Roosevelt endorsed the New Deal, which was a series of economic programs that helped to stimulate the nation’s economy (M.W. Overview). Once the bill was approved by President Roosevelt, Congress began a rigorous deliberation in order to deem the bill as constitutional. Unfortunately, the original document was found unconstitutional, which then caused the proposed bill to be re-evaluated before being enacted into a new law.

After a long debate, policymakers reached an agreement as to what statutes would be included within the updated New Deal’s economic stimulus programs. Among those provisions, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 was instituted because it was believed to protect workers and stimulate the economy simultaneously (M.W. Overview). Meaning that, the federal government was not only concerned with rebuilding the United States’ economy, but they also recognized the importance of financial stability among all citizens. As a result of this recognition, Congress felt the need to implement a program that was specifically designed to protect employees from being over-worked and under-paid. Thus, in 1938 the first minimum wage of $0.25 an hour was enacted as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act (Sherk). This mandated pay rate ensured that workers would not only earn enough to sufficiently support themselves but also enough to support a family. Since the initial implementation of the minimum wage, Congress has decreed several raises in order to maintain an adequate income. In fact, according to Mark Sherk, author of The Negative Effects of Minimum Wage Laws, the minimum wage has been increased twenty-two times throughout its existence (Sherk). These increases suggest that the United States government recognized that its citizens were being underpaid and therefore adjusted the minimum wage accordingly so that workers would be compensated properly. With that being said, it is obvious that the United States government regulates the minimum wage, however it is also important to recognize that the responsibilities of the minimum wage are divided between different levels of government such as: national, state and local jurisdictions. The United States is operated by a federalist government, meaning that multiple levels of government share power (O’Gorman). For instance, a popular example of this type of government being exercised is allowing individual states to decide whether or not to legalize...


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Luhby, Tami. "The impact of a $9 minimum wage." CNN Money. N.p., 12 Feb. 2013. google.com. Web. 17 Sept. 2013.
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Kelly, Nathan J., and Christopher Witko. "Federalism And American Inequality." Journal Of Politics 74.2 (2012): 414-426. Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 Sept. 2013.
"Minimum Wage Overview: Provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. (Cover Story). "Congressional Digest 92.5 (2013): 3-10. Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 Sept. 2013.
"Minimum Wage Workers: Characteristics Of Those Employed At Or Below The Minimum Wage. (Cover Story)." Congressional Digest 92.5 (2013): 11-32. Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 Sept. 2013.
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O 'Gorman, Mark. "Domestic Policy." Maryville, TN. 22 Oct. 2013. Lecture.
Sherk, James. "What is Minimum Wage: Its History and Effects on the Economy." The Heritage Foundation. N.p., 25 June 2013. Web. 29 Sept. 2013.
Wilson, Mark. "The Negative Effects of Minimum Wage Laws." Cato Institute. N.p., Sept. 2012. Web. 29 Sept. 2013.
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