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Digital Features

The fight for $15: Where does the U.S. stand?

May 24, 2021 00:00 AM UTC
- Updated July 29, 2021 13:20 PM UTC

The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 since 2009.

Transcript
The federal minimum wage currently stands at $7.25 an hour. It's been that way since 2009 and the 12-year stand without an increase is the longest since the federal minimum wage was implemented in 1938. And while the minimum wage hasn't changed, the cost of living in the US. has increased by 20% over the last decade. Now, if the minimum wage, it actually kept up with the rate of productivity and inflation, it would currently be $22,. Advocates are asking for just 15. Increasing the minimum wage to $15 would actually raise the earnings of 32 million workers. That's 21% of the american workforce. It would be particularly beneficial to minority workers earnings, with rates for nearly one in three black workers and one in four hispanic workers. That's compared with about one in five white workers. If you raise the minimum wage gradually to $15 by 2025 that would lift up about 3.7 million people out of poverty and that includes an estimated 1.3 million Children. Well, the federal minimum wage hasn't changed since 2000 and nine. Some states have taken matters into their own hands, California has a minimum wage of $14 Washington state has a minimum wage of $13.69 in massachusetts has a minimum wage of $13.50. Now there are five states that actually have no minimum wage laws. That's Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, south Carolina and Tennessee. So that means they must adhere to that 7 25 federal minimum And then there's George in Wyoming. So while the majority of the minimum wage workers there makes $7.25 an hour. There are certain farm and seasonal workers who still paid the previous minimum wage, that's from before $2009, an hour. Now. Like a lot of states corporate America has actually taken this into their own hands as well. It seems like a lot of big businesses have increased their minimum salaries recently. When you look at Chipotle, that's $15 an hour. Mcdonald's 13 plus dollars an hour. Target $15 an hour, Costco $16 an hour. So you might be asking yourself, well, why don't we let corporations do this, then? They're raising the wage on their own. Why do we need the federal government to step in? Well, let's look at two examples. You can look at Mcdonald's, they're raising their way to $13 an hour, but most of their stores are actually franchises, so they can't control that these are only for the corporate owned stores. Then if you look at walmart, they said they would increase wages for some of their 1.6 million employees to bring the average hourly wage to $15. But there's still 800,000 full and part time associates who aren't making that $15. Now, As you may have guessed, this is an issue that really falls along partisan lines. For the most part, democrats agree they want this $15 an hour minimum wage and republicans are against it. Republicans say that this is, you know, unskilled laborers. These are teenagers with summer jobs and these are people who quickly kind of pull themselves up to a higher wage, increasing the federal minimum wage by 107% is a harmful and unprecedented mandate that would result in millions of job losses for vulnerable americans, small business closures and significant damage to the U. S. Economy. Whereas Democrats argue that there are about 34 million Americans living below the poverty line, and that no one who works a full time job should have to starve in this country. So right now Democrats hold a small control over Congress, but midterm elections are coming up quickly and anything can happen. So advocates for this $15 minimum wage really want to get it passed before November 2022.