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Trapped in Poverty: The State of the Minimum Wage in America

The value of the minimum wage in the United States is at a record low, and millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet. With the cost of living on the rise and inflation and stagnating wages, many workers are finding themselves trapped in a cycle of poverty.

This article will explore the state of the minimum wage in the United States and the impact that it is having on American workers.

Minimum Wage Value at Record Low

The actual value of minimum wage earnings in the United States is lower than it has been in 66 years. Despite the fact that the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, it is estimated that the minimum wage should be around $24 per hour to keep up with inflation and the cost of living.

This means that millions of workers across the country are struggling to make ends meet, even when working full-time. Raise The Wage Act Proposes Increase to $15/Hour

The Raise The Wage Act is a piece of legislation that has been proposed to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

This would be a significant increase that would help millions of workers across the country. Proponents of the Raise The Wage Act argue that the current minimum wage is not a living wage and that workers should be able to earn enough to support themselves and their families.

On the other hand, opponents argue that increasing the minimum wage would lead to job losses and inflation.

States Taking Matters into Their Own Hands

With the federal government failing to increase the minimum wage, many states are taking matters into their own hands. A growing number of states are passing their own minimum wage increases, with some states already implementing a $15 minimum wage.

These state minimum wage increases are helping to alleviate poverty and provide workers with a living wage.

Impact on Americans

The impact of the minimum wage on Americans is significant. Millions of workers across the country are struggling to make ends meet, even when working full-time.

The following statistics demonstrate the current state of the minimum wage in the United States:

– 32% of the workforce in the United States is making less than $15 an hour, according to a report by Oxfam America. – More than 1 in 10 Americans (almost 43 million people) live in poverty, according to the US Census Bureau.

– In 2019, the poverty line for a family of four was $25,750. A full-time worker making the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour would only earn $15,080 in a year, which is below the poverty line.

Fight for $15 Results in Higher Pay for 26 Million Workers

Despite the challenges, the Fight for $15 movement has resulted in higher pay for 26 million workers across the country. The movement, which originated with fast-food workers in New York City, has spread across the country and has resulted in minimum wage increases in many cities and states.

Conclusion

The minimum wage in the United States is at a record low, and millions of American workers are struggling to make ends meet. Despite the challenges, efforts to increase the minimum wage are gaining momentum, with the Raise The Wage Act and state minimum wage increases providing hope for workers across the country.

It is essential that we continue to fight for a living wage for all workers and ensure that no one is trapped in poverty.

Historical Context

To truly understand the current state of the minimum wage in the United States, it is important to examine its historical context. The federal minimum wage was first instituted as federal policy in 1938 as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The original minimum wage was set at 25 cents per hour, which is equivalent to around $4.45 per hour in 2022 dollars. Over the years, the federal minimum wage has been raised many times, with the first increase coming in 1945.

One notable aspect of the federal minimum wage is that Congress has not raised it in 13 years. The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour was established in 2009 and has not been adjusted since then.

This has left many workers struggling to make ends meet, especially in light of rising healthcare and housing costs. Despite the lack of action by Congress, many states have taken matters into their own hands by implementing their own minimum wage increases.

In fact, 26 states have raised or plan to raise their minimum wage to $15 per hour, which is often considered to be a living wage. These state minimum wage increases are important because they provide workers with a much-needed increase in pay, but they do not address the issue of a federal minimum wage that has not been adjusted for inflation in over a decade.

Impact on Americans Today

The current value of minimum wage earnings in 2022 is lower than in 1956, despite the fact that the federal minimum wage has been raised 20 times since World War II. This is due to the effects of inflation, which has a significant impact on the purchasing power of workers making minimum wage.

In 1956, the federal minimum wage was $1 per hour, which is equivalent to around $9.77 per hour in 2022 dollars. This means that the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour is actually worth less than the minimum wage was worth in 1956.

One reason why so many states are implementing their own minimum wage increases is that the presidential administration has expressed support for raising the federal minimum wage. President Biden has proposed raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, which would be a significant increase.

However, the proposed increase has faced opposition from some members of Congress, who argue that it would lead to job losses and economic instability. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of a living wage for workers.

Essential workers, who have been hailed as heroes during the pandemic, often make minimum wage and have struggled to make ends meet while putting their health on the line to keep society functioning. Many people have called for a living wage to be considered an essential component of a just recovery from the pandemic.

Conclusion

The state of the minimum wage in the United States is complex, with a history of federal policies that have both helped and hindered American workers. While Congress has not raised the federal minimum wage in 13 years, states are taking matters into their own hands by implementing minimum wage increases to provide workers with a living wage.

The value of minimum wage earnings in 2022 is actually lower than it was in 1956, despite numerous federal minimum wage increases over the years. The presidential administration and the COVID-19 pandemic have also had an impact on minimum wage changes, with the issue of a living wage becoming increasingly important in discussions about social and economic justice.

In conclusion, the federal minimum wage in the United States has not been raised in over a decade, leaving many workers struggling to make ends meet. Despite this, many states have implemented their own minimum wage increases, with 26 states planning to reach a $15 per hour living wage.

However, the current value of minimum wage earnings in 2022 is actually lower than it was in 1956 due to inflation. The presidential administration and the COVID-19 pandemic have also contributed to discussions about the importance of a living wage.

It is vital that we continue to fight for a federal minimum wage that provides workers with a living wage, and that addresses the issue of rising healthcare and housing costs. The minimum wage is an issue of social and economic justice, and it is crucial that we ensure no one is trapped in poverty.

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