By Lindsay Bonn

In Orlando, Florida, Joe Castro works in the housekeeping business. Financially, he has trouble with giving his children the food and medicine they need. He has a son in college, and he can’t afford to help pay for some of his son’s education. In order to pay his tuition, Joe would have to find work at more than one job to make ends meet. Mr. Castro is struggling with these educational funds, because of the sub-par minimum wage rates in the United States today.

As of November 2015, the minimum wage rate was currently 23% below what it was in 1968, when it was at its highest.
Millions of Americans on a daily basis have trouble earning enough money to spend on basic needs (such as food, water, clothes, and shoes). After paying all of their bills, so many Americans don’t have enough money to have a life that they can actually enjoy.

How Long Has Minimum Wage Been in the United States?
The concept of minimum wage was first established by Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the Great Depression in 1938, so that people would be able to survive during the U.S’s time of need.

Since current U.S. President Barack Obama came into office in early 2009, the minimum wage rate has not been raised one dollar.

This issue has grown into a major problem; as the years go by, the prices of basic objects are experiencing inflation. Inflation is the steady increase of prices, over a prolonged period of time. If consumer products are getting more and more expensive, how will minimum wage workers be able to pay all of their bills? This has become a major nationwide issue: not only are so many people practically living in poverty, but some of the Presidential Candidates of the 2016 election, includings Donald Trump and Ben Carson, have both voiced their opinions about the issue.

Minimum wage increases over the years. According to fafdl.org, “Past Minimum Wage Gains Make LA’s $6 Hike Appear Rather Puny.”

The minimum wage has been the same for about 7 years, since 2009.

Kate Rogers from CNBC says that, ” As of now, 29 states and Washington D.C. have wages above the federal floor of $7.25 an hour that hasn’t been raised in six years.” Since over one half of the United States has raised their minimum wage above the federal minimum, this shows that many Americans do need the raise. More business owners are considering this as well, especially because of the fact that minimum wage rates are not changed often enough to support the employee. Minimum wage rates are growing to be a nationwide issue. Now, finally, more people are starting to know about it.

Why is This Such a Nationwide Issue?

The issue of minimum wage rates is surrounded by controversy, and thousands of Americans need more money to stay in the U.S. Winnie Hu from the New York Times emphasizes the people receiving the short end of the minimum wage, which many don’t really hear about. She writes about Mrs. Tessa Sheey, who works at the New York State Department of Labor as an assistant. Hu says that, “She runs out of money almost every month and has to borrow from her mother or try to eke out savings by cutting back on lunches.” The fact that she has to limit the amount of food that she eats is terrible to begin with, but having to go to her mother for money is almost as bad.

The reason why people get jobs is so that they can be independent, and don’t have to depend on their parents or family for everything that they need.

Minimum wage standings in the United States

According to the U.S. Labor Department (laws), state labor departments (wage figures), and The Wall Street JournalWord to Know:

– Federal Minimum: The amount of money that the federal government gives as minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour.
This is exemplary to how the grossly low minimum wage rates are very close to forcing people to give up the things that they need, and shouldn’t have to give up.

On the other hand, Americans need to learn more about this issue before they just throw out an uneducated opinion. From MSNBC, Ben Spielberg and Jared Bernstein support this statement. They believe that, “… becoming educated on [the issues of] minimum wage means learning the opposite lessons by Trump, Carson, Rubio, and other opponents who either ignore or are unaware of the extensive research in the issue.” By not knowing everything that people should about an issue, and then making an inaccurate opinion, positions in power can give off a wrong message to the public. Because so many people are affected by minimum wage in numerous ways, what society needs to comprehend is not what we think we know about the issue, but rather what is really happening. People need to know how minimum wage rates have such a bad effect on thousands of Americans every single day, in order to implement change..

What does the Opposing Side Say?

Oppositions to raising minimum wage think that this will hurt our economy overall. For instance, Donald Trump is someone against raising minimum wage. John Komlos, from PBS Newshour, writes about how Donald Trump was wrong in saying what he said: “Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases.” Trump may think that this is true, but it’s not. John Komlos, a supporter of raising the minimum wage says, “In today’s economy an increase in minimum wage would come mostly out of profits. And there is plenty of that to go around.”

This just goes to show that people against raising minimum wage are concerned about the government losing money, and are not concerned about the people losing money.

Trump also believes that the wage rates today are already too high. He once had said that “[the] wages [are] too high,” and that “we’re not going to be able to compete against the world.”

What is the competition? If there were one, wouldn’t you want to have the highest minimum wage rate, showing the world that you treat your state employees with the respect and dignity that they deserve?

In his perspective, the competition is all about which government/place in the world has the most money and power.
Besides, the fact that minimum wage hasn’t been considered for years and people have to limit the things that they really need in life is unacceptable. This just goes to show that everyone who thinks that minimum wage isn’t a serious issue are just trying to find ways to hide that it actually is a major problem.

What We Can do to Help

If the minimum wage was increased, Joe Castro would not have as much trouble supporting his family, especially his children, for health and educational reasons. Not only does this apply to him, but it applies to the millions of other Americans–and people around the world–who manage to survive through the struggles of everyday life.

Many people want the minimum wage rate to be higher, while others think it is too high or is fine just the way it is. However, instead of making a huge increase all at once, the minimum wage rate should be increased gradually, in order for it to give businesses time for adjustments. Every little thing makes a difference! By doing this, many people
won’t be
living in “poverty” and they won’t leave the U.S. due to poor financial stability.

If the government doesn’t raise the minimum wage, millions of Americans will be living in poverty. What if everyone were working for $7.25 an hour? How would everyone make ends meet? It wouldn’t be so easy, would it?

1 COMMENT

  1. The main problem with raising the minimum wage is that when you pay people more, it’s more expensive to keep them employed. The ultimate minimum wage is and always will be $0, i.e. unemployment.Instead of raising the minimum wage, which would burden small businesses, bolster the Earned Income Tax Credit, a refundable tax credit that adds income to those earning their income through a job. It can be funded through a surtax on companies that can afford it, e.g. Walmart.