A new website from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) is providing information and making the case for raising the federal minimum wage in the U.S.
Currently set at $7.25 an hour, the federal minimum wage has failed to keep up with the rising cost of living. That means that today’s minimum wage would need to be at least $10.34 an hour to have the same purchasing power as it did 40 years ago, after adjusting for inflation.
Nineteen states have raised their minimum wage above the current federal minimum of $7.25, but in many cases it still falls below the $10.34 threshold. The last time the federal minimum wage increased was in three steps between 2007 to 2009, when it increased from $5.15 an hour $7.25. Prior to that the federal minimum wage had not been raised for 10 years (1997 – 2007). That’s 10 years without a raise for millions of workers.
Opponents of raising the minimum wage make the same arguments each time an increase is proposed – it will costs jobs, only teenagers get paid the minimum, it’s bad for the economy, etc. But there is simply little evidence to support these claims and ample research showing the positive impact of a higher minimum wage.
Think you can live well on the minimum wage? Check out director Morgan Spurlock’s episode of “30 Days” in which he and his wife try to make ends meet on the minimum wage. (Available for streaming on Netflix.)
You can also learn more by reading journalist Barbara Ehrenreich’s classic undercover reporting in “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.”
To learn more, check out www.raisetheminimumwage.com.