On Friday night, the Senate rejected the proposal to increase the federal minimum wage, despite over half of Americans supporting the increase.
Since 2009, the federal minimum wage has been $7.25 an hour. The New York Times explained that President Biden’s proposal, as part of a larger stimulus plan, was designed to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025.
According to Newsweek, 76% of young people and 53% of seniors support increasing the minimum wage to $15.
The proposal was designed to gradually increase the minimum wage to help employers adjust to the change. That way they did not have to increase the pay by $7.75 immediately. However, even with that in place, the proposal was shot down by all Senate republicans as well as seven Senate democrats.
For 12 years, the United States has had the same federal minimum wage. According to the CPI inflation calculator there has been a 21.93% inflation rate since 2009. This means that the minimum wage payment would have gone a lot further in 2009 compared to today.
If someone works full time at the federal minimum wage, they will make approximately $15,080 a year. According to the ASPE, the federal poverty line is making $12,880 or less a year. This means that working a full-time minimum wage job puts someone just $2,200 over the poverty line.
Every single occupation is important in running this country smoothly. Higher level positions, such as doctors, lawyers and others are valuable. However, so are positions that people tend to overlook, such as food service workers, janitors and others. It is disappointing to me that despite the importance of the latter jobs it can be hard for individuals in these fields to
make ends meet.
In addition, according to CNBC nearly 70% of college students work, many of which are minimum wage jobs. Students have the added struggle of trying to pay living expenses as well as school tuition. Tuition costs have risen exorbitantly throughout the years, but the minimum wage has remained the same, making it difficult for college students to pay the bills.
I am one of many college students who’s worked multiple jobs throughout the years, often two or three at a time. All of this while trying to balance a challenging course load. My situation is not unique, it is one that many of my peer’s face.
For students and working American’s alike, it’s a disservice to keep the minimum wage at its current rate. When people work full weeks, they should be able to support themselves and right now that’s not always the case.