Photo reprinted with permission from Aimee Christenson
Federal minimum wage should increase amid high inflation
May 3, 2022
The federal minimum wage has been $7.25/hour since July 24, 2009. For many citizens across the United States, this is not a livable wage. Although some believe that the federal minimum wage should stay at $7.25/hour because it would be difficult for small businesses to keep up with the increase, the federal minimum wage should be increased to $15/hour because it would allow for job growth and would allow for more people to be above the poverty level.
The inflation rate recently reached 8.5% in March 2022, a rate that the United States has not seen since the early 1980s. There is more demand as a result of a decrease in the severity of COVID-19, but not enough supply because there are not enough people returning to work. Raising the federal minimum wage would help combat this difficult situation.
A $15/hour federal minimum wage would allow for job growth as a result of an increase in economic activity.
Senior Rowan Malmberg explained that an increased minimum would give people more opportunities for housing, education, food and many other basic necessities.
Typically, inflation is higher when prices are higher. A higher minimum wage would allow for people to afford housing costs. This would most been seen in states with high house prices such as California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Colorado.
With a higher minimum wage, more people would be above the poverty line. More people would be above the poverty line because they would make more money. The federal minimum wage would be $15/hour rather than $7.25/hour.
“[Inflation] really crunches and hurts the poorest members of society the most, and it really squeezes the people in the middle class,” economics teacher Michael Weiss said.
Inflation usually hurts people below the poverty line, who make the least amount of money in society. Many people currently below the poverty line would be able to live above that line and not feel effects of inflation as much.
The race and gender inequality gap would be reduced as a result of the $15/hour requirement across the US. Legislation. Increasing the federal minimum wage would ensure that everyone makes an equal amount of money regardless of their background.
Malmberg explained how $7.25/hour is not an “adequate salary for adults to live off of” because they are not able to afford housing, food and other basic necessities.
For many citizens who have generally been paid less for equal work completed, legislation passed by Congress would allow for those to make the same amount of money as a citizen making more money. Many people previously paid less would be given more opportunities as a result of this wage increase.
Finally, raising the federal minimum wage to $15/hour would allow for an increase in worker productivity and a reduction in employee turnover.
“People who are making minimum wage currently or below that in [restaurants] are probably going to be pretty happy because they will be making more money,” junior Mary Thompson said.
A $15/hour minimum wage would attract citizens to various companies that would otherwise not gain workers with a lower wage, especially if that company would be paying the current $7.25/hour minimum. Many workers would want to stay at their current job, which would help combat inflation by allowing for more mass production of common goods.
Although some believe the federal minimum wage should be increased to $15/hour, others believe that it should be kept at $7.25/hour because it would be hard for small businesses that do not receive much income to pay all their workers. As a result, many workers would possibly be laid off, without a job.
Even though both sides to this argument are legitimate, the federal minimum wage should be increased to $15/hour because more people could return to jobs and be above the poverty level, which in turn would be able to combat inflation. Congress must act to increase the federal minimum wage.