Government

The Federal $15 Minimum Wage

READING TIME - 5 MINUTES

Key Items to Consider:

  1. Where did the fight for $15 come from and what is the current minimum wage?
  2. How does it align with the current economy?
  3. Will it happen?

1: Where did the fight for $15 come from?

The purpose of the “Fight For $15” campaign in 2012 was to raise the minimum wage for fast-food workers demanding a pay raise in New York City. They declared their need for an increase in their wages  by stating, “We can’t feed our families, pay our bills, or even keep a roof over our heads on minimum wage pay.” With a current federal minimum wage of $7.25, many states have decided to increase their state’s minimum wage. Currently, 29 states and Washington D.C. have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum wage, 5 states have no set minimum wage, and 2 states have a minimum wage less than the federal minimum wage. These 7 states, along with the others not accounted for predominantly follow the federal minimum wage.

2: How does it align with the current economy?

With the new administration being employed by the government, there has been a major push for the increase in the minimum wage to $15 by 2025. President Biden’s platform has made this move a very crucial part of his presidency and intends on passing the bill.  From the perspective of economists, there is a division in the thought of whether or not this bill should be implemented. Some economists display evidence of minimal job loss with increased minimum wage, while others argue the severity of job loss with the extension from $7.25 to $15. The opponents of the bill convey the drastic job loss seen over the pandemic, and state that such addition will only add to that loss. It can be visualized that with the employment of this bill, many small companies will face complications. A study conducted by the Congressional Budget Office found two major points with this bill. This proposal has the potential to cost 1.3 million people their jobs, or raise the pay for 27 million people and assist 1.3 million people out of poverty. Many people, whether in Congress or part of a business, agree upon raising the minimum wage but do not advocate for a raise to $15.

President Joe Biden campaigning for president on the promise to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour; marketwatch.com
It’s been too cold to campaign in frozen North Dakota. But as spring has crept across the state, an unusual ballot initiative is starting to emerge: One that would more than double the minimum wage, from $7.25 to $15 an hour by 2021.

3: Will it happen?

Currently, this movement is on hold. With the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package being finalized and passed, the increase of the minimum wage, planned to be a part of this bill, was denied as an amendment. Many Republicans continue to argue in favor of smaller businesses, especially at the time of this pandemic, while many Democrats continue to push for the minimum wage and plan to pass it during Biden’s term. On the other hand, there has been some disagreement with this bill on the Democrat side, where Senator Joe Manchin denied support for this proposal. Still, Congress is confident in passing this bill, and many intend to continue fighting for its passage, even with the differing opinions of members of Congress and economists.

Vice President Kamala Harris casts the tie breaking vote to pass the resolution for the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package; cnn.com

TL;DR

  • The fight for a $15 minimum wage is not new; this has been a movement since 2012 when workers in New York City began to demand for an increase due to financial troubles
  • Currently, there is debate on the benefits and drawbacks of this proposal between economists, considering the situation the country is in with the pandemic
  • This bill is currently on hold for being passed, due to the removal of its inclusion within the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package

Sources

https://www.ncsl.org/research/labor-and-employment/state-minimum-wage-chart.aspx#:~:text=Saige%20Draeger-,Summary,wage%20of%20%247.25%20per%20hour.

https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/minimum-wage/state

https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-wants-a-15-minimum-wage-heres-what-people-say-it-would-do-to-the-economy-11612348201

https://fightfor15.org

https://www.npr.org/2021/02/05/964020654/senate-says-no-to-15-minimum-wage-for-now-but-democrats-vow-to-push-on

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