Top Pro & Con Arguments

Pro

Improvements in productivity and economic growth have outpaced increases in the minimum wage.

While the estimates of how much the minimum wage should be increased vary, many economists agree that if it had kept pace with rising productivity and incomes, it would be higher than the current $7.25 an hour. According to a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), the federal minimum wage would have been $21.72 per hour in 2012, instead of $7.25, if the minimum wage had kept pace with increases in productivity since 1968. [17] The Institute for Policy Studies estimated in 2012 that personal income has grown by 100.6% since 1968, while the minimum wage has stagnated: “If our standard for minimum wages had kept pace with overall income growth in the American economy, it would now be $21.16 per hour.” [14] The Economist stated in 2015 that “America as a whole is an outlier among advanced economies… one would expect America, where GDP per person is $53,000, to pay a minimum wage around $12 an hour. That would mean a raise of about 65% for Americans earning the minimum pay rate.” [18]

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