Top Pro & Con Arguments
Raising the federal minimum wage would not only allow minimum wage workers to afford basic living expenses, but would also reduce income, gender, and racial inequalities.
The current minimum wage is not high enough to allow people to afford housing. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, “In 2022, a full-time worker needs to earn an hourly wage of $25.82 on average to afford a modest, two-bedroom rental home in the U.S. This… is $18.57 higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25…. A full-time worker needs to earn an hourly wage of $21.25 on average in order to afford a modest one-bedroom rental home in the U.S.”
Further, 35% of families with full-time year-round employment do not earn enough to pay for essentials including food and childcare. 59% of Hispanic families, 52% of Black families, 25% of white families, and 23% of Asian families that work full-time year-round cannot cover basic needs. Overall, families would need to earn $11 more an hour to cover basic costs, with Black and Hispanic families needing $12 more an hour.
Approximately 91% of workers who would benefit from a raised minimum wage are over 20 years old, with 68% over the age of 25. Most are the primary wage earners for their families, averaging about 52% of their family’s income, and most are women and people of color. The current federal minimum wage prevents these individuals and families from meeting basic needs like shelter and food, as well as creating significant obstacles to healthcare, finances for an emergency, and other expenses such as car upkeep.
Thus, the unaffordability of basic needs drives income, gender, and racial inequality. Workers who have to pinch pennies do not have the money, time, or other resources to invest in more education or job training for themselves and their families, meaning they remain stuck in low-paying jobs with few to no benefits such as sick days, health insurance, or retirement plans. Minimum wage workers are then also subjected to irregular schedules that can make the rest of life, such as picking up kids from school, difficult or impossible.
Increasing the minimum wage would not only bring relief to workers struggling to make ends meet, it would also raise the incomes of people who make slightly more than minimum wage. The Brookings Institution found that increasing the minimum wage would result in higher wages for the 3.7 million people earning minimum wage and up to 35 million workers who make up to 150% of the federal minimum wage.
The White House Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) found that an increase to just $10.10 an hour would raise wages for 28 million Americans–about nine million of those due to the ripple effect.Read More