Us Minimum Wage


Raising the lowest wages in America has always been a controversial topic. The Federal Government establishes the minimum hourly wages that a worker can be paid and as such, these standards of income impact the entire nation.  These standards of income or minimum wages were written into law to control the unfair practices of sweatshops and other capitalistic, manufacturing firms. However, minimum wage laws of today ensure that the employee being paid is provided with enough money to afford necessities (Edward and Gilman, 1999).  Nevertheless, with rising energy costs, no real affordable heath-care system in place and rising fuel and food costs the minimum minimally covers the average Americans necessities. The controversy and or problems associated with standard wages stem from both the positive and negative impacts that it imparts upon society. For example, as minimum wages increase companies are less likely to hire new employees, to train or retool current employees or to offer incentives and or job advancements.  In reverse, as wages decrease firms began to experience higher levels of employee turnover rates, incidents of accidents and often are left with less qualified applicants (Doyle, 2017). Seeing that much of this countries workforce is made up of hourly employees these minimum wage imbalances typically disrupt the main source of income for many households in America.   

Technologyand various factors of life have changed over the years and has greatlyadvanced. However, what has remained stagnant; is the increases to minimumwages. As such, many people in America are unable to properly provide for theirfamilies. Poverty rates have increased as well as the number of the homeless,yet the Federal Government reports that our economy is improving. Nevertheless,many of this great, Nation’s citizens are unable to provide good andnutritional food for themselves and their families. Because of this we are nowfacing a rising epidemic of poor health and illness in this country. Due in partto the; depression, obesity, poor nutritional lifestyles brought on by poverty (T.H.G,2014).Throughout the years there has been research that has proven that workers whomake more than minimum wage tend to be well and in good health. However, theFederal Government feels that by increased minimum wages create heightenedlevels of unemployment and that if minimum wages were increased above tendollars per hour that these rates would elevate drastically. Truth be told, if minimumwages could increase as much as $25 an hour and firms and organizations wouldcontinue to grow and prosper because their inputs would always be higher thantheir outputs. Thriving companies like Amazon wouldn’t stop hiring and neitherwould they have to raise the prices on their goods to compensate for increasedwages. Ideally, if wages were raised it would essentially grow the middle-classand low-income worker would be less reliance upon government assistanceprograms. As a result, hard working Americas are speaking out and protesting fora substantial increase to the minimum wages. This in essence is warrantedbecause over the last few year’s inflation has increased however income has not.According to different reports given by the Labor Board, “2007 amendmentsincreased the minimum wage to $5.85 per hour which took effect on July 24,2007; $6.55 per hour effective July 24, 2008; and $7.25 per hour effective July24, 2009.” Throughout much of this time America was fighting 3 wars, losingseveral companies to foreign barters, dealing with a real estate crisis as wellas an extreme recession. So, these relatively menial increases were not inalignment with gas prices, inflation nor overall citizen expenses. Statics showat the beginning 2017, twenty-nine states have a higher minimum wage than thestandard federal rate. Implementing a minimum wage increase would promoteequality among the nation, while also paying workers a living wage which willaid in one being able to live a decent and healthy life. Despite the hesitationfrom employers, many American households live off minimum wage, for this reasonlawmakers should increase it; which will aid American families with the abilityto afford the cost of living.


Thebare minimum of anything is less than average and as such is subpar! Minimumwage in supposedly ‘Greatest and Strongest Nation’ in the world falls closer tothe wages extended to citizens in less developed countries. America is rankednumber 9 and has a greater military and infrastructure than at least two of thecountries that out pay their citizens. Australia which is ranked number one asit relates to highest minimum wages paid to it’s workers and citizens yet thiscountry founded in 1901 and America was founded in 1776, a whooping 275 yearsearlier (Papworth, 2012). America’s Minimum wage institution was established in1933, and upon its inception citizens were paid twenty-five cents an hour.Eventually the wages were raised regularly in the years after, with the timebetween increases generally ranging between a year, and up to five and sixyears.  On Jan 1, 1981, the minimum wageincreased to three dollars and thirty-five cents and it remains at the leveluntil 1990. The current federal minimum wage has remained the same for the sameamount of time. It was last increased on Sept. 1, 2010 at seven dollars andtwenty-five cents. (Pollin,Robert; Wicks-Lim, Jeannette,2016).  Currently there are eighteen other states includingthe District of Columbia who have a higher minimum wage than what is typically requiredby federal law. However, there are still six states that don’t even  participate in minimum wage.  The reason why this is a global societalproblem is because approximately half of the people earning the minimum wage orless are younger workers who are under the age of twenty-five.  Many of these worked still live with theirparents.  Statistic show that forty-onepercent stay with their patents while fifteen percent are adults, who areraising a family and twenty-three percent are adults who are barely able totake care of themselves. Although, poverty has been a huge problem for manydecades (for all types of families), government officials feel that raisingwages would have little effect on these group of people.

Researchers have proven that various states across America have a minimum wage that is higher than what is required at the government level.  However, the federal government gives each state an opportunity to manage their minimum wage by law, but the worker will get the higher pay of the two. “Many economists do not like minimum wage for the simple fact it puts a stop to low-income workers who essentially cannot produce enough monetary worth in their work to cover the minimum wage. Often during various years such as 2008-2012, a worker in these situations has to consider the government, by looking at one’s neighborhood, education level, race, and age (24-65)” (Greory,2014).

 Another factor that could be essential to helpincrease minimum wage is the coast of living. Although each state has the authority to have its own minimum wage, somestates are less cost efficient than others which require more than the standardminimum. “Mostof the global labor force, in any case, is the developing markets.  In addition, for some of these nations, initiatinga minimum wage or raising it is unequivocally on the policy agenda. Yet, littleis thought about the effects of minimum wages on labor and expectations forliving standards in developing markets” (Gregory, 2014).  “The cost of living takes in to account theprices of different goods and services; whereas, housing affordabilityconsiders how expensive home prices are in relation to the median family income”(Cooper,2015). However, everyone feels that things are expensive and cost afortune. After doing research, the states that have major metro areas (such asNew York and San Francisco), often gain attraction for tourist and other perkswhich can make it least affordable.  Ifthe cost of living is higher than minimum wage, it increases the ability to getanother job or ask for government assistance. Statics also show that 30-50% of one’sincome is spent on rent and utilities, which in some cases it is 90% of theirhousehold income.  “Although some people arerent-burdened, and cannot afford basics necessities, such as fresh fruits andvegetables; so alternatively, they consume un healthy food that eventual causeshealth problems”. (Tsao et al 2016). Most minimum wage worker due to the lackof income cannot afford the health benefits that they need to stay healthy. Nevertheless,their ailments worsen and often time an individual may start to have feelingsof depression or feeling down about their situation, this type of mindset isalso unhealthy for low income Americans.


A probable solution to increasing minimumwages is to guarantee basic income programs like Housing Urban Development alsoknown as HUD.  “HUD is a public housingprogram for all sizes and types of families, which provides housing from housesto apartments, even for the elderly. This program was developed to provide housingand community development assistance and to make sure everyone has access to“fair and equal housing” (Reich,2015).   Another opportunity for low-income families isthe government assistance program that helps provide food for low incomefamilies also known as the SNAP program. This program aids with food purchasesfor low-income or no income families; living in the United States. SNAP benefitscost about seventy billion dollars a year and provide for about forty-four billionpeople.  This number represents aboutfourteen percent of the population, which adds up to be $125.51 per month foreach person. SNAP is one of the largest nutrition programs in American; for lowincome families.  After reviewing thearticle TheEffects of Minimum Wage on Food Stamps, many government officials feel thatone should not have it both ways, they should not be able to collect on bothbenefits. Their rationale is that if minimum wages increases, that the Snapbenefits decrease.  This would have anadverse effect on one’s health or possible affect the children in thathousehold.  Government officials havespent numerus of time on discussing the issue for the welfare plan. However; since2014, there has been an estimated increase on minimum wages and a decrease inSNAP participation, by 3.95 percent. These results indicate that the government is going in the rightdirection in saving taxpayer money (Reich,2015). Although these individualsreceive SNAP benefits some households still are facing the greatest hardshipand most likely face a decrease in food security, rather than people who arenot receiving SNAP benefits. However, SNAP enrollment seems to increase inperiods of prosperity.

Anothersolution to increasing minimum wages could be raising the child tax credit.  Families with children could really use theextra money that is provided form the benefit from child tax credit program.Many government officials are in favor of increasing the child tax credit, theysay it is highly unlikely that it would be and increase in minimum wage.However, this strategy would help struggling families with children with the benefitsand necessities that they need. Although most federal governments oppose of theminimum wage law they feel that there better solution for helping workers thatonly make minimum wage such as the earned income tax credit.  This tax credit is set up for a person who ispoor and has earn a certain about due to his or her wages throughout the year.   The earn income tax credit has severaladvantages for the poor and it favors those who make minimum wage. “Oneargument often made by minimum wage advocates is that higher minimum wage isnecessary to prevent or mitigate the reduction in market wages associated withthe labor supply response to a more generous EITC” (Neumark&Washcher, 2011,p. 714).  The standard minimum wage doesnot cost the tax payer any money because of the higher income tax credit. Thisis one of the programs that was created so the government would not have toraise minimum wages, by only creating it for low income workers, who areeligible to receive it.  “Economistaround the globe, feel that training programs are criticism of raising theminimum wage it is the pay rate of low-skilled people and entry level jobs”(Neumar&Wascher,2002).  The government could install trainingprograms that could potentially improve employee outcomes and help them to bemore successful in getting a high paying job.

Evaluation of the Evidence

The evidence usedhere is all justifiable and dependable and without bias. The various of sourcesused here are scholarly, peer-reviewed articles which make the informationjustifiable. There are a few sources used here that would be considered popularsources.  After reading the article, American Journal of Public Health, the authors (Tsao et al 2016) workedwith the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, they referencedtheir work and without bias. This article helped shed light on the health oflow-income families. It also helped to explain how beneficial it would be ifthere was and increase in minimum wage and the effects it would have on andfamilies.  The Effects of Minimum Wage on FoodStamps, is a credible scholarly source to showhow the government reasons for not raising minimum wages but should create moreprograms to help individuals who are suffering with low-income or no income atall.  As a result, the article proved thatthe government is going in the right direction in saving taxpayer money.  This article is essential to research becauseit sheds light on the way minimum wages affect people who are lessfortunate.  It also takes a closer lookat those who have to use government assistance programs in order to supporttheir families.   Statisticaldata provided gives rationale for raising the minimum wage and to utilize the tableof data. Once again, this source is reliable, valid and unbiased.

Several of thesources provide statistical data that need to be illustrated. “The statisticfrom this graph clearly shows the percentages of families’ incomeand of those who would be affected by a minimum-wage increase on a generallylow to moderate level.  Nearly, 70.7percent of affected families have a total family income of less than $60,000,and nearly a quarter (23.6 percent) have total family income of less than$20,000. Among all U.S. families, the median family income in 2010 was $60,395”(Current Population Survey, 2010) . Some of the surveys results are incorrectdue to lack of education and inaccurate information being provided at the timethe survey was given. The source Neumak and Wascher, shows support on finding asolution to help low-income workers. They were able to shed light on how poverty has affected workers whichhave low-incomes.  Cooper explains, thepercentages of youth and adults that are targeted by the fast food industriesand that have no education (2015). This source explains why the government willnot increase minimum wage because of the targeted age group.

Ethical outcomes of Solution

Some journalists have stated negativeimpacts, such as turnover rates and untrained workers for small businesses ifwages are increased, the positive aspect of raising wages would have, overall.  Afterreviewing the statistical data, it shows that mostly teenagers are targetedwhen mentioning minimum wage, this is because they are one of the largest groupthat is affected by the minimum wage, which makes it effects morediscernable.  After reading the article Pay Equity and theNational minimum wage, the author pointsout that reservation wages of younger workers, which is lower than adult workers.Citizen throughout the country have had many concerns about the status ofminimums wage getting abused form primary earners in poor families, more thanfor the wages of teenagers and other secondary earners form higher-incomefamilies. It also raises arguments on why young workers are receiving such lowpay and sheds light on the national minimum wage.  The theories of wage control vary, butdetails pay levels and pay dispersion; thus, proving that pay differs around the world. These differences are based on job requirements.  Younger adults are also targeted by the fastfood industries because of no job experience and lack of education.  Most young adults are just trying to earnextra money rather than trying to take care of a family.  “The average age of affected workers is 36 years old. A larger share ofaffected workers is age 55 and older (15.3 percent) than are teens (10.7percent). About two-thirds of affected workers are 25 years old or older”(Cooper, 2015).  There have been numerousof research obtain to show that most teenagers will not be affected by theincrease because most teenagers only work part-time because they attend school.Teenagers could also learn these lessons from many other activities ordiscussions.  Young adults should notjust rely on minimum wage; but continue their education, which would lead to anopportunity of getting a better job, when they become an adult.  They will not only have job experience but knowthe value of money and how it can help provide for their families.   There isvarious reason on why minimum wage should be increase because society feelslike worker are less likely to quit on higher-paid jobs. Sheposh explains how minimum wage has the lowest rate ofpay that was set out for mostly the fast food industry.  The government or union negotiated andcalculated hourly, weekly and monthly incentives to come up with the firstnational minimum-wage law.  He presentsthe establishment and timeline of minimum wage and how it affects certain partsof the country. States like Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina andTennessee do not implement the minimum wage law.  According to this article each state and municipalitycan set its own wage.  “Minimumwage has always been a controversial issue and will continue to be an issue asthe cost of living is always rising” (Sheposh, 2016).  However, minimum wage was not meant forworkers to rely on as a permanent career, but to only use as temporaryfinancial support. 

There are many reasons that minimum wages should beincrease for a worker. The standard minimum wage pay for participating states variesbetween $7.25 and 9.00; which in today’s society typical family of threepeople, would barely be able thrive. However; from a business perspective, the employer gains profit bypaying the workers less, but still has the exception for that worker to work hardand come to work every day.  In the article Santa Monica’s MinimumWage: Assessing the Living Wage Movement’s New Frontier,it mentions that Santa Monica proposeda plan that would raise the minimum wage to $12.25 per hour (2005). Afterreviewing the statistical data of this source, it shows that many businesseswould close due to the increase.  Studiesalso show that some business relocate, this is done so they will not have topay the workers more money. It is unfair that some businesses cheat theiremployees out of money, so they can make more profit. 

It continues to be controversialtopic around the globe that the less fortunate or low-income community would bebetter if the government officials would come together and increase the minimumwage.  This would be beneficial, insteadof developing various programs such as SNAP, earned income tax credit, andfederal housing. It gives them a chance at a better life and helps them takecare of their families, especially those who have unaffordable health issues.  It is immoral and unjustifiableto make someone work forty hours a week and still not be able to live.  Everyone’s situation is different but givingthem the opportunity to take care of their families is morally right andethical. If the government will increase minimum wages and keep certain governmentprograms, then add the installation of training programs to benefit low-incomeand uneducated workers, they will have the opportunity to get a higher payingjob.  In turn, they would no longer needthe aid of federal programs; thus, this will be a great solution for the worker,as well as, the government. Minimum wages were set to only help the youngerworkers while in school, and other adults with no job experience. Many economistsargue that by increasing minimum wage does not only help low-income worker, butall workers. 


While increasing minimum wage will always continueto be a controversial topic around the world, the wealthy have argued that thepoor would be better off if the government officials would not waste their timetrying to increase minimum wage.  Theyshould instead, create more programs that will be beneficial to workers to helpthem get better paying jobs.  Some feel thatminimum wage will reduce employment, but not by as much as there are so manypeople who want to work, but can not due to health issue, education, andvarious other issues. Increasing minimum wages has benefits for all workers,not just the one that the government targets like young workers, single adults,and worker who are 55 and older.  PresidentBarack Obama has stated on many occasion that increasing the minimum wage is veryessential to addressing the income gap in America. Raising minimum wage doesnot just help families financially, but it helps them feel better aboutthemselves.  Morale would increasebecause they would be able to take care of their families and develop goodmorals and standards. However, it can help take care of health issues and notuse federal programs, because they will obtain a higher paying job, which will carryhealth insurance and that they can afford. Making more money with just a simpleincrease can give a household an opportunity to be successful and take care ofone’s family.  Poverty in America is atan all-time high and the lower-class has been affected by the increase in the costof living. We have to find a way for government officials to make the decisionto increase minimum wages.


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Sheposh, R. January,2016 2p. “MinimumWages around the World” Salem Press. Web. 26 Jan. 2016. Monica’s Minimum Wage:, 19(1). doi:10.1177/0891242404268705

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