By Feyisola Soetan, Keturah Raymond, Shanna Huang, Kenny Isufi ‘15
‘Workers need a McLiving wage’ read the sign of one protester standing in a crowd of others in front of McDonalds, their goal: raising the minimum wage. In over 100 cities across the nation workers walked out on their jobs in an effort to have their voices heard and raise the minimum wage to $15.
Currently the federal minimum wage is $7.25 though states are allowed to raise the minimum if they see fit. In New York, the minimum wage is the same as the federal minimum wage, which, according to research, is barley enough to stay above the federal poverty line of $15,510 a year.
Most minimum wage workers work at fast food restaurants or stores that require customer service. A good example of this is Walgreens. Though these jobs were once mostly occupied by teenagers, today this is not the case as nearly a third of these workers identify as family caretakers, according to the New York Times. Raising the minimum wage would help workers rise above the poverty line and aid the declining economy. The economy can be stabilized if Americans buy American products. However, American products are known to be quite expensive, so Americans tend to buy foreign, mostly from China. With more people making more money, more people will be able to afford to buy American. Raising the minimum wage is the first step to getting America back at its economic best.
The fair minimum wage act, also known as the Harkin-Miller bill, could raise the federal minimum wage from its current $7.25 to $10.10 if passed. President Obama supports the bill though the bill failed to pass through the House, with all 227 Republicans voting against it. The House tends to vote against our Democratic president, as most people acknowledged when the party differences recently resulted in a 16-day government shutdown. However, with more protests and petitions to state legislatures, the bill could be passed next summer. This may be plausible, as according to a poll done by hart Research, 80 percent of Americans support increasing the minimum to $10.10
Those against the increase of the minimum wage, like the House Republicans argue it would prevent the creation of 200,000 jobs and thus, slow the economy. This is because less money would go into the pockets of employers and therefore, they’ll find ways to hire less people. The rich need to stay rich, right? Those against the increase of the minimum wage argue that 99 percent of people in poverty will stay in poverty. But this is because 80 percent of full time minimum wage workers are just barley above the poverty line. Increasing the minimum wage will help these people rise into the lower middle class at least, and it will also aid the growth of our economy. The logical thing to do is to help those who can be helped right now. Raising the minimum wage can accomplish that.