Home / Spring 2013 / 2013-03-14 / Wage change underway: In favor

Wage change underway: In favor

Written by James Washington


Welcome to the United States of America, a land based on supply and demand.

It seems, however, that while consumer demands are met, the necessities of the workers are overlooked.

The prices of services and goods continue to rise, yet the hands that make these products are paid in scraps.

In 1968 the minimum wage was raised to $1.60. Over 50 years later, the minimum wage has only been raised $5.65. In fact, after inflation adjustments, the minimum wage of 1968 would be close to $10.30 today.

Perhaps we can try to come close.

During his State of the Union address on Feb. 12, President Obama proposed raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour.  He stated that the government should “tie the minimum wage to the cost of living so that it finally becomes a wage (the people can) live on.”

Today, a full-time employee making minimum wage in the United States brings home an average of $14,500 a year. This figure barely puts that employee over the poverty line of $11,490.

Nearly 53 percent of college graduates are either unemployed or working a job that does not require a college degree.  In other words, after all their hard work, college graduates are left with one of two options.  They can either luck up and find a job in their field or settle for a job that has nothing to do with their major and accept pennies on the dollar in relation to what was paid to obtain a degree.

This situation poses a problem.

According to Forbes.com, the average college student leaves their university with over $27,000 in debt.  How can a college graduate ever be expected to pay off student loans working at McDonald’s?

It is not their fault that the work is not available.  Without an increase in job availability, an increase in minimum wage is the least that can be done.

Many people choose not to work and live off the government.  Their reasons may never be known.  What is known, however, is that $7.25 is a slap in the face of hard workers.  Also, raising minimum wage would eventually lead to more Americans being self-sufficient.  In other words, there would be less Americans on welfare, food stamps, or in need of other government aid.

Everyone should be able to support themselves.  The government’s help should be a last resort.  The cost of living is constantly rising.  Just keep in mind that $7.25 makes jumping to that last resort feel much more plausible.

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