The minimum wage, a concept passed into law under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, during the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal, was designed to provide a wage that workers could survive on, starting at 25 cents per hour.
During many periods, the minimum wage never went up, or only belatedly during the administration of a particular President, and the abuse was worst under Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Is anyone really surprised? So inflation was greater than the increase in the minimum wage over time!
As a result, four to five million workers are paid only a guaranteed $7.25 an hour, as Congress has refused to raise the federal minimum wage in recent years. If the federal minimum wage had been indexed to inflation, that wage would now be close to $11.00 an hour!
Instead, as indicated, it is $7.25 in 33 states, plus these amounts elsewhere:
So these workers are the true “working poor”, and are expected to live on a wage that for forty hours work, is only between $15,000 and $19,000 a year! And that is assuming full time work, which it often is not. And just because young workers are maybe a majority of the workers, along with less educated workers, does not justify people working for such lowly wages in a society which promotes “equal opportunity”!