The issue of the minimum wage has been a controversial one for the past decade, with the unwillingness of Congress to raise the minimum wage, which used to be raised automatically, based on the “cost of living” until the Presidency of Ronald Reagan.
Ever since, even despite occasional increases under George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, the argument has been that raising the minimum wage will cause more unemployment and raise prices for consumers dramatically.
But many say that is not the case, and that it is a situation of a basic human right, the ability to support oneself and one’s family, and that many of the people on the minimum wage are NOT young beginning workers, as claimed by critics, but rather people primarily of color who are single mothers with children.
Now Los Angeles has taken the bull by the horn, and mandated a $15 minimum wage in steps by the year 2020, and a few other localities, such as San Francisco and Seattle, have also raised the minimum wage, although not as high as Los Angeles.
There is a movement nationwide by fast food workers, and retail industry workers, to force an increase by demonstrations, with limited success at this time.
The fact is that IF the minimum wage was always based on the cost of living, the original minimum wage of 25 cents per hour in 1938 would not be about $22.00 an hour, so even what Los Angeles has mandated will happen, does not meet that standard.
President Obama has proposed a national minimum wage of $9 an hour, a small step forward.
It is clear that no worker, who works full time, should be expected to live in poverty, and if the rest of us must pay a higher price for goods and services, so be it!