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$15 an Hour Minimum Wage

Updated on September 2, 2020
Art West profile image

After 43 years as an Accounts Payable Manager, I have learned a lot about finances and how to handle money.

A look at $15 an hour

Some people would like to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Their belief is that you can not provide for your family on the current minimum wage.

Those opposed to raising the minimum wage to $15 say it will cripple businesses, especially the small businesses.

So who is right? They both are. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to provide for your family at the current minimum wage. It would also cripple many businesses if we suddenly jumped from the current $7.25 Federal minimum wage to a $15.00 Federal minimum wage.

One of the things that people should remember, is that most minimum wage jobs are entry level jobs. They are not supposed to be jobs that you stay at for your entire working career. They are designed for you to get your foot in the door, so to speak. To establish a work record and prove that you can be dependable and are a good worker. Once you have done that, you can either find a job that pays more, or move up in your current job. If you start flipping burgers at a fast food restaurant, you can work you way up to shift leader, assistant manager, manager or regional manager and increase your pay with each promotion.

We also have to realize that businesses are not going to simply raise the minimum wage and go on as they are. They are in business to make money after all, that means they will have to raise their prices, which in turn will mean the cost of living will increase...for everyone.

Now, there is an issue, in my opinion, with the minimum wage. The last time it was raised was in 2009. Prior to that it was raised in 2008, 2007, 1997, 1996, 1991, 1990 and 1981. It goes 5-10 without a raise. It seems to me like it would be logical to tie the rate into inflation, much like we do with Social Security. That will give the people on minimum wage consistent raises, it will also give businesses an idea to budget for minimum wage increases.

What should the minimum wage be?

So what should the minimum wage be? According to the U.S. government, the poverty level for a single person is around $12,000 per year. If you divide that by 2080 (40 hours per week for 52 weeks) you get $5.77 per hour. The poverty level for a family of 4 is $24,250. Divide that by 2080 and you get $11.66 per hour. If we increased the minimum wage with inflation since 2009, it would be at $8.01 an hour. Personally, I think it should be a little higher than that. More like in the $9-$10 an hour range. Then, as I said earlier, tie it in to inflation so it increases each year.

How do we get to the $9-$10 minimum wage? Well, first we have to realize that by the time we get there, it is not going to be $9-$10, that is, we will have to adjust for inflation. My suggestion would be to increase the minimum wage by double the inflation rate for 6 years. By my calculations, if inflation runs at 4% per year (which is about the average rate since we have kept track) that $9 an hour will be $10.94. Increasing the minimum wage by 8% per year would bring it to $11.50 an hour, so in today's money, the minimum wage would be around $9.50 an hour.

At $9.50 an hour for 40 hours a week and 52 weeks a year, you would earn $19,760 per year. If there is a nuclear family of 4 (husband, wife and 2 kids) and both parents work full time at minimum wage jobs, they would earn $39,520 per year. According to the Federal government, the poverty level for a family of 4 is $24,250 per year. This family would be well over the poverty line.

While I agree the minimum wage should be raised, I do not think raising it to $15 an hour would be a wise move. As I stated earlier, minimum wage jobs are entry level jobs. If you aren't making enough, you should try to find another job, work overtime or try to get a promotion. I do sympathize with those who, for whatever reason, are forced to take minimum wage jobs, even if it is temporary. That is why I think we should raise the minimum wage some and tie it in to inflation.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2016 Art West


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