Was the minimum wage ever intended to be something you can live on and support a family with?
That's exactly President Franklin Roosevelt’s original intention. He initiated the minimum wage, and when he explained it in his 1937 message to Congress, he made it clear that the purpose of the law was to aid workers in their permanent occupations.
FDR’s concern, as he put it, was that "One-third of our population, the overwhelming majority of which is in agriculture or industry, is ill-nourished, ill-clad and ill-housed." It was light of that situation that FDR urged adoption of the minimum wage, saying "Today, you and I are pledged to take further steps to reduce the lag in the purchasing power of industrial workers and to strengthen and stabilize the markets for the farmers' products... Our Nation so richly endowed with natural resources and with a capable and industrious population should be able to devise ways and means of insuring to all our able-bodied working men and women a fair day's pay for a fair day's work."
Clearly FDR established the minimum wage for the express purpose of providing a continuing living wage to workers.
FDR may have been well intentioned, but he saddled us with SS while federal gov employees are given a real defined benefit retirement. A minimum wage is only valid for entry level jobs, and it would be a failure if people would be expected to live on it, as they got older, and wanted to live on their own, get a family etc. All that takes moving away from the minimum wage to a living salary.
Right, bradmaster, and we are not supposed to stay at entry level jobs our entire lives. It is supposed to be the first rung on the ladder. Not a wage to live on...
Robert, I think that people forget that FDR was dealing with a depression, and employers could pay virtually anything they wanted to the out of work population. So 25 cents was made the Fed floor. The country was not meant to live in a depression.
At one time maybe this was feasible but with increases in costs of living it's very difficult to do today. My first job was $4.00 and hour and it was enough to make my car payment, pay my monthly college loan, rent and some other bills I had at the time. Compared to today's college costs, cars and rent it was only a fraction of the cost.
It was intended to pay enough for one person to live at poverty level with. It was never intended for supporting a non-working spouse and children, too.
You ought to read my hub on that topic under "TheOldGuard".
Like many things within government, they say one thing, and to everything they can do to stop what they said they would do.
The original "minimum" wage was set at .25 per hour back in 1938. With those wages, people moved off of farms, worked in factories, bought cars, a house, groceries, etc. etc.
Since that time, the $1 has lost 95% of it's purchasing power.
In other words, you go out and buy a coke or a candy bar for $1, in 1938 that same thing cost .05.
Why is that?
The main reason is the government and the FED always want inflation. Many reasons behind it, but inflating the currency is always in the best interest of the government and the FED - or Central Bank.
Unfortunately, inflation kills the purchasing power of your wages. As inflation goes up, your purchasing power goes down (This was even true when Roosevelt was in power, but it is now way out of whack)
So, as the government and FED inflate the currency, you need more and more money to buy the same things you did 5 or 10 years ago.
For example, lets say your grocery store bill was $15 in 2006. Because the government and the FED have inflated the currency, (All other things being equal) you now, in 2016, need $20 to buy the same things. Now $5 doesn't seem like much, but that's a 33% increase.
That's why inflation is so evil - it's another form of tax on your wages. You are losing money (purchasing power) every year, while the wages being paid don't keep up.
Remember, your boss, with the items he has to buy, is experiences the same thing. His purchase prices are always going up! Now, if he sells to Wal-Mart, they want a decrease in the prices they pay for your bosses products, So , if his prices are going up, and Wal-Mart wants to buy the same product this year as they did last, for less money, where is your boss going to cut costs?
He can't cut costs on his raw material, because, like your finding at the grocery store, prices are going up. Were does he cut costs to meet Wal-Marts desire for a lower price on the product he produces?
Thank you government and the FED!!
The key to all this is a sound currency - one that retains it's purchasing power year after year.
But, both the government and the FED don't want that.
So, a "livable" wage will not be achieved because year after year, the government and the FED do everything they can do destroy the purchasing power of the $1.
A vicious circle!
Minimum wage cannot and should not be expected to support a family. This wage level is fine for high-school students who want a part-time job. The goal should be to finish high school and either start college or learn a trade.
I believe that minimum wage is part of the problem with so many of our federal 'entitlement programs'. I understand that people may rely on welfare for a period of time, but it is not a long-term solution.
We should have a jobs programs for every person that receives welfare. This would help them learn new skills and move to the next wage level.
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