It’s Time for a $15 Minimum Wage – A Look at the Raise the Wage Act

"March for a $15/hour minimum wage at the University of Minnesota" by Fibonacci Blue is licensed under CC BY 2.0

"March for a $15/hour minimum wage at the University of Minnesota" by Fibonacci Blue is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Today, Democrats in the House and Senate introduced the Raise the Wage Act of 2019. If successful, it would be the most important legislative win for workers in decades.

The bill would:

  • Raise the federal minimum wage to $8.55 in 2019 and increase it over the next five years until it reaches $15 an hour in 2024;
  • Adjust the minimum wage every year after 2024 to keep pace with growth in the typical worker’s wages;
  • Phase out the tipped minimum wage, which has been stuck at a $2.13 an hour since 1991;
  • Phase out the subminimum wage for workers under the age of 20; and,
  • No longer allow employers to pay workers with disabilities a subminimum wage through Department of Labor certificates.

After nearly a decade of Congress refusing to raise the minimum wage, we have waited on business owners to provide for their workers for much too long, leaving millions of people earning subsistence wages for full-time work. It’s far past time for the federal government to step in. Since the minimum wage was first introduced in 1938, it has been the government’s job to ensure all workers earn, at minimum, a livable wage, but for decades Washington has failed the American people.

Not only that, but it’s compromised the growth of the American economy. This is because wage stagnation and wealth inequality are keeping our economy from being as robust as it can be. Investors and business people want to invest and build businesses in high wage areas, as most successful businesses rely on a consumers with enough money to actually purchase their products. The wealthy simply cannot make money selling expensive cars, meals, or really anything to those who are scraping by on just $7.25 an hour.

It’s basic economics. Consumer demand drives growth, and with 40% of American workers earning less than $15 an hour, our economy remains artificially depressed. Higher wages, and the resulting increase spending power for millions of Americans, would benefit both workers and business owners by growing the economy and, critically, making sure that growth spreads to everyone, not just the ultra-wealthy. This makes a higher minimum wage a win-win where everyone benefits, not just workers currently earning less than $15 an hour.

Ultimately, it’s time for Congress to legislate on behalf of the working class and give them, and our economy, the boost they need. By passing the Raise the Wage Act, all Americans benefit and we become the land of opportunity once more. But Congress won’t do it alone. They need to be pushed to act. That’s why every citizen should take 2 minutes out of their day to contact their member of Congress and DEMAND that they support the Raise the Wage Act. You can do so through the tool below:

 

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