Minimum Wage

Erin Lungwitz, Editor of Editorials


In the recent State of the Union speech that President Obama gave, Obama mentioned that one of his goals this year is to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. He may have brought this up after many fast-food employees unionized in late 2013. Some corporations are upset about this announcement by the President, but their reasoning doesn’t seem logical.

Right now the minimum wage in the U.S. is $7.25 an hour and the average minimum wage employee makes about $15,000 a year. The amount of money a person living in the United States needs to make in order to live above the poverty line is $11,490 a year. Employees that earn minimum wage barely make money above the poverty line (earning $15,000), and 36% of minimum wage employees have children, meaning that that $15,000 would have to carry at least two people for an entire year. A recent study by the University of California at Berkeley has shown that 52% of fast food workers have to rely on some form of federal funding. It’s absurd to think that people who work full time still have to rely on federal money because their employers don’t pay them enough.

The prospective minimum wage raise ($7.25 to $10.10) doesn’t just benefit people who make exactly $7.25. If a company pays some of their employees minimum wage, and some of their employees $10.10 or above $10.10, when the people who were making minimum wage have their pay raised, it is probable that the people who make a little bit over $10.10 will have their pay raised so that the wage difference between their co workers would still be even.

Some may wonder, what companies and corporations pay their employees minimum wage? The answer is maddening; companies like Walmart, McDonalds, Taco Bell, Target, and Starbucks all pay their employees approximately minimum wage. Walmart, McDonalds, Taco Bell, Target, and Starbucks pay their workforce minimum wage, yet they are in the top 500 most profitable corporations in America. Some of these companies don’t want to pay their employees more than the current minimum wage in fear of losing money, but they all make billions of dollars annually. Can’t they spare a few dollars so that the people working for them can live?

The minimum wage in the United States should be raised to $10.10. People who work full time shouldn’t be impoverished. Large companies, like Walmart (the top most profitable corporation in America)  are incredibly wealthy and can afford to pay their employees a livable wage.