A wide range of opinions exists on tinkering with the minimum wage, as does a lack of consensus about the overall effects of an increase in the figure. Moreover, politics, as usual, tends to taint the facts with agenda-serving biases, so it is very difficult to obtain an objective analysis on whether raising the minimum wage is in fact helpful or harmful.
The point that I hope to convey is that any way you go, someone is going to lose something in the minimum wage fight—it’s just a matter of what they loose and how much. What one chooses to do thus becomes a matter of what variable holds the most weight in their economic equation: profit, workers, or ethics.
On the one hand, full-time employment of 2,080 hours a year at the current federal minimum of $7.25 an hour yields an income of $14,500 a year. This amount is above the individual annual income poverty threshold of $11,770 but below the poverty line of $15,930 for one adult supporting one child. Essentially, what the federal government is saying is that it has set the floor on what an employer can legally pay an employee while also recognizing that the same floor places that employee either just above or well under the threshold of destitution. Living in one of the boroughs of New York City, I am wholly incapable of imagining how a full-time minimum wage worker making $290 a week is able to survive. Honest work deserves honest pay, and $7.25 an hour is nowhere near honest. Even if a $15 an hour minimum wage was federally enacted, a full-time worker would still be making $31,200 a year, a figure significantly below the median 2013 U.S. annual household income of $52,250.
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