Opinion | Minimum wage increase long overdue

Leading up to and following the election there has been much fuss about the minimum wage in America. President Joe Biden is expected to present his proposal Friday for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Although there will always be negative side effects to changes like these, overall it will be extremely beneficial to millions of Americans and could even help improve the economy. 

Being in high school, I’ve had my share of minimum wage jobs and am slowly working my way up to bigger jobs. I work a substantial amount and can support myself, but there are still weeks I struggle to afford gas. I sit back and wonder if it can be so tough for me, it must be even more difficult for the college students and single parents who work the same jobs I do. Many of them even need to pick up additional jobs just to be able to support themselves. This is a problem.

When some people think of the minimum wage, they immediately think of these jobs as being for high schoolers and not adults who support themselves, and this is not the case. Many adults, even those with children, must find a way to provide for their families when a minimum wage job is all they can acquire at the time. 

The minimum wage was introduced in America in 1938 and started at just 25 cents an hour. This was the wage that the government believed a family could feasibly support themselves with one adult working. Obviously times have changed, but I think it’s still entirely too expensive to live in America making only $7 more an hour. The last time the minimum wage was raised was in 2009. It’s been more than a decade and the prices of just about everything have continued to increase independent of the minimum wage. 

According to a poll by NBC, 72 percent of Americans think that the minimum wage should be enough to keep citizens above the poverty line. I’d really like to know what the other 28 percent thinks is fair, because $7.25 is not cutting it for many families now. 

While concerns that raising the minimum wage will cause inflation are valid, prices inflate all the time. The cost of living has gone up significantly in the last 11 years, rising 20 percent, and the minimum wage has stayed the same. It’s time for the hourly minimum wage to be increased, even if it is not doubled at this time. It’s unfair to anyone who has to make a living on $7.25 an hour to leave it this low. This is also less likely to occur when you consider that the change would come gradually and not all at once. This would also lessen the blow to small businesses and shops. 

Raising the minimum wage could also prove beneficial to the economy. In a time where many businesses are struggling, this extra money could boost our economy greatly.

It’s been over a decade since the last minimum wage increase. Raising it is more than overdue at this point. It’s no longer possible to support a family working only a minimum wage job. Even a few dollars would be a great assistance to anyone working these jobs. 

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