As of March 2021, the minimum wage in the United States is $7.25. Such a low wage can barely provide someone with food, housing, and other necessities. Prices of necessities and other products have been rising consistently and the minimum wage hasn't been changed in more than 10 years. People have been struggling to keep housing, find better jobs, and feed themselves. Such low payments keep people poor, forcing them to stay in their social classes. Upwards mobility is near impossible. To help combat this, raising the federal minimum wage accordingly to adjust for the rising costs of living will help people become stable and lift people out of poverty.
Social stratification is incredibly prominent in the USA. Social stratification is multi-dimensional, however, for this argument, our main focus is wage and income. The upper 1% withholds most of the money and gets ridiculously high pay, while those seen in the working and underclass struggle to raise themselves out of their positions. The upper class, usually executives and large business owners, tend to pay their ordinary workers exactly or only slightly above the federal minimum wage, hoarding the majority of the income for themselves. Most of them do not think about the ethics of paying such low wages, focusing only on profit.
The minimum wage has dropped 38% since 1998. At the same time, costs for food, housing, education, and a mirage of other needs and wants have been rising. This is disproportional. As prices go up, wages should too, right? How can a person buy what they need when they're barely getting paid enough to do so?
Such low wages make social mobility almost impossible. Having to deal with paying for the necessities of life while also working the staggeringly low minimum wage puts you in stagnation. It is especially difficult for those born in poverty who have most likely have not had higher education. They would be stuck with the most labor-intensive, low-paying jobs. Even those with degrees and diplomas usually have to work minimum wage jobs and will struggle to find a higher paying job in the job market. Student debt chokes those people and sucks out what little money they do manage to earn.
The minimum wage is only one facet of the D20 of what factors keep people poor. Financial aid, discrimination, and lack of jobs play their parts as well. Raising the minimum wage will not fix everything, but it is a step forward in having a friendlier economy.
I'm Iris, a kid who has lots of reflections and views on life as I experience it. I love to read topics about the world around us, other people's ideas and opinions, and just about anything that I'm curious about and interested in.