The minimum wage should be raised

Bella Lee, Staff Writer

The fight to increase the minimum wage in the United States has been an ongoing battle for years now. While many states have increased their minimum wage, nearly half of the states are still at the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour as of January 2020. Out of those that have increased their wages, some barely scrape the surface, such as Nevada ($8.25 an hour) and Montana ($8.65 an hour). Among the highest minimum wages include Washington ($13.50 an hour, the highest in the country), California ($13.00 an hour), and Massachusetts ($12.75 an hour). However, those in minimum wage jobs are still fighting to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, something that members of Congress are fighting for and against as well. Therefore, the question is: should the minimum wage be raised nationwide? My answer is yes.

The arguments against not raising the minimum wage are simply ludicrous. One argument against raising it says that it should not be raised because it is not a livable wage. The thing is, that is why it’s called MINIMUM wage, because it is the minimum amount that people can live off of. Even then, it is barely enough. In 1980, the median asking rent in the United States was $308 per month. In 2018, that amount exploded to $1,588 per month, which is over five times the amount in under 40 years. Another argument that is often given is that minimum wage jobs are not necessary. This is an insult to the fast-food workers, janitors, trash and recycle workers and other jobs that had to slave over their jobs during the pandemic and face harsh criticism from those who believe that anyone with a minimum wage job is beneath them. Minimum wage workers should be praised for their hard work, not scrutinized. The United States should be looking at other countries as examples of the ethical way to treat minimum wage workers. Many European countries, for example, have minimum wages that are among the highest in the world, with paid vacations and health insurance provided. While some minimum wage jobs in the United States, such as fast-food restaurants, offer these benefits (and sometimes even scholarships), unfortunately it is not all places, leaving many people in minimum wage jobs struggling to pay bills or put food on the table. We should not be attacking people for having minimum wage jobs if that is their only option in earning money and being able to survive.

Many people who are arguing against raising the minimum wage have taken their basic needs for granted and have even asked if those with minimum wage jobs even need to buy food, much to the chagrin of many. Having food, clothing, and shelter are basic necessities that everyone deserves a right to, and the way to support that is to raise the minimum wage. There should be no ifs, ands or buts with this situation: minimum wage workers are people too, and they deserve a decent living just like everyone else.