Originally Published: January 18, 2014 6 a.m.
Yes, Congress should raise the minimum wage. The minimum wage has not been raised since July 2009. In the three and a half years since, the cost of living has gone up by 2.8 percent annually. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, and the administration is asking for a raise to $10.10. While some states have raised the minimum wage, Arizona included, not all states have. The state of Washington recently raised its minimum wage to $9.19 an hour, the highest in the nation.
Basically, while the cost of living has been on a steady rise, wages have been stagnant. It is a shame that a person who works someplace like Walmart cannot even afford to shop there, or a person who flips hamburgers at McDonald's can't even afford to buy a value meal.
While many say that raising the minimum wage would hurt many employers, I feel that it would help the economy by increasing people's purchasing power. If purchasing power rises, there has to be more product available. For there to be more product available, a producer has to have more product to sell. That seems to me like a win-win situation for all.
When I started working 55 years ago, I was making 90 cents per hour. But I was single, still living at home, and gas was only 18 cents per gallon. But today things have changed. Many people making the minimum wage are married, or are single parents, and they are taking any jobs that they can find. Even at $10.10 they are making only $21,000 per year, and that is below the poverty level of $24,300. That means that they would have to go on some sort of assistance just to get by, and that is wrong. Most people do not want food stamps or welfare; they just want to be able to get by and be productive citizens.
Most people - both Republicans and Democrats - agree that the minimum wage should be raised, for the good of the economy and the nation. Congress should act now.