Let us have a minimum wage that reflects economic realities. The 1974 minimum wage was $2.50. Using the American Institute for Economic Research’s calculator, that extrapolates to $10.26 in 2008 and $12.19 for 2016. Meanwhile the minimum wage stands at $7.25, unchanged since 2009.
The wage rate should be tied to the same parameters in place for Social Security benefits, a more appropriate gauge. Annually, the rate might go up incrementally as Social Security benefits sometimes do.
Today, in order to make ends meet, more people have marginal jobs — perhaps two part time marginal jobs. We need to react to the reality that many average to good paying jobs have left our realm.
Adjusting the minimum wage as I suggest will be hard on marginally successful businesses. Consumers need to understand these realities and accept responsibility. The cost for goods and services will go up. They should. Employers are too often tasked with bearing the complete burden.
It is important to note that often marginally employed people survive by qualifying for government assistance (food stamps, heating assistance, rent subsidies, etc). So employers and purchasers are being subsidized by our government programs. I feel that is not how our society should work. Those programs are very important, I support them unequivocally. To a significant degree, the abuse of these programs rests with employers and consumers unwilling to reflect the true cost of commodities.
Please consider standing up for true minimum wage reform.
Roy Sletson, State College