Living wage

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Current Events Paper – Minimum Wage

What do you believe the federal minimum wage should be? Be sure to take a sociological perspective and reference the concept of living wage while crafting an argument.

Background Information: 

On January 14, 2021, as President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion 

coronavirus aid package, he urged Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to 

$15 per hour, a number still below the cost of living for many Americans. “Florida 

just passed it, as divided as that state is, they just passed it,” he said, “The rest of the 

country is ready to move as well.” Indeed, the proposal has bipartisan support, since 

as far back as July 27, 2016 Donald Trump chimed in, “The minimum wage has to go 

up…But I think…that states should really call the shot…At the same time, people 

have to be taken care of.” Despite declarations from both political sides, the federal 

minimum wage has remained stagnant at $7.25 since July 24th, 2009. 

Proponents contend that the current minimum wage fails to meet the 

requirements to have a basic quality of life and leaves families reliant on 

government programs for additional income. Instead, they call for the institution of 

living wage

, or the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their needs 

that are considered to be basic with respect to geographic location. They argue that 

with a living wage an individual can take pride in their work and enjoy the decency 

of a life beyond the ditch of poverty wages. Since a living wage is a complete 

consideration of the cost of living in an area, it fluctuates according to where you 

live and the size of your family [you can find a living wage calculator at

Opponents say a higher minimum wage will hurt jobs. Their argument is that 

employers will hire fewer people or reduce their hours to maintain lower operating 

costs. They may compensate for the extra expense in other ways that can hurt 

consumers, such as by raising prices. Instead, many argue that wages should be 

dictated by the free market, whatever a worker is worth, rather than by any 

government-imposed limits. 

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