The minimum wage of the past was a stronger standard, providing significantly more buying power than it does today. After its creation in 1938, the value of the minimum wage rose relatively steadily until its value reached a high point in 1968 (when its nominal value was $1.60 an hour). Thereafter, it suffered dramatic erosion as Congress failed to adequately correct for inflation over time.
The minimum wage of $1.60 an hour in 1968 would be $10.90 today when adjusted for inflation [see the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index inflation calculator.]
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