The Minimum Wage: Time to Start Working On the Next Increase
By Jared Bernstein
February 7, 2012
I've always thought the national minimum wage is a lot more important than most people tend to think. By definition, it sets a floor on the low end of the job market, though to their credit, many states now set their minimums above the federal level of $7.25 (Washington state clocks in at a cool $9.04). So it's a floor, not a ceiling.
Lots of low-wage workers and their families depend on it, and its long slide, as shown in the figure below, especially over the Reagan years, contributed to wage losses and working poverty for many who toil to this day in low-end services.
How much the federal minimum wage would be if it had kept up with inflation over the past 40 years. Instead, it’s $7.25. Learn More
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