In his State of the Union address, President Obama has called for a national increase in the minimum wage standard of the country. The President has proposed to raise the minimum wage to $9 from its current $7.25. The newly proposed amount would also have safeguards to account for inflation, which the current standard does not.
This demand comes at a time when the National Center for Law and Economic Justice supports that one in seven Americans lives in poverty, with one in sixteen Americans living in deep poverty. Poverty, of course, exacerbates tension and has been linked to decreased social mobility, increased rates of violence, and increased likelihood of being a young parent.
Addressing poverty, both at home and abroad, is a key, central way to better the standard of living for millions as the better able families are to support themselves, the more efficient the employee, the better the consumer, and the more stable the economy.
CNNMoney, however, has debunked the myth that raising the minimum wage in America is the only element necessary to raise a family out of poverty. For a family of four making at least $9/hr., and while taking advantage of several key tax breaks, Tami Luhby of CNNMoney writes that the new rate would be barely enough to lift the family above the poverty line, and hardly enough to raise their standard of living by much in light of the US’s dependence on a tax code that has been decried as “broken” by many.
While raising the minimum wage would be a step in the right direction towards addressing poverty in the United States, advocates for economic justice argue that helping people find higher-paying jobs is another, more effective, means of fighting poverty.
– Nina Narang