Minimum Wage: Can You Make a Decent Living on It? Essay

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Research Paper: Minimum Wage

Minimum wage has become a major part of the conversation on labor. The base hourly rate in this country is something that has been raised to $7.25 federally and can become as high as $9 in some states. This is important social policy because it deals with the distribution of wealth particularly with lower class workers. Part of the discussion about minimum wage is whether or not someone can make a decent living on it. Talks of subsidization and supplementation have always surrounded minimum wage talks. The idea is to make sure that on a full-time schedule at minimum wage, someone can afford housing, food, and clothing. With those things taken into account, lawmakers have debated whether or not to raise
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Since minimum wage laws were passed, they have been revisited and adapted to the times. In 1947, the Fair Labor Standards Act was amended by the Portal-to-Portal act. This helped define what makes a work hour in addition to touching upon other matters such as underground travel in coal mines (USDOL). In 1949, FLSA was amended to include air traffic workers as they had increased in numbers. Also, the minimum wage was raised by 35 cents up to 75 cents and by 1955 the minimum wage was up to $1. In 1961, the retail trade industry was covered by a FLSA amendment and in 1963 the minimum wage reached $1.25. The amendment covered anyone working for a retail company that made over $1 million annually (USDOL). In 1974, congress included government employees as covered by minimum wage laws. After that, the minimum wage steadily increased reaching $2.30 in 1976 (USDOL). The minimum wage continued steadily rising where it reached $3.35 in 1981. Fast forward to 1989 and major changes were added to the FLSA. Small retail businesses were no longer exempt from overtime and minimum wage. Although these businesses generate less revenue, they now were forced to pay the minimum wage making them viable job options for someone looking to make a decent living whereas before, there was no guarantee that the owner would pay a fair wage since he was not subject to minimum wage laws under the FLSA. As the years went on the minimum wage continually rose

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