Lucy Hall, Writer

For some Americans, minimum wage jobs are temporary. For instance, teenage jobs where one busses tables and takes orders to make quick spending money. However, often times people use minimum wage jobs to support families. As of 2011, more than 3 million Americans worked jobs that paid minimum wage. Someone who is being paid minimum wage and working 40 hours a week will only make about $15,000 a year, leaving them below the federal poverty line.

The last time the federal minimum wage was raised was in 2009, where it increased from $6.50 to $7.25 an hour. According to, raising the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation would allow millions of Americans to adopt a standard of living that most resembles the current economy.

Their jobs are essential and vital to daily life of all people in America, most of them doing jobs that others don’t want to do.”

Raising the minimum wage will increase economic activity and spur job growth. The Economic Policy Institute states that increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 would inject $22 billion dollars into the the economy and would create about 80,000 jobs in a three year period. Additional income would be spent by consumers, and that money would ripple through the economy.

More importantly, though, there would be an increase in the standard of living for many Americans. According to the Congressional Budget Office, raising the minimum wage to $9.00 would raise at least 300,000 Americans out of poverty and give them a chance at a better life. Doing this would create many beneficial outcomes such as lowering the crime rate and increasing graduation rates. Money and basic living standards are necessities that make tasks as simple as graduating high school so much easier.

Those against raising the minimum wage suggest that a sudden substantial increase in pay would have negative effects on the economy and, generally, they are correct. The minimum wage will need to be increased gradually to give the economy and businesses time to adjust. For example, in California a law was passed to gradually increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 over the course of five years. The law allows the governor to put a hold on the increase if the economy appears to be faltering or if the state’s budget becomes tighter. Furthermore, the law also states that the governor must look at an economic assessment every year to decide if the next scheduled increase should take place or not, depending on the state of the economy. These provisions ensure that the economy will remain stable while wages are being increased.

In general, some people just don’t have the resources or skills necessary to ever get promoted from a minimum wage job. It’s a vicious circle when the impoverished are reduced to a life of crime and eventually drop out of high school. The fact that they don’t have money to begin with makes it more difficult for them to make money in the future. Raising the minimum wage would invest money in not only the currently impoverished, but prevent future Americans from living in the same standards.

It’s selfish to suggest that hardworking people who perform “menial” tasks shouldn’t be paid a living wage. Their jobs are essential and vital to daily life of all people in America, most of them doing jobs that others don’t want to do. So why is it that we refuse to increase pay to the people who do these unwanted jobs? Like any other hardworking employee, those in minimum wage jobs should be paid at least a living wage. It’s not just teenagers working these jobs anymore, it’s adults, men and women, who need to provide for their family. However, I’m not suggesting that every state immediately raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Companies and employers need time to adapt, just like the economy, but raising the minimum wage incrementally over time will only benefit Americans as a whole.