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Discussions continue over $ 15 minimum wage while Biden promotes COVID economic bailout program

President Biden is one of those who believe that raising the federal minimum wage to $ 15 an hour is necessary to save the minimum wage Americans from poverty. “No one in America should work 40 hours a week below the poverty line,” he said on Friday. “At $ 15, people cross the poverty line.”

It’s the platform he ran in 2020 and is part of his American rescue plan to tackle Pandemic Revive the economy. However, the provision is already facing resistance, and parliamentarians are divided on how to deal with the worst economic consequences of a pandemic.

Critics argue that raising the minimum wage does not help the economy recover. When Biden’s plans were announced, Republican Senator Rick Scott declared that a minimum wage of $ 15 would “kill our small business.” The US Chamber of Commerce, which praised the entire plan, also had problems raising wages.

But supporters and economists say there is no better time to raise the minimum wage.

“Two weeks after the March closure, the fact (and) that half of the Americans saw a literal breadline in the country because they didn’t even have enough savings to cover the week’s worth. We live from salary to salary. This is a reflection of the fact that our wages are very low. ” Tsedeye Gebreselassie of the National Employment Law Project said.

“Even if there is no pandemic, it’s far behind,” said Ben Zipperler, an economist at the Institute for Economic Policy.

Did the $ 15 minimum wage eliminate jobs?

Opponents argue that raising the minimum wage would hurt companies and force them to cut headcount. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that in 2019 it could lead to a loss of 1.3 million jobs.

“This kind of horrifying story is theoretically possible, but it’s not really reflected in the data,” Zipperer said.

The Senate Finance Committee, along with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, raised the CBO’s unemployment rate at a confirmation hearing last week. She disagreed with the idea.

“Researchers look closely at how companies pay fare in two different places with different treatments, with one state raising the minimum wage and neighboring states leaving it alone. It turns out that unemployment is rather negligible. “

Her assessment appears to be supported by studies showing that over the decades, more than 130 state-level minimum wage increases did not essentially change the total number of low-wage jobs in the five years following the increase. ..

“Historically when there was a minimum wage increase in the United States … the law tends to do what it intended, which raises the wages and income of low-wage workers without major downsides,” Zipperler said. Said.

Some corporate groups even claim that rising wages will return money to the local economy and small businesses. The Fair Minimum Wage Business has attracted more than 1,300 signatories to support this effort, from small businesses across the country to the US Women’s Chamber of Commerce.

Why didn’t the federal minimum wage rise for more than a decade?

The federal minimum wage is currently $ 7.25 per hour and has not been raised since 2009. On the other hand, the so-called living wage, which means the minimum essentials of the United States, is estimated to be about $ 16 or more per hour.

In 2019, the House of Representatives passed a 231 to 199 minimum wage increase, largely in line with political party policy. However, upon arriving at the Republican-controlled Senate, the House of Representatives died. Currently, Democrats dominate both chambers, but their majority is tight.

“It’s not a dead end because the majority of people think the minimum wage is okay,” Gebrselassie said. “It was very difficult to move Congress to pass the minimum wage increase.”

According to a 2019 Pew Research Center survey, a minimum wage of $ 15 has strong support, with 67% of Americans in favor, of which 41% strongly support such an increase. I’m answering.

According to the National Assembly of State Legislatures, more than half of the states (29) raise the minimum wage above the federal minimum wage. And by the end of 2021, the National Employment Law Center found that 40 cities and counties met or exceeded the $ 15 hourly minimum wage.

Even though Scott has expressed concern about raising wages to $ 15, his own state recently approved a constitutional measure to gradually raise the minimum wage to $ 15 per hour by 2026. , Because 2.5 million Florida people will benefit from it.

Another state on the way to the $ 15 minimum wage is Illinois, where Democratic Governor JB Pritzkar has signed a law that will gradually reach it by 2025.

“It affected far more people, not just me,” said Adriana Alvarez, a single mother and McDonald’s worker in the Chicago area. She joined First for $ 15 after being contacted by the organizer at the parking lot. At that time, she went for two years without a salary increase. It was a dime when she finally received it.

“While I’m here, they can keep billions of dollars in their pockets. They’re scraping dollars to pay for essentials like milk for their son at the time,” she said. Said.

Currently, she faces additional health risks reporting to her work during a pandemic as the president proposes an increase as part of a COVID bailout. And while her salary went up because she was classified as an essential worker, her time was shortened — she is now essentially equal. But Biden’s suggestion gives her hope.

“It’s just great because we need such a backup,” Alvarez said of the president’s plans. “People need to understand that it’s not a bunch of’crazy fast food workers’ who are talking about wanting $ 15. I think $ 15 is just the beginning, as everyone deserves a living wage. “

It’s unclear if there is a way for the Senate to pass the $ 15 minimum wage as part of an evenly divided rescue package.

The White House says it wants to pass the bill with bipartisan support. But over the weekend, independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders called for the use of budget adjustments to get the bailout package through. That is, the Democratic Party did not need 60 votes to approve it.

And for lawmakers who oppose wage increases, Alvarez has a simple message.

“I want them to see what we are living from, why we are struggling, what sacrifices we are making, and how hard we are working.”

Discussions continue over $ 15 minimum wage while Biden promotes COVID economic bailout program

Source link Discussions continue over $ 15 minimum wage while Biden promotes COVID economic bailout program

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