Fast food workers have been protesting across the country to raise the minimum wage. Currently, the federal minimum wage stands at $7.25 per hour, which works out to be a measly $15,080 a year, or $290 a week if you work a 40-hour week. What makes matters worse is the fact that many employees at this wage level don’t work 40-hour weeks, putting them way below the poverty level.
The workers organized across seven different cities in protest of the current minimum wage. Some conservative analysts see raising the minimum wage as ‘anti business,’ claiming it will raise the cost of doing business so high that companies will stop hiring. However, failing to do anything is anti-human. Expecting someone to participate in the American dream, much less make a living on $290 a week, seems outright absurd. Other analysts estimate that raising the minimum wage to just over $10 an hour would boost consumer spending by $32 billion, not to mention the fact that those dollars would probably be spent at fast food restaurants – as low income earners make up a large percentage of their business.
But even in light of these protests, Congress doesn’t seem to be in a rush to take a look at this issue. Z. Byron Wolf wrote on cnn.com:
“it is not one of the things lawmakers are spending a lot of time talking about. There aren’t any votes scheduled any time soon and it hasn’t yet had a hearing in the House of Representatives this year.”
The article does, however, state that it is a primary concern for President Barack Obama who mentioned the issue in his recent speeches. Quoting the President as saying:
“Because no one who works full-time in America should have to live in poverty, I am going to keep making the case that we need to raise the minimum wage — because it’s lower right now than it was when Ronald Reagan took office. It’s time for the minimum wage to go up.”
Raising the minimum wage is not simply a business decision, it’s a moral one. In a country that has the number one economy in the world, there’s no reason for anyone to live below the poverty level. So, if the rest of us have to pay a bit more for a Big Mac, then as a human being, I’m ok with that.