Biden Administration looks to raise federal minimum wage

To compete with inflation and supply workers with livable wages, the Biden Administration plans to implement a $15 federal minimum wage. The raising of the national minimum wage is set to take effect this year.


**Graphic and caption reprinted with permission from the Economic Policy Institute official website**

In an effort to put an end to “poverty level” wages, the Biden Administration plans to pass the Raise the Wage Act of 2021 which would raise the national minimum wage to $15 an hour.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would more accurately represent a livable wage.
“In 1968, a minimum wage worker earned $10.59 per hour in inflation-adjusted terms, 46% more than today’s $7.25 federal minimum wage,” the EPI writes.
Math teacher Shawn Hanrahan believes that though the minimum wage may be good for a while, inflation is “bound to catch up.”
“I think it’s a good temporary fix, but prices and inflation will eventually adjust, and I don’t really know where we’d go from there,” Hanrahan said.
Though a good “temporary fix,” the $15minimum wage raise doesn’t seem realistic, according to Hanrahan. “If not 15, then I don’t know how much, I just don’t see it necessarily as a very realistic thing to achieve,” Hanrahan said.
Some major companies, such as Walmart, have taken this into account, and raised their minimum wage on their own.
According to Walmart employee Anthony Scarpaci, the raise came almost out of nowhere.
“I got called into the office, and to be honest, I really thought I was about to get fired,” Scarpaci said.
Though he’s glad he’s being paid more, Scarpaci believes there’s a “slight unfairness” about the raised wages.
“I totally agree with giving us raises, and I think it’s definitely going to help people out, but I also think it can be unfair,” Scarpaci said. “I’ve been working here for so long now, and I had just made my way up to $11 an hour and now, there’s random people coming in for a job and starting out at $15.”
Along with worries about fairness and inflation, another concern regarding the raising of the federal minimum wage is job availability.
Higher wages can affect the amount of people employed in certain businesses and fields. According to local small business owner Heather Rothsching, another drawback of raising the minimum wage is just that.
“I would possibly have to cut their hours, or have other positions do more work and eliminate that position overall to be able to sustain that wage,” Rothsching said.
Rothsching believes that though it’s “fundamentally a good idea,” the lack of experience of employees entering a certain position isn’t necessarily deserving of such high pay.
“These are young, inexperienced, highschool students, and it isn’t always fair to pay them just as much as people who’ve been employed for a while, or who have more experience,” Rothsching said.