Joe Biden wants to double minimum wage—and top economists agree

Joe Biden Press Conference/ Screenshot

For 1.7 million Americans, the words “national minimum wage” mean something very different than the “national living wage.”

At just $7.24, working a 40-hour week in a minimum wage job would earn you just $1.256 a month. Take off taxes and the average rental price across the country, and you have Americans trying to support themselves and their families on just $375 (and that’s with very cheap rent).

The new president sees that as a problem and has a plan to help the working poor make ends meet.

If Joe Biden has his way, this may not be for much longer.

The incoming President wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, a measure that could prove difficult to push through a still very divided Senate. The move would come as a part of Biden’s long-anticipated stimulus — the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill.

He also has support from top economists and influencers that believe that this has to happen immediately.

“No one working 40 hours a week should live below the poverty line!”

Biden made the announcement during a speech on Thursday night in Wilmington, Delaware, where he lamented that “No one working 40 hours a week should live below the poverty line.”

The incoming President reminded listeners that many states had already taken the initiative to increase the minimum wage to $15. He pointed out that even Florida, “as divided as that state is,” had just passed it.

There are some that doubt that this work will be effective, but Biden supporters (and those who understand his vision) are quick to defend his stimulus plan.

Hard-working Americans deserve to be able to put food on the table.

The Biden team distributed a briefing paper before the speech, which stated: “Hard-working Americans deserve sufficient wages to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads, without having to keep multiple jobs.”

“The increase is also hoped to help those workers worst impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, 40 percent of whom are people of color.”

Consider the average McDonald’s cashier makes about $10 an hour.

2020 McDonald’s Salary/ Screenshot from



Workers are long overdue a raise.

The argument for raising the minimum wage seems self-evident. Income and social inequality levels are soaring across the country, putting more money into the pockets of the lowest-paid workers would stimulate consumer demand and boost the economy.

Many Americans have stagnating salaries that can no longer meet the rising costs of living, and a nationwide increase could lift millions out of poverty. Furthermore, it is long overdue— Congress has not increased the federal minimum wage for over a decade.


‘Beware the Consequences of a $15 Minimum Wage’

Yet not everyone is behind the move. Many economists and business owners warn that making salary increases mandatory could have unexpected consequences. One fear is that raising the minimum wage will push enterprises to increase their prices - leading to inflation.

The heightened prices could lead to greater consumer costs and living expenses.

Already struggling business owners will not be able to afford to increase the salaries of their employees, and may fold altogether, leading to an increase in unemployment. As one business owner put it in an article, ‘beware the consequences of a $15 minimum wage.’

Two-thirds of Americans support the increase

According to a survey carried out by the Pew Research Center last year, around two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) support raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Of this wide majority, 41 percent are strongly in favor of the increase.

Source: Screenshot/United Steelworkers

Women, Democrats & Black Americans largely in favor

Women are more likely than men to support the raise (72 percent to 61 percent) and nine out of ten Black Americans are in favor of increasing the national minimum wage. Democrats overwhelmingly support the increase (87 percent) while 57 percent of Republicans oppose it. Lower-income Republicans are largely in favor of increasing the minimum wage, however.

Biden is appealing to millions of Americans who strongly support this move. On Friday, fast-food workers are planning a nationwide strike to demand a $15 minimum wage.


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