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$15 national minimum wage
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$15 national minimum wage

President-elect Joe Biden unveiled his massive stimulus plan last yesterday. In it, he calls for a $15 national minimum wage, which will lift more than 12 million Americans from poverty. The current federal minimum wage for covered nonexempt employees is $7.25.  Most states have minimum wages higher than the national wage, and many non-exempt employees make more than $7.25 per hour.

The fight for 15 has been part of the democratic platform for years now.  The rising wealth equality, accelerated by a historic pandemic, has made the fight for a  $15 national minimum wage” good trouble.”

Even with a slim majority in the Senate, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-president-elect Kamala Harris might have encounter roadblocks put in place by centrist democratic senator like Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

How much an increase in the national minimum wage of $15 will help the economy recover from the pandemic-induced recession is uncertain.  

That uncertainty might be enough for Senator Manchin to vote against it.  After all, he is from West Virginia.  $15 per hour goes a long way in West Virginia than it does in New York. 

The Dichotomy of Democratic  Constituents

The soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is from Brooklyn, New York, and centrist democratic senator Joe Manchin is from Farmington, West Virginia.

According to Rentcafe,  it cost on average $2,649 to rent a 651-square foot studio or 1-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. It costs less than $500 to rent that same space in Farmington, West Virginia.

According to Zillow, the typical home value of homes in Brooklyn, New York, and  Farmington, West Virginia, is $660,001 and  $61 486, respectively.

Senator Chuck Schumer’s constituents can barely survive on $15 per hour while Joe Manchin’s can have an excellent middle-class standing of living on the same wage.

Minimum Wage in All States

  • Nearly 40% of states have the $7.25 current federal minimum wage as their state minimum wage, including those with no minimum wage.
  • Only Washington DC currently has a $15 minimum wage in the nation.
  • Eight states already voted and passed legislation to increase their minimum wage to $15 by the end of the Biden-Harris Administration’s first term.

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