Most people agree: The minimum wage should be increased

Democrats have frequently discussed the need to increase the country’s minimum wage. In recent years, they have tried to gain momentum in public opinion on such wage hike increases. Who could forget the $15-per-hour cries from progressive politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) as far back as 2015? Sanders’s proposal enjoyed popularity only among his supporters. However, it did bring attention to the country’s minimum wage and the fact that it has not increased since 2009. It’s the longest period without an increase in minimum wage in our nation’s history.

Obviously, the minimum wage has not kept up with the rate of inflation over the years — something that’s even more glaring during President Joe Biden’s tenure. Perhaps this is why most voters agree that the minimum wage should be raised. 

A recent poll from Rasmussen Reports found that most adults believe the minimum wage should be raised. They are, however, conflicted on what that raise should be. Based on the current rate of $7.25 per hour established in 2009, an inflation calculator shows that an appropriate corresponding amount for minimum wage in 2024 would be $10.55. It represents a perfect example of why the minimum wage should be increased, though within reason. 

Incidentally, the Rasmussen poll found that the majority of respondents, 50%, felt that a new minimum wage should be raised to “at least $10.50 an hour.” This makes good fiscal sense and aligns with the inflation rate over the years. Other people had slightly different opinions, with varying totals for the wage. The poll revealed that 9% of people believed the wage should be $12.50 an hour, while 12% felt that $9.50 an hour was appropriate. Additionally, another 24% were “not sure.”

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As one might expect, there was an ideological divide on raising the minimum wage, but not as divided as one might think, given the political climate. Slightly over a third of Democrats, 36%, believed the wage should increase to the $15 per hour once touted by Sanders. This view was only shared by 18% of those who identified as Republicans and 22% of people who claimed not to be affiliated with either party. However, regarding the $10.50-per-hour figure, “42% of Republicans would support raising the minimum wage to at least $10.50 an hour, as would 59% of Democrats and 50% of the unaffiliated.”

Given this rare political consensus, combined with the undeniable economic impact of minimum wage stagnation, the country’s lawmakers should do the right thing and raise the minimum wage. There’s little reason this era should be the longest in the nation’s history without an increase.

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