Study Finds that 2/3 of Americans Support Raising the Federal Minimum Wage
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - A new study has found that a majority of Americans support raising the deal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
In the University of Maryland School of Public Policy’s Program for Public Consultation study unveiled earlier this month, 65 percent of people surveyed said they said would favor a proposal to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 dollars an hour over five years. That includes 90 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of Republicans.
“As the country deals with this inflation crisis, now, it’s at a top of mind for a lot of voters,” said JP Thomas, Vice President of Voice of the People, a nonpartisan group that worked with the university to conduct the study. The group aims to give Americans a greater voice in policy making by crafting surveys that present people surveyed with facts then asks them questions. The findings are later shown to policymakers, the media and decision makers.
The survey was conducted in February with a probability-based national sample of 2,700 registered voters who were recruited by phone and mail from a random sample of households.
30 states have increased their minimum wage above the federal minimum and a few are already at or above $15.
Thomas said Voice of the People wanted to explore the minimum wage issue now as debates over increasing it have played out more recently in states across the country.
“I think that the minimum wage is going to be an issue that will be brought up in the 2024 election cycle in particular, it was an issue that Joe Biden ran on in 2020 in his build back better package. The $15 minimum wage was the first item listed. So I do think that as we get closer to the 2024 election, minimum wage will be something that is brought up,” he said.
Another finding from the study was that 63 percent of people favored indexing the minimum wage each year to the rate of inflation, so that its value stays roughly the same over time.
Rep. Al Green (D - Texas) said he too would support indexing the minimum wage to the rate of inflation but has also has spoken about tying the minimum wage to the poverty level and introduced legislation tied to that earlier this year.
“You want people to live above the poverty line, not make poverty wages. And to do so, you keep them above the poverty line by raising the minimum wage,” said Rep. Green.
The legislation, titled the Original Living Wage Act, would increase the federal minimum wage to the minimum hourly wage sufficient for a person working for 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, to earn an annual income 25.5% higher than the federal poverty threshold for a four-person household, with two children under age 18, and living in the 48 contiguous states.
Rep. Green said that the federal minimum wage is not likely to be increased in a divided Congress but thinks the 2024 presidential election may change that given the numbers from the study.
“I am a person who believes that with these kinds of numbers in a presidential election year, this this minimum wage can become one of those issues that will be of importance to the American people. So, yes, I think this election can be the catalyst to get it done in the next Congress,” said Rep. Green.
To try the policy making simulation from the study and see arguments both for and against increasing the federal minimum wage, visit publicconsultation.org.
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