Spectator Editorial Board

We should follow Obama’s lead on minimum wage

President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Feb. 12 that will set the minimum wage for any new government contract workers at $10.10 an hour. The president hopes this will begin a serious national discussion on raising the federal minimum wage, and Congress will follow suit. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, although states may set a different minimum wage at a higher rate.

The Editorial Board supports raising the federal minimum wage for several reasons. One important thing to point out is the increasing cost of living. It was pointed out that if minimum wage had gone up with living costs, it should be into the $20 range compared with the 1970’s minimum wage level.

It hasn’t even been adjusted recently for inflation, so a wage of $7.25/hour means a weaker purchasing power relative to just a few years ago.

It’s not a logical leap to say it is oftentimes extremely difficult to live on a minimum wage salary, especially for many college students who largely can’t work more than part time. And beyond just young people, it’s important not to forget those who live on minimum wage with full-time employment. These people should have the right to live a comfortable life not in impoverished conditions.

The board finds those who oppose raising the minimum wage often hold strange or short-sighted reasons for not doing so. It’s an unfair assumption for opponents to say that minimum wage earners are just young people like high school students.

The bottom line is the federal minimum wage is meant to protect people. The board believes the government, run by elected officials, should have a say in how much money citizens have a right to make.
The Editorial Board voted unanimously that the federal minimum wage should be raised for everyone.