The Minimum Wage Debate: More Viewpoints Surfacing - Washington Post

While the debate surrounding the $15 federally mandated minimum wage component of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill moving through the House continues to evolve, and as the House digests the implications of the Senate parliamentarian ruling yesterday that the proposed wage hike does not conform to Senate rules and needs to be dropped from the package, opinions on the pros and cons of the issue continue to surface. A Washington Post article yesterday by Colleen Doody, associate professor of history at DePaul University and a public voices fellow of The OpEd Project, stressed the likelihood that a minimum wage increase of the size proposed in the relief package would serve to bolster the overall economy through increases in the purchasing power of consumers, in turn stimulating production to match consumption. Ms. Doody’s article (click here to read it)  draws heavily on history, namely the FDR New Deal domestic program of the 1930s and the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Yesterday’s post here brought out the expectations that the substantial minimum wage increase would serve to improve the long-term financial picture for Social Security, and that it would lead to higher levels of retirement benefits for younger workers, many of whom face difficulty accumulating savings for later years. That post also made reference, albeit a glancing one, to the lingering concern over the forecasted loss of jobs attributable to increased operating costs for many businesses.

So, what happens next is anybody’s guess for the time being. The House is expected to vote on the bill today as it’s currently structured, even though the Senate will need to remove the minimum wage item in order to move forward. As is often the case these days, stay tuned for more developments in the days and weeks ahead.

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