Raising the Minimum Wage Benefits the Economy

Statement from Alan Barber, Policy Director for the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center:

Today’s CBO score of H.R. 582, the Raise the Wage Act, shows that raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour would increase the income of 27 million U.S. workers. This would boost income for low-wage families, fight poverty, and reduce inequality. 

Opponents of increasing the minimum wage will likely point to the CBO job loss projections to argue against raising the minimum wage. However, the overwhelming majority of the research examining actual increases in the minimum wage does not bear this out. Numerous analyses show that raising the minimum wage does not lead to an overall reduction in employment or hours. Raising the minimum wage will help working people make ends meet and pump millions back into local economies, just as it has in the states and cities who have already raised their minimum wage. 

The minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 since 2009. We are living through the longest period in history without an increase. Over the last decade, the purchasing power of the  minimum wage has eroded, causing low-wage workers to lose roughly $3000 annually. It’s far past time we raise the minimum wage and ensure that all working people can make a decent living.