A solid majority of American voters support raising the federal minimum wage to at least $10 an hour, according to a recent survey of registered voters conducted by Public Policy Polling.
The poll found that 76% of registered voters support raising the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour. Twenty-nine per cent of those polled support raising it to $15.
More than half (54%) of people who voted for President-elect Donald Trump support giving the lowest-paid workers in the nation a raise to at least $10 an hour.
The federal minimum wage currently stands at $7.25 an hour. That number hasn’t budged since 2009. Millions of minimum wage workers are forced to rely on federal assistance programs to make ends meet. As the chart below shows, the minimum wage is not enough to keep workers out of poverty:
According to the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, raising the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020 would give more than one in four American workers a raise.
But its looking less likely that this will happen anytime soon. On Thursday Trump chose Andrew Puzder, CEO of the parent company of fast-food chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, to lead the Department of Labour.
Puzder opposes the pro-labour regulations that were ushered in under President Obama, including a rule that would have made millions of workers eligible for earning overtime pay. He wrote in the Wall Street Journal in 2014 that Obama’s efforts to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would raise unemployment. Republicans, who control Congress, have rejected numerous attempts to raise the minimum wage at the federal level, stating that wage issues should be “handled at the state and local level.”
Many states and local governments have already taken it upon themselves to raise wages. California and New York have plans in place to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next few years. In November, voters in Arizona, Maine, Colorado, and Washington approved ballot measures that will hike wages to at least $12 an hour by 2020.
But a handful of states don’t have minimum wage laws of their own and therefore rely on the federal minimum wage to set a pay floor. A number of other states have minimum wages that are equal to the federal rate of $7.25 an hour.
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