Minimum Wage

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage is a critical social economic safeguard, setting a wage floor that should allow workers to meet their basic needs. The national minimum wage was first instituted in 1938 as a central feature of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Act also established overtime and child labor standards. It has been amended many times to increase the wage or expand coverage. Workers in some industries, such as agriculture, are exempt. The minimum wage is set by Congress, not by an independent agency as President Franklin Roosevelt originally proposed. It is not pegged to the cost of living and the real value of the federal minimum wage lags behind inflation. As a result, many states and cities have set their minimum wage rates higher than the federally mandated wage.

Commentary

Consider the Source: 100 years of Broken Record Opposition to the Minimum Wage

March 09, 2013

Chamber of Commerce, Wrong Again

May 19, 2011

Cry Wolf Quotes

When we pass minimum wage legislation it says one thing, Mr. Speaker: It says to the young black in the inner city, it says to the handicapped individual, it says to the young person looking for a first time job, unless you can meet a minimum standard, we will pass a law that says it is a violation of the Federal statute to hire such a person. Mr. Speaker, we can calculate to a certainty the number of people that we will unemploy by raising the minimum wage to various levels. At $4.50, at $5, at $6, hundreds of thousands of people are denied access to the job market. Minimum wage laws create unemployment. That is a mean, vicious thing to do.

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Bob McEwen (R-OH), Congressional Record.
10/31/1989 | Full Details | Law(s): Minimum Wage

But where will employers obtain the money to pay for that increase? It is unrealistic to assume that somehow the increase will be squeezed out of profits….In plain fact, the burden of an increased minimum wage will fall heavily on those least able to bear it. The fringe employers, the unskilled worker, the young and the handicapped are those who will be priced out of the job market.

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Chamber of Commerce newsletter.
08/01/1970 | Full Details | Law(s): Minimum Wage

Emotional appeals about working families trying to get by on $4.25 an hour are hard to resist. Fortunately, such families don't really exist.

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Tom Delay (R-TX), Congressional Record.
04/23/1996 | Full Details | Law(s): Minimum Wage

Wage mandates ignore the principals of free market economies; they prevent businesses from making profits, growing and hiring more workers; and they base wages on what the worker wants instead of on the value of work performed.

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Amicus brief filed by Chamber of Commerce with the Supreme Court of Louisiana.
11/21/2004 | Full Details | Law(s): Minimum Wage

Related Laws and Rules

Evidence

Backgrounders & Briefs

Good Rules: Ten Stories Of Successful Regulation

Demos looks at ten laws and rules that we take for granted.

Minimum Wage Policy Brief

By Professor Stephanie Luce

The idea of minimum wage laws has been around for more than a century. They are still a good idea.

Resources

Raise the Minimum Wage is a project of the National Employment Law Project. The effort is devoted to preserving the wage floor by raising the federal minimum wage.

University of California-Berkeley Labor Center carries out research on labor and workplace-related issues.

The National Employment Law Project is an organization that promotes economically just public policy in the face of the prevailing trends of the law several decades.