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

If raising the minimum wage to $12 or $15 per hour will raise the standard of living for the working poor, why stop there? Why not raise the standard of living for the middle class as well by increasing the minimum wage to, say, $25 an hour? If we raised it to $100 an hour, we could have the best standard of living in history!

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Summers, Adam, Orange County Register.
08/18/2003 | Full Details | Law(s): Minimum Wage

[The Fair Labor Standards Act] will destroy small industry….[these ideas are] the product of those whose thinking is rooted in an alien philosophy and who are bent upon the destruction of our whole constitutional system and the setting up of a red-labor communistic despotism upon the ruins of our Christian civilization.

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Representative Edward Cox (D-GA). 1938.
04/21/1938 | Full Details | Law(s): Fair Labor Standards Act

I understand it is called a minimum wage bill, but in fact it is a layoff bill….Kids will lose their jobs, minorities will lose their jobs, senior citizens will lose their jobs. In small towns, in center cities, marginal businesses will be devastated.

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Representative Mark Souder (R-IN).
01/01/1996 | Full Details | Law(s): Minimum Wage

Youth unemployment is three times the overall unemployment rate, and for minority youth it is much, much higher. Let us not make the problem worse by enacting a minimum wage which denies young people jobs.

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Arthur Ravenel (R-SC), Congressional Record.
05/17/1989 | 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.