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

The truth is that if your labor is worth $6.75 an hour and the minimum wage is raised to $7.75, you simply become unemployable. The first rung of the ladder is gone, and there's no place to start….This legislation is the ultimate expression of the cruelest of all human lies: ‘I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.'

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Tom McClintock, California Republican state senator. The Los Angeles Times.
04/11/2006 | Full Details | Law(s): Minimum Wage

The minimum wage has caused more misery and unemployment than anything since the Great Depression.

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Candidate Ronald Reagan. Time Magazine.
01/29/1980 | 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

We say we're trying to help the working poor while we actually will be helping young part-time workers. There is one thing, however, upon which there is agreement. Economists from all persuasions agree that increasing the minimum wage will mean lost jobs and it will mean inflation.

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Harris Fawell (R-IL), Congressional Record.
05/16/1989 | 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.