America needs higher wages

Sanchez is a sophomore political science major from Vineland, N.J. She is currently president of The 100 Collegiate Women of America and is involved with the McCollar for Mayor campaign.

Joyce Sanchez

Because the standard way of living evolves as often as the ball drops in New York City, it’s no surprise that the discussion about what exactly to do with minimum wage is so current and has never really gone out of date. I’m sure that if five college students, six working mothers and three middle aged workers were all in one room, they would all agree that the minimum wage salary needs to be increased. 63 percent of the minimum wage workers are over 20 years old, and, quite frankly, because the cost of college is increasing and financial aid isn’t always easy to come by, it’s harder to obtain a higher education, which leaves many middle and lower class Americans extremely dependent on minimum wage jobs.

According to The United States Department of Labor, the minimum wage hasn’t been increased since 2009, and is set at $7.25 an hour. This $7.25 an hour doesn’t have workers leaping for joy, and that’s probably why Wal-Mart employees went on strike once again on Black Friday at over 1,000 Wal-marts, demanding 12.50 an hour along with full time positions. Wal-Mart tries to brush this off, but these recurring strikes may make those who disagree with the increase second guess their opinion on the current situation. This appears to be the perfect example of the point that workers have been trying to get across for years: The current minimum wage is barely paying bills and putting food on the table.

Things have changed. The prices of common household goods steadily increase every year while the gas prices do just the same. There are more struggling minimum wage workers in this century than ever before simply because the minimum pay no longer lines up with the standard way of living. No, I don’t believe that this new wage needs to be enacted tomorrow, but I do hope that the discussion at Capitol Hill about increasing minimum wage is taken extremely serious and given extensive thought before giving low and middle workers hope that they’ll be able to provide more meals for their children while adding on more or increasing taxes, as well as creating unneeded economic issues. The American people do not need to be given a two-sided deal. They simply need more money to be able to create a better life for themselves and their children.