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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    New bill looks to increase minimum wage to $10

    Minimum wage has been a topic of debate ever since the creation of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938. Just this month, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. of Illinois has attempted to once again bring the discussion into a modern context. Jackson introduced a bill to Congress that calls for an immediate raise of the federal minimum wage up to $10 from its current standing of $7.25, according to the New York Times.

    This may seem like an extreme jump, but this increase was proposed in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, June 6, 2012. In fact, President Obama stated back in 2008 that he would increase the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2011. This, as with many noble initiatives Obama had in mind to carry out during his first term, have been deemed a lost cause considering the current congressional stalemate.

    In relation to this dilemma, it is likely that Jackson’s efforts will fail, especially considering the bill lacks the support of those working for such outdated prices, who don’t believe a wage increase is justified.

    “I think I’m getting enough money for what I do. I mean, making food doesn’t really deserve a huge paycheck,” said Jacob Yakoubek, a speech, language and hearing sciences junior at the UA who has worked at IQ Fresh in the Student Union Memorial Center for nearly two years. After three pay raises since his start, he is making $8.25 per hour. When asked whether he could sustain himself without the help he receives from his parents for his living expenses, he said, “I could survive, it would just suck. I wouldn’t be able to afford any fun stuff, God forbid a family.”

    For Yakoubek, as well as for more than 19 million other Americans working for less than the proposed $10 rate, according to The Economic Policy Institute, his paycheck could hardly be considered “huge.” Huge would be the more than $20 million JP Morgan’s Chairman, Jamie Dimon, earns on an annual basis, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

    The wealth gap has been growing dramatically, a trend that’s likely continue. From 1973 to 2007, the minimum wage fell 22 percent in real dollars and domestic corporate profits increased by more than 50 percent, according to Time Magazine. Two-thirds of the American population supported raising the minimum wage according to a Public Religion Research Institute poll in 2010. It’s because of statistics like this that Jackson has brought such a pertinent issue to the forefront during an election year.

    If the government is willing to bail out outlandishly large banks and corporations such as JP Morgan, it is inconceivable that it should not also provide a break for those who need it most in our country: the people.

    — Max Efrein is a journalism and history junior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .

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