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The federal minimum wage currently sits at $7.25 per hour, where it has remained since 2009. Despite the momentum built up by the Fight for $15 initiative in recent years, Congress has been reluctant to raise Americans' pay. President Donald Trump has backed off his assertion in July to raise minimum wage. 

In 2017, 12 million workers will get an increase in pay.  These 7 States and 18 cities are leading the way.  One problem with a State-by-State approach is that poverty is perpetuated in large areas, especially in the South.  Did you realize that in Georgia, the state minimum wage is $5.15 an hour?  With regional disparities in minimum wage, this leads to unhealthy imbalances in the collection and distribution of taxes.  The federal government tends to collect more taxes in states with a higher minimum wage and send more in federal aid to states with low wages. 

We have a system of corporate welfare where corporations are paying minimum or near minimum wages while their employees are receiving federal aid.  Low earners receive earned income credits, housing and food allowances, free health care and in certain instances a free cell phone.  These workers do not want a handout.  They want and deserve self respect.  With the diminishing middle class, no one is protecting the workers.  The retail trade, restaurant industry, hospitality and construction businesses are where most of these lower paid workers are employed. 

The corporate culprits are Walmart, McDonalds, Sears, and JCPenny to name a few.  These corporations reap the benefits of a low wages while we, the taxpayer supplement their earning through the federal programs.  The small business owner does not pay minimum wage.  The small business owner pays his worker a fair wage because their objective is to keep the employee over a long period of time. These large corporations have built into their personnel models, large numbers of lowly paid workers where a revolving door of employees is anticipated and expected.
With a higher wage comes more spending at the lower level.  This will stimulate the economy in that the lower wage earner spends what they receive, while the high paid executive banks his earnings in excess of his basic living needs.  We need to stimulate the economy through generating cash flow at all levels of our society.

Regular collection of earnings data in the basic CPS began in 1979. The prevailing federal minimum wage for 1979 and later years is listed below.  Using the table below, a CPI adjusted wage from 1979 would rate the minimum wage at $9.70 per hour.

Minimum Wage
Effective Date


January 1, 1979


January 1, 1980


January 1, 1981


April 1, 1990


October 1, 1996


September 1, 1997


July 24, 2007


July 24, 2008


July 24, 2009


January 1, 2017

* CPI Inflation Calculator