What readers around the world said about raising the minimum wage

This was excerpted from the March 5 edition of CNN’s Meanwhile in America, the daily email about US politics for global readers. Click here to read past editions and subscribe.

What’s a fair wage for a fair day’s work? Hopes of raising Americans’ federal minimum wage from $ 7.25 per hour to $ 15 have been punted down the road for now after being stripped from the Covid-19 rescue bill. Here’s what Meanwhile readers said about the idea.

“I live in Eastern Washington state and we are fortunate to have a much higher minimum wage for our workers. Our neighbors in Idaho are not so lucky. Many people who are able to live in Idaho work in Washington to benefit from the higher wage,” wrote Billie. Minimum wage in Washington state is 13.69 per hour, compared with $ 7.25 in Idaho.
“The wage a person earns should be equal to the amount of effort that is required to do the work,” Billie added. “I would really like to know though why our politicians think they deserve to make so much money. They say they care about the average worker and want a better life for all Americans, but when was the last time they tried to live on minimum wage?”
    From the UK — where the national minimum wage for workers over 25 is equivalent to $ 12 — Gerry wrote, “The situation where the main earner has to work two shifts a day just to feed the family and just pay the rent is a disgrace and should not be tolerated. Trump always had good employment figures, only because desperate families were constantly working stupid hours to feed the kids.”
      “$ 15 is totally justified. But maybe it’s too big a jump in one movement. Morally the judgement should be $ 12 now and increasing to $ 15 in 2023. That should give the smaller companies time to plan and create some efficiency to accommodate the absorption of some of the costs,” Gerry added.
        Jay in Copenhagen, where wages are set by collective bargaining, thought US workers could wait a bit longer: “$ 15 per hour sounds appropriate for a minimum starting wage. BUT it has no place in Covid recovery legislation. Those on the current minimum survived pre-Covid on the current minimum. They can certainly continue to do so. Make it stand alone legislation or pork barrel it to something more relevant.”
          From Western Canada, Lino disagreed with the idea of a national standard at all. “I don’t believe that a minimum wage equal in each State is fair or acceptable. Living in a small town in, (for example) Kentucky vs living in Pasadena, California do not have the same cost of living so a state/federal effort should be applied that ensures lower wages are sufficient for a person or family sustains itself.” Canada has no federal baseline wage, though provincial and territorial governments set their own minimums.
            And Sue weighed in from an undisclosed location. “$ 15 an hour barely covers. It is however far better than the current amount. Were the minimum wage to have kept up with the cost of living it would be around $ 24 an hour. I am insulted by those who speak of when they went to college and paid their own way working minimum wage. They really do need to get their heads out of the sand. Rent, food, tuition all have become out of reach for the majority.”




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