Consider the following: You are a single-parent with two young kids. When you are at work, kids need childcare. Some of us are lucky enough to have family who offer free childcare. However, for those of us who do not have this option, childcare quickly becomes a huge expense that cannot be paid by a minimum wage job. Even if you are a family with two adults working minimum wage jobs, it can be hard to cover the cost of living. According to Keystone Research, for many people “wages are so low that they don’t even cover rent and the cost of getting around.” Add in “luxuries” like childcare and working for $7.25 an hour becomes more expensive than not working.
Those who are against a $15 minimum wage often say that only a small number of people work these kinds of jobs. In reality, raising the minimum wage would benefit a majority of workers in Pennsylvania, as 89 percent of adults and 55 percent of full-time workers would see a wage increase. Those percentages get even larger in Crawford County. Keystone Research finds that the majority of workers in Crawford County who would get a raise as a result of a statewide minimum wage increase are adults (93.1 percent) working full-time (63.9 percent). It is likely that your family would benefit directly from a higher minimum wage. How would a raise to $15 an hour change your life?
Just as we cannot claim that only teens benefit from a higher minimum wage, we cannot claim that it would be a disaster for local economies. Twenty-nine states, including all those that border Pennsylvania, have raised their minimum wage and seen wage and job growth. An increase in consumer spending will boost the broader economy. But we aren’t talking about luxury spending; we are talking about basic necessities. Even when it is a teenager who is earning a minimum wage, teenagers currently bring home on average 64% of their family’s income.
Don’t be fooled: A majority (56 percent) of people support raising the minimum wage to $15. Will you?