Best Joke of the Decade: Minimum Wages

Essay by ChristineSHigh School, 12th gradeA+, October 2004

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In the last seven years the value of the minimum wage has decreased $0.74, according to Due to the decrease in value the minimum wage can no longer keep workers above the poverty threshold. In a country founded on a belief in being able to better your situation in life, the rising poverty rates are deplorable. Workers need to be paid enough money to support themselves and their families, if the government does not make sure this happens, poverty rates will continue to rise.

If wages were to be determined by a free-market economy, rather than the federal government, many workers would be taken advantage of. Most business owners are very hung-up over the word "profits." This word has caused all kinds of problems from the Enron scandals to Martha Stewart. If the government didn't put a floor on how little can or cannot be paid to a worker, employee wages would plummet; the economy wouldn't be far behind.

"In 1980, the average CEO made as much as the combined incomes of 97 minimum-wage workers. In 2000, that number has skyrocketed, as the average CEO now makes as much as the combined incomes of 1,223 minimum-wage workers. The congressional pay in 1968 was nine times that of minimum-wage workers. Today, that pay is $145,100, nearly 14 times that of minimum-wage workers," according to

Due to the rising costs of living and decreasing incomes, families have been forced to spend ever less time together and more time in the office. Family time isn't the only area that has been affected by company's ever-increasing greed; healthcare benefits have also been drastically cut in recent years. "As of 2001, 41.2 million Americans were without healthcare coverage. Of these, 33 million were from working families and 8.5 million were children," according...