The Minimum Wage 2013. “A Minimum Standard of Living Necessary for Health, Efficiency and General Well-Being”
Corinne Crawford, Constance Crawford

The first federal minimum-wage law, the Fair Labor Standards Act, was passed in 1938. The law set the minimum wage at 25-cents-per-hour. Upon signing the Fair Labor Standards Act President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed that, other than Social Security Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act was ". . . the most far-sighted program for the benefit of workers ever adopted". He went on to say that wages must ensure a "minimum standard of living necessary for health, efficiency and general well-being". Today, the federal minimum wage is 7.25 per hour. Over the last forty years, the real value of the federal minimum wage has fallen by nearly 30%. In 2013, the yearly income of a minimum wage worker who supports a family of two falls slightly below the poverty line. This statistic begs the question: Is the minimum wage of 2013 fulfilling its mandate of ensuring a minimum standard of living necessary for health, efficiency and general well-being? Respected economists are of the opinion that raising the minimum wage would have positive effects on the economy and minimum wage workers as well. This question, as well as the question of whether or not the 2013 minimum wage is sustaining its original mandate, is the focus of this paper.

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