President Joe Biden and the Democrats of the U.S. Congress are pushing for a gradual minimum wage increase to $15 per hour, but they are facing criticism from both sides. According to a report by The Associated Press, Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal includes a measure to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour nationwide by 2025. Many struggling Americans are calling this too little, too late.
A national $15 minimum wage is overwhelmingly popular with voters, regardless of political affiliation or physical location. However, Republicans generally argue that the figure is too high, while a growing number of more progressive Democrats are arguing that it is too low. Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib said: "With the economic divide, I mean, I want to see a $15 minimum wage. It should actually be $20."
Still, even passing the $15 minimum wage as-is would be a feat of political savvy for Biden and establishment Democrats. The United States Senate is split 50-50, with the Democrats' advantage coming from the rule that the vice president may cast a tie-breaking vote. However, to pass a bill like this on its own without a filibuster, Democrats would need at least 61 votes.
That's why Democrats apparently intend to use the budget reconciliation process to pass this stimulus package — with the minimum wage increase included. This is a well-established process in the U.S. Senate, though some Republicans are grumbling that it tarnishes Biden's reputation for "reaching across the aisle."
At the same time, many Democrats are complaining that Biden is not doing enough with this power. Here is a look at what they are saying.
Makes me sick— machinegunkatie (@katelynhefner) January 27, 2021
Workers' advocates have been targeting $15 for the new minimum wage for so long that the number is now obsolete by many metrics. Some are complaining that Biden's gradual plan to increase it over the next four years is sickeningly slow.prevnext
$15 IS the $1400 of the minimum wage gap. Needs to be $25. 😳— #DemExit: more 🦺’s fewer 🍩🐍’s (@SaratogaGenki) January 31, 2021
Many users joked about Biden's $1,400 stimulus check kerfuffle in regards to his minimum wage rhetoric. The president campaigned on the promise of a $2,000 stimulus check, but is now pushing for $1,400 to make a total of $2,000 counting the previous payment. Some see his gradual minimum wage increase as the same.prevnext
minimum wage in switzerland is $24? lemme go change my name to hinga ding durgen.😭— 🍎 iSing 🎶 (@AlexJaySINGER) February 1, 2021
Critics coming at Biden's plan from the left pointed out other countries where the minimum wage is higher than $15 already, wondering if they should leave the U.S. to increase their quality of life.prevnext
If it's to the point where we will force it through without bipartisanship, we might as well increase it to $20 or a number more accurately adjusted for inflation.— Damian Amerman-Smith (@AmermanSmith) January 31, 2021
Many people questioned why Democrats are not pushing for more with their unique position in this budget reconciliation process. They do not see why Biden and his party can't push for $20 per hour, knowing they are going to anger Republicans regardless.prevnext
prices go up regardless of minimum wage
evidence: look around you— Spooky (@SpookyCandle) January 31, 2021
A kind of "the chicken or the egg" conversation has sprung up around minimum wage increases and economic inflation. Arguments have been made from both sides in a circular debate over this issue.prevnext
I think that as they are representing the people they should actually only be paid the minimum wage so they can then relate to the majority of people they serve— AusJack (@strathjack) January 31, 2021
Some Americans proposed a new rule stating that lawmakers must make the minimum wage, giving them a vested interest in increasing the quality of life for those they are serving.prevnext
Raising the minimum wage will be a boost for middle class workers. pic.twitter.com/ZtIFQyOJat— Jeffrey Levin (@jilevin) February 1, 2021
Finally, many users posted jokes, tirades or grim observations about the hypocrisy of wealthy Americans debating whether or not the lower class needs a wage increase. They pointed out massive increases in private wealth over the last few years that have not brought the minimum wage up along with them. Biden's stimulus proposal is expected to pass sometime later this month or early in March.prev