This wage increase would allow families greater financial stability in providing the essentials for themselves (rent, food, clothing) without needing public benefits to take up the slack every month. Such financial independence is crucial for providing a path to the middle class for all working people.
At Demos, we've advocated for this policy for sometime. As our policy brief, Millions to the Middle points out:
The current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a rate at which it is impossible for working Americans to independently pay their rent, feed their families or get needed medical care—much less save for the types of investments that make it possible to lift oneself into the middle class, like an education, a first home, or the chance to start a business. Indeed, the value of the minimum wage today is 30 percent below its peak in 1968. A majority of minimum wage earners are adults living in low-income households and making significant contributions to their family’s total income. Assuming a full-time work schedule, a minimum wage job at the current rate of $7.25 an hour brings in an annual income of $15,080 – not enough to lift a family of three with a single working parent over the federal poverty threshold.
Today's NELP poll shows that the majority of the American public has at least a basic sense of this reality and understands the status quo for the minimum wage needs to change.