The Iowa Progressive Alliance (IPA) supports raising the minimum wage in Iowa and the nation to $15 an hour. The fight for $15 is a necessary battle when the population of this country is facing rampant income inequality.
In Iowa, Income inequality has increased by more than 5% since 1979. We live in a state where the top 20% earn nearly half of all the income, leaving scraps for those of us not in the top income brackets. This must be addressed immediately as this issue affects not only lives but the nation’s economy.
The National Employment Law Project research shows that increasing the minimum wage is good for the economy. The federal government has increased the minimum wage nearly two dozen times since 1938, and this led to year-over-year employment increases of 68%. Industries that usually pay the minimum wage saw even larger increases, with retail employment increasing 73% and hospitality employment increasing 82%. Almost 25% of American receive the Earned Income Tax Credit, which indicates they are the working poor. When these people have the income to spend, we see increased economic growth. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), income inequality has slowed growth in the US by 6-9% over the last two decades. Raising the minimum wage is a way to immediately reverse these trends.
The IPA supports immediate legislative action to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. To fail to do so is to endanger both people and the US economy.