By Max Hyland
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Reprinted from a Facebook Post
One of the critiques we have heard is that immediately increasing the minimum wage by 58% will have a disastrous effect on the economy. Usually to go along with this complaint is a claim that the minimum wage has never gone up that fast before, which is false.
In 1949 the minimum wage went up by 87.5% all at once, overnight. Just a few years later it went up another 33%, overnight.
The 50s were a period of strong economic growth, explosive economic growth, and unprecedented increases in the distribution of wealth and the prosperity of the American public including businesses.
It’s not 1955, and our circumstances are indeed not the same. But if raising the minimum wage truly were bound to cause the sky to fall, the rivers to run red, and all capital to flee the country- the 1950s would not have been one of the strongest periods of economic growth in our history.
“In 1949, the minimum wage was raised from 40 cents an hour to 75 cents an hour for all workers and minimum wage coverage was expanded to include workers in the air transport industry… A 1955 amendment increased the minimum wage to $1.00 an hour with no changes in coverage.”
“During the 1950s … The United States was the world’s strongest military power. Its economy was booming, and the fruits of this prosperity–new cars, suburban houses and other consumer goods–were available to more people than ever before.”