With all the talk about minimum wage, most people miss the real culprit for the rising cost of living: inflation. Does it really matter if you make $20 an hour, if every dollar you earn is worth ten cents? Of course not.
Recently, some minimum wage workers in Philadelphia learned about the Federal Reserve. They apparently had never thought about what is actually making it hard for them to make ends meet. They talked about corporate bank accounts and a lack of “trickle down,” as if somehow forcing mega corporations to share more of their money with their employees would make a huge difference.
Just by the way—it wouldn’t. If you raise the minimum wage, you reduce jobs and you increase prices. That’s how the “evil” corporations make up for lost income. But what if you just made sure that the money you were paid was actually worth something.
Do you know what the minimum wage was in 1964 (the last year our money was backed in any way by silver)? It was $1.15 an hour in September of 1964. That was one silver dollar, one silver dime, and one nickel/copper nickel. Excluding the actual value of the nickel in today’s terms, the silver dollar and silver dime would be worth almost $21. Consider that for a moment.
That means that the minimum wage in 1964 had an equivalent buying power in today’s dollars of about $21 dollars an hour. That was minimum wage. If you still think the solution is raising minimum wage, or redistributing the wealth of evil corporations, you’ve been drinking too much Kool-Aid.
The problem is the Federal Reserve, a private institution responsible for completely debasing the value of the American dollar. Inflation hurts the poor and middle class long before it touches the rich. Minimum wage workers need to stop fighting for an increase in the minimum wage. They need to stop protesting their employers. They need to start protesting the Federal Reserve. Re-attaching our currency to real values would do more for the low-income wage earners of this country than anything else.