Divided State of America: Republicans still won't raise minimum wage after Trump's pandemic debacle
About one year ago Donald Trump politicized mask wearing and played down the virus turning the coronavirus pandemic into a year-long nightmare full of job loss, death, and chaos.
The Divided State of America’s Heather Gardner in the most recent episode reminds us of what was March 2020 which included Tom Hanks testing positive, the NBA shutdown, a suspension of travel to different countries, and the worst stock market crash since 1987.
The calamity that has been the last year might finally be coming to an end as vaccines are being distributed and case numbers are declining. But unfortunately, the destruction that the pandemic caused will not go away immediately. Scarring from the last year will live on impacting American lives for generations to come considering the economic damage that has been done to millions.
What has happened in the last year?
530,000+ coronavirus deaths in the United States
1/4 adults had trouble paying their bills (Pew Research)
1/4 people were laid off from work or had someone in their household laid off (Pew Research)
The country's unemployment rate hit 15 percent
1/8 people and 1/6 children may face food insecurity in 2021 (Feeding America)
Pandemic school closures could create a drag on the economy for years (CNBC)
A once in a lifetime crisis occurred and the Republicans still won't entertain a $15 minimum wage.
But the Republican’s staunch opposition shouldn’t come as a surprise. Gardner dives into the history of the minimum wage and discusses how there has been an appalling lack of action on raising the minimum wage since Ronald Reagan was president.
Logically speaking, it would make sense to tie the minimum wage to inflation. If the dollar is worth two percent less the next year, then everyone’s wages should go up by two percent. That would only seem logical, right?
Well, the United States said screw it. The minimum wage has been at $7.25 since 2009. The dollar has lost about 25 percent of its purchasing power in that time and American workers are being paid 1/4 less today than they were in 2009.
How idiotic is it that someone could do the same job every single year and actually get paid less the next year when considering inflation? It makes the United States look pretty stupid. But then again, the country did anyways after Trump was elected president.
For more content from the Divided State of America with Heather Gardner, watch the full episode below where Gardner dives into the one year Covid anniversary, the minimum wage debate, and Oprah’s interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
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Ryan is a recent graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and majored in Business Journalism. He has written in the past for SB Nation's Silver and Black Pride, USA Today Sports Media Group, North Carolina Business News Wire, the Daily Tar Heel, and has worked with Ice Cube's BIG3 basketball league.