Red states will be hit the hardest if the $15 minimum wage hike is not included in the Senate version of President Biden’s rescue bill, Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent wrote on Wednesday.
A new analysis from the Brookings Institution, done at my request, underscores this with depressing clarity: It finds that approximately 24 million people would see their wages rise if the federal minimum wage were lifted to $15 per hour by 2025, as the current proposal would do.
The top-line finding: More than 23.8 million people made less than $15 per hour in 2019, a reliable guide to the population that would benefit from a federal minimum-wage hike to that level. The calculation is based on an analysis of census data compiled by the Economic Policy Institute.
The analysis also found that a disproportionate number of Americans earning less than $15 an hour live in red states, Sargent wrote.
Of the 23.8 million people whose 2019 wages would be lifted with a federal hike, around 12.4 million reside in the 22 states with two Republican senators, Brookings found. That number is more significant than it seems, since those states tend to be less populous.
By contrast, only 7.3 million of those workers live in the 23 states that have two Democratic senators. And the remaining 4.2 million live in states with one senator from each party or in D.C.
Mark Muro, the Brookings analyst who conducted the study, told Sargent, “People don’t realize how many people make very low wages in the U.S.”
He also said that while low-wage work exists across the U.S., “it’s increasingly a Southern and Midwestern problem, policy-wise.”
“What this really illustrates is that this is largely a failure of Republican governance, on several levels,” Sargent wrote.
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