Even though the focus is off of him these days, during Bernie Sanders's run for presidency, one of the things we heard over and over was, "raise minimum wage, raise minimum wage!" In fact, one of the Vermont Senator's most applauded proposals was raising national minimum wage from its current amount of $7.25/hr to $15/hr. Numerous officials have argued $15 is the bare minimum for an actual livable wage, the current minimum ($15,000 annually) falling well below the nation's poverty standard for a family of four ($23,000 annually). Across the board this election politicians were reticent to support enacting a federal living wage. In fact, a 2013 Gallup poll found that 76% of Americans support raising minimum wage, so why isn't it happening? We wanted to track why minimum wage was such a big deal among Bernie Sanders supporters, the history behind minimum wage, and what an increase could mean for you and the rest of America.

Minimum wage was not enacted in America until 1938 (pretty late when you consider New Zealand first passed a law concerning the matter in 1894 and the U.K. passed one in 1909). It came about as part of the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act by Franklin D. Roosevelt, who, in bringing America out of The Great Depression, passed a host of bills that today's Republicans would probably deem "socialist." It may surprise you to read that, when adjusted for inflation, the 1968 minimum wage worker made around 10.75 an hour—much more than today's minimum wage worker.

Below is a tracking of each minimum wage increase in America (courtesy of Time.com):

October 1938 (FDR): $0.25/hr ($4.15/hr in 2014 dollars)

October 1939 (FDR): $0.30/hr ($5.05/hr)

October 1945 (Truman): $0.40/hr ($5.20/hr)

January 1950 (Truman): $0.75/hr ($7.29/hr)

March 1956 (Eisenhower): $1/hr ($8.61/hr)

September 1961 (Kennedy): $1.16/hr ($8.97/hr)

September 1963 (Kennedy): $1.25/hr ($9.56/hr)

February 1967 (Johnson): $1.40/hr ($9.80/hr)

February 1968 (Johnson): $1.60/hr ($10.75/hr)

May 1974 (Nixon): $2/hr ($9.49/hr)

January 1975 (Ford): $2.10/hr ($9.13/hr)

January 1976 (Ford): $2.30/hr ($9.47/hr)

January 1978 (Carter): $2.65 ($9.51/hr)

January 1979 (Carter): $2.90/hr ($9.34/hr)

January 1980 (Carter): $3.10/hr ($8.80/hr)

January 1981 (Carter): $3.35/hr ($8.62/hr)

April 1990 (Bush): $3.80/hr ($6.82/hr)

April 1991 (Bush): $4.25/hr ($7.30/hr)

October 1996 (Clinton): $4.75/hr ($7.08/hr)

September 1997 (Clinton): $5.15/hr ($7.51/hr)

July 2007 (GW Bush): $5.85/hr ($6.61/hr)

July 2008 (GW Bush): $6.55/hr ($7.12/hr)

July 2009 (Obama): $7.25/hr ($7.80/hr)

As far as developed countries go, the U.S. is tied with Japan for lowest minimum wage compared to average worker's wage. For example, Australia's minimum is $17.29 an hour, while France's is $12.25.

While largely ignored by Washington's politicians, there haves been advances on the local level regarding minimum wage. L.A. pledged to gradually increase its minimum wage twice over the next few years, reaching $15 by 2020. Seattle will reach $15 in 2017. While San Francisco currently employs the highest minimum wage in the nation, at $13/hr.

Hillary Clinton has publicly come out in support of a federal $12 minimum wage, and $15 one where it makes "economic sense. She clarified this position on her website:


It's clear that the federal minimum wage is not at all in parallel with the finances it takes to live and work in America, proven by over 20 states having higher minimum wages than the federal level. It's argued that an increase would be too much of a strain on big business, the fast food industry being the biggest employer of minimum wage workers, but a study said an increase to $15 would only increase the price of Big Mac by 17 cents.

Subscribe to PayPath Newsletter
PayPath
Follow Us on

It's easy to forget that the presidency of the United States is a government job just like any other–in that it comes with a stipulated salary and benefits.

But regardless of their bombastic rhetoric or self-serious public image, politicians are like all other government employees. The president, vice president, and legislators earn an annual income from the government in exchange for their duties, which include: executing/circumventing the law, upholding/withholding the civil liberties of American citizens, and legislating/sabotaging how societal institutions meet the needs of citizens, from healthcare to education.

If you've ever wondered what American politicians earn for all their hard work arguing across the aisle and starting Twitter feuds, look no further:

Keep reading Show less

Maybe you've had a high stress occupation before, like social work or stock trading, and fell victim to the high burnout rate of these kinds of jobs.

Or maybe you're just starting your career, and looking for something that won't take over your life but will still provide you with a good living. Whatever reason you have for looking for a high paying, low-stress job, you've come to the right place. We've compiled a list of the top 5 jobs that promise a solid paycheck without taking too much out of you.

Keep reading Show less

What do you do when financial hardship hits and you can't make your monthly mortgage payments? This is a question on many homeowner's minds as nearly 17.8 million Americans are reportedly unemployed during the coronavirus pandemic.

When homeowners face financial hardship, such as the loss of a job, they often look to obtain a forbearance agreement from their lender. A forbearance happens when your lender grants you a temporary pause or reduction in monthly payments on your mortgage. Forbearance is not the same as payment forgiveness, in that you still have to pay the entire amount back by an agreed-upon time.

Mortgage lending institutions differ on their mortgage relief policies and qualifications; however, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act were signed into law in late March of this year to protect government-backed mortgages.

Federally backed mortgages include:

  • Fannie Mae
  • Freddie Mac
  • The Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
  • The US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)
  • The US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Under the CARES Act, homeowners with a federally backed loan who either directly or indirectly suffer financial hardship due to coronavirus automatically qualify for mortgage forbearance.

Even if your mortgage is not secured by one of these agencies, you still can call and see if you qualify, as many lenders will still offer the option in order to avoid foreclosures.

Under the CARES act, homeowners can claim mortgage forbearance due to financial hardship from COVID-19 for up to 12 months without requiring any documentation or verification. During the forbearance period, mortgage lenders cannot charge late fees or penalties.

Additionally, as long as your mortgage is current at the time you claim forbearance, the lender is required to keep reporting your mortgage as paid current throughout the entire period.

At the end of the forbearance, the CARES act protects consumers from having to make a lump sum payment. Instead, you will be given a repayment plan from your provider. Since repayment options vary, it's important you ask your provider about all of your repayment options.

Possible Repayment Options:

You may be eligible for a loan modification at the end of your forbearance. With modification, the mortgage terms are changed in order to add payments that were missed during the forbearance onto the end of the loan, extending the term.

Another option that may work for some is a reduced payment option. This allows you to keep paying monthly payments at a reduced amount. The amount missed is usually added back into the monthly payments at the end of the forbearance.

For example:

Regular payment: $1000 per month

Reduced payment: $500 per month

Payment after forbearance period: $1500 (until caught up)

Balloon payments, or lump sum payments at the end of the forbearance, are prohibited under the CARES Act. However, mortgage lenders may require homeowners who are not protected under the CARES Act to make a balloon payment at the end, so again it is best to check first with your provider.

Mortgage forbearance should only be considered in true financial hardship. In other words, just because of the pandemic, you should not take a forbearance on your mortgage if you can still afford your payments. Likewise, if you are able to start making payments before the forbearance period is up, it's best to do so as soon as possible.

The Next Steps:

Before you get in touch with your mortgage servicer, save time by gathering as much documentation about the mortgage as you can. Also, be ready to list your income and monthly expenses. Due to an influx in calls, financial institutions are experiencing extremely long wait times right now, and having your information at the ready will help.

Have questions ready to ask. Here are some questions you should be asking:

  • What fees are associated with the forbearance?
  • What are all the repayment options available to you at the end of the forbearance?
  • Will you be charged interest during the forbearance period?

If your forbearance is approved, make sure to keep all documentation pertaining to it. Make sure to cancel any automatic payments to the mortgage during the forbearance period, and keep tabs on your credit report to make sure your lender doesn't report the loan as unpaid.


For more information on forbearance, contact your lender and discuss your options. If you need more assistance with understanding your options, you can contact a local agent for the housing counseling agency, or call their hotline at 1-800-569-4287.