The minimum hourly wage in the US could rise to $ 15 after Democrat Joe Biden takes over the White House.

This measure will be part of the economic recovery after the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Biden wrote about this on his Twitter.

Now at the federal level in the United States, the minimum wage is almost half as low - $ 7.25 per hour.

When we build back better, we will do so with higher wages - including a $ 15 minimum wage - better benefits and stronger collective bargaining rights that you can raise a family on.

That's how we will build back the middle class better than ever.

- Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 16, 2020

“The recovery will include raising wages, including raising the minimum wage to $ 15 per hour, improving benefits and strengthening the right to collective bargaining — anything to support a family.

This is how we will rebuild the middle class and make it stronger than ever, "Biden wrote.

"Methods of theft"

The requirement to increase the minimum wage is contained in the Biden program dedicated to supporting workers and trade unions.

The politician is sure that it is the strong trade union movement that the United States owes to the emergence of a middle class stratum.

The unions' struggle resulted in a 40-hour work week, paid leave and medical guarantees, the document says.

“However, today a war is being waged against the organization, collective bargaining, trade unions and the workers themselves, which has been going on for many decades, and the situation with Donald Trump in the White House is only getting worse,” the authors of the document say.

  • General Motors workers strike

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  • © Bryan Woolston

Republican governors and state legislatures are pushing anti-worker laws to undermine the labor movement and bargaining power with employers, Biden's team is confident.

At the same time, private corporations are using profits to increase compensation for CEOs, rather than investing in their employees and creating more quality jobs.

These policies have led to increased income inequality and exploitation of workers.

Every year, employers steal about $ 15 billion from workers simply by paying them less than the minimum wage, Biden's headquarters say.

“In addition, workers suffer huge losses in wages due to other ways of stealing wages, such as non-payment of overtime, imposing irregular schedules and inadequate job qualifications.

At the same time, these companies earn billions of dollars and pay directors tens and hundreds of millions, ”the program says.

Biden promises to tighten policies against employers who violate labor laws and deliberately remove workers from the state under the guise of outside contractors.

The document notes that today only 10.5% of American employees are unionized.

This is 35% less than in the 1950s.

The decline of the trade union movement was coupled with the growth of social inequality.

To rectify the situation, workers need to be able to exercise their right to strike without fear of retaliation.

“The right of workers not to work or to strike is a fundamental aspect of maintaining the balance of power in the workplace,” the Democrats believe.

Roosevelt course

Pessimistic assessments of the current socio-economic situation in the United States have real grounds, experts say.

Since the 1980s, most Americans' incomes have stagnated, while upper-class incomes have grown disproportionately, according to University of Berkeley economics professor Gabriel Zuckman.

If in 1980 the richest 1% of Americans accounted for about 10% of the national income, now it is 20%.

At the same time, in the hands of only 1% of Americans, about 40% of all property in the country is concentrated, including income-generating shares and real estate. 

This was the result of President Ronald Reagan's policy of cutting taxes for the wealthiest, Zukman said.

  • Joe Biden

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  • © Kevin Lamarque

Having presented a detailed program for the protection of labor rights and trade unions, Joe Biden turned to the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt, says Andrey Sidorov, head of the Department of International Organizations and World Political Processes at the Faculty of World Politics at Moscow State University.

“The Roosevelt course put the interests of the workers at the forefront.

For Biden, this is an urgent agenda, since today the industrial states are more likely to support the Republicans.

And the Democrats are striving to win the votes of the workers.

This agenda should help Democrats during the midterm congressional elections, "the expert said in a commentary on RT.

At the same time, Sidorov believes that the accusations made by the Biden administration against Trump are not entirely fair.

“Trump acted correctly, he brought industrial production back to the USA.

It was the transfer of industry abroad that at one time thinned the layer of skilled workers and, accordingly, the middle class in the United States.

And industrial growth will help restore the American economy, ”the expert added.

A similar point of view is shared by Yuri Rogulev, director of the Franklin Roosevelt Foundation for the Study of the United States at Moscow State University.

“Biden returned to the classic platform of the Democratic Party, to the Roosevelt program, which was supported by workers and trade unions.

And Biden himself comes from a middle class environment, for him it is natural to flirt with these strata of society.

However, in many ways, Biden's statements are populist, "the expert explained in an interview with RT.

A blow to business circles

According to the National Employment Law Project, the labor rights organization, raising the minimum wage is the best tool for developing the economy.

However, over the past 40 years, real incomes of the population have decreased by 30%, and the minimum wage at the federal level has not increased since 2009.

Against the background of growing social inequality, socialist ideas are gaining popularity in the United States.

Polls show that in recent years more and more young Americans are turning to leftist ideology.

So, earlier, 44% of Americans born in the 1980s and 1990s admitted that they would like to live in a socialist country.

  • Homeless in New York

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  • © Mike Segar

State governments have the power to raise the minimum hourly wage.

In a number of regions, it exceeds the indicator established at the federal level.

However, in most states it does not reach $ 15 per hour - this level of wages is set so far only in the District of Columbia.

In 2019, the US House of Representatives passed a bill to raise the country's wages to $ 15 per hour by 2025.

However, the initiative was blocked by the Senate, where at that time the Republicans had a majority.

Opponents of wage increases argue that the adoption of such measures will lead to higher unemployment in the country, as companies cut their staff.

The Congressional Budget Office even calculated that raising the minimum wage would lead to a reduction in 1.3 million jobs.

However, supporters of the new measures are confident that this will not have a serious impact on the labor market, since the layoffs will primarily affect teenagers.

Experts doubt that Joe Biden and his team will be able to pass a new bill to raise the minimum wage.

According to Andrey Sidorov, raising the minimum hourly wage could lead to a general revision of wages in the United States.

This will be a challenge for businesses to oppose this initiative.

“Such measures will hit American entrepreneurs.

I am sure that influential American business circles will oppose Biden's initiative, ”the expert explained.

Yuri Rogulev also agrees with this.

“The Democrats have lost some of their seats in the House of Representatives, it will be difficult for Biden to agree with Congress on the adoption of such a bill.

Biden's relationship with the legislature could be even more complex than the Trump administration's.

In addition, there is a crisis in the US now, and an increase in the minimum wage will require new budgetary expenditures.

I doubt that Biden will achieve such measures, ”the expert summed up.