Some states, and perhaps soon the federal government, are considering increasing the minimum wage. President Joe Biden voiced his support for raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour while on the campaign trail, and also included it in his recent economic stimulus package. A ballot initiative in Florida to raise the statewide minimum by 2026 passed in November 2020. While discussions around raising the minimum wage typically center on the economic benefits and potential labor force impacts that would affect low-wage workers, there are also population health benefits to consider. These range from better physical and mental health outcomes to indirect influences on individual behaviors that affect health—but the existing research is limited at best. However, what we do know suggests that raising the minimum wage may not be uniformly helpful. Should policy makers pursue raising the minimum wage, it will be key to do so in a way that does not exacerbate long-standing inequities in both income and health.
American debt to exceed GDP in 2021
The United States is projected to hold about $21 trillion in debt in 2021, and that number is expected to increase to $32 trillion by 2030. A $1.9 trillion stimulus bill represents a fraction of that increase, although White House officials have also discussed trying to approve a multitrillion-dollar infrastructure package later this year. The CBO projections also assume the expiration of numerous provisions of the 2017 GOP tax law aimed at the lower and middle class by the middle of this decade.
Marc Goldwein, senior vice president at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which pushes for deficit reduction, said lawmakers face a long-term challenge in getting spending and deficit levels to balance. That is not something that hinges on the precise size of Biden’s stimulus package, Goldwein said.
“Even without the $1.9 trillion [stimulus], we will be at record-high debt levels” in a few years, he said. “Realistically, it’s going to come much sooner than that.”
Source: Washington Post