Affordable Housing, Reports and Publications

The Balancing Act: Minimum Wage and Public Assistance

Economic Policy Institute

The Economic Policy Institute recently released a report - Balancing Paychecks and Public Assistance: How Higher Wages Would Strengthen What Government Can Do – that explores the impact of raising the minimum wage on reducing dependence on public assistance.  

According to the report, the majority of public assistance recipients are employed or are supported by someone who has employment. This is in large part a result of a minimum wage rate that has failed to keep pace with the inflation rate. 

Raising the minimum wage would not only diminish the gulf between income and inflation rates but it would also reduce spending on government assistance programs. A million of the lowest paid workers would no longer require public assistance if the hourly minimum wage was increased by only $1.17.  

The author noted that reducing the financial burden placed on the government to supplement workers’ income through public assistance would create opportunities to fund other programs that reduce poverty and/or improve the economy.

Click here to read the report


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