Act Your Wage
Many of the country's lowest-earning workers will get a raise in 2022. Twenty-one states, plus 35 cities and counties, are raising their minimum wages in the new year. And while that underscores the fact that many places have instituted minimum wages higher than the federal minimum, several still use the national standard of $7.25 an hour.
The minimum wage, which emerged in 1938 as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act, has always been controversial — who should get it, who shouldn't, how much it should be. It also doesn't adjust for inflation, so the only way it increases is through dragged-out political negotiations that leave the lowest-earning workers little relief. A dozen presidents have raised the minimum wage 22 different times — here's what it has looked like since the beginning.