Discussion : Minimum Wage vs. Guaranteed Basic Income (Links to


Discussion : Minimum Wage vs. Guaranteed Basic Income

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The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour.  That means that covered workers nationwide must receive $7.25 an hour.  The administration of President Joe Biden is seeking to make $15 the national minimum wage.  But this idea has run into some pushback in Congress.

Federal law allows states and localities to have a higher minimum wage and some places have done just that, increasing their minimum wage to $9 an hour or even an eventual $15 an hour.  But Texas has not mandated a higher minimum wage.  

Sometimes, companies drive a certain minimum wage.  For example, Amazon’s minimum wage is around $15/hour in most of its locations.  When Amazon locates a new facility in a city or town, existing employers are forced to pay more so that their workers don’t move to Amazon. 

But maybe those who want a higher minimum wage should consider Guaranteed (Universal) Basic Income (GBI) instead.  Instead of raising the minimum wage, people below a certain income threshold would receive guaranteed monthly payments to spend as they see fit. 

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Read ALL the articles and view the video(s) posted below.  Your best strategy is to make notes about the points as you read and watch.  Then answer the following questions in order.  Make sure you separate your work into paragraphs.  Ideally, you would copy the bullet-points below and answer beneath them.

  • Do you think the national minimum wage should be raised?  What about the minimum wage in Texas?  (Be sure to consider the minimum wage in the year you were born and how far that wage would go.)  Certainly, workers would be happy to earn more.  But what are the potential pitfalls at the national level?  At the state level? 
  • Consider Universal Basic Income (UBI) as an alternative to the minimum wage.  How would UBI be funded?  What is the minimum household income below which a family should qualify for UBI?  Is this a better national and state solution than raising the minimum wage?  Why or why not?
  • Imagine you are a policy analyst working for a think tank.  Would you advise national and state legislators to focus raising the minimum wage?  Or would you suggest Universal Basic Income instead?  Write an introductory paragraph for a report that your staff will produce in which you summarize your argument for raising the minimum wage OR implementing Universal Basic Income (UBI). 

* * * * *

Your post should be around 450 – 500 words.  [This is about one (1) typed, single-spaced page.]  And, your post should demonstrate a good understanding of the topic.  Use good English grammar and composition skills.  Take your time to do this assignment well.  You will NOT be able to do a good job if you wait until the last minute.

You should cite data as needed from the source materials, but you should NOT copy and paste entire paragraphs from the articles.  A good citation, embedded in your response, looks like this:

As noted by Rosalky in the article from NPR, “most economists now believe a modest increase in the minimum wage doesn’t kill jobs.”   

You do NOT need to use MLA citation standards UNLESS you use data that does NOT come from one of the resources below.

To receive full credit, you must respond to the posts of at least two (2) of your classmates.  An appropriate response details why you agree or disagree with their position.   


Video: PBS News Hour, “What Quality of Life Can Minimum Wage Workers Afford.”

What quality of life can minimum wage workers afford? (Links to an external site.)

This was the minimum wage the year you were born

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/personalfinance/this-was-the-minimum-wage-the-year-you-were-born/ss-BB1dpLTv#image=27 (Links to an external site.)

Will Biden’s $15 minimum wage cost jobs? The evidence, explained.

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/11/20/20952151/should-minimum-wage-be-raised (Links to an external site.)

FACT SHEET:  Raise the Wage Act of 2021



NPR, “When Does a Minimum Wage Become Too High?”

https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2019/04/23/716126740/when-does-a-minimum-wage-become-too-high (Links to an external site.)

How a Minimum-Wage Increase Is Being Felt in a Low-Wage City

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/14/business/economy/minimum-wage-fresno-california.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage (Links to an external site.)

Many Businesses Back a Minimum-Wage Increase—Just Not $15 an Hour

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/smallbusiness/many-businesses-back-a-minimum-wage-increase-just-not-15-an-hour/ar-BB1e7kfh?li=BBorjTa (Links to an external site.)

What is Universal Basic Income and How is It Different from Welfare Programs?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-l3GkntEkFo (Links to an external site.)

Guaranteed income is graduating from charity to public policy

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2021/6/3/22463776/guaranteed-universal-basic-income-charity-policy (Links to an external site.)

Everywhere basic income has been tried, in one map

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2020/2/19/21112570/universal-basic-income-ubi-map (Links to an external site.)

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