NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Workers in Washington D.C. and New York walked out of some McDonald's (MCD) restaurants yesterday, and if the one of the driving organizations in the effort -- Fast Food Forward -- is to believed, food workers in more than 100 cities across the U.S. joined them in protesting the minimum wage. (MCD)
On one hand, the facts are simple: The Federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour hasn't changed since 2009. Adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage was actually higher in 1967. Today's workers are facing increasing prices for basic goods and common living expenses. It's gotten to the point that over half of the U.S. workers employed by fast-food restaurants rely on government assistance, according to an October report by economists at the University of California Berkley.
There has already been a call by President Obama to raise the Federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
Facts are clear, but, on the other hand, the underlying and intertwining issues are complex. While Obama has smoothly switched gears from promoting the Affordable Care Act to tackling the "defining challenge of our time," or income equality, in reality the ACA has exacerbated low-paid workers' situations.
The plan on the table in Congress would raise the federal minimum wage above $10 an hour, which is higher than all existing state rates. ACA's mandate on employers, however, is already scheduled to raise the hourly cost of hiring a full-time worker past $10 an hour.
Furthermore, there's a distinction between full-time and part-time workers. Companies with 50 or more employees can avoid ACA's mandate by cutting workers' hours below 30 hours per week.