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Opinion

Is Hobby Lobby Doing More for American Citizens than Our Government?

Hobby Lobby is paying its workers more than the government's minimum wage
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Minimum-wage workers across the country are fighting for living wages. The federal minimum wage is set at $7.25 an hour, which for many people is quite laughable. Several states agreed to raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024, raising the wage incrementally every year. Hobby Lobby decided to step it up a notch and raise their minimum wage to $17 an hour, starting Oct. 1, 2020. Should the government be moving with the same gusto as Hobby Lobby?

What is a Living Wage?

Congress originally created the minimum wage with the intent to provide a living wage and keep people out of poverty. Unfortunately, the minimum wage has failed to keep up with the rising cost of living. If it rose with the Consumer Price Index, the hourly minimum wage would be $10.15. And if it rose with executive salary hikes, it would be $23. It turns out, the current rate isn’t even keeping up with the federal poverty level. In 2020, the poverty level was set to $26,200 for a family of four, which is about $12.60 per hour for a full-time worker. So, it seems like executives and big business owners are winning, but consumers and workers are getting left behind. The government hasn’t stepped up, so it seems companies have to.

Working for Hobby Lobby

Hobby Lobby always has been ahead of the curve when it comes to employee pay. They raised their rates above the federal minimum in 2009 and have bumped it up 10 times in the last 11 years. Some people are wary of the company’s political position and faith-based policies. But the same freedom that afforded them those principles gave them the ability to do what the government isn’t.

Another minimum wage trailblazer

I would be remiss not to mention another trailblazer, Dan Price, who raised the minimum salary for his 120 employees to $70,000 a year. Rush Limbaugh called him crazy and people laughed, but it worked. His company is thriving, and his staff is happy. Yahoo executive Tammi Kroll even quit her cushy job to work for Price because she wanted to do something meaningful instead of chasing a paycheck. Studies show that Millennials prefer to work for companies doing meaningful work and that care for their employees over a huge paycheck. Should more companies follow in Price’s and Hobby Lobby’s footsteps?

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