Adjusted for inflation, is the federal minimum wage now higher or lower than when it was first enacted in 1938?
In 1938, the 75th Congress and Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt enacted a law that required all employers to pay a minimum wage to most employees "engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce." This law set that wage at $0.25 per hour. Adjusted for inflation, this is equivalent to $4.62 in 2020 dollars. Since 1938, various federal laws have increased the minimum wage more than 20 times. The latest increase, in July of 2009, brought the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. Adjusted for inflation, this is 57% higher than when the minimum wage was first enacted in 1938.
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