The key economic problem for the USA is that American wages are too low.
American consumer demand is the engine that has driven not only the U.S. economy, but much of the world economy, for the past 60 years.
If people don’t have enough money to buy things, there is no economic incentive to make things.
If there is no economic incentive to make things, the world’s wealth does not increase relative to the population.
If there is no economic incentive to make things, rich people and institutions invest in debt, which in the long run makes the problem worse.
If there is no economic incentive to make things, unemployment increases.
There is an economic theory that says that the way to cure unemployment is to allow wages.
It is true that, in a generally prosperous economy, an individual employer might hire more workers if they were available at a lower wage. But that wouldn’t work for the economy as a whole because workers are customers. Without mass prosperity, economic activity is devoted to serving the desires of a tiny economic elite.
One way to wage raises is to raise the minimum wage. This is good for all working people, not just those earning minimum wage or slightly above. It pushes up the general wage level and increases the market for goods and services.
And aside from all these other considerations, do we really want to live in a rich nation in which millions of hard-working people are poor?
How much should the minimum wage by raised?
President Obama proposes $10.10 an hour.
The Fight for Fifteen movement proposes $15 an hour, which would be enough to raise breadwinners for families out of poverty.
But if the minimum wage had increased since 1968 by the same percentage as productivity, it would be $21.72 an hour.
These figures are taken from Lambert Strether article linked below, which is an excellent wrapup of the whole issue.
The Minimum Wage: Could Democrats Please Give Consideration to the Idea of Ceasing to Betray Working People? by Lambert Strether for naked capitalism.