3.1 Million Workers Get A Well Deserved Raise As Minimum Wage Increases On Jan. 1st (VIDEO)

What better way to tackle income inequality than to increase the minimum wage. So, according to The Washington Post, 21 states are doing exactly that on Jan. 1st. The raise will increase the paychecks of 3.1 million hard working Americans.

Different states have raised the minimum wage for different reasons. Voters approved ballot measures increasing the minimum wage in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota. Legislators approved minimum wage hikes in Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia. The minimum wage in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon and Washington is going up due to yearly adjustments built into state law. One more state has approved a minimum wage increase. New York will see a boost in their minimum wage on Dec 31st.

Here’s a state by state breakdown:

Alaska: $1.00 increase to $8.75
Arizona: $0.15 increase to $8.05
Arkansas: $0.25 increase to $7.50
Colorado: $0.23 increase to $8.23
Connecticut: $0.45 increase to $9.15
Delaware (6/1/2015): $0.50 increase to $8.25
Florida: $0.12 increase to $8.05
Hawaii: $0.50 increase to $7.75
Maryland: $0.75 increase to $8.00
Massachusetts: $1.00 increase to $9.00
Minnesota (8/1/15): $1.00 increase to $9.00
Missouri: $0.15 increase to $7.65
Montana: $0.15 increase to $8.05
Nebraska: $0.75 increase to $8.00
New Jersey: $0.13 increase to $8.38
New York (12/31/14): $0.75 increase to $8.75
Ohio: $0.15 increase to $9.25
Oregon: $0.15 increase to $9.25
Rhode Island: $1.00 increase to $9.00
South Dakota: $1.25 increase to $8.50
Vermont: $0.42 increase to $9.15
Washington: $0.15 increase to $9.47
West Virginia: $0.75 increase to $8.00

While this is good news and a step in the right direction, it’s only a small step forward. According to Pew Research, U.S. income inequality is the highest it has been since 1928,

“In 1982, the highest-earning 1% of families received 10.8% of all pretax income, while the bottom 90% received 64.7%, according to research by UC-Berkeley professor Emmanuel Saez. Three decades later, according to Saez’ preliminary estimates for 2012, the top 1% received 22.5% of pretax income, while the bottom 90%’s share had fallen to 49.6%.”

Experts like Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton believe we need a $15 per hour federal minimum wage to bridge the gap. Reich offers seven solid reasons why a $15 minimum is necessary. As summarized by AddictingInfo.org, these seven reasons are,

1) Accounting for inflation, the minimum wage should already be over $10 per hour, but since a typical worker is now twice as productive, some of those gains should go to the worker as well.

2) $10 isn’t enough to raise all workers and their families out of poverty.

3) Since a minimum wage of $10 would leave many in poverty, the US government would have to continue subsidizing the wages of low-paid employees through public programs.

4) A $15 per hour minimum wage will put money in the pockets of millions of low-wage workers. There would be no major job losses.

5) In order to stay competitive, corporations are likely to pay for the wage increase from profits rather than raise prices.

6) Since the GOP will push back, it’s important to ask for a fair wage upfront rather than reducing that figure in advance of negotiation.

7) It’s just good politics. The 99% need a break.

For Reich’s complete analysis, visit RobertReich.org.

Two groups fighting for a fair days pay for a fair days work are SEIU.org and RaiseTheMinimumWage.org. If you believe income inequality in the United States is an issue that needs to be addressed, visit these websites and take action.

MSNBC has filed the following report on the January 1st minimum wage hike,