On the morning of Friday, June 30, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) got some pleasant news about a policy he's long supported: increasing the minimum wage.
After learning the Minneapolis city council agreed on plans to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024, Ellison recorded a celebratory video for his constituents, picking up a guitar and singing a version of "Money (That's What I Want)."
"I've been marching for my 15," sings Ellison. "Gettin' paid, now that's what I mean. I need money. That's what I want."
While he likely doesn't have any Grammys in his future, watching Ellison joyously sing is delightful — even more so because it's for an incredible societal win.
"Today, Minneapolis took a big step toward renewing the promise of the American Dream," Ellison posted to his Facebook page.
"'The American Dream' should mean that in a country this prosperous, nobody who works for their living should live in poverty. Yet today, working a full-time job at minimum wage doesn’t lift an American worker out of poverty — it keeps her in it."
Ellison speaks at a 2013 demonstration calling on for a minimum wage increase. Photo by Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images.
At a certain point, the minimum wage was enough to keep a family of three out of poverty. Now, it's not enough for a single person to afford a two-bedroom apartment in the U.S.
Minimum wage hasn't kept up with inflation, and as a result, many full-time employees earning it struggle to get by. Income inequality and profit distribution will continue to change in the years to come. It's important for government officials to find ways to adjust and help Americans reach their potential. We must fight to protect the core American values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
As Ellison said: Working a minimum-wage job should be a stepping stone out of poverty instead of the reason people are stuck in it.
The fight for a $15 minimum wage is a start, not a finish.
But today, let's enjoy a little music.