Washington D.C.’s legal status is just as confusing and interesting as the residents that occupy the city. Washington D.C. remains a member of the Union, although it does not possess statehood nor is a territory. The founding fathers of our country set up this governing area—as it is—with reasonable purpose. The main reason is they believed that our nation’s capital should be in one state or another, for the state that did possess the most powerful government in the world, would have closer access and ability to shape legislation that favors their own state. Although Washington D.C. continues to be neither a state nor territory, they do have representation in our electoral college system and democracy; per the 23rd amendment of the United States. This system will not change anytime soon and—hopefully—will continue to serve as the gatekeepers for statehood influence on federal legislation.
Through my work this week at the Center for American Progress, I focused mainly on the healthcare circus that is unfolding and minimum wage increases throughout the United States. One thing that I learned regarding the local Washington, D.C. government references just that, the minimum wage requirement for the district. Being a resident of Arizona, I took advantage of the increased minimum wage requirements in our state; since I used to be a waiter at a local resort. This increase came from a ballot initiative on the state level, via special election. Following suit with Arizona—and 19 other states across the country—Washington, D.C. has passed legislation to increase the minimum wage. Starting July 1st, 2017, the new legislation will go into effect and employers in the district will have to comply with the new laws. The District, following suit with 23 other states, will continue to increase the required compensation at a slow and steady rate; to count for inflation/ economic bubbles. In total, the minimum wage will reach $15 per/hour within the next 5 years.
One of the sides to this argument is that yes, it is important to increase the minimum wage, for, with the current standards, individuals are able to be paid so little that they cannot support themselves or their families. Due to the continued increase in day-to-day expenses that residents of Washington, D.C. fall to, it only makes sense that individuals basic pay amounts increase correspondingly with the cost of living rates. The thought is that with this increase in wage, individuals will be able to stimulate the economy through ways in which were once unimaginable; for they were having to live paycheck-to-paycheck. Personally, I believe this type of legislation/regulation shall be regulated on the federal level. My thought is, the only way everyone can participate in the United States corrupt capitalist system is if we all have the economic safety net that allows up to partake in the corruption.
In contrast, individuals who oppose the minimum wage increase express the concern for an increase in employer’s financial situations. This is the idea that since employers will have to pay their workers more than they currently do, that they will have to terminate some employees to continue to stay afloat. Individuals with this argument also believe that regardless if members in the lower-class receive $8 or $15 per/ hour, they will not spend their increased wages back into the economy. This thought is flawed and the same approach can be used when attacking wealthy citizens and tax cuts. In conception, it makes sense that since they are ultimately taking home more money every year, that they will spend that comparable amount on things they wouldn’t have been able to without the tax cuts. This couldn’t be more false, and rather the rich continue to get richer—they hold on to their money—and the poor get poorer.
This past week has been a rollercoaster with reference to things I learned. The most pressing—and simply, kind of depressing—has been that in this dog-eat-dog world, you must be very careful in who you lay your trust with. This week has made me reflect on what I presumed—originally—was one of the best things to have happened to me; taking on D.C. with my fellow Sun Devils. This week has also made me reflect and be thankful for how lucky myself—and my family—are, to live the life we do. If it weren’t for the hard work of my parents, and grandparents, I would currently be stressing about legal duties and my economic situation. Thankfully, I could learn to openly trust my legal team; for, at one point in time, I presumed the whole world was against me. In short, this week has shown me how murky and complicated the legal system in our country is—even though I want to practice law one day. I am thankful for the people that have remained by my side through this whole process and lastly, the idea of “If something/someone is too good to be true, it/he/she probably isn’t real”. I am growing on a personal and emotional level, day after day. I continue to make amazing—I presume real, although I have been misled before—friends in the D.C. area. People I know will have my back through the thick-and-thin. I truly am blessed.
I look forward to seeing what the next few months have in store and I can’t wait to look back at this whole process and laugh. For, somethings will always remain, the person one is on-the-inside. Ultimately, one has to look in the mirror and be happy with the person that is staring back, and for one of the first times in my life, I can honestly say I do.