Minimum Wage in the US

The first few posts of Poli Chi in 2013 are being dedicated to policy New Year's Resolutions that the US government should take on. This post is dedicated to those working for minimum wage.

There's been a lot of talk lately about raising the minimum wage. There's the "Fight for 15" campaign and two governors have actually gotten behind raising the minimum wage. Yet, people still continue to be reticent on the issue. Forbes magazine even put out a piece saying that raising the minimum wage would be terrible for the economy. They are right (sort of). Raising the minimum wage would kill jobs in the same way that Obamacare will cost slightly more at the beginning, but pay off larger dividends than it took in to implement.

If the minimum wage does get raised, businesses could start laying people off or just stop hiring in general, but it will be a short term reaction, because in the end, businessmen are about expanding and making money. Can't do that without hiring more people and paying them their federally mandated wages.

However, if you still need a push as to why the wages should be raised, here are five reasons.

Raising the minimum wage:

  1. Should have been slowly raised over the years to keep up with prices but it hasn't. The federal minimum stands at $7.25. Had the minimum wage been keeping up it would be around $11-12. Not enough to live comfortably but way better than seven dollars.
  2. Would substantiate the job growth. As of December the unemployment rate in the United States is at 7.8 percent, and President Obama keeps talking about how much the job market has grown recently. Yet, he fails to specify that the growth is primarily in minimum wage jobs like those in retail and food service. So, let's give people a reason to be happy they have a job outside of just having one.
  3. Would lessen dependence on government entitlement programs. During the recession over 14 million people have gone on food stamps, and many people continue to stay on government programs because the jobs they have barely pay rent and utilities. If you pay people a fair wage, they can start saving and moving up the social ladder.
  4. Would help women. Lately as a country we've been helping women by providing free birth control and not electing people who incorrectly understand rape. Women in general are more likely to have minimum wage jobs, but an increase in the minimum wage would raise the incomes of 28 million Americans. If birth control is economical, then let's raise the minimum wage to help women stay out of poverty.
  5. Would speed up the economic recovery. People need money to spend. That's why the economy isn't getting better despite 'job growth.' People have jobs that just allow them to get by. They can barely pay for basic necessities. They don't have money to spare on extra things like movies or dining out.

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