Minimum Wage Should minimum wage be increased?

Glossary:

Plasma: the colorless fluid part of blood, lymph, or milk, in which corpuscles or fat globules are suspended.

Poverty: the state of being extremely poor

Disabled: having a physical or mental condition that limits movements, senses, or activities

Bachelors Degree: is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by colleges and universities upon completion of a course of study lasting three to seven years

Remarkable: very unusual or remarkable.

Stereotype: a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.

What has happened in the past when minimum wage was increased?

In the past, when minimum wage was increased the economy was not affected. However, if we decide to increase minimum wage again, the average American will be affected. If or when the government increases minimum wage, the cost of everyday items will increase. Jason Toon, an editor from the Vice News explains that, things like eggs, bread and even gas prices will increase because more people “have the money to pay for it.” Fox News host Neil Cavuto states that, “a $15 hourly minimum would absolutely kill jobs, and that 15 percent to 20 percent of small businesses would go away.” This is important because increasing minimum wages will greatly hurt small businesses and the ability to find a job. Which will overall hurt the economy. Not only is Neil Cavuto talking about the negative impacts, but Kevin McNamee owner of a small business in Los Angeles California explains, “I can’t raise my product prices because of pricing pressure. I can’t reduce my expenses; in fact, salaries are my greatest expense, and $15 per hour increases my expenses and greatly reduces my profit.” Overall, minimum wage increasing in the past has not had a significant effect on our economy, but if it happens again the result will be different.

The debate all comes down to money

Are people's full time jobs minimum wage?

Many people rely on minimum wage jobs as their only income. Drew Desilver an author for Pew Research Center explains that 58% of all wage and salary workers are on minimum wage. These people make less than $15,000 a year working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. This is almost $30,000 below the poverty level in America. This is important because people can not live off of that money, especially a family. Not only are teens and adults working at minimum wage places, 18.7% of disabled people work in the minimum wage field. For many disabled people, that is the only job and only income they can get. Peter Van Buren, an editor for the Huffington Post claims it is practically impossible to live off of minimum wage, therefore it should be raised to help people. Overall, half of the work force needs minimum wage in order survive. Many are able to get a job at minimum wage jobs because they don’t require a lot of training or education.

McDonald's is a popular place to work for minimum wage
KFC is also a common place to earn minimum wage

What skill/s are needed for minimum wage jobs?

Although many people believe minimum wage workers do not have any skills, that is not the case. Bill Bradley, an editor for Next City states that the Bureau of Labor Statistics found, “last year, 260,000 Americans with a bachelor's degree or higher worked for the federal minimum wage or less, nearly 120,000 more people than a decade prior.” Thousands of people have worked for minimum wage even after college. This is important because not all minimum wage employees are high school students trying to make some extra money, many people rely on these jobs outside of high school. Emily Jane Fox a statistic expert from CNN explains that these people are fully capable of a high level jobs and have the education to prove it. Because job opportunities are weak, people have no choice but to work minimum wage to make ends meet for their themselves or their family. The stereotype of high school dropouts working minimum wage is not true and it has been proven by the quarter of a million college graduates making $7.25 an hour or less last year.

Many people work complete college and still work minimum wage

How would increasing minimum wage have any effect?

Increasing minimum wage has the potential to help people get out of poverty, but very few people. David Neumark, an economic researcher wrote an article for Federal Bank of San Francisco explaining, “deciding whether this [increasing minimum wage] is the most effective tool, however, is a good deal more complicated because minimum wages address low-wage work, whereas poverty is based on family income” This is important because we can not measure if increasing a minimum wage increase would help people in poverty. Bumping up the minimum wage by $2 would increase pay by adding $4,160 to a $15,000 paycheck. That is not enough money for a family of four to live off of even with a $2 raise. This $2 raise would help some people get out of poverty but the number is low. Mike Konczal an editor for The Washington Post states that, “raising the minimum wage 10 percent would reduce the number of people living in poverty 2.4 percent.” That is a very small percent of all the people in poverty and would not be worth all the other cons that could come along with increasing minimum wage. Overall, it would not bring a large amount of people out of poverty.

What are the struggles of living off of minimum wage?

Living off of minimum wage is near impossible. For some people minimum wage is the only job they can get. If minimum wage was increased it could help many people or families living off of minimum wage. On the website Sojourners the author writes about a woman named Anita a mother of 4 children living off of minimum wage. “Anita lives in Pheonix and has a degree in economics. She has four children, two of whom have special needs. She’s regularly forced to choose between working enough hours to put food on the table and accompanying her kids to a long list of doctor’s appointments. Anita had to take her son with down syndrome to 11 doctors appointments in the past week. She receives state assistance and says “you can’t judge people who are working, but still need to get help. I’m not a lazy person, trust me. A raise in the minimum wage is just about fairness, and about giving people a fighting chance to achieve the American Dream.” This is important because many people like Anita are struggling and if minimum wage was increased it could take more stress off of her. People will start taking extraordinary measures when they need money. Jennie Jarvie an editor for CNN writes about the things people do when in need of money. “On his days off from his $7.50-an-hour job as a cook at the Chicken Hut restaurant in Riverdale, Ga., Laugudria Screven Jr., 23, travels more than 25 miles across Atlanta to sell plasma. By offering up his arm to a technician’s needle twice a week at $50 a shot, he scrapes together enough to pay his $360 rent.” This is the reality of people living off of minimum wage. Overall, there are many pros and cons of increasing minimum wage this is one of the pros.

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