Does It Make Sense To Raise The Minimum Wage?

twenty seven dollarsThe minimum wage issue is a controversial one that creates a lot of heated debate between the believers and non-believers.  If you really read into it and think about the pros and cons carefully you will probably find yourself being able to see why both sides believe what they believe.


Reasons for a minimum wage hike:

  • Put more money in the pockets of financially struggling Americans
  • Ripple effect causes other job wages to rise that are paying close to minimum wage right now
  • Higher incomes mean a decrease in the need for public assistance
  • Workers have more disposable income to spend and thereby boost the local economy


Reasons against minimum wage hikes:

  • Higher wages also raise costs on employers in other areas such as Social Security matches, Medicare matches, workers compensation insurance, etc.
  • Increases pressure on business owners to avoid hiring additional employees
  • Could help cause a small businesses to fail that is borderline profitable
  • Increase production costs eventually lead to higher prices (inflation)
  • Decreases pressure on low wage employees to train themselves for higher paying jobs
  • Each minimum wage increase makes it a little harder to launch a new successful business
  • Increased production costs make American companies less competitive globally giving more advantages to the countries that have already taken many American jobs.


Why do we constantly revisit this debate every few years instead of getting at the root of the problem?

The root of the problem is not that the minimum wage is too low right now.   The root of the problem is that most American workers hate being forced to train for better careers and better jobs.  Most of us hate it.   Let’s consider a fast food worker for example as they have been talked about quite frequently in relation to the minimum wage debate.

McDonaldsYou would think that someone who takes a job at a fast food restaurant would have one of two goals in mind when they take that job.  You would think they are either treating that job as a temporary job while they are training for a different career; Or else you would think that they are taking that job with the hope of moving up into management at that company.

The minimum wage issue only really becomes an issue when a person takes a minimum wage job and expects to be able to have that same job forever.   If a worker takes a job flipping burgers at McDonalds and expects to just keep that job indefinitely while getting a commensurate increase in wages at regular intervals, then that person has a misguided mindset.   Those types of jobs are not meant to be lifelong “provide a good income for the family” types of jobs.   If you take a minimum wage paying job with the hopes that you can provide for your family for life, then you are certainly setting yourself up for a lifelong financial struggle.  Isn’t this common knowledge among every American?

The same situation really applies with almost any career these days.   Employees, even college educated employees, will take a position at a company with the assumption that their career is going to be around throughout their entire life.  They assume that, even if they have to leave this particular company after ten years, they will just make a lateral move to another company with a job opening for that same type of job.

Unfortunately the world is evolving too fast for that to happen in most fields.   The guy who used to repair televisions and VCR’s probably thought he would have a lifelong career repairing those types of machines too.  After all, that is a highly skilled job.  Yet, most of those jobs have evaporated.  Look at what is happening with computer technicians who service residential computer equipment.  They are witnessing the very same thing happening before their eyes.   And those are usually college educated people.

There are some careers that are relatively safe for now.   But eventually every career faces the same problem regardless of whether it pays minimum wage or not.   Workers need to be constantly training themselves for better positions that offer higher pay and more stability.  That is the cure for the minimum wage issue.   Minimum wage jobs should be thought of as temporary work only.   Anyone who expects a minimum wage job to magically turn into a better paying job is certainly focusing their energies on the wrong thing.

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