The idea of raising the federal minimum wage has many up-in-arms, but what many fail to realize is this: it is not a matter of the government versus corporations, or businesses versus the individual, it is a matter of ensuring that those employed in the United States are able to live on the wages they make.
Adjusting for inflation, the minimum wage is less than it was in 1981 when Reagan was in office, and yet many people claim that raising it is unfair, unnecessary, and will hurt the economy.
The irony in the accusation that the economy will be damaged is of course that the minimum wage has been raised 22 times since the 1930’s, and the GDP has “steadily increased” with it, according to the Department of Labor.
Jason Toon of Vice News says, “Let’s say a Big Mac costs $5 now raise the minimum wage to $10.10. And while McDonald’s former CEO adamantly affirms that this would hurt small businesses and kill jobs, this will raise the price of the Big Mac to about $5.14.”
What the latter man failed to research is that three out of five small business owners support raising the minimum wage to $10.10 but, rather than looking up facts, he has made assumptions based on what would be best for his job position, rather than what would be best for the minimum wage workers.
Michael Reich, Professor of Economics at the University of California, was quoted as saying, “We do not find evidence that raising the minimum wage kills jobs, but we do find evidence that it kills job vacancies.” Many against raising the minimum wage say that they do not want to support something that primarily benefits part time school age students, but in reality 88 percent of those who it would benefit are over 20, and over half work full time, but this is not to say a higher minimum wage would not help students. Richard Wolff, an economist as well as a professor of economics at University of Massachusetts Amherst, said in an article by USA Today that this “would be an enormous help to students struggling with college costs.”
Aside from the overwhelming statistics and expert opinions in favor of raising the federal minimum wage, think about what those opposed are actually saying: minimum wage workers’ contribution to society is not worth the money it takes to survive in the modern United States. The only alternatives to this is that they genuinely care so little for the livelihood of their peers that they do not understand how difficult it is to get by on the current minimum wage, or they do not check the information that is agreed upon by economics experts, government officials and research journalists.
Before you speak out against raising the minimum wage, realize that in doing so you are deeming a group of people’s worth than less than your own because of their career choice. Who are you to determine what is an “entry level position” and what is a “career?” All Americans deserve a livable wage, and many are earning less than that in 2015. I would rather pay 10 cents extra for my Big Mac than live in a country where we tell some people their time is not valuable enough for them to survive.