Raising Minimum Wage For The Working Poor

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Raising the Minimum Wage for the Working Poor It’s nearly impossible to turn on the news or read the newspaper without hearing about the ongoing debate over minimum wage. While most Americans agree that persons working full-time should not be living in poverty there is little agreement about what to do about it. Supporters, including the Fight for Fifteen group, argue that larger paychecks to workers will boost the economy, higher pay will equate to harder working employees, and that all full-time workers should earn a living wage. Those that oppose the increase warn that unemployment rates will rise due to higher operating costs, that most minimum wage earners are teenagers, and that ours is a system built on incentive. This debate shows …show more content…
One concern is that if minimum wage is raised too quickly, employers will replace workers with technology to save money (Rensi). Many business have utilized and subsequently discontinued technology that could replace minimum wage earners. Much of the minimum wage employment sector is composed of retail and fast-food workers these are companies that above all else are consumer based business, experimentation with technology has proven to be unpopular with customers greatly decreasing the likelihood that employers would choose this over paying higher wages (Rensi). Over the last seven decades the minimum wage has been raised twenty-two times and studies have shown that these increases had little to no adverse effects on employment (Gitterman). While the federal minimum wage sets a standard many states have set their minimum wage higher than the federal minimum (United States Department of Labor). As other major cities watched Seattle led the nation with a step up approach that will have workers earning a minimum wage of $15 per hour by the year 2021. While many argue that it’s too soon to know the full effect of increasing minimum wage on the economy what we do know is that one year later Seattle’s unemployment rates have not been negatively impacted (Torres). While businesses would pay more for employee …show more content…
Contrary to this popular myth 88% of minimum wage earners are adults 20 or older, 55% are women (Hellwig). Approximately half of those affected by minimum wage rates are families making $40,000 a year or less (Adams). In a family of four, consisting of two working parents and two children, each parent would have to work the equivalent of two full-time jobs to earn a living wage. The outlook is even more daunting for single mothers, a single mother with two children would have to work the equivalent of three and one-half full-time jobs to earn a living wage (Nadeau). Opponents of higher minimum wages caution that pay raises cannot be free, warning that consumers including those earning minimum wage will fund pay raises with higher prices. The problem with this theory is that the current system is already being funded by taxpayers, an estimated $150 billion dollars a year is spent on antipoverty programs including Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, foods stamps, and the earned-income tax credit (Cohen). Even if society is to believe a more conservative 50% of minimum wage earners are living in poverty the right thing to do is raise minimum wage to a living wage. Doing so would take the burden off of overtaxed Americans and place it on the

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