Friday, January 10, 2014

The Minimum Wage Debate

            An ongoing debate in our country is what to do with the minimum wage. The president and fellow Democrats want it raised. Many conservatives want it to remain the same or even lowered. It has been a drug out fight in Congress, while in nearly half the states in the union, including my home state of Ohio, it was just raised again.
            On the surface, without giving it much thought, raising the minimum wage seems only positive. What could possibly be wrong with putting more money into the hands of unskilled or down-on-their-luck laborers across the country? However, as with all things political, especially economically, one must dig deeper to see the entire effects of an action.
            Let me be clear, I believe the minimum wage should be raised occasionally to keep up with inflation. But it should not be raised every year or even every other year as some states do. It should definitely not be raised to $10 an hour as the Democratic leaders would like it to. I say this as a young adult who can be affected by these decisions. It would certainly be nice to be able to make $10 an hour starting out at a job. But other things must be taken into consideration.
            When wages rise, especially in the unskilled labor force (this is a technical term, I mean no disrespect), it places a much greater burden on business owners who have to pay them. And they have to pay a lot of them. Branch out further to corporations who are footing the bill for thousands of these workers, and it makes a big difference on their budgets. Now, business owners and corporations get a bad rap from liberals, specifically from president Obama, who insist that they make too much money and must pay their fair share (say those who decide their own salaries). Or as Obama’s mentor would say, “Give them the wealth,” speaking of the underclass of welfare citizens, most of whom choose not to work and make a profession of voting Democrat. But that is another story. But business owners and corporations are the ones that create jobs for most of the rest of the private sector, and if they suffer, everyone suffers.
            And I mean everyone. Businesses have to pay more to employees, who are getting more money. But with them paying more, they can afford less employees overall. So while employees A, B, and C are making more, employee D doesn’t have a job because the business can’t afford to pay him. This actually causes unemployment to rise. And between the higher unemployment rate and the loss in productivity from having less workers in businesses, tax revenue for the government goes down as well.
            On top of this, with less people employed, the overall spending in the economy goes down. And with businesses forking more out to workers, they are spending as much on products. The entire economy suffers.
            All this from a higher minimum wage? Yes. Minimum wage workers, the unskilled labor force, form the base of our economy. Though it seems noble to raise their wages (though there are much more selfish intentions), it causes a chain reaction that reverberates through our entire economic structure.
            Minimum wage jobs are not meant to be careers. They are meant for teenagers, college students, and maybe young adults just starting out looking for a job. While I applaud those who work as opposed to having things handed to them, we must remember that the goal of the minimum wage is not to keep workers above the poverty line. Minimum wage jobs are not supposed to be 40 hours a week. They are meant for young people who will then learn skills and be able to make more to provide for themselves.
            Even a ten cent raise, as Ohio just had, can cause ripples when it is multiplied by a hundred, by a thousand, or by tens of thousands of workers. But imagine if the Democrats in the White House and Congress get their way and it is raised to $10 an hour? What terrible affects it would cause! Why, then, do they want to do it?
            Some, as with other issues, I believe are simply ignorant. They do not have the foresight to look ahead and see what their actions will bring (perhaps they should take up chess). Many, most, I would say, especially those at the top, know exactly what they are doing. Democrats gain their votes from mostly underclass, lower class, and to a certain extent working class voters. It is in their best interest to play to these groups. So they will demonize those people that have worked to the top, and take some of their money and distribute it down to those who are more likely to vote for them. They will promise a much higher minimum wage to please lower class voters. When they don’t get it, they will demonize Republicans who don’t want to tank the economy, saying they “don’t care about the lower class”. Whatever raise they can get in the minimum wage will both help them with lower class voters as well as raise unemployment, allowing them to continue to prolong unemployment benefits, building more underclass voters. They obviously do not care if it hurts the economy, since the debt has quadrupled during Barack Obama’s tenure. In true dirty politics, everything they do in this area is done to keep themselves in office, even if it involves keeping large amounts of people poor. In essence, the Democratic Party is the largest political machine the United States has ever seen.

            We can see why Democrats want to raise the minimum wage. We can see why that’s a bad idea. And in a republic, sure we can voice our opinions and write letters, but perhaps more important, we can vote.

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