Minimum wage is the minimum hourly wage an employer is allowed to legally pay his or her workers a day. It was created as a direct result of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938 and provides a set minimum income. The current minimum wage in the USA is at $7.25 an hour. Although different states have varying minimum wages, the debate over whether to raise or lower it remains a current issue. The minimum wage should be increased to $15 an hour in order to decrease our poverty rate in the US and to benefit our economy.
Many argue that increasing minimum wage will lead to more job layoffs by employers and a higher rate of unemployment. According to Sklar, Holly, “The Congressional Budget Office projected that a minimum wage increases from $7.25 to $10.10 would result in a loss of 500,000 jobs”. This means that many people would have to lose their jobs in order to increase the minimum wage. Although this statement has been claimed many times, studies have shown that if minimum wage is gradually increased at a constant rate, it will have almost no effect on unemployment and may actually provide more job opportunities.
Increasing the minimum wage would greatly improve the American economy. When a person’s income increases, they tend to spend higher amounts on items and products while making more money. As stated by David Cooper, “A $15 minimum wage by 2024 would generate $120 billion in higher wages for workers and would also benefit their communities. Because lower-paid workers spend much of their extra earnings, this injection of wages will help stimulate the economy and spur greater business activity and job growth”. This means that since workers would have more money than before, more could be spent on buying items and products instead of having to save it all. As claimed by Bill Gardner, “Increasing the minimum wage provides an immediate preventive benefit to a large number of highly stressed people”. As a result, it would create a happier and more productive society. In short, increasing the minimum wage would spur business activity and create a happier American society with a greater living standard.
An increase in minimum wage would also lead to a large decrease in America’s poverty rate. As people make more money, they are more likely to afford the basic necessities and have a decreased chance of becoming broke. As mentioned by Molloy Aimee, “The Government expenses for social programs aimed at the poor would potentially be reduced. This would result in slightly lower taxes for other Americans”. In other words, since the American taxpayer could pay less for these social programs, they could save more money and be able to pay more bills and taxes as a result. As stated by Elise Gould, “The Congressional Budget Office reports that the Harkin-Miller Bill to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 would cumulatively boost incomes of people below the federal poverty line by $5 billion”. This implies that increasing the minimum wage would directly affect the poverty rate positively by lifting a large number of workers from poverty as a direct result and improve their standard of living. All in all, increasing the minimum wage would allow the American taxpayer to save their money by allowing them to pay less for the social aid programs and lift people many people out of penury since they would be earning a greater income.
In conclusion, the minimum wage should and must be increased to $15 an hour. It would also greatly improve our economy by supporting business growth and providing workers with more money. Therefore, allowing them to spend more on items and products. It would also directly lift many American citizens right out of poverty and decrease taxes for social aid programs for the people living in destitution. We must stand and fight together to increase the minimum wage if we want to see a better U.S. economy and the lower poverty rates in America.
- Gardner, Bill. ‘How to Improve Mental Health in America: Raise the Minimum Wage’. Gale Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2019. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints, https://link.gale.com. Accessed 11 Nov. 2019. Originally published as ‘How to Improve Mental Health in America: Raise the Minimum Wage’, New Republic, 4 May 2016.
- Gould, Elise. ‘Increasing the Minimum Wage Would Help Reduce Poverty’. Poverty in America, edited by Tamara Thompson, Greenhaven Press, 2015. At Issue. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints, https://link.gale.com. Accessed 5 Nov. 2019. Originally published as ‘Increasing Wages is an Effective Poverty Reduction Tool’, TalkPoverty.org, 18 June 2014.
- Molloy, Aimee. ‘Low Wages and Limited Employment Opportunities Cause Homelessness’. The Homeless, edited by Jennifer A. Hurley, Greenhaven Press, 2002. Opposing Viewpoints. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints, https://link.gale.com. Accessed 11 Nov. 2019.
- Sklar, Holly. ‘Raising the Minimum Wage Will Reduce Poverty’. Poverty, edited by Roman Espejo, Greenhaven Press, 2012. Opposing Viewpoints. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints, https://link.gale.com Accessed 11 Nov. 2019. Originally published as ‘Raise the Minimum Wage to $10 in 2010’, LetJusticeRoll.org, 22 July 2009.