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Is The Minimum Wage High Enough?

Is The Minimum Wage High Enough?

Posted on Oct 2017

The issue concerning the minimum wage is a controversial issue in the contemporary society. Minimum wage refers to the least amount of money employers can pay their employees (Berlatsky 41). Kukathas asserts that “the federal minimum wage is currently set at $7.25 per hour for the United States citizens, which is debatable as to whether it ought to be increased or remain the same” (34). There have been dissatisfaction concerns by majority of the workers in the U.S. This paper will look at whether the minimum wage in the U.S. is high enough for the American citizens.

This wage would be adequate for teenagers by working 15 hours per week, as they can have plenty for buying clothes, going out to dinners, et cetera (Flinn 12). Teenagers have fewer bills to pay since most of them do not have someone to look after. Nevertheless, what about for adults who have bills and family to cater for, is this minimum high enough? For an adult who is working at the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for forty hours in a week, he/she will earn about $15,080 annually. This would put a two-person household exactly on the poverty line whereas in a three-person household will be put below the $18,287 poverty line. Therefore, working forty hours per week at the current minimum wage job is not enough to sustain a family out of poverty.

The minimum wage is a superficial non-solution for the intricate poverty concern in the United States (Flinn 44). Therefore, raising the federal minimum wage would bring a minimum wage income that is above the poverty line for American families. This would index the minimum wage in a manner that it automatically increases for every inflation year, hence retaining its real value as well as safeguarding full-time minimum wage from resulting in poverty. According to Flinn, there is no state within the nation where one can manage to pay for a two-bedroom apartment at a fair market rent by working for 40 hours weekly at the minimum wage (Flinn 54).

Increasing the minimum wage would not work. By increasing the minimum wage to, let us say $11, would have modest consequences on employment. Increasing the minimum wage would increase operational costs of businesses that employ people at the minimum wage, which would then be compelled to cut down on their employees (Kelsey). This is because businesses exist solely for the purpose of making profits and the sales recorded by these businesses would not be adequate to make any profits for them. Alternatively, they would be forced to inflate the price of their goods and services so as to cater for the increased salaries. This inflation would make the same goods and services unaffordable to the same workers. If workers cost more than they are worth, businesses will not employ them.

The minimum wage of $7.25 is equivalent to two gallons of gas, a single fast food meal, or even a simple school supply. Working at the minimum wage at the present rate, one ought to work for one hour so as to earn the $7.25 that is able to supply one’s daily necessities for living in small proportions. This concern was experienced before and it was solved with an agreement that saw the minimum wage being increased from $5.85 to the present $7.25. Even though that was a representation of a high increment in salaries, the question remains, was it adequate enough? According to Berlatsky, “the minimum wage ought to be increased so as to revive the U.S. economy out of the recession period completely, bring families together, as well as to create a nation of prosperity” (23).

The United States is majorly held together by families, which forms a significant foundation on which the nation’s principles were founded upon. With the present minimum wage of $7.25, 73 percent of the working population live in poverty (Flinn 32). Most people might tend to make an assumption that most of the minimum wage workers are either teenagers or students who are college bound. Nevertheless, this is not true as different studies have indicated that at least 50 percent of the minimum wage workers are over 25 years old (Kukathas 12). This implies that they have an influence on the performance of the nation’s economy and may decide its’ destiny. As a result, an increase in the minimum wage would offset the economy from a low-point and ensure that the economy prospers. According to Flinn, a typical family that is comprised of four individuals would lead a comfortable life today if they earn $8.45 per hour so as to cover for all the expenses. This plain change will benefit the general population of our nation.

A higher than $7.25 minimum wage can be very good for the performance of the U.S. economy. The higher minimum wage will increase the disposable incomes of workers, which is greatly required to boost demand as well as get the economy going. In addition, it would reduce turnover, cut down the cost that low employers inflict on the taxpayers, along with pushing businesses towards a high-road that is characterized by high human-capital model.

In spite of these positive advantages, and the miserable truth that the minimum wage is worth far less today than it was in the late 1960s, there are arguments that a higher minimum wage will result in employers cutting their employment levels so as to manage costs, therefore leading to unemployment. With today's unemployment rate stuck over 7 percent, it is anticipated that the sorts of contentions that relate rise in the minimum wage with unemployment to soar to new levels. Nonetheless, it is clear that: increasing the minimum wage does not have the undesirable impacts that most critics claim. A huge assortment of academic examination finds that raising the minimum wage does not bring about employment misfortunes, actually amid periods when the unemployment rate is high. Commentators of the minimum wage, nonetheless, regularly clutch the case that raising the minimum wage will prompt unemployment and at last hurt the general economy, intensifying the issue of high unemployment. The contention that raising the minimum wage will build unemployment is to some degree far-fetched since the minimum wage affects a moderately little impart of the general workforce, which is itself gathered in specific commercial enterprises, for example, restaurants and demographic gatherings, for instance, adolescents.

The minimum wage must be raised in light of the fact that the cost of living has gone up impressively. Education is fundamental if one wishes to work, and the cost of education has expanded definitely in the previous years. firms, as well as business organizations ought to be required to pay laborers a more deserving wage for their services, and that is more than the present minimum wage. An expansion of the minimum wage would raise the wages of numerous workers, in addition to benefiting the impeded laborers. Since the cost of living has soared, it has turned out to be practically difficult to raise a family on a minimum wage work. An individual living on his/her own particular will find it intricate to survive on the current minimum wage work either. Their living cost would simply be excessive. The income of minimum wage workers is pivotal to their families' prosperity. The cost of education is a imperative thing in the contemporary world. Despite the soaring cost of education, a decent education is key in today's reality. It is difficult for children to better themselves if their guardians are not able to pay for their education.

In conclusion, the controversy surrounding minimum wage is not set to end soon. However, the real concern of a minimum wage is that if it is very high to bite, individuals will end up not getting employment. On the other hand, if it is low enough not to result into significant unemployment, then it will not have any effect. There are merits as well as disadvantages of raising the minimum wage.