Less is more: The minimum wage battle

Post by LeannaC. Featured image by Pixels

The book Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich is a true story published in the New York Times about an undercover journalist who tries to prove minimum wage is not enough. She traveled to three different states, Minnesota, Maine, and Florida.  Barbara got a job and rented a place to live in each state. She lived on only minimum wage, and said that it was definitely not enough to survive on. When she went to Minnesota she told us that she had to get a second job and live in a hotel , because she could not afford a apartment. But here is where she is wrong. People only get paid minimum wage when they work at restaurants, fast food places, or at a store. Those places are not meant to be careers, unless you are a owner or a manager. So of course it’s not enough because they are meant to be starting jobs.

Reason 1:  If we were to raise minimum wage to $15.00 per hour people who finished out their high school career with good grades, scholarships to college, and paid thousands upon thousands of dollars to get their good college degree for a good career would be suffering. Now how would that be fair if they have worked so hard to get to where they are for someone who most likely is flipping burgers to just take it all away.

The people that have worked hard to get to where they are would most likely get less vacation time, less benefits, or possibly watch everything they work so hard for go down the drain when they are fired or laid off from their job.  

According to author Sean Williams a UC San Diego graduate with a B.A. in economics “The aforementioned CBO report from 2013 estimated that half a million jobs would be lost if the federal minimum wage were raised to $10.10 per hour.” So looking at that just imagine what it would do to people if we raised it five more dollars.

Reason 2: Businesses will eventually have to shut down because they can not afford the high minimum wage like big businesses can. (e.g Walmart, Target, Google etc.) The more that the workers get paid means less and less money that that business will have. The only way the business will be open and successful is if they only have a few employees there or if they get a lot more customers to come into their business. Most of the time businesses need a lot more than a few workers so that won’t work, and people can’t depend on getting more customers to help them out.  

ProCon lists statistics from a 2013 Gallup poll, stating,“60% of small-business owners say that raising the minimum wage will ‘hurt most small-business owners.'” Jamie Richardson, MBA, Vice President of fast food chain White Castle, said that the company would be forced to close almost half its stores and let go thousands of workers if the federal minimum wage were raised to $15.”

Reason 3: If the U.S. raised minimum wage to $15.00 prices would be raised to keep up with businesses labor costs. People work hard for their money and they don’t just want to blow it all on ridiculous prices. As an example people don’t want to pay $5.00 for a Mcdonald’s meal that half of the time isn’t even what they ordered. So most likely businesses are still going to be affected because people don’t want to pay these outrageous prices.  

A writer from Pro Con stated that “A 2013 article by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago stated that if the minimum wage is increased, fast-food restaurants would pass on almost 100% of their increased labor costs onto consumers and that other firms may do the same. A 2015 Purdue University study found that raising the wage of fast food restaurant employees to $15 or $22 per hour would result in a price increase of 4.3% and 25% respectively, or a reduction in product size between 12% and 70%: “a hamburger would be much smaller,” the researchers stated.”

As it says above not only would our prices be going up but we wouldn’t even be getting what we pay for, because the size of our meals would be getting smaller and smaller. No why does that even for a second seem fair.


Conclusion: If the U.S. were to raise minimum wage to $15.00 it would not be in the good for a lot of people. It would just be helping the people who are getting more out of it. What about the people who dedicate their lives to give us a good education, and save lives. How is the that fair that all the small businesses will most likely have to shut down because they can’t afford to run a successful business. Also how is it fair that teenagers,and early adults will make it so that everyone will have to pay more for our goods because businesses will have to keep up with their labor costs.



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3 thoughts on “Less is more: The minimum wage battle

  1. I am not the author of this content: “Natalie Leppard a a researcher for ProCon says,’60% of small-business owners say that raising the minimum wage will “hurt most small-business owners,’ according to a 2013 Gallup poll. ”

    ProCon.org is the author, I am simply an employee of that company. However, that statement also does not reflect the opinion of ProCon.org but the results of the Gallup poll. Please revise as this does not reflect my opinion or the opinions of the company.

    1. Thank you, Natalie, for the comment and please accept our apologies for the mixup. The post text has been updated with a more accurate citation.

  2. The existing minimum wage is not a living wage. It is impossible to support a family on it. The federal minimum wage is $7.25, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology estimates an hourly wage of roughly $11 is necessary to support a single individual. (http://livingwage.mit.edu). This insufficient income increases dependency on welfare, which passes the cost down to the tax payer. I would rather spend 4.3% more on my $0.99 burger at Mickey D’s than pay $212 Billion each year on federal aid. Make no mistake: it is best for both the worker and the taxpayer to reduce the amount of people in need of federal assistance.

    You go on: “not only would our prices be going up but we wouldn’t even be getting what we pay for.”
    According to the article you cited, this is untrue.

    …”would result in a price increase of 4.3% and 25% respectively, or a reduction in product size between 12% and 70%”

    The key word there is “or.” You are either paying more or getting less. Again, I would argue that a 4.3% increase is a modest price to pay, however I do agree with you in that a 12% reduction in the size of my McNuggies would be a huge bummer.

    As far as your concern that raising the minimum wage would devalue graduating from college: This is hotly contested, but empirical evidence from multiple states tells us it is wholly untrue. CNN (http://money.cnn.com/2014/01/14/smallbusiness/minimum-wage-hike/) reported on New Jersey, which recently saw its minimum wage raised to $8.25. Two million workers saw their wages increase indirectly as a result of the hike: none of which saw their salaries go up because the government forced their employers to pay them more. Economists found that small businesses, in order to retain quality employees, raised wages. This is known as the ripple effect, and economists saw a larger ripple on January 1, 2015 when California upped its minimum wage $1. The Economic Policy Institute estimates about 4.6 million workers saw their wages increased as a result of the minimum wage hike.

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