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Money and Compassion

In: English and Literature

Submitted By P3t3y215
Words 1978
Pages 8
Pierre Okpara
Persuasive Paper: Raising minimum wage
Professor Arin Black
English 102

July 24th very easily could have been the day of rejoicing for Americans around the United States thanks to the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, which amended the FLSA (The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938) to increase the federal minimum wage in steps. The first increase came on July 24th, 2007 when minimum wage was increased to $5.85, then in 2008 when minimum wage rose again to $6.55, and lastly on July 24th 2009 when minimum wage was raised to its current $7.25. Instead of raising minimum wage consistently as the years before, six long years have passed since the minimum wage has risen at all in the United States and this has left Americans to have very little to rejoice about. Not only does the government owe their citizens a raise in minimum wage, but it is long overdue. Many Americans are drowning in debt but somehow find a way to enjoy their life as comfortable as possible without the help of a higher minimum wage. For many this may seem like the norm but poverty has grown ever so steadily and there has yet to be an answer for this since July 24th, 2009. Given this, I absolutely agree the minimum wage needs to be increased in order to match the rise in costs of living which, unlike minimum wage, has risen dramatically since the last time anything was done about it. To begin, I’d like to take you deeper into the history of our rise in prices throughout the economy since the last rise in minimum wage in July 2009. Everything has risen from the price of gas to a dozen of eggs and even fast food. Since 2009 a gallon of gas has risen at least 44.6%, a pound of ground beef has risen 39.5%, a gallon of milk 21.2%, dozen eggs 30.3%, Big Mac 29.5%, pound of cheddar cheese 21.9%, pound of coffee 27.3%, apples 16.8%, electricity 9.2%, bacon rose 67.8%, and minimum wage has risen 0% as of 2014 (Huffington Post). Not only has minimum wage not risen but prices continue to rise every year. With these numbers, the economy is sure to crash even harder than it is doing now. The government and its officials seem to think that its citizens are well off with the minimum wage at $7.25 but do not know how it feels to live on this wage. Officials have yet to make the attempt to actually live on a $7.25 hour pay to know the struggle of making ends meet; they cannot possibly understand how bad Americans need this raise. If this was the 1960s where a dozen eggs were $.57, a gallon of gas was $.31, etc. (1960 Flash Back) our current minimum wage would not be a problem for people to live above the poverty level but in 2015 it is very easy for a hard working citizen of the United States, making minimum wage, to still not be able to pay their bills due to lack of income. The minimum wage rose annual from 2007-2009 but did not come with a plan for 2010. If minimum wage stayed on the path of keeping up with the growth in earnings, it would be at $22.62 by 2013 (Convert, Raising the minimum wage) and even higher by 2015. For it to take an entire six years for anyone to begin seriously talking about raising the minimum wage is ridiculous. It is evident that prices are rising all around the average American citizen but nobody, not the president or legislators, has the right mind to speak up for the people that put them in office. This is a very troubling realization to think that even though it is just now, in 2015, that officials are seriously considering a rise in minimum wage to $10.10, there is a good chance we won’t hear about another change in minimum wage for another six years or even more. It’s almost a phenomenon that more citizens aren’t outraged by the fact that after six years they will only see a $10.10 rise. Though I do feel it’s better than nothing, the United States of America owes their citizens more than a $3 increase after six years of a stagnant minimum wage of $7.25. American Citizens are not asking for this increase because they want a life of luxury, this is just for everyday life. With that being said, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would be a dynamic jump in the right direction for the American public. As of now, if you are making minimum wage you are considered to be below poverty level or, to be politically correct, you are making “poverty wages.” If the congress were to back our now president, Barrack Obama, a current study says “4.6 million people would rise out of poverty” (Time). As of January 2014, the poverty rate among the nonelderly population was estimated at 17.5% for the United States and since then it has risen. With this minimum wage act passed more people can work more for what they deserve and not struggle to put food on the table; that is not the dream of economic hope that America stands for. Every American should be able to at least survive if they have a job and not need to find other means of income like another job or just surviving on public assistance. If the average American citizen can’t survive off the minimum that a job is required to pay then an economy can’t grow with odds shifting away from the average person making $7.25. Moreover, the benefits of a minimum wage increase would not only boost the wages of low paid workers, but research reveals that a minimum wage increase would create 85,000 new jobs (Convert, Raising the minimum wage). This makes sense seeing that if you have more money, you are likely to spend more which in turn makes a demand for more to buy, and soon jobs to fill the new demand for more items being purchased. Economists who determine how good or bad the population is doing recognize that low wage workers are more likely to spend extra earnings immediately on previously unaffordable basic needs or services. This is more reason to raise the minimum wage because it will help out businesses and this all benefits our economy. Increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 by July 1, 2015, would give an additional $51.5 billion in extra funds for low income households. This move would not only be a major step for low wage workers but also a big boom in spending for our economy (Convert, Raising the minimum wage). On the contrary, there are people who feel like raising minimum wage will hurt the economy and continue the inflation of the U.S. American dollar. Many have even gone to write full page reports on why raising minimum wage is a bad idea saying, “Some policymakers are proposing to raise the minimum wage, but that policy would be harmful. Research shows businesses would respond to the increased costs by reducing employment, particularly for low-skilled workers. Some businesses may pass the higher costs on to consumers. Despite the hope of proponents, the minimum wage does little, if anything, to decrease poverty” (CATO Institute). Even so, a significant body of academic research finds that raising the minimum wage does not result in job losses, higher costs for consumers, or a more threat for low income houses; even during periods when the unemployment rate is high (Convert, Raising the minimum wage).
People who just don’t like the minimum wage increase plans claim that raising the minimum wage will lead to job losses and ultimately hurt the overall economy, but regardless of how much they think they know, low income house are suffering now; with or without the rise in minimum wage. If you want to really get deep into it, the argument that raising the minimum wage will increase unemployment is farfetched to say the least, since the minimum wage impacts a very small share of the overall workforce, which in itself is concentrated in certain jobs such as restaurants and demographic groups such as teenagers with little to no skills. Therefore, how does it cause such a problem where people would be so against this increase in minimum wage? It shouldn’t.
Also, as of now the economy is in a recession and when the economy is doing poorly, employers have less incentive to raise wages, while workers, especially those making near minimum wage, have little ability to demand a raise because there is a ready supply of unemployed labor ready to take their job. This makes citizens work hard for longer periods of time but even though workers are likely to become more productive, labor productivity has generally increased over time, and since productivity growth during the past two recessions was so strong, employers have less economic power to share the gains of their increased productivity. With that being said, workers are getting the short end of the straw. If the economy is doing poorly, which it is as of 2015, the workers have to pick up double the work for little to no increase in pay and employers have no room to promote employees. This suggests that during hard economic times, there is a critical role for government to raise the minimum wage to ensure that workers are being paid for their economic contributions.
All and all, policymakers should feel confident that raising the minimum wage will not hurt employment. Instead, it would provide the kind of boost in consumer demand that our economy sorely needs. A raise in minimum wage is needed in America because if making $7.25 considered “poverty level” then policymakers need to change that to where minimum wage make ends meet. We are long overdue for a rise in minimum wage and have been for years. A rise in pay will not only help the citizens of America but also the economy as well. There are no reasons to suggest we not raise minimum wage and the fact is that the only people that have a problem with a rise in minimum wage are the people in upper middle class/ higher middle class. With more money per hour citizens can afford to live in these times of increasing costs.
.Work Cited Page
1960s Flashback-Economy / Prices ." 1960s Flashback-Economy / Prices . N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2015. CATO Institute. "Four Reasons Not to Raise the Minimum Wage." CATO Institute, n.d. Web. Raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 would give working families, and the overall economy, a much-needed boost (Economic Policy Institute) $10.10 Minimum Wage Would Lift 4.6 Million Out of Poverty, Study Says | (US 1010 Minimum Wage Would Lift 46 Million Out of Poverty Study Says Comments) The Grand Island Independent. "Raising Minimum Wage Won't Solve Income Inequality." The Grand Island Independent. The Grand Island Independent, 02 May 2014. Web. of Form

Raising The Minimum Wage To $10.10 Would Boost Growth By $22 Billion (ThinkProgress RSS) Bottom of Form

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