HomeOpinionMichael MeyersOpinion: Increasing Minimum Wage Could Lift Workers Out of Poverty

Opinion: Increasing Minimum Wage Could Lift Workers Out of Poverty



Twelve years ago -- Yes, 12 years ago!!

That was the last time workers earning minimum wage got a raise. That’s the longest stretch of time that the country’s lowest paid workers have ever gone without an increase in minimum wage. A LOT of promises during that time but NO RESULTS.

There is ab...

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  1. The states should decide the issue of a minimum wage for their citizens. It should not be the decision of the Federal government. The standard of living is considerably more expensive in California, Illinois and New York than it is in Mississippi, Iowa or South Dakota. Perhaps those more expensive states would like to have a much higher minimum wage, say $25.00 an hour.

    One thing that I haven’t heard anyone mention is a sub-minimum wage for 16 and 17 year olds. A teenager that age entering the work force isn’t worth $7.25 per hour to an employer. So give them a chance with a sub-minimum wage.

    Another thing I haven’t heard is what to do about all of those workers already making more than $15.00 an hour. If you’ve got a skilled tradesman making $20.00 per hour are you planning to double his/her wage simply because the minimum wage is doubled?

    • Michael Meyers makes a strong argument here for helping the poor. But, as long as it is okay to to have children without a responsible mate, single parents will struggle. The demise of the traditional family perpetuates poverty. Raising the minimum wage can only encourage more irresponsible choices; and it will only be temporary – until all the other wages, and the cost of goods and services, rise in response. Read the recent opinion piece by Rev. Bill Harrell in this publication for an enlightening lesson in economics.

  2. In a free society there will be a wide scope of economic results. I’m worried that forcing the minimum wage so high will lead to people losing their jobs. Higher minimum wages are paid by employers who are frequently struggling to stay open. 90% of small business owners make barely enough money to get by. A shocking number of them take no money home and borrow money to stay open. How do they pay more wages?

  3. The CBO forecasts 1.4 million currently employed will lose there jobs if the minimum wage is increased to $15.00 per hour. Where is the compassion for those who are now employed but will be unemployed? Those making minimum wage generally have the least marketable skills and will have the most difficulty in finding new employment

  4. That raising the minimum wage causes inflation and kills low end jobs is not in question. The only ones pushing this idea are some far left leaning radicals. The only question is how much. The greater the percentage increase in minimum wage the greater negative outcome for everyone except those who receive it. Artificially inflating the value of low end labor will temporarily help those still have a job, but over time Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” will re-balance the scales, using inflation. In the mean time thousands of low skill individuals will be replaced with automation or left in the street as business go bankrupt. There is still no free lunch! Wealth can only be created by the creation of goods and services that society wants, at a price they can pay.

  5. The minimum wage is not designed to be a lifetime wage. It is entry level at the bottom rung on the ladder. A person having a minimum wage job is to be learning job skills: being on time, performing to standards, learning to take orders et al. Not only will the pay for the worker now earning minimum wage need to be raised, the workers who are now earning $15/hr will have to have their wages raised because they are more valuable to the company. If their pay is raised to $20/hr then the person currently making $20 will have to be raised to $25/hr. There reaches a point where the employer has to make cuts in personnel (then their minimum wage goes to the real minimum wage–$0), automate, or even in some cases go out of business. And let’s not forget the other things that go into wages such as Social Security and Workman’s comp that will have to be increased. People who support $15/hr have very seldom had to personally sign the front page of a paycheck.

    As has been mentioned the wage should be set by the states. For example $15/hr in Puerto Rico would be over $25/hr.

    Empirical evidence shows that the increase in minimum wage causes job lost. Now, the big companies like it because it forces the small businesses out of business. That’s why WalMart supports it.

    Bottom line is people should be paid what they are worth to the employer. If they think they are worth more, increase skills and get another job. Contrary to the feel-goodism of the Democrats, businesses are not like Scrooge McDuck with a back room full of money.

  6. Has anyone noticed that Wal-Mart and other big businesses are going to self- checkout and drive thru orders are being taken by someone in India? Are they doing this for your convenience? Nope. When the Minimum wage goes up, automation will pickup and jobs will be cut. Last week at wal-Mart I was almost run over by a robot floor sweeper. Big businesses will adapt and thrive while small Mom and Pop places will suffer or close.

  7. If minimum wage is increased to $15 which will inflate prices on everything what is going to become of the elderly that depend on SS that they receive benefits that are less than the amount monthly of minimum wage currently in place.?

  8. Recently saw McDonalds advertising starting pay at $9.25 an hour here in Augusta. I believe Target and Walmart are well above that number. Ultimately, people need to look in a mirror and decide to whether they are worth $7.25, $10, or $15 an hour.

  9. I would like Mr Meyers to define “disenfranchised”. America has always been a land of freedom and opportunity. It’s up to the individual to make decisions that take advantage of that opportunity and achieve his desired lifestyle. Disenfranchised sounds like another way of saying “victim”. Seeing yourself as a victim is a great excuse for underachievement.

  10. I think anyone who was making minimum wage 12 years ago, who is still making minimum wage now, has failed themselves and their families. America has always had hardships and opportunities for most everyone who takes the time to better themselves and work hard. So while I’m not against a slow increase in minimum wage to keep up with inflation equal to social security COLA increases 2012 – 1.7%, 2013 – 1.5%, 2014 – 1.7%, 2015 – 0%, 2016 – .3%, 2017 – 2%, 2018 – 2.8%, 2019 – 1.6%, 2020 – 1.3%. But you people who think it is OK to make all retirees either poor or having to go back to work to pay for the increased cost of living created by a massive minimum wage increases, are looking to help the wrong people. I worked 60 to 70 hours a week most of my working life and saved and invested some of my money so I could retire, but I only had a highschool education, plus additional studies some in college some in trade schools, and some in organizations I worked in. That is how I’m able to pay for a comfortable retirement, and I don’t intend to have young working people taking that away from me because they are not willing to work the same amount.

  11. I ment to finish my math and say the total percentage increases equal about 13% over 12 years which is about $1.00 per hour, meaning minimum wage should not be reaised more than $1.00 per hour until and unless retirees get a larger increase to cover the minimum wage increase and the resulting increase for all other workers above minimum to keep them higher than minimum, etc. Don’t you love how the wheel goes round and round?

  12. The minimum wage is a ‘starter’ pay, for those with no to little experience. Some places start higher than that, with a raise when you prove your worth – there shouldn’t even be a required minimum. If you start a job at minimum and are still there after your probationary time, you should look at yourself and find out why. A $15 minimum will raise the $1 menu at McD’s to $2.50, a small drink from $1.59 to $2.79, etc, etc… So, you are paid more, but all of a sudden, everything costs more, enough to wipe out that raise. Many business’, especially small one’s, will let staff go; remember that the business will be paying more in taxes, FICA and other on that higher minimum, probably closer to a $25 base – per hour worked. Then AOC comes out with her infinite wisdom to say it should be $24 an hour. You can’t fix stupid.

    When I owned business’, I stated each employee at minimum with a 30-day probation (some didn’t even make that) and a revue at 60 and 90 days. Each passing revue equaled a raise according to their value and worth to the company effort. Today, I see many employees in places that I shop, not worth the current minimum.

  13. Mr. Meyers, with all due respect, if you want to see what event the threat of a $15/hr minimum wage would have, take a look at several of the local Walmart checkout areas. The proliferation of self serve in the last 18 months has been remarkable. The CVS in North Augusta has done the same as have many grocery stores.

    I understand the problems with working minimum wage as I did that for a time…when I was young. Those working at minimum wage for years have made some poor life choices. No on should expect to raise a family on a single minimum wage job.

    That amount of increase will cost jobs, those that have risen above minimum through their own effort would absolutely be entitled to an increase since they actually worked to get them. Union contracts which are tied to minimum wage would also increase.

    Bottom line is that jobs would be lost and prices would rise to offset the increase. A better path would be for people to take advantage of the educational opportunities they may well have ignored.

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