OPINION: Think with Your Mind Not Your Heart Before Raising the Min. Wage
Yesterday, we presented Victoria Sidlauskas’ opinion of why she believes the minimum wage should be increased. As promised, we now present Jason Marshall’s views on why he believes raising the minimum wage would not be good for America.
The views and opinions expressed in the following Op-Ed are those of the designated author and do not necessarily reflect those of RNRF or any of its affiliates.
OPINION: By Jason Marshall
We’re now 2 weeks into the new year and with that comes new laws and sometimes higher wages. Folks on both the right and the left have argued for many years whether or not the federal minimum wage needs to be increased. Those on the left say “if you work a full-time job, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty”; those on the right say “the minimum wage wasn’t intended to be a living wage”. So, who’s right? Personally, I’m with the right on this issue. But let’s put that aside for the time being, and ask ourselves the fundamental question – does raising the minimum wage kill jobs?
I’m sure all of you have gone shopping at a Walmart or Home Depot at one time or another. I can tell you that I go to Walmart usually 2-3 times per week; it’s where I go for most of my food shopping. You have your regular register lines to pay, your express lanes, and your “self-checkout” lines. When you go through the self-checkout line, you scan your items, choose your method of payment, get your receipt, bag your groceries, and you’re on your way. 99 out of 100 times, I get out to my car faster going through this process, than with the traditional method of having a cashier check me out.
More and more, we are utilizing technology to cut down on costs of doing business. Why pay employees an ever increasingly greater minimum wage, to do the job a computer can do? And, why provide benefits that continue to increase at an alarming rate. We have a fundamental problem going on here – balancing out providing good paying jobs to allow individuals to be in control of their own lives, while keeping costs in check. Additionally, we must factor in a key downfall to raising the minimum wage – increased costs of goods and services, and job losses.
As demonstrated in a 2015 article by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Seattle’s increase in the minimum wage to $15/hour led to a loss of over 1,000 jobs. Since the restaurant industry is one of the hardest hit by raising the minimum wage, it would seem relevant to project how this could impact the country as a whole. Another report found that raising the minimum wage to that same $15/hour mark would potentially lead to job losses in New York State as well, to the tune of nearly a half million in total.
The other negative impact, as mentioned above, is on the cost of goods and services. Economic philosophy is clear that corporations exist to make a profit; not only for their shareholders, but for their employees. Salaries are derived from profits, after all. When you increase the cost on businesses to do, well, business, they will only eat so much of that cost before they pass it on to the consumer. As described in this article from thinkprogress.org estimates that the cost of a Big Mac hamburger would increase by 4.3% and that the size would SHRINK between 12 and 70%. So, you’re paying more, and receiving less. Logic would dictate that both goods and services would see this domino effect, across the board.
Before you advocate raising the minimum wage, hoping to prevent people who work full-time from being in poverty, realize what the unintended consequences are. Realize that you’re costing others their jobs. Realize that you’re increasing the costs for everything we all buy, which negatively impacts the poor and middle class far more substantially than the well-off.
It feels good to say “let’s give those in need, more” but It’s important to think with our minds, and not our hearts.
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