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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 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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  • As Jason stated we have the highest corporate tax in the world, that is why the companies have left, Fact. If it was lowered we would have to wait and see, if they have to pay unskilled workers 15.00, plus the Healthcare debacle then my guess would be no. This isn’t doom and gloom, just my opinion, Sophia will be happy to hear Wal-Mart will be closing 269 stores, some in Brazil and the rest in the u.s.a, 10,000 people in this once great country will become unemployed .I think this is only the beginning,again that is my opinion.not based on any facts. I feel sorry for the people soon to become unemployed .I also feel sorry for the people that have been raised to think that the rich owe them something. after all they are paying a tremendous amount in taxes already.

    Friday, 15 January 2016, 7:27 pm
  • Glad to see most people realize you raise wage and companies will cut back hours, make people do more work and raise the price of the products. Its a no win for anyone. Its only a win in the minds of people who are very uneducated and do not comprehend basic economics in where business will not spare profit to make employees happy so they can break even. Generally when you see a min wage hike the companies go a percent above the raise say its 10 percent they raise the goods n services 15 percent so its like getting a salary decrease for the consumer and the person who worked hard to get a raise after X years is now the lowest on the market w maximum experience. Companies are not in business to lose money.

    Friday, 15 January 2016, 5:35 pm
  • Many here have alluded to our real problem, which is great, in that our US standard of living is simply to high to be competitive in a global economy. Low cost labor countries have a much lower standard of living (no car, multi-generational families in one home, no cable, often no electricity, etc.)

    American workers simply need to get used to that. Ditch the car, cell phone, cable, meat, designer clothes, Starbucks, insurance so we can lower the minimum wage to around $2.50 and be on an even footing with China. If we go even lower, perhaps manufacturing will come back .

    Friday, 15 January 2016, 11:17 am
  • Karaya. What a living wage at the minimum wage in 1933 would provide then, at the height of the Depression, would be considered the worse kind of poverty today.
    In other words, a person living on a minimum wage today would likely be living better than someone living on the minimum wage/living wage back then.
    We’ve gotten used to and expect so much more after 80 some years.
    The life style which would be given by what would be considered a ‘living wage’ today would probably be like living very middle class back then.

    Friday, 15 January 2016, 9:45 am
  • Business is there to make money thats why they started a business and remember without private big business there would be millions without work keep pushing and telling them what to do could cause we’re closing with are billions there ya go, Rich people and companies private that is give us jobs plain and simple and if you start at min wage work yourself up thats what most people have done.Good job Jason

    Friday, 15 January 2016, 7:20 am
  • You are incorrect, food locker. Since it’s inception the minimum wage was meant to be a living wage that ONE wage earner could support a small family on in decent living conditions (i.e., food, rent, health, and at least a minimal amount of entertainment). It was never meant to merely be for teenage ticket takers or burger flippers.

    Friday, 15 January 2016, 7:16 am
  • A few points before I head to bed:

    1. I wonder how many of those talking about “corporate greed” would be singing the same tune if they themselves were business owners that had to balance out profits and costs.

    2. Maybe the reason why so few businesses are willing to hire full-time employees is because of Obamacare? After all, they ARE penalized for having too many full-time workers.

    3. Bringing jobs back to America…….they probably would, if we didn’t have the highest corporate tax rate in the world. But then, you hear the left saying that they don’t pay their fair share. So either you want people to be dependent on the government, or you don’t understand the reason why so many companies ship jobs overseas.

    Friday, 15 January 2016, 5:21 am
  • Nick S., the reason raising the minimum wage will increase the price of goods is because, generally, 2/3 of what makes up the cost of the things we buy is the cost of the labor.

    Friday, 15 January 2016, 4:08 am
  • I love all of the complaining that people do not get paid enough and the minimum wage needs to go up. Most people with a college degree do not start at 15.00 an hour. They start a little lower and it comes with experience as well. Since getting out of the military I have worked several jobs. None were minimum wage and I had no degree. People need to look further and for themselves. A lot of places are hiring and most are starting at 12+ an hour with hours. Most of these jobs only require a high school diploma and decent people skills. I also went to college for 9 months and received my Pharmacy Technician License and registration. 13,000 dollars for school and guess how much Pharm Techs start out at? Not 15 an hour. You are guaranteed a job at most places. Again once you work somewhere for a while some of those places will help pay for part of your tuition to go back to college so that you can move forward in your chosen career. I am now almost finished with getting my ASN. I would love to go to work right now anywhere making any amount to go towards my tuition. I am not beneath anyone that is willing to try harder and work harder instead of demanding something you are not working or getting the education for.

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 11:12 pm
  • I appoligize for being a lil abrasive in the above posts,i get a little upset when people talk about things with certainty When they clearly dont have a clue about what it is they are talking about,discussion is one thing ,but too often especially on this site people speak about things making all kinds of crazy accusations and opinions about stuff they dont have facts about but yet try to make a informed intelligent statement,and thats just not possible if you dont have facts to base an opinion on,ie the comment a big mac has a quarter pound of beef in when it does not have close to a quarter pound of beef or comparing what an average consumer pays retail for a product a business buys thousands of tons a year of at wholesale prices it just dont make sense and you sound unintelligent trying to put me down without one fact or without one correct statement in your entire post.

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 10:29 pm
  • Sam also when it was pointed out that the people using self checkout are paying more what was meant by that is that the price of each item includes paying a cashiers wage to help you,you clearly from your other post kinda understand that the overhead a business pays is included in the purchase price,you just need to think outside the box a little to understand what people ate saying.

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 10:17 pm
  • Sam actually a quarter pounder has exactly a quarter pound (I’m not suspecting that its a fact like the my post),of what mcdonalds calls beef,a big mac is made using 10:1 patties i.e 10 patties to equal 1 pound of meat (another fact)so no a big mac does not have anywhere near a quarter pound of beef.and my figers are the actual cost mcdonalds pays for there products ( ie straight from mcdonalds corp.)as i am a outside contractor for mcdonalds it is a fact not me talking out my ass like you are so unless you know what you are talking about you might just want to shut up and stop talking about things you clearly do not know about.actual mcds cost for 10:1 patties is 18 cents a quarter pounder ie 4 quarters to the pound ( dumbass) is 23 cents,after packaging and with labor costs it is approx 80 cents out the door real figers unlike you i am speaking in facts not out my ass.these numbers i am using come directly from d##k it is as much as i think ie fact.and if you think that any owner of mcdonalds ever missed a meal and is in anyway close to poverty then you are sadly mistaken my friend,you need to wake up brother its a tuff world out there.also you asked when was the last time i bought ground beef under 2 dollars a pound it has been awhile but if you thing mcdonalds that buys thousands of tons of what ever is in the patties pays the same as me and you by a long shot ie bulk discount then you are dumber then your post.

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 10:11 pm
  • Sam – McDonald’s is making a huge amount of money. A simple google for “McDonalds profit” will show you that.

    Does going through self checkout cost you more? Not in literal dollars, no. But you are paying with work, as someone else mentioned, work that the store is paying other people to do for you. Ever heard of “sweat equity?” Your work is valuable, but your time is also valuable… whether or not the time savings makes up for the work? You decide. And you are saving the company the money, so from their perspective, they are making more off of a sale to someone in a self-checkout line than they are on sales in the other lines. In that sense, you are paying more, yes.

    Should minimum wage be raised? Yes. Should it be raised to $15/hr?? Absolutely not.

    I was raised to believe that minimum wage jobs are for three specific types of people: teenagers and college students, gaining experience in the working world and helping to pay educational expenses; retirees, wanting to supplement a retirement income and/or remain active; and stay at home parents wanting to supplement the primary household income and/or get away from the children and interact with other adults on occasion.

    If we look back to the original purpose of the minimum wage, however, it was “designed to create a minimum standard of living to protect the health and well-being of employees.” (

    The reason I believe it should be raised is because it has lagged severely behind inflation. In 1968 the federal minimum wage was raised to $1.60. I didn’t go back farther than that… but even starting from that point, adjusting for inflation, in 2015 it should have risen to $10.91.

    What’s the definition of a “minimum standard of living,” though? Too many people seem to think now that they should be able to support an entire family on a full-time minimum wage job. Let’s put aside the question of whether a “full-time minimum wage job” even exists… you can support yourself (minimally) on $10.91/hr. If you want to support a family, get an education and a good job first.

    The idea that prices will skyrocket and businesses will collapse (and we’ll see the beginnings of the apocalypse…) is a bit absurd. Some smaller businesses will be severely affected, yes. But unfortunately when change happens there are always people hit in a negative way, no matter what the change is. There is no getting around that.

    A while back Papa John’s announced (probably in a fit of anger) that the price of pizza was going to go up by 14 cents because of Obamacare… Oh no!! It’s the collapse!! It’s happening!!

    I will gladly pay an extra 14 cents for a pizza if it means employees get health insurance. Well… if Papa John’s pizza didn’t make me nauseous I would… And I will gladly pay another 14 cents (heck, I’ll even pay another dollar per pizza) if it means the employees making it for me will be able to buy groceries.

    When everything in life becomes all about money, ethics and morality go out the window.

    It is absolutely true that there are plenty of big businesses making money hand over fist while stepping all over the employees who keep their businesses running. I will not shop Walmart because of how extremely unethical their businesses practices are. Haven’t been in one in years; they do not deserve my money.

    And it is also true that there are businesses out there who are treating their employees fabulously and paying them well, because they have realized that valuing employees creates a positive environment, results in more motivation and pride in work that customers can detect, and reduces turnover. This results in higher sales from satisfied customers who frequent these stores and cost savings from not having to constantly hire and train new employees. Costco is one example, but even they don’t pay their employees $15/hr. Southwest Airlines is another fabulous example. Do a little research on them. They’re fantastic.

    Sorry for the novel. I have strong opinions on this particular topic. 🙂

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 10:05 pm
  • Sam. McD’s buys in bulk and it’s not all meat or quality ingredients in them there sammiches. wink wink

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 8:25 pm
  • Broke American, I suspect an Big Mac has about a quarter pound of raw meat in it i.e. 4 quarters to the pound, when was the last time you bought hamburger for two dollars a pound? Then add the cheese, bun, sauce lettuce, packaging, napkins, building overhead, electricity to cook it, franchise cost, wages, heat and A/C cost etc. they aren’t making as much as you think! If you think McD’s is greedy and make such a killing buy some of their stock and share in profits! Not as much as you think!

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 7:25 pm
  • Nick S. You have hit a nail on the head. Too many companies have outsourced to countries that pay dirt to their employees.

    Look at the medical field and billing. Dr. P Singh has a monopoly on heath care (Access Healthcare) and yet outsourced to his home country at one time. The local employees of his are paid dirt, as with many doctors who only want to pay $8.00 – $10.00 to their staff, or not much more. I’m amazed at just how many places I used to frequent now have ACCESS HEALTHCARE associated with it. Doctors have told me that Obamacare has killed them, and they were forced to sell out, to who? Dr. P Singh, who owns half of Hernando County (not literally, but he sure does own a lot here). I know I’m not the only one, but whenever I see ACCESS HEALTHCARE attached to anything, if I didn’t know it in advance (Summit Imaging, for instance), I’ll cancel my appointment, or simply walk out of it, explaining why. And, they bill fraudulently. Other healthcare workers are talking about this, and frankly we don’t know how he is getting away with it. Someone needs to initiate an investigation of Dr. P Singh, for he’s also got his dirty hands in the health insurances that are being pushed in every place he owns. This is why I tell people, stay clear of Freedom and Optimum Healthcare. He did a very dirty deed with Dr. K Patel (who started Wellcare) and I know this for a FACT. When a doctor has a no compete and as soon as it’s up, the insurance companies go back into his hands, with no money exchanged. Tom or Jason. It may be something you want to research. I did work for them and I quit, once I found out what he was really like. It’s all about the money, and unfortunately not health with Access Healthcare anymore.

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 7:07 pm
  • Brad Smith, you make some very fine points. It’s a luxury to have a full time job with benefits now.

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 6:52 pm
  • My husband has been in a high risk career for 40 years, he works locally and makes not much over $20.00 an hour. He’s college educated and went to a trade school. Now tell me that someone who flips a burger deserves $15.00 an hour, when most of the time those people don’t even have a GED.
    If minimum wage is raised, imagine what we’re going to be paying for everything? When I got married in 1976, coffee was $.29 a pound, ground chuck was $.76 a pound and milk was $.79 a gallon. When my first baby was born in 1978, we paid $4.33 a CASE for Similac formula.
    Those workers who aren’t making that much more then what people want ($15.00 a hour) are going to be upset when companies can’t up the salaries to be fair. Just look at the local people who have gone years, and years without raises. Yes, some (the Sheriff’s office) did get raises in recent years, but they hadn’t for a while. I heard of one company in the area not giving their employees raises, for the last nine years. Some left, and some stayed and are waiting.
    Say NO to raising minimum wage. If it’s raised, the prices of hamburgers, groceries, food, and anything else is going to go up, and it still won’t be a “livable wage”.
    Use your brain and not your heart, I like that.

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 6:50 pm
  • The bigger problem is getting full time employment. Jason, you mentioned Home Depot and Walmart. Those retailers, like most, refuse to hire anyone as a “full time” employee. And it is almost impossible to become full time even if you are working as a current part time employee. Employers do not want to provide any benefits because of the cost associated with providing those benefits. So everyone is part time!

    Raise the minimum wage..and soon you will see 20 hour per week employees getting 10 hours per week. That will mean more dollars per hour, but your pay after taxes will basically remain what you bring home now. You can be proud that you make $15 per hour, but at 10 hours a week, it’s still $150! And to offset their “labor costs”.. businesses will staff less people, raise their prices etc…You could raise the minimum to $50 per hour..but you are only going to be scheduled 2 hours per week!

    The problem is not the dollar amount per hour. The problem is many business owners refuse to pay the cost (health care and more) associated with great “full time” employees.

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 6:43 pm
  • Wow…The question we have to ask ourselves is WHY does raising wages increase the cost of goods and services? Like you yourself said, wages are taken from the bottom line. You make the very argument about corporate greed without even thinking twice. What amount of profit is enough before the cost of doing business is passed to the consumer? We are in an era of record profits for corporations and its still not enough. I dont think that unskilled workers should make 15 dollars an hour. If corporations would bring their manufacturing, customer service, tech support, etc. jobs back to the U.S. the “Head of household” would be less likely to need to rely on a minimum wage job. A side effect of doing so would be an increase in spending by said people in said jobs.

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 6:13 pm
  • Vicky, “If you’re going through the self check out you are not only paying more for everything you buy”??? Please explain! The price is the price at all check outs! Jason, Is saving himself some time by doing a little WORK himself! I have never seen a SURCHARGE for using the self check out! The difference between the right and the left is that the right thinks with their heads ant the left think with their hearts! People need to use their heads that is why the Good Lord gave us one each!

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 6:07 pm
  • Amanda, I won’t go back out there then. It cost too much when I went out the last three years. I’d rather fly family to Florida to visit. I checked on employment out in San Diego and found the wages weren’t much higher then in Hernando and Pasco Counties but the cost of living was through the roof. Just look at the price of real estate in California!!

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 5:51 pm
  • Great job, Jason! I’m right there with you! If minimum wages are raised, so will the price of everything sold by that business. Nope, no thank you. Don’t raise minimum wage…it will put too many people out of jobs, and businesses will fold. The prices of things are high enough now. I’m freshly single. I work two jobs, one full time and one part time, in order to make ends meet. I chose not to get an education so it’s nobody’s fault but my own.

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 5:38 pm
  • “You wonder if this might be a little too much for certain employers to shoulder, especially in a time that’s been marked by a decline in business sales,. “This might actually delay the return of job growth.”

    The minimum wage increase will be felt most acutely by employers at restaurants, especially fast food, and also the hard-hit retail sector”

    Quotes from the last minimum wage increase in 2009 or to put it to numbers, 12 million jobs ago

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 5:26 pm
  • Well heres my 2cents, im on the fence about min wage becouse i know corporate greed will pass the buck,i will say this the cost of a big mac wthh buns and all topping is under $0.50 and thats a fact that is the problem that coporations are making money hand over fist and not taking care of the as im sure all big corps,the hight up the ladder the less they do and bigger the pay stuck in the middle i think jobs like mcdonald are designed for people starting out,the problem is the tax incentives and cheaper labor cost with out sourcing is leaving america without any industry,no manufacturing,no jobs,its gonna break sooner or later im afraid of what the future holds,walmart mcdonald greedy coporate america what these enterprises are neglecting to realize is that the people that they are screwing to become mega corps. are the people they count on to shop at their stores so they keep paying less and less,charging more and more well who the eff is gonna shop without money cause they work 60 hrs a week and still cant pay bills.its a shame that their are people working full time and still live in poverty and on gov. Cheese but without a fair living wage what else can you do?

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 5:08 pm
  • Strongly agree, it will definitely have a domino effect up the wage ladder. I am sure most people have noticed the price of groceries have dramatically increased and the size of the product has decreased

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 4:52 pm
  • If you choose to go through a self checkout, rather than be checked out by a cashier, then you are eliminating the need for the human, and yes, you are costing people their jobs. But hey, you saved 2 minutes, right? People love to talk the talk, but when given a choice, they pick convenience over principles. If people refused to self checkout, they would get rid of the machines.

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 4:45 pm
  • It’s easy to raise the minimum wage when you can’t get people to show up every day for less. That’s likely the case in San Diego.

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 4:44 pm
  • Excellent article Jason, and you are right on, thank you.One more thing and this would be for Victoria, so you are saying that if we go through the self check out we are paying more for our items?If this what you meant, then you are absolutely WRONG , All items are priced the same, lots of businesses are doing this,and some businesses have people standing right there to assist you if you have problems .So no we who use self checkout aren’t putting anyone out of work.Not to be rude but I don’t talk to the machines, wasn’t aware they were able to have a conversation.

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 4:41 pm
  • The guy who has worked his way up to $12/hour isn’t going to work for $15/hour if the guy who was working for $8 is now getting $15. The farmer selling his wheat for $8 isn’t going to sell it for $8 any more. He’ll demand $15. And, up the ladder it will go only causing massive inflation (market changing the value of money) which will cause those who lend money (most businesses run on borrowed money) to have to charge so much for it businesses won’t be able to operate at all.
    Government can’t decide the value of anything. It’s a false allusion it can.

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 4:40 pm
  • It’s probably going to take longer than 3 months to see an appreciable change either negatively or positively.

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 4:33 pm
  • Interesting article living here in San Diego our minimum wage was just increased to $10 per hour. We will see in by the end of the quarter what effects this has on our hospitality industry.

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 4:19 pm
  • Victoria, I’M not the one putting anyone out of work….advocates for raising the minimum wage, are.

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 4:04 pm
  • Exactly, Geri. We must also factor in the need to raise wages of those earning ABOVE the minimum wage, because we can’t expect people that worked their way up, to be on the same level as a minimum wage employee. There will ALWAYS be someone that’s not satisfied with their situation.

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 3:54 pm
  • Jason, I won’t make this long. I was on my soapbox yesterday. But I wanted to remind you that included in the cost of items that you purchase at Walmart is the cost of having someone scan and pack your purchases. If you’re going through the self check io you are not only paying more for everything you buy but you are putting someone out of work. I understand the need for technology but I’m also old enough to believe that we don’t need to talk to machines all the time.

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 3:52 pm
  • MINIMUM WAGE is a starting wage if you perform well in time you wil get a an increase,you cannot expcect to start at the top in your job if you are not even trained.These jobs are not meant to be a career move.Its for starting in the job market,students not a full time job.this is why there is no jobs for kids the older ones are taking all the jobs.

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 3:50 pm
  • Jason, you hit on all the correct points of not raising the minimum wage. We do have to think with our heads about the situation. People have to realize that by increasing the wages, the prices of goods will also go up. More and more, technology will take over a lot of the jobs that companies have. No sense in pushing the issue.

    People have to learn to live within their income. It was done by their grandparents and parents before them. If they needed/wanted something – they saved for it and lived without it until they can afford it. People these days want everything and want it now, which is part of the reason for them demanding a $15 wage – that’s a beginning wage. Where do employers go from there? Can raises be given out as had been usually? I think not.

    Thursday, 14 January 2016, 3:07 pm

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