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In 2009, a law became effective that set the federal minimum wage at $7.25 per hour. In recent years, the topic of minimum wage has become the center of heated political debates as both Democrats and Republicans try to gain the support and following of the nation. This issue, just like many others has multiple viewpoints on why or why not it should be put into place. Democrats being the equality driven people they are, want to see the minimum wage be raised from its current level.
They want to see change and economic movement, with major government involvement. Republicans, on the other hand, being from the other side of the political pond, want just the opposite. They want minimum wage to stay where its at, or even lowered if possible. Believing in freedom over equality, they want to be released from government restraints, which includes a high set minimum wage. Republicans wish to have a free market stay free.
Democrats believe in a Robin Hood type theory.
Take from the rich and give to the poor. They believe that the poor deserve more than what they are given because they are not given proper compensation for their work. They believe this is because of unavoidable circumstances affecting their lives, school, and work. If someone is working at a minimum wage job it proves to the Democrats that that person is willing to try and work to make a living, and in their eyes, he or she needs more help to get him or her their daily needs.
In, “The Pros and Cons of Raising Minimum Wage,” a blog post by Chad Halvorson, Halvorson talks about one of the pros to raising the minimum being, “Economic Stimulus,” giving the economy a nudge in the right direction with the domino effect of money spent. The Democratic belief in having a major governmental hand in the economy shows that the Democrats would be in great favor of this stimulus Halvorson proposes. Equality by government intervention is the main focus of many Democrats, giving support to many minority groups and women who wish to have the federal minimum wage increased on account that they want to be able to be independent and provide for their family just as much as anyone else.
Raising minimum wage can also give those earning the minimum right now motivation to strive for bigger things in the economy. Many see that additional bit of income as a chance to save for something, go back to school, or make investments. Looking at the numbers, raising the minimum wage would bring as many as 900,000 people out of poverty according to an online article, “The Pros and Cons of Raising Minimum Wage” by Tiffany Patterson. 900,000 people would surely help get the economy back to its positive flow, but the costs might offset that in some eyes.
Republicans believe that if someone has worked hard enough, they shouldn’t need more than what minimum wage has given them, because they wouldn’t be living off minimum wage to begin with. They believe that if someone, mainly over the age of 30, is still living off of a minimum wage job, they did not strive to achieve employment in what someone who has a higher class job worked to earn. Patterson, as previously mentioned in her online article, exclaims that numbers also state raising the minimum wage could cost the jobs of 500,000 people. Although, in counter of this, Jared Bernstein gives this quote about the job losses, “The ‘simple textbook prediction’ that raising wages results in job loss has been proven wrong and too simplistic. There are various ways in which the higher wages are offset that don’t include losing jobs, including redistributing profits and adapting prices.” There is much controversy over the argument of whether or not minimum wage has a direct affect on the number of jobs available.
Raising the minimum wage would mean a change of balance in the economy. When the minimum wage is raised it causes the companies paying for these workers to raise their product or service’s prices. In companies with multiple levels of employment, the company may have employees and managers that get paid more than minimum wage. The companies aren’t required to raise these employees pay grade if the minimum is raised, making those employees standard of living lower and “equaling” the playing field for the rest of the staff. This seems great on paper, giving the poorer and less privileged a slightly better chance at a better life (a very democratic view), but to Republicans, this system takes away from those who have worked hard to earn the pay they have.
Forbes makes another very good point in it’s online article, “Raising Minimum Wage Is Not The Answer”, the solution to the increasing minimum wage disagreement might be that instead of increasing the pay, create a company demand for the jobs. A possibility is to make the companies controlling the pay want to compensate their employees more. The downside to this though, is the fact that many companies don’t fall victim to this situation and many just will not pay more. Companies find ways around this issue and can sometimes make it worse for their employees, like stretching their benefits, cutting sick days, or calling them in too often. This issue to raise or keep the federal minimum wage has been going on for years and years. In a world with Republicans and Democrats, both wanting completely opposite cause and affects, the debate will continue to heat up as they come to a decision. The economy in America is what keeps this country going, and right now it has a mixture of both government intervention and free will. The federal minimum wage, if raised, will cause both positive and negative effects on the US as a whole and many adjustments will need to be made. Although of course, the Democrats and Republicans will never truly be content.
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