Like it or not, the world is driven by money. Money is what almost every person on earth is trying to get more of, or at least stopping others from getting as much as they are. Sadly, the old adage that it takes money to make money is incredibly true. Class fluidity (rather the lack thereof) is not something that America should put on its resume. In fact, this is the land of having the opportunity to end up exactly like your parents were.
Still, America is much better off than the rest of the globe, and our uniqueness makes us a very special place. But it boggles the mind to think that we still have so many people living in poverty. Many argue that they are lazy and do not wish to put forth the effort needed to succeed, but is that really true? How many people have you all met that say they like being poor and they do not work hard? The number is likely very few. Rather, a large cause of people’s life of poverty is that they simply were never given an opportunity to advance.
If you do not come from a background of wealth, it is infinitely more difficult to become financially secure in these United States. Some jobs are much more valuable and the people that work in them hoard their earned income and create an extremely unequal balance of wealth in our economy. This is veritable fact. The ethics of doing so are dubious at best, but the point is that money exists in the economy to pay everyone enough to survive relatively fear-free, or not constantly worried about making ends meet.
I agree that people working full time should be able to survive more than a few days without work, because their previous job paid them enough to save a little. Not everyone should make the same; some jobs are more important than others. But I seriously doubt any job is worth getting paid tens of millions of dollars, when someone who also works for the company makes $7.25 an hour.
Raising the minimum wage would provide additional money for the people who need it most. The argument that this would somehow cost jobs and make employers hire fewer people sounds like a doomsday prophecy, like the fiscal cliff. Companies will still need to hire people, and still need to fill jobs because the demand will be there, perhaps even more so with people making more money.
It is possible that some businesses will seek to increase prices if they have to pay their employees more, but those are the businesses that will fail. Other companies will continue plugging along like they have and others before them have done for the last century.
The fact is that the minimum wage does less for a person today than it did 40 years ago. Had minimum wage kept up with inflation during that time period, it would be $10.74 per hour. So, even raising it to the same value that it had 40 years ago would be just under a $3.50 increase on the federal minimum wage. Is it too much to ask that we pay our workforce with the same value that we did 40 years ago, instead of much less?
Finally, there is the argument that the minimum wage is intended only for entry level people or the very young, as if these people are somewhat less valued as human beings, which justifies paying them a wage they cannot reasonably survive on. If they did make more, perhaps it would be easier for them to save for school, or invest in something or start a business.
If Republicans in Congress are going to hold an unwavering position on not raising the minimum wage, then they must forward a plan to drastically reduce the costs of a college education – costs that are skyrocketing. In a generation, it will be economically unrealistic to send a child to college if trends continue. Thus if a young person cannot go to college, and cannot find work that pays him or her more than a life of fears’ wage, there is going to be real problems in our future.
The solution is simple: raise the minimum wage to a level that is consistent with the purchasing power it had 40 years ago. In a nation as wealthy as ours, there is simply no rational reason why we should not.
Res Stecker is the aspiring hero for mankind, starting with raising the minimum wage. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
- There are still far too many people living in poverty within our borders
- The arguments for not raising the minimum wage are meager at best, and do not belong in our current economy
- If wages are not raised, then costs of living have to be drastically lowered, for which we shouldn’t hold our breath