Lots of people whose hearts are in the right place think raising Americas minimum wage to $15 an hour will allow working families the ability to survive. Rent in America has skyrocketed and everything costs more and more. “How are families to survive on the current minimum wage?”, they ask.
This entire idea of having a minimum wage in the first place flies in the face of capitalism, that economic ideal that a free market benefits everyone not just the few. If I am willing to work for less than you, shouldn’t I be allowed to? That is how businesses work. If company A will do the job for less than company B company A will usually get the job and company B will be laying people off.
In a capitalistic society wages are determined by rarity. If there are few to apply, the wages increase and if there are many, the wages decrease. Often rarity is knowledge and education but in other fields like plumbing for example it is simply being willing to do a job few others will.
Minimum wage jobs are not for raising families on. If you started a family and thought you could survive on minimal wage you probably shouldn’t be having kids in the first place. The world has enough stupid people in it already. You being stupid isn’t a burden anyone else should be sharing with you especially your employer.
Many jobs that pay minimum wage are introductory jobs. They are a chance for young people and legal immigrants to gain experience in Americas workforce. People without skills and/or experience have the opportunity to gain these things at minimal wage jobs. So how much would you be willing to pay someone with no or very little work experience or marketable talents? To mop your kitchen floor or rake leaves. I bet it isn’t very much. Imagine having someone you’re paying $15 an hour to and having to teach them how to rake those leaves and work efficiently while you’re doing that. Oh yes and don’t forget to double that $15 an hour for all the taxes and regulations and insurance. I bet you can’t wait to pay that guy $30 an hour to rake leaves. Still you can turn a minimum wage job into a pretty impressive career like Herman Cain did as long as you can get your foot through the door.
At $15 an hour it is pretty unlikely that teenagers or other unskilled/lowskilled workers are going to get work. Either the establishment is going to get a lot more picky about who gets to take your order or humans will be completely replaced and we are seeing a lot of the latter taking place in locations that have high minimum wages. And of course a few places will have to close their doors completely. Those disabled people you see working in some of those fast food restaurants and grocery stores? Yeah they’ll be going back on assistance. Those borderline people who always seem one step short of an asylum are gonna get unemployed quick and permanently too.
But this stuff is all temporary. Raising the minimum wage doesn’t actually raise the standard of living for the people it is supposed to help. See eventually everyones elses wages have to rise in comparison the only accomplishment is accelerated inflation. That means that giving minimal wages workers $15 an hour might eventually mean $20 Big Mac meals and $2,000 rent for an efficiency apartment. Maybe more. But those jobs that went to machines during the interim and closed businesses who couldn’t afford the $15 will be lost forever.
The point is that there is no positive outcome to raising a minimal wage and it could and should be argued that all minimum wage has the same results as mentioned above.