Lucy New Hampshire

We Need a Compromise on the Federal Minimum-Wage

Where can the US draw the line between supporting its low-income citizens without hindering economic growth?

Dear future president,

Injustice has been a significant theme of this ongoing election year, and a sliver of that injustice is considered to be income inequality. The idea that the gap between the rich and the poor is expanding is worrisome, particularly to the lower class. Some would argue that the root cause of income inequality lays in other issues, but many would say that the “unlivable” minimum wage has contributed to this great economic discrepancy. People holding minimum wage positions have continually felt that they should be paid more for their hourly work and that the current rate is not enough. To make matters more complex, both prominent political parties have addressed the problem of the low federal minimum wage with two radical ends of the spectrum: Democrats want to double the $7.25 rate, while Republicans want to maintain it. How can our country possibly draft a decent compromise with such moral division? How can we make a compromise that supports its citizens while not hindering economic growth?

In order to yield a solution, we must first analyze both sides of the issue. The Democratic Party has openly championed the $15 minimum wage. The notion that all businesses are deliberately robbing their workers of rightful compensation has been circulated by liberal campaigns, which has fueled the increased creation of labor unions and other means of worker resistance in recent years. However, the party’s main goal is to create a living wage for the lower class, which would further eliminate poverty in the US. The group’s other objective may also be to wean these workers off of their dependency on government aid, which would then take less pressure off of government funds but would put more weight on the shoulders of businesses.

The opposing stance is held by the Republican Party, which tends to be pro-business and less open-minded about financially supporting struggling employees. Business owners, big and small, tend to fall under this ideological category, as they would suffer from a drastic federal minimum wage increase. For example, my father’s restaurant franchises in Seattle, Washington, saw a decrease in store traffic once the city’s $15 minimum wage was implemented. The restaurants were then forced to increase food prices to offset this, as the franchises operate like small businesses. While the employees make more money for working the same exact shifts, there is actually less money for the business to keep hiring new workers because more money is going to the preexisting workers. And lastly, the pay gap between the tenacious general manager and the entry-level worker shrinks, which diminishes the incentive to work longer hours for a possible promotion. As we can see here, there is a clear divergence in the mentality towards fixing poverty by changing the federal minimum wage.

I recognize that the answer to this dilemma is not so simple, but I am proposing an increase in the federal minimum wage by a maximum of $3. Although this may be unrealistic, I believe it’s our country’s duty to support the less fortunate. But at the same time, job-creators need to be given enough independence to run their businesses efficiently. We have to find common ground with both sides in this debate, and hopefully you, Future President, will keep this idea in mind.