Dear Future President,
As a teenager and the next generation of voters, there is an issue that I believed must be addressed during your term. An issue that will impact the core of our nation: its economy. I believe that the minimum wage should not be raised despite the long-held belief that it will reduce poverty and improve the standard of living.
Since 2006, minimum wage started increasing and still is. While we’ve seen both the democratic and republican view on this problem, we should rely on facts and not political opinions. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour. It was initially proposed to stabilize the economy, protect workers, and help lift families out of poverty. However, if we look deeper, who has it really helped?
Studies show that the raising of minimum wage will force businesses like fast food restaurants and retail stores to boost their prices. A 2004 review by CATO Institute of more than 20 minimum wage studies looking at the price effects found that a 10 percent increase in the minimum wage raises food by up to 4 percent. As a result, high prices really don’t appease customers, so it is impossible to keep businesses running.
Economically, raising the minimum wage is not beneficial. Money does not come from thin air. This money is coming out from somewhere and usually comes from cutting down employees. Not only does it mean no job, it also makes entry-level occupations harder to find. According to the Journalist's Resource, “ Many minimum wage earners are under 25 and have less than a highschool diploma.” This means that many are lower-skilled workers, and are probably in or soon graduating from high school. Without the ability to get the experience from a job they need, how will they prepare for harder jobs? If the goal is to lower unemployment rates, raising the minimum wage is the exact opposite of what we should be doing.
Across the 50 states, it is quite difficult to maintain a set salary; realistically, it is impossible. Each state’s cost of living varies, and no doubt $7.25 might be too much or too little for some states. However, if we want to raise the minimum wage to alleviate poverty, then there are better ways to approach this situation. For example, economic research from the University of Georgia found that an expansion of the economic income tax credit (EITC) was associated with a boost in earnings and employment for single mothers. In other words, an earned income through taxes. Those working at minimum wage are eligible to apply for this national program. According to the IRS, “It is a benefit for low income workers; a tax credit means more money in your pocket and sometimes reduces the amount of taxes you owe.” Money will definitely not be coming from thin air and will help reduce inflation.
In a few years, I will be able to apply for a job. Since most higher-skilled employers probably won’t hire a fifteen or sixteen year old, I’ll likely be working at a minimum wage salary profession. Although it does sound desirable to have a high wage, it could cause many repercussions that the citizens of this nation will not be expecting. While raising the minimum wage will reduce income inequality, those employed in these jobs should not receive close to the same pay as someone who has gone to college since it requires little to no skill. In truth, the skills that would be required at jobs in stores like this is not worth the money that employees are receiving. After all, raising the minimum wage is merely a way to make ignorant Americans happy for a short period of time. As president, will you just let this situation sit around? It is time to stop the raising of minimum wage, to take matters into your own hands, and do what we all know is best for this country.