You Decide: No, minimum wage should not be $15

An increase in the minimum wage would make a lot of people happy initially, but the long-term effects of this kind of change would be detrimental to most Americans making near or at minimum wage.

Before I continue, I want to set the record straight regarding a misconception about the minimum wage. The minimum wage is not intended to be a living wage.

A living wage is what people earn once they’ve progressed in their jobs and have learned skills and leadership and can support themselves independently or as a growing family in America.

With so many minors getting jobs while still in high school, it would be unreasonable to pay them what they would need to make a living. They are still not adults, and most don’t need to be making a living wage to get by.

Some say that raising the minimum wage would stimulate the economy and encourage economic growth. But when looking at the idea of a $15 minimum wage through different perspectives, it is evident that the issues it would cause outweigh the short-term solutions.

Teenagers can say goodbye to their retail or fast-food jobs because businesses will have no interest in investing $15 an hour into workers who just got out of high school and have little to no workforce skills.

To maintain their profit margins, businesses would have to downsize, and the youngest, most inexperienced workers would go first. The few that remained would make $15 an hour, which is great news to them, but what about the people in the business who just got
promoted to manager and saw a pay raise that took them to $15 an hour?

Suddenly, the worker who worked for years to get $15 an hour is shoved to the bottom of the ladder again.

There is no denying that these businesses could go without unskilled young workers. In recent years, we have seen the implementation of kiosks for ordering food in-stores or using your phone, as well as self-check-out aisles at supermarkets.

Robots don’t need to be paid, and when looking at things through the business lens, investing in new technologies only helps them save and make more money. We all know what this means – a rise in unemployment.

Another concern that must be addressed is the impact this wage increase would have on small businesses.

Around half of all small businesses fail within their first five years because they’ve run out of money. If the government intervenes and forces these businesses to pay $15 an hour to their workers, then they wouldn’t have many workers, and those workers wouldn’t be getting many hours.

How are small businesses supposed to grow in this country if they are forced to pay brand new workers a living wage? Start-up costs are high enough already.

People should consider all sides of this national issue before forming an opinion. They must consider all perspectives and outlooks and the plethora of reasons for keeping it the same or raising it.

If we raise the minimum wage now, we will see young, unskilled Americans without jobs or the opportunities to become strong, able leaders in the workforce.

The minimum wage is not meant to be lived off of – it is meant to give young people opportunities to grow, gain experience and necessary workplace skills and leadership they need to get promoted and work their way up to a living wage.

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