Should the Minimum Wage Be Raised Again?

by Jessica Sommerfield · 67 comments

The minimum wage is currently $7.25, but many are pushing to have it raised to at least $9 — if not higher. The current minimum has been in effect since 2009, when it was raised from $6.55. There’s no definite timeline for minimum wage increases; the decision is made by Congress and can occur anywhere from every three to seven years.

The purpose of the minimum wage is twofold: to protect low-income workers from being exploited, and to keep up with the increased cost of living due to inflation.

Economic conservatives, however, are warning that another raise could actually hurt the employment rate while doing little to help the quality of life for those below the poverty line.

Minimum wage increases are always a controversial topic, so here’s what you need to know:

How do minimum wage increases affect businesses?

Whenever the minimum wage increases, businesses are forced to budget more for payroll. This, in turn, forces them to lay off workers, limit new hiring, and raise prices. The effect is particularly acute for small businesses that don’t have as much leeway in their budgets. Even large companies (which aren’t, in theory, as strongly impacted by the raises) are reluctant to raise their prices, because of the risk of losing business to their competitors.

People in favor of a minimum wage increase insist that larger companies are profiting too much at the expense of their workers, and should be willing to take a profit cut because it’s the right thing to do.

How do minimum wage increases affect the economy?

If businesses are forced to pay their workers more than they can afford, they’ll either stop hiring or lay off workers. This increases the unemployment rate AND makes it more difficult for the already unemployed to get a job.

Also, if prices rise because of a minimum wage increase, its purpose has been defeated. Not only are those who are making minimum wage forced to pay higher prices — everyone else’s cost of living increases, too.

On the other hand, wage increases are designed to stimulate the economy by allowing low-income workers to spend more money. If wage increases aren’t immediately affected by unemployment and price increases, we should see a sudden spike in economic growth. Conservatives warn that this is only short-lived and doesn’t really solve the problem or help the economy.

How do minimum wage increases affect those in poverty?

The ultimate question behind the minimum wage is whether or not it actually helps those it’s supposed to. Conservatives claim that only a very small percentage (less than 10%) of those in poverty actually benefit from a minimum wage increase. The problem, they say, is assuming that those who are making minimum wage are living independently. Most minimum wage workers, however, are in their late teens to twenties and still living at home — so a minimum wage increase does little to help those who actually need it.

Some still claim that greedy executives are to blame for their unwillingness to spend more on wages and open up hiring so unskilled workers can get jobs and better themselves. These minimum wage advocates are pushing for more government regulation of big business.

It’s also important to consider the need for more education opportunities and skilled training, so workers can qualify for higher-paying positions and careers instead of trying to support families on minimum-wage jobs.

In other words, decreasing the cost and increasing the accessibility of higher education and skilled trade training might be a more effective method of helping the unemployed and low-income workers.

While the minimum-wage debate continues, no definite moves for an increase are in sight.

What do you think — should the minimum wage be raised? If so, how much?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • harry black says:

    Totally ridiculous and senseless. Nobody, no matter how unskilled should have to work a full time job for poverty wages. Please unsubscribe!

  • jack says:

    my son graduated last year from highschool he got a job earning 7.25 dollars per hour .After taxes an other deductions he earned 6 dollars an
    hour.He applied for other jobs and they said he had no training How was he going to get training if no one is willing to train him
    He doesn’t have the skills or money to go to college.Our country was built on the blue collar worker but now they are the forgotten worker
    When I was in the military there was one officer and 60 enlisted men

  • Arminius Aurelius says:

    Minimum Wage …… as a former business man who had 5 restaurants , I would say that minimum wage is paid to those who are still in school or hose who have no skills and therefore have little to offer ……….But in order to be fair , the minimum wage should be adjusted accordingly with the inflation rate . The politicians and the unions all demand increases because of inflation . So why not the average unskilled employee . Whats fair is fair . Whenever my costs would go up , I of course would have to increase the cost of my meals accordingly . The problem is when unions get Greedy and demand obscene wage increases , that must be passed on to the customers . That is what happened in Detroit when an unskilled assembly line worker earned $ 75.00 an hour and the cost was passed on to the consumer , Detroit sold fewer and fewer cars . Now the high paying jobs have been off shored to 3 rd world countries and thanks to the unions the middle class is rapidly becoming obsolete .
    Welcome to the New World Order .

  • Phil says:

    On my morning run I listened to an old podcast Dave Ramsey replayed about Occupy Wall Street. He had OCW people call in, and their double standards were amazing. One of my favorite it is bankers make too much money, but when a caller was asked about Lady Gaga, the same did not apply.

    If you have a podcasting app on your smart phone, download the more recent Dave Ramsey Dec 5 show if possible.

    • Clementine Isabella Sophie Florence Cecelia Marie Grace Emily Charlotte Smythe-Worthington says:

      I think bankers are paid sufficiently, I think teaching is overpaid.
      Anyone can teach except from sex offenders
      but some don’t have what it takes to be a banker or a heart surgeon.

    • Clementine Isabella Sophie Florence Cecelia Marie Grace Emily Charlotte Smythe-Worthington says:

      Why should I pay for your kids to attend a stupid public school when I educated mine at a private school?

      Why should I pay for your kid to obtain a free education when I pay for all my 5 kids and my niece?

      This is basically the same concept when discussing people using government resources.

  • Phil says:

    “So it’s continued subsidies, or increased wages. That’s our choice.” I want you to know, that this makes some sense. But I don’t think it has to be an either/or situation. I think there can be a third choice, and that is to let the market drive what people get paid.

    There is a shortage of educated people to do the jobs that need to be done right here in America. I used computer programming as an example, but that was just a metaphor. Scientists, engineers, teachers, mathematicians, doctors (although I can’t recommend anyone be a doc anymore with more government interference…but there will be a HUGE shortage here). You get the idea.

    So the third choice is this: work your current job and rock it, while going back to school and furthering your education. You will get out of poverty.

    On a side note, I am with Newt Gingrich…if we are going to pay for 99 weeks of unemployment, can’t you be enrolled at a community college!?!

    I think your statement is too short term (what do we do TODAY, rather than, how do I show people how to get out of poverty tomorrow and years from now). And yes, I understand that there will always have to be people stocking the shelves at Walmart, cleaning the floors at the local movie theatre, etc. But when more people become lawyers, scientists, teachers, etc. there will be fewer people to do the other jobs, and their value will come up, and they will get paid more too. And do you know who will pay them more, the people making all the money.

    But if you really think these corporations are evil, then start your own corporation. Pay them more. Let me know how it works out. I am not trying to me mean/cynical when I say this…really, give it a go. The fact of the matter is Walmart is a great corporation. I personally have worked at a place like Walmart (it was called Shopko), and I appreciate the opportunities they provided.

    • Chris says:

      I absolutely agree with Newt Gingrich on that point, too. If we are going to provide financial aid of any type, job training should be part of the package, unemployed or underemployed, whichever applies. It would be wonderful if a program of that type were not some bloated, ineffective government program but something that actually helped people.

      We are stuck determining what needs to be done TODAY becuase we, as a country, have not taken the time to do the hard work up to now. Letting schools place tenure over performance has obviously not helped our country. Many, many other factors apply, this is just one detail, but I think it’s huge.

      The ‘little people’ are not the only ones who can ‘abuse’ food stamps, either. In a few states, food stamps can be used at fast food restaurants. If you think it was the ‘poor people’ lobby who instigated those changes, think again. Waste and grift exist any time government subsidies exist, all the way from the corporate to the personal level.

      Finally, I have a good example of a corporation that pays employees well and prospers – Costco. I know of others, including my own company that I’m very fortunate to work for. I know there are not enough good jobs for all, though, and it’s going to cost a lot in terms of time, money, effort and thought for any progress to be made.

      But now the only questions facing us are which way do we want to pay, higher wages or higher taxes. The hard questions are not even asked.

    • Clementine Isabella Sophie Florence Cecelia Marie Grace Emily Charlotte Smythe-Worthington says:

      You should read this and see what Wal-Mart actually does and do some research on how bad their company really are.
      Child Labour, 200 deaths due to negligence, discrimination against disabled people and pregnant women and have been involved in slavery.

      Wal-Mart as a company suck and I have high standards and shop organically everywhere I possibly can.

    • Grace Claudia Autumn Rosie Jemima Esmerelda Holly Cecilia Gordon-Lennox says:

      Community college is a waste, anyone gets in and it is nothing special.
      Go to a Ivy-League school and Oxford and Cambridge.

  • Phil says:

    This is not my blog. The author’s will be disappointed.

    Sorry about your brother. No doubt safety nets should and do exist for him, and the taxpayers should help out the truly needy. Nobody disputes that.

    I am worried about the people who rely on government waaay too much, like this guy:

    • Chris says:

      The sheer number of people who need to be helped can’t all become programmers, Phil.

      It’s not uncommon for Wal-Mart or McDonald’s employees to receive food stamps and other assistance.

      Last month a Wal-Mart store made the news when they took up a food collection for their own employees.

      The corporate owners of these companies are benefiting from policies that restrict the earnings of their staff, and we pay for it.

      I absolutely agree – we need a complete overhaul of our education system – I don’t believe we teach our children the skills they need to find good paying jobs and take care of themselves.

      But the programming jobs that exist are largely being taken by India and China. America can not compete with those countries ability to educate their populations. Even if that were not the case, there simply are not enough programming jobs for all of the Wal-Mart and fast food workers out there.

      So until we figure it out, and provide relevant education for all of our children, while at the same time driving businesses to create new, quality jobs rather than thousands of low paying service jobs, we are paying for these people’s lives.

      So it’s continued subsidies, or increased wages. That’s our choice.

      • Paul says:

        My kids are learning Microsoft Office and how to program C in our homeschool. We do it online for a couple of bucks per month without any government intervention. We can compete with the best.

        • Chris says:

          That’s wonderful – there are resources, certainly, where we can teach ourselves and our children important work and skills.

          If our government is charged with teaching children, however, we should probably ask that the teaching be relevant and effective. It’s wasteful as it is, either the Department of Education needs to go away, or we need drastic, sweeping changes to allow for all children to have access to relevant education.

          • Phil says:

            Agreed. No more Dept of Education. I would love for the voucher system to take off. I currently teach at a mostly poor, Hispanic populated school. I have some great kids who are at this school because of circumstances beyond their control, and they deserve a better school.

            I am also reminded by how mostly liberal-minded democrats want or choose racists schools. They put in place the politicians who protect the teachers unions that make it so there is a lack of school choice. Thus, white kids on one side of the tracks, minorities on the other. And they say conservatives are racists.

        • Clementine Isabella Sophie Florence Cecelia Marie Grace Emily Charlotte Smythe-Worthington says:

          Compete with my kids one who hold 3 PhD’s and 2 Masters.

  • Meghan says:

    My little example above wasn’t of some hypothetical person – it’s my brother. He has worked harder than I have every single day of his life, and could also collect SSDI but doesn’t. I’m not in the business of grading disabilities but if you were missing muscles and tendons all over your body, perhaps you’d rather be missing some hearing. He applies for other jobs but companies don’t hire him, regardless of the fact that he has been with the same company a long time. It’s obvious why. I stand by what I said above.

    What I don’t like is crazy political leanings.

  • Phil says:

    Meghan, according to my grades coming out of high school, I had below average intelligence (trust me, they were bad). But I went through community college, and worked harder than I ever did before (and of course, some of it was remedial classes that I didn’t learn/pass in high school). Then I want to a 4 year university and worked harder than I ever did before. It took over 5 years, but I got that college degree that no one thought I would get. Today I also have my Masters and I am Nationally Board Certified (if you google Nat Board Certification for Teachers you will find out how hard it is).

    And since you brought up disabilities, I will tell you about mine. I can’t hear worth a salt’s lick. I met with an audiologist who once said, “I am amazed that you are understanding 80% of what I am saying.” Being born with that hearing loss rather than getting it later in life has allowed me to compensate, but it is a daily struggle. But do I sit at home and collect disability? Do I sit around and feel sorry for myself? No, I get up everyday and go to a place called work.

    Aptitude? Really, did you go there? We are going to let people not succeed based on aptitude? We are going to say to the guy who is struggling, “you are not naturally geared for this type of work. Go home and collect food stamps.” How about stick it out! How about find a new job! I didn’t have an aptitude to learn keyboarding in high school (because I failed the class), but today I am a computer teacher!

    Finally, the free market does work. Are there ups and downs? Sure. But even the poor have a microwave, TV with cable, internet, and a smart phone. Heck, their kids 13-year old kids have smart phones!

    I believe you want people on government assistance. It makes you feel good to know you voted to take someone else’s hard work and sacrifice and redistribute it. I want them to use it if and when they need it. But to really lift them out of poverty, you need the free market to work without much government interference. I mean, how come there are more people on poverty after you elected Obama? How is that working out? Ever since the “War on Poverty” started with that racist Lyndon B Johnson the same rate of poverty has existed, yet billions if not trillions have been spent, err redistributed. Seriously, you liberals are making things worse, not better.

    • Clementine Isabella Sophie Florence Cecelia Marie Grace Emily Charlotte Smythe-Worthington says:

      I was born with dyspraxia and ADHD.
      I didn’t mess around like you did in high school, I played 7 instruments and 3 sports and was involved in Drama and debating and actually got offered full rides to only 6 Ivy Leagues and a couple of non-Ivy’s.
      I went to Ivy-Leagues and did not go to a community college, I had a perfect GPA and I volunteered and spent time in foreign countries building schools and hospitals.
      I commited myself unlike you to aspire to do something more than be a teacher (which I thought I wanted and my whole family thought it was not deserving enough for me and I worked hard for Harvard Law and Business school Yale med school and doing a PhD in Maths and Psychology). I got a teaching degree part time from Columbia
      I am looking to get a master’s degree in English from Columbia. and it;s bad that you did not try.
      Don’t act like you’re God because you went to a community college with bad grades.

      Many of my friends have found a job and did a teaching degree as a part time degree because it is seen as a easy 2nd backup degree.

    • Clementine Isabella Sophie Florence Cecelia Marie Grace Emily Charlotte Smythe-Worthington says:

      And by the way Phil it’s easy the Nat Board Certification my friend did that alongside a Triple Major and it was easy for her.

      It’s easy not hard.

    • Clementine Isabella Sophie Florence Cecelia Marie Grace Emily Charlotte Smythe-Worthington says:

      People like you make me so irate!
      You belittle the poor and used your disillusioned beliefs about them. Then you brag about a stupid COMMUNITY COLLEGE degree (anyone can get that I have a autistic cousin with 2 PhD for God’s sake from MIT and Princeton).

      But even the poor have a microwave, TV with cable, internet, and a smart phone. Heck, their kids 13-year old kids have smart phones!

      You are just generalising a group of people if you know History (I took 3 AP classes in History and I am looking to get my bachelors in it) then you would know generalising people always works out bad and not helping people (Nazi Germany).

      Aptitude? Really, did you go there? We are going to let people not succeed based on aptitude? We are going to say to the guy who is struggling, “you are not naturally geared for this type of work. Go home and collect food stamps.” How about stick it out! How about find a new job! I didn’t have an aptitude to learn keyboarding in high school (because I failed the class), but today I am a computer teacher!

      Wow you are a computer teacher (sarcasm), stop trying to be high and mighty over this little thing no offence but I know so many people who do WAY more than you. I have friends who have looked at your blog and comments thinking you are poor (the same way you look at poor people).

      There are always people; richer, smarter and kinder than you and people who are; poorer, dumber and meaner than you.

      I believe you want people on government assistance. It makes you feel good to know you voted to take someone else’s hard work and sacrifice and redistribute it. I want them to use it if and when they need

      I do want people to have help, there are more PEOPLE than JOBS, next thing you’re probably complain when a immigrant takes your job (I believe you are that type of person).

      I pay just about 1 million in taxes you probably pay a lot less. My husband pays 1.5 million and to be honest I want people to have help.
      And when you want to debate with people don’t bring your life into this to try and make a point because you failing high-school was your fault and don’t try to impress people by taking some remedial classes because you were dumb.

      Any fool can pass high-school, it’s the funding for college who can.

      I have a friend who got 3 PhD’s and had breast cancer and was deaf in both ears and lost her arm.

      • Clementine Isabella Sophie Florence Cecelia Marie Grace Emily Charlotte Smythe-Worthington says:

        I know what work goes into it and IT IS NOT HARD WORK to get the Nat Certification to people like you who aren’t used to hard work and failed high school it probably is. I wrote a 300 pages for my PhD and my husband wrote nearly 400 pages for his!

        The stupid NAT is easy compared to that and I was studying Science and Mathematics so please Phil, you can complain after;
        You’ve been to Harvard and Yale and Princeton and Columbia
        You have written 300 or 400 pages to get your PhD
        You have finished high school 2 years early
        You have finished college a year early
        You have got multiple degrees (PhD’s, MD’s and Bachelor’s).
        You have actually went to a good school and not a community college.

  • property marbella says:

    To protect low-income people from being exploited, and to keep pace with the increased cost of living due to inflation is also to be able to raise prices in the construction of buildings so the banks can lend more money every year, politicians and the banks to protect and help each other always.

    • Phil says:

      You can’t be exploited if you choose to not work for someone for the wage they are offering. It is called freedom. And it works surprisingly well. If I am making $7 per hour, I work hard, show another employer what I can do for them, and they offer me more money. I learn more skills, show another employer what I can do for them, and then they offer me more money. Meanwhile I am building more skills, gaining more responsibility, and becoming more valuable. I keep my resume’ updated, show another employer what I can do for them, and then make even more money. See, I just protected your “low-income” people from being “exploited”. I got them a pay raise, and we didn’t even need government intervention to make it happen. You’re welcome.

      • Chris says:

        Phil, you say you’re a teacher? I’m almost afraid to ask what you teach. I would only hope that you encourage your students to think critically, evaluate the information available to them and make their own conclusions, rather than just telling them what they should think.

        The idea of ‘wishing’ this was not a political issue does not solve that problem. There is no free market, so just saying ‘the market will fix it’ is a fallacy, such a market does not exist, and it won’t in our lifetimes.

        We need to first recognize that the plight of the adult working poor means they can, and do, work full-time – while being unable to fully support themselves, on even a modest level.

        Then, we need to determine in what way we are comfortable paying for the lives of others – as an increased wage or continued government subsidies.

        • Phil says:

          Uh oh, a conservative-thinking teacher. We can’t have that! Just so you know, my co-workers hate my political insights just as much as you do.

          I teach my middle school computer students to out earn whatever wage the government sets as a minimum. I teach them to sit up tall, how to format Word documents, why Excel is an excellent spreadsheet and tool, and how to set up a budget. I teach them that it is ok to have free and reduced lunch, but someday I hope that their kids aren’t on it because I am tired of paying for it but mostly because that means they have made it. That means they are earning a wage that blows mine out of the water, and there are plenty of jobs (google it). I teach them to code, because we don’t have enough coders in the US and it is their ticket out of this low-income neighborhood they live in (google it). I let them know it is not ok for their parents to drive a car better than mine while they are on food stamps and have an iPhone, and especially when the kid has an iPhone. I teach them that if they save and invest a little over $100 per month that in 40 years it will make them a millionaire, but if I am half wrong they can keep the $500,000 and still have a great retirement.

          But what I need to do is a better job of teaching them not to listen to people like you. Because you carry the type of mentality that keeps them in poverty. I want them to prosper, and I show them the way. You’re welcome

      • Meghan says:

        And if your students have below average intelligence and can only work retail for $9.15 an hour (full-time) because they aren’t the best and brightest but they are dependable and work hard, then what? Add a disability that prevents this person from working manual labor jobs that could pay more. What did their freedom get them? It got them poverty, that’s what. It got them food stamps, Medicaid, WIC if they accidentally got someone pregnant and have a little one they didn’t abort or give up, financial assistance if they decide to struggle through school. Maybe the electric company helps with his winter utilities. You and I as taxpayers are supporting this worker, and potentially, his family. Not everyone is as bright as you, and if you’re actually a teacher, you know that there are many out there who can’t do what you can. You can create drive, responsibility, etc but you can’t always create aptitude. If a full time job provides a salary that’s under the federal poverty limits for one person, there’s a problem. I don’t agree that there should be an increase to $15 an hour, but our current limit is too low. Frankly, if the free market worked, I wouldn’t be paying for these people’s food.

        • Grace Claudia Autumn Rosie Jemima Esmerelda Holly Cecilia Gordon-Lennox says:

          Anyone can become a teacher though and being a teacher is not ‘intelligent’, and I do not believe Phil is bright. I have friends who have accomplished more being blind and born with downs syndrome. I have a friend who works as a scientist and he has Dyslexia and insomnia and a anxiety disorder.

          I believe that you and I as taxpayers should help. A teacher probably eanrs about 40,000 a year and pays what about fifteen thousand pounds in tax. I pay a million and my husband pays 1.5. You’re not missing out on much but I am.

  • AD says:

    This blog suddenly seems to have forgotten its mission. Please see the description listed to the right of title Money Ning – a personal finance blog…. Until very recently, this hasn’t been a political blog. I’ve enjoyed it and found it useful. The recent article about food assistance and now this one about worker wages set up a political issue as D vs R, and skewed its information to a conservative political viewpoint. Don’t we have enough nastiness and meanness in other blogs and media? Do we really need it here, too? What happened to personal finance information?

    I’m done reading this blog. It appears to have had a hostile takeover.

    • Phil says:

      I wish this issue wasn’t political either. I wish it were market-driven, but the government made it a political decision. What should be freedom between two parties (the employer and the employee) has been taken over by the government. Asking us to not make political statements is impossible, because it is a political issue! Too bad it is, but it is.

  • Jonathan says:

    I hear lots of people bemoaning the use of the minimum wage, insisting that it will drive companies to the wall if it increases, and yet in the years that it’s been in place have you seen companies closing in their droves? No. If companies can’t afford to operate because of an increase in the minimum wage then they shouldn’t be in business. I’m a huge supporter of great freedoms and tax breaks for business but I firmly believe that as Henry Ford said himself “A Fair Day’s Pay for a fair Days Work.”

    • Paul says:

      Companies have either closed, automated work, or laid off employees because of the increase in minimum wage. Why do you say that they shouldn’t be in business? The government shouldn’t be the judge of that. If you don’t like how a business pays its employees, then don’t work or shop there.

      • Phil says:

        Paul, I couldn’t agree more. Simple freedom of choice rather than using the government and their powers to force change upon people, which ultimately does more damage to the people it is purportedly trying to help.

        And again, Jonathan and others who think like him can always go start their own company/corporation, and hire the same people he thinks he is protecting.

        • Clementine Isabella Sophie Florence Cecelia Marie Grace Emily Charlotte Smythe-Worthington says:

          How about instead of focusing on minimum wage we focus on the poor kid in a 3rd world country who gets paid pennies to make our clothing (not me I buy organic clothing which the people who make it are in good conditions).
          You people moan at the minimum wage yet you do not focus on the sweat shops actually you probably would complain because you’d be forced to pay more for your clothes and not have enough saved for your kids community college degree which you also complain about.

  • David @ says:

    In Hong Kong, they raised the minimum wages too, and an interesting phenomenon developed:

    Restaurants had a hard time hiring people to wash dishes, because workers figured they can earn just as much money doing “easier” jobs, like being a cashier or a waiter. As a result, washing dishes at restaurants is now a relatively high income job over there.

    Of course, restaurants all over increased their prices too due to high rents and high labor costs.

    Who wins here? It’s hard to say!

  • Phil says:

    I have two college degrees, and two summers ago I delivered pizza. Good enough for you? And I felt great doing it.

    • David @ says:

      I worked at a fish and chips chain when I was a teenager too. The 10 hour shifts were tough, but it was one of the best jobs I ever had because it motivated me to work hard enough to never need a job at a fast food chain.

    • Clementine Isabella Sophie Florence Cecelia Marie Grace Emily Charlotte Smythe-Worthington says:

      I have 3 degrees and am aspiring to gain two more and I spent 3 years volunteering :).

  • Steve says:

    If you were the worker, how would you feel. That says it all. And don’t say get another job. There will always be minimum wage workers or you would have to flip your now fries.

  • Phil says:

    Anyone ever read Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell? It is an expensive book, but it truly talks about economics without using numbers. It is amazing how government interferes without predicting the unexpected outcomes, or as I like to say, “they rock the boat and then act like they are the only ones who can save you from drowning.”

    By the way, do a google image search for Thomas Sowell. It may surprise you what this common-sense conservative looks like. Very refreshing.

  • ChrisCD says:

    The problem is the executive staff isn’t going to take a pay-cut to offset the increase in minimum wage. The company and share holders don’t want to make less $. As a result, they either do with less staff or raise prices. Neither helps anyone.

  • naiveknitter says:

    In recent articles when someone asks for a raise above minimum wage, the employer tries to find programs to help them make ends meet. Those programs are food stamps/WIC which is coming from our taxes. I don’t begrudge those programs to anyone who needs them, but am I not paying for it twice out of my income? My taxes go to part of these programs, if I buy from the vendor that pays the low wages I am in fact paying twice.

    I honestly don’t know the answer. I don’t even know how factual this article is.

    • Phil says:

      Wow, really good point. Self-reliance is just something that people don’t believe in much today.

      • Steve says:

        Self reliance has nothing to do with minimum wages. The person working long hours for minimum wage is self reliant. Not sure the relevance of your comment?

        • Phil says:

          Original poster mentions having to pay more in taxes to those who are not paying for basic needs themselves. I mention self-reliance, or, if it needs to be defined for you, providing basic needs for one’s self. How are they not relevant?

          • Clementine Isabella Sophie Florence Cecelia Marie Grace Emily Charlotte Smythe-Worthington says:

            I pay one million in taxes and think I should get my opinion loudly broadcasted because I probably pay more than some of you.
            THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE THAN JOBS and that’s a fact, the truth is the fast food industry and restaurants are more demanding in jobs.

            Blame the stupid US college education system, I grew up in the UK where my friends who could not afford school could because of the system the UK had.

            You go to uni for ‘free’ and then you pay the Government back only if you earn 21,000 pounds which is the US equivalent to (35-40 thousand dollars). The UK also have free health care the US as a country is extremely mismanaged financially ruined by present and past government and presidents and our ancestors (The Wall Street Crash, October 23rd 1929 anyone?).

            The US is the 7th richest country, and the UK is the 23rd.
            We have high crime rates and our residents have guns in their own homes. We have the poor not receiving much help. We have a rubbish education system (which is why I home schooled my kdis and sent them to the best private school). We have kids dying in SCHOOL and ON THE STREETS, we have civilians wielding guns ready to use. We have childhood obesity and it is a bad case in our country.
            I am glad my husband and I are moving to Switzerland.

    • Steve says:

      The answer is let the employer pay them a fair wage so you don’t have to subsidize it through taxes. Many companies pay so little their employees need help, such as Walmart, home of the richest family in the world. Think the executives would miss a little of their profits if those at the bottom got a little more. Everyone always criticizes those at the bottom, but gives a pass to those who could afford a little less.

      • Phil says:

        I hate the word “fair”. If my kids ever use that word above the age of 10 I have not done my job. Walmart needs to keep on doing what they are doing, and I cannot thank them enough for providing so many jobs to so many people so I don’t have to pay for people not to work.

        But if you feel that strongly against Walmart, go start another national chain, and then pay people more. I would thank you for doing that as well. Let me know how it goes.

        While we are discussing it, we need to remember what a great person Sam Walton was. Lived a simple life style and started something that people thought he was crazy for doing. I admire him.

        • Travis Pizel says:

          Phil, I just joined the MoneyNing staff writing team and my first post went up on Thursday. By reading your comments there, and on other posts I can tell you and I are going to get along fabulously. Looking forward to hearing more from you. 🙂

          • Phil says:

            Congrats on the new job. Hopefully they are paying you more than minimum wage 🙂

            In all seriousness though, this is a great blog. Keep up the good work.

        • Clementine Isabella Sophie Florence Cecelia Marie Grace Emily Charlotte Smythe-Worthington says:

          Phil you mention you are a teacher I make 50-100 times more than you (1 million), to me you are making minimum wage. Don’t be so high and mighty trying to brag about 2 degrees, I have 3 and my husband wields 5. And don’t be so rude about minimum wage workers when you earn pennies compared to other people.

  • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

    It’s definitely a tough question and one that I don’t believe there is an easy answer to. I’d love to think that raising the minimum wage would solve many problems, but I don’t believe that one bit. I can see pros/cons to both sides and believe the politicians in DC will just continue to play political games with it as opposed to trying to really solve issues.

  • adele says:

    No to raising it. Two things: it drives up costs, which will in turn depress hiring, and people should think in terms of getting themselves out of minimum wage range all together, not relying on it.

    • Phil says:

      Adele, you nailed it on the head. If you think about it, there is evidence today that young people can’t find jobs, because employers aren’t hiring. This is not good for today’s youth. Washing dishes, mowing lawns, and scrubbing floors was one of the best educations I have ever received. And kids today are just not getting it.

      Remember when Newt Gingrich suggested that kids could clean toilets at their schools and everyone flipped out! I think that would be great for my students, and my own kids! Great education, and it keeps them getting a better education.

      • britney says:

        Isn’t that use it up to the parents? I mean your parents should make you do chores. anyways I decide to get a job as soon as I was old enough to work, I liked working and I liked having my own money, but every kid shouldn’t work and go to school. Going to school and working can be hard.

        • Phil says:

          Should it be up to the parents? Sure! Better than being up to the government. But there is nothing wrong with work and going to school. And you are right, it can be hard. And you want it to be hard! I get up at 4:30 am and workout before I go to work. Is it hard? Yes! That is the point. I am doing what others don’t want to do…that is why I am successful. Successful people do what unsuccessful people don’t want to do!

          But if someone doesn’t want to work, that is fine with me. Just don’t ask me to pay for it. That is all I am asking.

          This is not to be confused with safety nets. If someone is working, has PAID INTO or will at some point PAY INTO the social security system and loses their job, I want them to take unemployment for a few months until they get a new job.

          • Clementine Isabella Sophie Florence Cecelia Marie Grace Emily Charlotte Smythe-Worthington says:

            Try working 80-120 hour work weeks whilst getting a second Master’s and maybe a second PhD.

            It should be up to the parents for their kid to find work.
            And really you’re a teacher, I pay way more taxes than you.
            My husband and I make 2 million and we pay about half of that in taxes so I have more reason to complain.

            And you think your life is hard you have it easy.

            Try handling taking SOMEBODY’S HEART out at 3am in the morning and then going to class at 10am…
            Try being put in a situation where you could potentially KILL someone if you make one mistake.
            Try telling somebody their kid may die.
            Try telling a family that their brother/sister/father/mother/cousin/grandmother/grandfather is dead.
            Try working as a junior doctor and having to tell someone that their baby is dead.
            Try dealing with women who are hysterical after miscarriages and all you want to do is cry because you know how they feel like.
            Try dealing with people who have cancer.
            Try working in a children’s hospital ward just surrounded by ill children, saddened that you cannot magically cure them.
            Try telling a child they may not live to be 13.
            Try telling a child there is a 89% chance they may die in a year.
            And thinking you are successful is kind of a ego boost for you.

      • Lillian Hundell says:

        Considering you barely passed high school and went to a community college I can honestly believe that washing dishes was your best experience.

      • Lillian Hundell says:

        But by your kids cleaning their schools toilets how will they fund their community college?

  • Phil says:

    Warrior, I agree that Americans need to eat less fast foods. But to say that I hope these jobs shouldn’t exist so that people will eat less fast foods is either missing the point, or muddling the issue.

    I prefer to keep the two issues separate. I personally have no problem with my kids working at McDonalds someday. I want those types of opportunities/jobs to exist for my kids. I just don’t want them to eat there too much.

    Obviously, there are some professions/industries I don’t want them to work for. Tobacco for instance. But fast food, I don’t mind.

  • The Warrior says:

    Even with how liberal I am, raising the minimum wage doesn’t help. Society as a whole “needing” less of these meaningless fast food jobs would help.

    Raising minimum wage will, within a year, just drive local prices up. There’s no stopping that.

    Now, if we ate 50% less fast food as a country, these jobs wouldn’t be available pushing people to get better jobs and/or increasing the average wage of the now-reduced fast food work force.

    just my thoughts…..

    The Warrior

  • Phil says:

    And really, would you rather a young 16 year old to make $7.25 an hour learning new skills and how to work, or have the minimum wage be raised to $9.00 per hour and she not get hired at all. Those are valuable years.

  • Phil says:

    This article asks the wrong question. It is not whether minimum wage should be raised, and if so, how much, but rather whether minimum wage should exist at all.

    Now as soon as I wrote that all the liberal democrats started imagining workers being exploited for $3 per hour. But the fact is, minimum wage is more likely to keep people earning very little money rather than freeing them up to challenge themselves to go make more. In other words, if there is no minimum wage, people will make critical decisions about their abilities to make money, what they are willing to work for, and how they can go earn more. They put their destiny in their hands, not the government bureaucrats.

    I love free-market principals. A business needs someone to go do a job. A potential employee needs to make money. They come to terms. Why? Because time is money and things need to get done. This employee/employer “Thank you” “Thank you” relationship is a beautiful thing, and does more to raise people’s income than government intervention.

    Don’t let the government dictate your lives people. Rise above (figuratively and monetarily). If my kids ever come to me and say, “Dad, I can make $7 an hour working at Walmart.” I am going to challenge them to double or even triple that. Who else can we work for? What business can we start?

    One more side note: As a teacher, I finally, after 15 years, have started taking summers off. No summer school for this guy. $30 an hour is not enough. I don’t work for less than $40, and $50 an hour really gets me in the door. But I paid a price to get there. Two college degrees and National Board Certification and coaching soccer for 8 years, not to mention taking more classes and writing more checks than a teacher should have to. I didn’t count on the government to bring me money…I went out and blew it out of the water. We should be teaching our young future workers to do the same.

    • Jon @ MoneySmartGuides says:

      Excellent reply. I never thought of it that way. It makes perfect sense though. We all benefit from improving our critical thinking skills. Heck, doing this might even make people realize how much they are paying for renting computers and furniture!

      • Phil says:

        I listen to Dave Ramsey almost every day, and I can’t tell you how much I believe him when he says poor people do poor people things, and rich people do rich people things. If you are doing rent to own, you are an idiot (I am sorry if that hurts anyone’s feelings).

        And later, when you lose your job, and I am paying for your food stamps because you didn’t save up and pay for your furniture…really!?!

        The stocks for these rent to own companies is almost always a “buy”. So far I haven’t bought them because I morally am opposed to way the company screws over idiots. But I have to say, if I have to keep paying for idiot’s food stamps because they didn’t plan well and make good decisions, maybe I could use the revenue from these rent to own company to off set the stupidity of people making bad decisions.

        • Clementine Isabella Sophie Florence Cecelia Marie Grace Emily Charlotte Smythe-Worthington says:

          Rich people do rich people’s thing (enlighten me) and a teaching degree is very easy I am attending Columbia obtaining my master’s degree in Education whilst working as a surgeon with 3 other degrees.
          Making fun of poor people is not right, and I believe you should know how it feels you are poor I make just over 100 times more of what you make in a hour (450 an hour) and I save lives as a cardiac surgeon.

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