The untouchable job, working at a fast food chain or a supermarket, is “below” people. This sense of superiority is rooted in the inability of a minimum wage job to provide adequate living standards for employees. In some instances, the unemployed may not find work for an entire year. According to some, this lack of workers finding jobs within a reasonable time is just flat-out due to a lack of jobs. Although in some instances jobs may be unavailable and thus not impacted by an increased minimum wage, a raise in the minimum wage would improve the economy through increased worker confidence, increase the sustainability of the minimum wage, and decrease poverty.
There may not be enough jobs. If employers aren’t hiring, it doesn’t matter if workers are getting paid an increase of three dollars an hour. A lack of jobs may be a reason why the unemployment rate is so high, but unemployment is also affected by minimum wage. Phrased differently, more jobs may open up in a stronger economy because more people can afford to buy more. An increase would be a variation of Keynesian economics. Although the government isn’t spending money, it is affecting the rate at which money changes hands. The strength of the economy is determined by the rate of exchange of dollars. Therefore, the strength of the economy would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage.
The minimum wage is a maximum sentence, but it doesn’t need to be. Many people view minimum wage jobs not as a means to an end, but as an end to an end. In other words, when someone looking for a job can only find one that pays minimum wage, he or she may stop looking or not apply because minimum wage jobs are seen as “bottom of the barrel.” Thus, an increase in the minimum wage would increase worker confidence. People who feel that they are doing ”real” work are more likely to participate in the economy. Although minimum wage jobs are obviously real, the perception that a minimum wage job will never lead to anything is a factor in the percentage of unemployed people that don’t find work within the year. This increase could bring a half-million job increase.
The current minimum wage is not sustainable income. The cost of living is currently below the minimum wage, and in some cases, welfare benefits exceed the minimum wage. This ties in with the incentive to work, because workers can earn more money by not working. Clearly, welfare cannot be removed, because too many people depend on it. Yes, welfare does deter employment, but a higher minimum wage would incentivize people to work. This is basic economics. People are willing to work to improve their life, but working shouldn’t earn more unemployment.
Finally, an increase in the minimum wage would drastically decrease poverty across the nation. Mike Konczal from the Washington Post writes, “…raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, as many Democrats are proposing in 2014, would reduce the number of people living in poverty by 4.6 million.” Employers have the ability to determine wages, because there will always be somebody else to take that person’s place. Although unions exist, those living in poverty are often not introduced to the means to gain support or the threat of somebody taking the job nullifies the worker’s goal of getting a raise. Therefore, if employers won’t do it, something must be done to confront the rising wage differences. If the people won’t, the government must.
All in all, the supermarket bagger, drive-through worker, and even the person in the costume will always be there. We will always need groceries, people will still rely on high caloric foods, and young kids will need to be entertained. However, we cannot forget that these people exist. We cannot forget that the state of the economy should not affect a person’s ability to put food on the table. Workers should enjoy their work, not struggle through the sentence.
[Image Attribute: Think Progress]