I can appreciate the spirit by which I believe the proposal for a $15/hour minimum wage is being made; however, I think it’s short-sighted. Increasing someone’s annual wages to be over $30,000 when they have a family with kids to support is a noble idea, but it’s missing the whole context of our economic system. Some may suggest that it’s the greed of a business owner that would put someone in opposition to this increase, but I would argue that keeping minimum wage reasonable helps all employees. I would not consider a flat $15/hour minimum wage across the country as appropriate for every location and industry.
Part-time jobs that are seasonal and require limited skill are excellent for high-schoolers or college kids looking to fill a gap or start earning money. These part-time jobs help a business fill the gap to support their business’s growth and provide more opportunities to hire full-time employees due to increased revenue. If a company had to increase their hourly rate for these seasonal workers, they would have to cut back on paying their full-time workers to make up the difference. The other option is to continue paying their full-time workers the same rate while increasing their seasonal workers’ pay. These solutions could result in closing the business, and now nobody has a job. By the government intervening to “help” one person, they potentially put everyone out of work (including the person they are trying to help).
A federally mandated minimum wage increase to $15/hour also can limit America’s export business. If we can’t be competitive in the international market by producing in America, businesses will move outside the US to be competitive. These wage increases will also hinder an American company from being competitive within the US compared to a company that outsources its labor to cheaper international markets. By creating opportunity (which I believe is the government’s role) for American businesses to be competitive in the marketplace, both nationally and internationally, we increase the citizens of the United States economic potential.
The other problem you introduce is devaluing the work that the people earning over $15/hour are doing. Suppose a person with zero experience starts at an entry-level position at the same rate or slightly less than the person who has worked their way up with multiple years of experience. How will that affect the morale of the experienced worker? What is the motivation for the worker to advance? The result is more people on unemployment, therefore placing an enormous burden on the taxpayer.
In an unprecedented time like this, where we have a world-wide pandemic along with governmental overreach that has crippled the small business, our economy cannot afford another blow like this to American companies. Over the last decade, I have watched the consumer push for micro-business in the agriculture and food industry. I imagine it’s no different in other sectors also. The consumer has opposed large corporation farms and giant food companies. As a result, we saw a movement of farm-to-table, buy local, micro-breweries and the push to buy smaller. However, past government overreach, which increased regulation, resulted in smaller operations going out of business or consolidating into bigger organizations. This new proposal for a $15 minimum wage will stifle the entrepreneurial spirit in America and result in more giant corporations. It is the entrepreneurial spirit that creates jobs and puts money back into the local economy.
I am all for creating opportunity, but I am opposed to a mandated $15/hour minimum wage across the board. This drastic wage hike will increase the cost of goods and bring us back to the same problem.