Although some people are arguing that raising minimum wage will lead to higher unemployment, I don't agree. I think the minimum wage of $7.25 is not a fair wage for anyone other than perhaps a person who is paid to sleep through their shift. Most businesses should be able to hire people at a minimum wage of $10 an hour.
As a parent with two college students who need to earn money to pay their way through school, I would be thrilled to see the minimum wage raised at least to $9 an hour. During his State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama asked Congress to raise the minimum wage to $9, according to a recent The Daily Ticker piece. He says raising the minimum wage will help fight poverty. Critics argue that unemployment went up with minimum wage increases. It's extremely difficult for a college student, much less an older adult with children, to make it on $7.25 an hour. If students could earn more money, they would not need to take out as many college loans, which only diminishes their spending power after they graduate.
Paying more for physically-demanding jobs
My one son has a job that requires a lot of physical work. Even if the minimum wage was raised, his employer would not be able to layoff people because they have a hard time filling the open spots as it is. If anything, more people might be willing to apply for some jobs if the pay was higher. Businesses lose money if they can't find reliable employees. People who work in physically-demanding jobs that require standing all day and lifting things should be compensated. People who work physically need more calories, which means they need to spend more money on food.
Raising minimum wage to $10
According to Dean Baker, who was interviewed for another The Daily Ticker piece, Congress should raise minimum wage. He says minimum wage has not kept up with inflation. For example, the minimum wage in 1968 would be $9 if adjusted for inflation. Even if Congress did raise the minimum wage, workers would only be making $20,000 a year if they worked full-time. I don't think anyone would argue that $20,000 is an inflated salary for a person who gives 40 hours of their week in exchange for jobs such as flipping hamburgers, taking out garbage or mopping floors.
Getting up to Canadian minimum wage standards
Having recently returned from a visit to Canada, I noticed how workers there earned a more respectable wage. The minimum wage in Canada shows they value workers. In Canada, workers earn anywhere from $9.75 an hour to $11 an hour, depending on where they live in Canada. Students under age 18 who work while school is in session may make a little less than adult workers. To me, that makes sense. Sure, the cost of a burger in Canada may have been a little higher than where I live in Florida, but the workers seemed satisfied and provided excellent service.
It would be great to see the minimum wage immediate raised to $9 and then raised to $10 by the following year. Congress needs to at least make sure the minimum wage keeps up with inflation. It's not fair to focus so much attention on whether Social Security keeps up with inflation while ignoring the people who are serving those seniors their daily coffees.
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