Written by Taylor Stone
How do you feel when you think about the proposed increase of minimum wage?
As a student, your immediate emotion is probably one of approval, and why wouldn’t it be?
What logic could anyone possibly provide to reject promised economic growth and alleviation from poverty, especially when our president keeps every promise he makes, right?
The State of the Union address is a tradition intended to hype up Americans, to get them excited about the president’s plans, promising that the best days in America are the ones to come. With that kind of rhetoric, everything sounds positive, but behind every proposal lies false hope for the future.
On Feb. 12, President Obama proposed that an increase of minimum wage to nine dollars an hour would “build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class.” He promised that it would help businesses across the country and increase employment which would, in turn, help to rescue people from poverty.
In reality a minimum wage increase will actually raise unemployment, and the proof lies in basic economics.
The laws of supply and demand govern the labor market with the intersection of the two determining the minimum wage. Government mandates interfere with this. Employers will hire less people at a higher wage and more people at a lower wage, and the former inevitably causes an increase in unemployment.
The reasons for supporting a minimum wage increase are certainly well intentioned, but the method proposed to achieve those goals has never worked and never will.
It’s obvious that the poor are suffering in a tough economy, but raising the minimum wage won’t help them because increased business costs are either passed on to the consumer or absorbed through cuts in labor.
Another dirty little secret is that many union wages are formulated based on a multiplier of the minimum wage, so it’s no mystery as to why unions vote overwhelmingly democrat and why democrats overwhelmingly support raising the minimum wage.
Individuals who support the increase are typically those more interested in rhetoric rather than results. It is always easy for politicians to support a policy that sounds great in a speech and scores them political points when it will never affect them personally.
Is it fair to raise minimum wage as a ploy to gain political points on a popular issue while employers, consumers and the newly unemployed suffer as a result? No. It is a deceitful approach that hides the true dangers of the policy while appearing to be compassionate.
Ultimately, raising the minimum wage will make it more expensive for businesses to hire new employees and retain current employees at a time when new jobs are most needed.
But hey, it sounds good, right?