The President proposes we increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00/hr. Many argue that is too much. I say it’s too little! Why don’t we just raise it to $25.00/hr? That way, everybody with a job would make a comfortable living, and we could drive the poverty level way down. I can’t believe we haven’t thought of this already.
What’s that you say? Nobody would hire a burger flipper at $25/hr? And the other employees that were already making $15/hr wouldn’t work for $15 anymore, so their wages would have to be increased above the $25 minimum, because they are better trained and more productive than the new workers. Well, the law is the law, they would just have to do it. Then all their workers would be better off. I’m liking this idea more the more we talk about it.
You say a Big Mac would then cost $20? Well we can’t afford a $20 Big Mac. That’s ridiculous. We would have to pass a law limiting the price of Big Macs to something more reasonable, say, $8. Yeah, that sounds about right. People would still pay $8 for the sandwich. They would have to.
But then the hamburger chains would lose money, and have to fire the burger flippers and go out of business? So we’d have more burger flippers on unemployment than we do now? Something is wrong with this picture. What if we increased the minimum wage to a little lower number, like, $15? Would that do it?
We would still have to let some burger flippers go? Oh, because there would still be some restaurants that couldn’t make money, and they’d have to let their workers go. Well, let me ask you this: what would happen if we LOWERED the minimum wage to, say, $5? Employment would INCREASE you say? How could that happen? Oh, because there are still some restaurants that couldn’t make money at the current minimum wage, but they could if it were $5, so they’d hire more flippers.
So basically you’re saying that, the higher the wage, the fewer the jobs there are, and the lower the wage, the more jobs there are. Is that right? But a person can’t raise a family making $5/hr. Say that again. Three-quarters of all people who receive the minimum wage are teenagers who live with their parents or guardians? So they don’t have any rent, they get free meals, and they don’t have any dependents? Well, maybe it would be fair for those people to get the lower wage. And more of them would actually have a job and be able to learn what’s required of them to hold a job instead of hanging out at the video game store. You say that if someone doesn’t have a job by the time they’re 22 or 23, the likelihood of them ever getting a job goes way down? Hmmm.
But what about the other 25% who aren’t teenagers? How do they get by? So, many of them are not the sole source of income for their household, meaning that their meager wage does not have to cover all of their household expenses. Hmmm. So if we could identify those who REALLY need the help, maybe we could find a more direct way to put money in their pockets without screwing up the labor market, say, through the Earned Income Tax Credit. Hmmm, forget about the minimum wage, let’s get more people to work. Yeah, I like that idea. I can’t believe we haven’t thought of this already.