Dear Future President,
Recently there has been a massive push across the nation to increase the minimum wage, which usually applies to fast food workers, to 15$ an hour. That is a bad idea. Raising the minimum wage to 15$/ hour is not only detrimental to the economy and its consumers, but also just is not fair.
According to The United States Army Official page, an entry level soldier makes approximately $18,800 per year. The average work week for salaried Americans is 49 hours (Washington Post), assuming a solder worked 48 weeks a year with a salary of 18,800, their hourly page would equate to about 8$/ hour. This naturally does not include the other benefits on top of base pay, but the message is clear; American men and women would be risking their life everyday for less money than what fast food workers are demanding to flip burgers and punch in orders.
A main argument used by fast food workers is that raising the minimum wage is the morally right thing to do, that these suffering people hovering around the poverty line deserve some relief, they are absolutely right. Problem is though that raising the minimum wage would hurt much more than it helps. In 2015, according to Statista.com there was 3.7 million Americans in the fast food workforce. Of that 3.7 million 30% are teens therefore not even dependent on their wages since their parents are still their main providers. There are 28 million small businesses in the country (Forbes.com), which obviously consists of a much larger portion of the workforce than fast food. Forcing those small business employers to pay their workers more siphons away precious cash that they could be using to grow their business. To compensate these businesses would be forced to lay off employees to keep their head above water. The employees not fired would benefit from a slight increase in living standards, but at the same time their former coworkers would now be facing poverty as well as unemployment. Yes, raising the minimum wage would help some Americans, but at the same time it would hurt millions more.
Daniel Flaming, a writer for Economic Roundtable and a supporter of the minimum wage being raised states, “Businesses will benefit from having a higher-paid labor force that is more stably housed, reducing employee turnover and the associated costs for recruiting and training new employees. It costs an estimated 30 percent of a worker’s annual salary to replace that worker, so reducing the frequency of worker turnover results in significant cost savings for employers.” This suggests that raising the minimum wage would not have the supposed negative effect on small businesses as predicted. Question is though, if it truly would be so beneficial for businesses, then why do companies choose not to get on the higher wages bandwagon? There is no law saying companies currently cannot pay their employees 15$ an hour. Business owners are stereotyped to be greedy money hogs, so if raising wages was truly profitable, as Daniel Flaming claims, then every business in America would be paying their workers more. The reality is though no matter how much it is spun to help businesses, businesses realize that raising wages would hurt them more than it would help.
America is one of the few countries where you can go from rags to riches with hard work and a brilliant idea. Hindering these individuals striving to reach the top by forcing them to pay ridiculous wages to minimum skill workers completely undermines the American Dream. Paying these minimum skill workers more than we pay our armed service members is just straight up unconstitutional and immoral. Fast food workers mindset should not be demanding more money for completing the same unremarkable task, but rather using it as a stepping stone to achieve greater things.
Photo by Fibonacci Blue