Minimum wage is a heavily debated topic in the United States. Views on the issue range from making the minimum wage a livable salary to abolishing the minimum wage altogether. This issue itself is divided between the two main parties as Republicans see the minimum wage as a burden on the economy and feel that the states should have the right to choose their minimum wage. On the other side,  Democrats think that with a boom in the economy a federally mandated minimum wage increase is ethically and financially responsible. While from an altruistic point of view it seems like the right thing to do, many unintended consequences have emerged from an increase of the minimum wage. Yet still, many people believe the minimum wage should still be increased to support those with low-end jobs. Through exploring different sources, the issue of minimum wage has many more complexities and outcomes than meets the eye.

While the wage increase is being argued over on a national level, many areas and companies across the US have already increased wages. An example from is the wage increase from Amazon, raising the wages to $15. Many other companies are following Amazon’s footsteps as there is large support for workers rights. However, the increase in wages has not turned out in favor of the workers. In the cities of San Francisco and Seattle where $15 has been mandated, workers have experienced job loss, reduced hours, and an average of $125 less a month than before the mandate. Despite these troubling effects of the mandate, many other cities and companies including Walmart have planned to put a new minimum wage in place.

Another article from Countable brings up other unseen problems with the wage laws across the country. For example, the article brings up the issue of the purchasing power of the dollar. In larger cities, a dollar has less value whereas in smaller cities you can get more with a dollar as things are cheaper. Because of this, the rise in minimum wage in the less densely populated areas could cause a larger problem of professionals with degrees making the same amount as low-skilled workers. On the flip side, in areas such as Silicon Valley, the purchasing power of a dollar is much less and the median wage is already around twenty-eight dollars. Simply put, a nationwide rise of the minimum wage has little concern for the needs of areas of different economic and social practices.

The argument for nationally mandating a higher minimum wage is based on ethical concerns for minimum wage workers. The argument for this side is based on people working full time for a wage that is not liveable. According to the article from Time, 80% of businesses supported an increase in the minimum wage, according to one thousand business executives in a 2016 survey. The article also mentions that an increase in earnings would have a positive effect on the economy by increasing the amount that the average worker can put back into the economy. The main idea of this is that everyone can be prosperous, simply by giving people a livable wage.

While this is a heavily debated topic across much of the country, the effects of minimum wage changes have been evident. While the two sides seem to contradict each other and disprove some of the other sides claims, the case studies of different regions across the country have provided insight on the issue. As results have varied, there is much to learn as future wage changes are debated and people continue to push towards change.

My sources are here with annotations:



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