Is the Minimum Wage Too Low?
July 23, 2007
Let’s ask Joe the business owner and Sam the employee whether the federal minimum wage is too low.
Joe: Every time they raise the minimum wage I have to choose between raising my prices or letting employees go in order to keep the business running. I would like to pay my employees more but I just can’t afford it. Minimum wage should stay where it is.
Sam: Raising the minimum wage from $5.15 an Hour to $5.85 is ridiculous! That’s only an extra $28 for a 40 hour work week. What can you buy for $28, not much. Yes the minimum wage is too low but only raising it $.70 is not going to do much to help. We’re going to need a bigger raise than that to make a difference.
Of course Joe and Sam are fictional characters of my own creation but the issue is quite real. I can see both sides, both people are just trying to make a living the best way they know how. Never having had employees myself I tend to side with Sam. I can’t imagine trying to live on $5.85
a year an hour, it seems ridiculous to me that the federal minimum wage is so low. However, if I was a struggling business owner and my labor costs went up overnight I might feel differently.
What do you think? If the federal minimum wage is too low now, what would be an appropriate rate instead?
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