Politicians have been in debate about raising the minimum wage, which is currently set at $7.25 an hour. They believe that raising it will create better incomes for low paid workers, which will continue with better lifestyles. However, research shows that raising the wage could do more harm to the people it intends to help. Therefore, when the government takes its time in raising the minimum wage, cities and states create their own wage to what they feel is beneficial to the economy.

Minimum wage has been this ongoing societal conflict with many supporting attributes that contribute to both the favoring side and the opposition side. The underlying factor with minimum wage is poverty. Those who are in favor of raising the minimum wage are hopeful that raising minimum wage will lift people out of poverty and will allow individuals and families to have a sustainable life. Because of this notion, society has formed protests and advocacy groups in order to make changes. The continuation of these groups has made an impact because politicians have listened. Even President Obama is hopeful of lifting those in poverty out of the threshold.

Ignorance must be bliss because the only thing driving people to make a change in minimum wage is the fact that we get better pay to live a life outside of the poverty threshold. Let’s think about the other consequential effects that are more than likely to happen once the raise in minimum wage happens. Employment will be impacted the most, of course. The impact will be good and bad. The good is what society has fought for and has expected, which is a higher pay rate. The bad, however, is the decrease of job opportunities and the high amount of people being laid off. Benefits will also be reduced or completely diminished. Don’t get me wrong, many will benefit from the minimum wage increase, but many will also suffer from it. This is reality; there will always be consequences to achieving what we desire.

Businesses in more expensive areas like Los Angles, New York and San Francisco are able to increase their prices without it being noticed. These locations are popular with high numbers of tourists, and are places where people tend to spend a lot of money. Additionally, business areas where people do not spend as much, an increase in prices to offset the hourly wage would harm the company, causing them to let go of employees or go out of business.

One study pointed out how important an entry-level job was and how it could affect the qualifications for young workers to receive such a job. If businesses have to pay workers higher wages, they will want more qualified employees.  The future is at risk for youthful workers if the increase happens, because they will be the less experienced. It is already difficult to pay for college to receive higher qualifications.

We are in an economy where unemployment rates are high and people are unsure of the future. People are holding their money close and trying to prepare for the worst. As of today, people are in debt because of low-wages and are not able to sustain a standard living. Employers’ and employees’ dignities will be compromised because of the increase of wages being paid and prices of merchandise. Americans will be entering into an area they have never seen before, where the wage is set at $15 an hour.

– Stephanie Gin & Linette Grint

  MSW candidates of Social Work, University of Southern California