Business & Economics

The Fallacy of the $15 Minimum Wage

I am a Big Picture kind of person.  That means that I don’t just look at the short term effect of an idea or plan but at the long term potential results, both good and bad.  So, in the short term, those making $10.00 per hour now will get $15 per hour and be happy with the increased income.  Those currently making $15 per hour will make more too and also be happy.  And on up the pay scale the pay will increase proportionally.  If employers don’t increase all their employees’ pay scales incrementally they could lose those employees to others who do.  And yes, the plan is to increase the wages incrementally over several years but it remains a burden for the business owners.

So what is a business owner to do?  They will look at their business plan to make alteration in order to cover this additional expense.  For the small business owner with few employees, this will be harder to do.  Their options are bound to be limited in scale.  It could be that an employee will be moved from full time to part time and not have gained anything but still having a job.  Others will be terminated so the employer will be able to follow the law and increase the remaining employees’ wages.  Maybe this will work so the business owner will be able to keep open and not have to RAISE PRICES. 

Larger employers will definitely have increased operating cost, will lay off employees or cut hours too.  The only other option is to raise prices. That will open a whole new kettle of problems.  Business owners are dependent on purchasing supplies to manufacture items, paying fees, and a whole host of other expenses we can only imagine.  I had been employed as an Occupational Health Nurse and worked in a large manufacturing plant for several years.  I have a really good picture of what it costs to run a big plant.  Salary and benefits are a major cost for any company.  Electric bills run in the millions each month.  So, once again, raising the price of goods is the solution to be able to stay in business.

Now I am retired and living on a fixed income.  There are the ever present rumors of Social Security running out of money in the future.  I also have an IRA to support me.  At present, I am comfortable.  However I have no option to increase my income like having my “salary” increased by my employer because the law tells social security to do so.  There are many others seniors in the same situation that may or may not have the additional income I have. 

So the end results of all this is: Employees are making more money, everything costs more, employment numbers are down, and we are back where we started.  That is the Big Picture.

Mary Daly

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