The Bare Minimum

With the recent State of the Union and the current debate in Minimum Wage law, I would like to run down some ideas behind this debate that make it so important.

It's not a very easy situation to understand, especially when you get into the economics behind the idea of raising minimum wage. There are those who believe that raising the minimum wage will stimulate the economy by putting more money in the hands of those who need it. By doing so, they will spend it on consumable goods like food and living expenses, which will stimulate and boost the businesses that sell those good.

Then there are those who believe that it will ruin the economy, by forcing companies to pay more than they can afford for work they need done. All of that money has to come from somewhere, and raising the minimum wage could potentially remove jobs by surpassing the budget set aside for payroll in companies.

It's easy to see both sides of this debate on an economic level, but let's break it down into a philosophical level too. There are those who believe that everyone should have a fair chance at a good standard of living. Not all jobs can support your own house, car, food, and living life expenses. Not all jobs are worth that kind of pay either, since they do not require any special skills in order to perform.

There is another side to this coin that most don't bother to look at. If you have a single person who has no one to take care of but himself, a higher minimum wage is great for him. If you have a single person who has to also take care of others(siblings, children, family), a minimum wage increase is great but only marginally beneficial to him as a standard of living increase. 

Is it fair that the person who only needs to take care of himself gets paid the same? If we truly want everyone to have the same standard of living, shouldn't the person with other responsibilities get paid based on the responsibilities he/she also has to fund? This seems like a fairly easy answer. The person with extra responsibility is not doing more work at that job, they simply have to deal with more based on their decisions.

So where is this Minimum Wage debate going to take us? Let's take a look at the idea of a standard of living. Everyone needs a place to live, and we all want it to be somewhere decent that we can call home. We all need transportation to get to and from the jobs that we hold, and also to go out and experience life. We need to eat, and we would like to eat healthy and eating healthy can be more expensive.

it's also not unfair for us to want to have time to go and have fun. Life shouldn't be all about work should it? So let's take a look at this again: Is raising the Minimum Wage the answer? Well, it's one solution to the problem. Perhaps we can look at it a different way by finding different ways to obtain that standard of living we seek.

Money becomes the ultimate question in every debate we hold politically as a society. What is going to fund these programs and ideas? Monetary policy and the idea of currency is a much bigger issue than I can post here, but let's just keep in mind that it does play a big role. But does that mean that money should be the only way that we obtain the things we need?

Personally, a minimum wage increase would more than likely hurt my current situation. I don't get paid minimum wage, and am actually fairly well above it. However, like it or not, the Minimum Wage is the acknowledgement of the government that standard of living has increased due to inflation. If the minimum wage increased to how much I am getting paid now, there's no guarantee that my wages will increase accordingly.

If my wages do not increase based on the minimum wage, then the government has put me at the bottom of the barrel, the lowest end of the livable wage, and expenses will increase based on that. So in effect, the government may be looking out for those at the bottom end, but by increasing the minimum wage they are effectively increasing the amount of people at the bottom.

Like it or not, that is an issue we need to take into account. And as far as I'm concerned, I don't like the idea that all I've worked for to get above the minimum wage will mean nothing because there are still those who are stuck there. This is the reason I seek to spark debate on other solutions. What these solutions could be, I don't particularly know.

However, we won't know until we put our minds together and figure it out.

E Pluribus Unum