Friday, February 15, 2013
Rise In Minimum Wage Benefits All
Of course the congressional Republicans immediately hated the idea -- both because President Obama proposed it (and they oppose everything the president proposes), and because they have always hated the minimum wage. They opposed its creation, and have opposed efforts to keep it at a decent level since then. In fact, most of them would like to abolish it, and allow businesses to once again abuse workers by paying poverty-level wages.
To oppose raising the minimum wage, they have once again fallen back on the same tired old argument. They claim it will cost jobs by forcing businesses to lay-off workers. This is, of course, a ridiculous lie -- that has been exposed by more than 60 studies conducted between 1972 and 2007. The truth is that regardless of what the minimum wage is (or how high taxes are), businesses will hire and keep the number of workers they need to produce and sell their product or service -- not more nor less. Hiring more workers than needed would unnecessarily cut into profits (which would be stupid), and firing needed workers would hurt production or customer service and drive those customers to other businesses (which would also be stupid).
Increasing the minimum wage would not hurt workers, businesses, or the nation. It would actually be good for all three. The help it would provide workers is obvious. It would put more money in their pocket, raising their standard of living and lifting many of them out of poverty. This would be especially true for women, who make up about 64% of all minimum wage workers. And it would help many families, since women are the sole breadwinner in 41.4% of families, and a co-breadwinner in another 22.5% of families.
And contrary to the GOP gospel, raising the minimum wage would be good for businesses. Getting a higher wage would cause workers to be more productive and stay on their jobs longer. The fall in turnover rate would benefit businesses because they wouldn't have to continually keep re-training their lowest-wage workers. It would also increase sales because of all the new money that millions of workers will have to spend.
The nation would also benefit from a rise in minimum wage. It would pump at least another $40 billion into the economy, because most of the extra money would go to the poorest workers (who would spend it). The new money would increase the demand for goods and services, resulting in approximately 100,000 new jobs. It would lift a lot of people out of poverty and mean they no longer needed government programs (thus reducing the money needed to fund those programs). It would also increase the amount of government revenues (since more people would be making more money and more would then qualify to pay taxes).
The GOP wants everyone to believe raising the minimum wage would be a bad thing, that would hurt businesses, job creation, and the economy. That is an outrageous lie. The truth is exactly the opposite. It would benefit everyone -- workers, businesses, and the nation. It wouldn't completely solve all of our nation's economic problems, but it would certainly be a good start.