Bernie Sanders and other politicians are champing at the bit to raise the minimum wage, which sounds great in the wind, but looks terrible on paper. I’m not against modest merit raises for continued work at a company, but I am against raising the minimum wage to $15 and here’s why:
There are people who say that raising the minimum wage would stimulate the economy and help the poverty stricken workers who eke by at the current Federal minimum $7.25 an hour. It sounds great, everybody gets a raise and improves their buying power. Only it doesn’t, in the long run. In the long run, the economy adjusts to the new minimum standards, and $15 an hour becomes the new poverty level.
I started working at $11.00 in 2007, when the last minimum raise went through, and have worked my way up to $13.66 while the minimum was left at $7.25, and I have a family of 4. If the minimum is raised to $15, I get a raise, which is great in the short run, but in the long run, as the economy adjusts to the bump, all my work to better my family was worthless. Understand that raising the minimum wage to $15 will translate to the old $15.00 now being valued at the same buying power as the old $7.25. It will push me back down to the old $7.25, so effectively I get a 53% pay cut. Everyone under the new minimum, somewhere between that $7.25 and $15, who doesn’t get a commensurate raise if the minimum wage is raised, takes a pay cut down to the new minimum.
I already have to choose whether to pay my rent or go to the dentist, because my insurance, that I pay for, doesn’t come anywhere close to adequately covering the dental treatment I need. I’ve chosen to endure the pain until I can save up enough eventually, or until it becomes an emergency, and continue to pay the rent and car payments. I’ve already decided not to seek treatment for my cyclothymia or my chiropractic issues at all, because that would routinely mean less money coming in as the maintenance costs go out.
A minimum wage increase also hurts everyone, especially small business owners who will have to double the expense of employing people. Prices will go up for products and services, to compensate everyone who now pays more for their workers.
I don’t collect welfare or food stamps yet. But I will if the minimum raise goes through. If anyone is working at $7.25 an hour, you have my sympathies, but I really don’t want help that hurts me. If the new minimum wage pushes me farther down than I already am, I worry that I’ll be so continually depressed with even worse feelings of worthlessness, I’ll file for disability and quit my job or become suicidal.
I can’t vote for a politician who wants to devalue my work and the time I’ve spent with this company, trying to earn a living to feed my kids, unless that politician wants to hire me until I can retire, and start paying me a real living wage, not the minimum. I’ll settle for $28 an hour to start, if you push through that minimum wage increase.
Please think through the logic of what I’m saying, and stop. A modest raise would be fine, and wouldn’t hurt me as much. But a huge raise like what is being proposed hurts everyone.