Don't Blame Minimum Wage

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Today's society, in the United States, is facing huge problems concerning the rise in price of gas, food, and services. These price shifts are not helping working class citizens reach middle class status. In Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich, the author explores living off minimum wage and the tribulations one goes through trying to work on minimum wage jobs. She goes on explaining that many of her coworkers live in motels, which she eventually has to do, in order to live. Ehrenreich's investigative journalism demonstrates the extreme difficulty of getting by in America working minimum wage jobs. Raising the minimum wage results in higher costs and ultimately inflation; therefore making it more difficult to support oneself off of a minimum wage salary alone. According to the laws of economics, it's not logical for things to have gotten more expensive; competition should drive prices down. Then why have prices continued to rise over the years? The increasing demand of more money for less work has forced Uncle Sam to raise the minimum wage innumerable times in the last half century, resulting in higher prices for the rest of us. Although the idea of increasing the minimum wage sounds appealing, much attention should be focused on the flaws of our government polices and the problems of our economyCosts of living will increase as unemployment rates increase with a higher minimum wage. When the firing axe starts to fall, seniority often determines who goes and who stays. The theories of economics states decisions are made at the marginal level (Kersey). Raising the minimum wage will cause employers to cut more jobs because they will not be able to afford paying for more employees. Employers will look for alternatives to paying employees. For example, employers can implement machines and other self-service devices that will cut marginal costs. The more a single employee costs a business an hour, the fewer employees the business can afford to employ an hour. Professor Newmark, an economic professor at the University of California Irvine states "If the workers who get raises are middle-class teenagers and the ones who lose jobs are unskilled workers in poor jobs, you can increase poverty." Hard working adults who are supporting their family with minimum wage jobs will be hit hard. Jobs with high turnover rates will employ more teenagers who are supported by their family because they are willing to work for low-wages. Statistics have shown the increase of a minimum wage would go into the pockets of people who don't need the money as much as hard-working family supporting adults and the statistics also suggest many jobs will be cut to reduce marginal costs (Malanga). These job cuts will impact hard working adults who struggle to pay for groceries, gasoline and other costs of living. On the basic level of a business, the primary concern should be the service it can provide to the customer.

The personality and service that a worker provides can influence the amount of pay he or she receives. Common values such perseverance and hard work will make a person successful. Ehrenreich's experiment in working low-wage jobs has found employees to be unmotivated to come to work. Jobs such as waitressing, housecleaning services tend to cause a high level of stress in their workers, thus causing their job to be undesired by many people. However, if people working in these areas of business increase their morale and exert a higher effort they will increase productivity, which could lead employers to pay a higher wage. In an economic study done by the Journal of Economic Psychology reveals a positive correlation between effort and wages (Goldsmith). In other words if one works harder then they will receive more money. While if service isn't getting better when there are enough employees, people assume the service itself has gotten better, while the truth is that the service is just as haphazard as before. The laborers are simply replaced...
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