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With the economy in the gutter we can only ask ourselves how we as a country can improve it. How we as residential citizens may be affected in the short run and in the long run. Like always we as citizens are worried mostly about how our lifestyles may change with decisions made by policy makers and other government officials. We try to analyze every aspect about our economic lifestyles and question policies such as health care, taxes, tariffs and trades. It is certain that there needs to be change to improve and push our economy forward. However, what we change is the bigger issue, only the policies that are impacting society in a greater negative way rather than a positive one need change. Raising minimum wage has been in the radar of a lot politician’s campaigns and has been a very important topic in public opinion. Whether we should raise it or not has been one of more notorious debates and I believe that we as a country should fight and vote to keep and raise minimum wage in accordance to the constant growth of inflation.
According to heritage.org congress instituted minimum wage in 1938 as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) with the goal of stabilizing the economy and workers after the great depression. Since its instatement the minimum wage average from 1947-2013 has been $6.30 but has been fluctuating greatly over the same timespan. It usually fluctuates along with unemployment rates, and historically congress only increases minimum wage when there is a low unemployment rate. However huge debate, whether raising minimum wage has negative impacts on the economy, has been heating over some time and has come to two conclusive decisions: raise it or not. Historically, minimum wage protects citizens from further widening economic classes, and has protected many citizens from being exploited by powerful companies that want to lower production costs by lowering the wages of workers. Considering the fact that about 70% of citizens do not have a college degree it is also safe to assume that most of them will have minimum wage jobs.
With such a great portion of the population not having a college degree my perspective is influenced to lean towards the “raising minimum wage” side. Let’s consider that economy revolves around how people behave and spend on a daily basis. If we were to eradicate or not increase minimum wage along with inflation many people will be unable to sustain a stable lifestyle. Which will force a huge portion of Americans to save money and stop spending on American goods. They may resort to buying cheaper products from foreign countries or only spending on necessities such as food and water. Looking at the opposing side, it is a very one sided argument that protects company owners.
The opposing side argues that raising minimum wage will cause people to lose their jobs, and people to lose small businesses’. According to United States Department of Labor website, (dol.gov) raising minimum wage helps both the people and businesses because it motivates people, even in economic hardship, to spend money in the market. This helps the economy because it keeps money circulating within its borders and helps the dollar keep its value. Furthermore, raising minimum wage will allow people to afford the value of the present standard of living and will help people stay above the poverty line. However, we may not increase it radically because that will also cause huge inflation and hurt the economy more that it will help. Their needs to be a balance between the amount a consumer spends and the amount a business invests.
With the world changing faster than ever, and ideas springing up every second, it is hard for companies as well as people, and governments, to keep up. Looking across the sea to a country that does not regulate a working environment or a minimum wage, China may seem like it is ruling the world and that it is beating the U.S. economically today. However, we as humans have a problem of measuring success with the amount of money we earn rather than the amount of happiness we experience. The only way to keep a stable, successful economy as I have discussed is to keep the people happy. By keeping and raising minimum wage alongside with fluctuating growth of inflation, and the fluctuating unemployment rate you will keep people working, and you will keep people happy.