Living the Minimum


By: Tieyanna Potts

Minimum wage is a hourly wage rate set by the state. We have a minimum wage because people ages 16 and older must receive a fair minimum wage according to U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, not everyone is covered by the minimum wage law. People that have disabilities, full-time college students, and employees who receive tips aren’t covered by the minimum wage law, and they can be paid less than other workers. What they are paid is completely up to their bosses.  Minimum wage in South Carolina is $7.25 an, is this truly enough to live on? It has been the same amount for 7 years now, and other states like  Oregon,Washington, and  New York have higher minimum wages. Washington’s minimum wage is $9.47 per hour, Oregon’s minimum wage is $9.25 per hour and New York’s minimum wage is $9.00 per hour. In April 2012, people protested for $15 per hour in New York, and it was the biggest low wage workers protest in the U.S. history.  Now in  Seattle, San Francisco, and in New York the minimum wage has been raised to $15 per hour.  The public protest for a higher minimum wage is still going on across the country. The minimum wage should be higher in all states to help sustain adequate living conditions.A

A benefit to a higher minimum wage is that it will improve living standards across the nation, and this benefits many  Americans by helping them meet their basic needs and living expenses. Workers will also have a higher morale because getting paid more could potentially boost their desire to work. When Americans make more money consumer spending increases because citizens have extra pay in their pockets. If 16.5 million workers had extra money to spend the benefits would trickle down to national retailers, and this would provide a definite boost to the economy.

However, there are cons to a higher minimum wage, and that is jobs and benefits could be cut because instead of raising prices to counter the higher cost of wages businesses could just simply cut employees or reduce their benefits. Michelle Conlin and Aaron Bernstein states that there are “more than 28 million Americans who constitute the working poor—employed but typically for low hourly wages without health care, pensions, paid sick days, or other benefits.” David Henderson claimed that “the negative effects of raising the minimum wage: higher unemployment because employers forced to pay higher wages will discharge the least productive employees and the company will be less likely to hire new workers, and a higher high-school dropout rate could result because teens will see higher wages as enticement to leave school,  there will be a rise in poverty because there will be fewer jobs, cuts in employee benefits, and a loss of competition in the marketplace.”

After looking at both sides of the argument, it can be concluded that minimum wage should stay the same because there are too many cons surrounding the argument of the raising minimum wage. There would be many companies that could potentially go out of business, and overall living expenses would go up. People need to work, and raising the minimum wage isn’t worth the added costs.


Work Cited

  • Conlin, Michelle, and Aaron Bernstein. “The Working Poor Are Not Getting By in America.” Poverty. Ed. Viqi Wagner. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2007. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from “Working … And Poor.”Business Week (31 May 2004). Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 16 Mar. 2016.
  • “Minimum Wage.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2015. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 16 Mar. 2016.

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