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Should we raise the national minimum wage to $15?

Screen shot from WGBH News' YouTube video: How Would A $15 Minimum Wage Effect Massachusetts?
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Today, one of the problems our country faces is income inequality. The divide between the very rich and everyone else is a real problem. This ever growing gap is greatly hurting the middle class. People have offered an idea that, while it will not fix the problem, it could help. They would like to see the minimum wage raised across the country to $15 an hour. California and New York have already approved measures to raise their minimum wages to $15 an hour over the next few years. Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, and Maine have also approved measures to raise their minimum wages to a range of $12-$14.75 an hour. With the cost of living rising, seemingly all the time, and the poor not being able to keep up, should we raise the minimum wage nationwide to $15 an hour?

Those who support a raise in the minimum wage argue that the current $7.25 an hour is not a living wage – that it is impossible for someone working full time on the current minimum wage to be able to support their families. Also, if the minimum wage went up, it would help the economy because poor people can’t afford to save their money, so any increase in money they receive will turn around and go right back into the economy. In addition, they say that, after the great recession and the slow recovery, it is not teenagers working in the traditional minimum wage jobs such as fast food; it is former factory workers or construction workers or other skilled labor who are in those jobs, and many of them have families and cannot support them on $7.25 an hour.

Those against raising the minimum wage say that, if you do, you will kill those minimum wage jobs because the owners of those businesses will not be able to afford them. They also point out that some businesses will turn to automation to save money. Plus, they have little sympathy for people they see as having not worked hard enough to advance in life, and that minimum wage workers did not try to gain the education or skills necessary to get higher paying jobs. Finally, those against raising the minimum wage point out that many of those jobs were never meant to be long term jobs, but transitional employment until a better job came along.

People working minimum wage jobs are having a very hard time making it today. They live paycheck to paycheck and most of them are going deeper in the economic hole. If we raise the minimum wage it will give them more money, and that possibly can help the economy. But if those against raising the minimum wage are right, those minimum wage jobs that people have will disappear.

WGBH News, a Massachusetts network, hosted a discussion on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour statewide:

The Issue

Should we raise the national minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour?  Would a national minimum wage of $15 an hour be enough of an increase to finally give these workers a living wage, or would it be too much? Will raising the national minimum wage kill off small businesses and cause havoc to the economy?

In support of raising the national minimum wage

Those who support a raise to minimum wage see it as helping hard working, poor Americans earn a living wage. They also see a raise in the minimum wage as a good way to help the economy.

In opposition to raising the national minimum wage

People against raising the minimum wage argue that you will kill jobs with a raise in the minimum wage. Plus, you would be rewarding people who did not go out and work to gain the skills necessary to get a better job.

https://twitter.com/Franklin_5566/status/918449773497139200

What do you think? Should we raise the minimum wage to $15 nationwide?

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