Raising minimum wage could damage society, job seekers

May 4, 2015

Rachel Librach
rlibrach@uccs.edu

More seems better.

More food. More money. Just, more.

We think that the more we have, the happier we will be.

But the cost to society may outweigh the personal benefits.

For example, factories must produce a certain amount of pollution in order to function, but too much pollution can have significant effects on the surrounding environment.

Another example is the controversial notion of raising minimum wage.

In April, Seattle raised its minimum wage from $9.47 to $11 an hour with a goal of $15 an hour by 2018.

The Seattle Times stated, “No locality to date has raised wages as substantially as the Seattle wage scale promises to do over the next few years.”

Essentially, no one knows the outcome of this drastic raise in commission. But I believe such significant wage increases will have detrimental effects on society.

A restaurant in Seattle went ahead and raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour. As a result, the price of food on the menu increased by 21 percent and the restaurant now discourages its customers from paying tips.

Bartenders and waiters are now being compensated, along with all the other restaurant employees, by equally sharing the total business revenue.

This means bartenders and waiters maintain similar wages while the bus-boys and chefs receive a significant pay raise.

Previously, when bartenders and waiters gave exemplary service, they were compensated for it through tips.

What are the incentives now for these workers to deliver high quality service if they are only to make as much money as the employee who washes dishes?

While private businesses are not being forced to raise their minimum wages, public businesses are mandated by the ordinance.

The University of Washington, with 39,000 employees, is one of the largest public businesses in Seattle.

Fox News reported that “one official said to [raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour] would result in charging all students more for their fees and services.”

Since the university cannot afford to raise its wages, students are looking elsewhere for jobs. With a lack of employees at the school, the institution can only expect to decrease its productivity and functionality.

Fox News also reports that “small businesses have seven years to work up to paying $15 an hour, while big companies that employ at least 500 workers must get there in just three years.”

I predict that there will be a dramatic increase in unemployment because these big companies must eliminate as many expenditures as possible in order to meet this deadline.

And without businesses looking to hire, the newly unemployed will find it difficult to locate another job.

Also, kids in high school or beginning college students will find it much harder to obtain jobs since their lack of experience estimates their value as an employee well below $15 per hour.

How will those students, who must put themselves through school, afford tuition if they can’t first obtain the necessary experience to be considered by the employer?

“Critics say that this $15 experiment will raise the cost of living, lead to many businesses leaving, and result in higher taxes for everyone,” Fox News reported.

No one knows for certain what the new minimum wage in Seattle will mean for residents and employers.

But my prediction is that society as a whole will be worse off as a result.