Raising the minimum wage is not the solution

By Richard Montalban, guest writer

The “Fight for 15” movement has been a restless effort for many nationwide who feel the national minimum wage should be increased to improve quality of life for all Americans. While increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour would be beneficial for some, it would also have detrimental affects on others.

According to a study by the Cato Institute, a public policy research organization in Washington D.C., increasing the minimum wage would have little, if any, benefits to decreasing poverty in the U.S. and would result in job loss and higher prices for consumers.

“Austrian economics states that the economy is not a machine, and we cannot control it, therefore it is best left alone to fix itself. The value increases as the demand increases. When labor supply is low, demand goes up thus increasing wages for that skilled profession. When wages goes up, but the labor supply is high, the balance is distorted,” senior theology and economics major Sam L’anteigne said.

When an organization has to pay its employees more, that organization loses profit. To restore the balance, it must either cut hours and/or increase prices on its products or services.

“Every action has a reaction,” social work major Brenda Carrera said. “Raising the minimum wage will have benefits, but it will also have drawbacks. It’s important that we address the poverty crisis in the U.S., but there must be more beneficial solutions out there.”

According to The Heritage Foundation, studies throughout history found that despite its good intentions, raising the minimum wage has proven ineffective by reducing employment. It also often leads to employers replacing disadvantaged adults who need jobs with teenagers who do not.

Studies conducted by the American Enterprise Institute also found that minimum wage laws discriminate against unskilled workers in favor of skilled workers. Ironically, the greatest amount of discrimination takes place against minorities, the very group often fighting for higher wages.

Though I am obviously in favor of helping reduce poverty, I recognize it isn’t the government’s responsibility to cater to our individual struggles. We are already privileged enough to live in a country where the government takes care of those needing aid with resources like free health care, food stamps and EBT cards. These programs are designed to provide assistance during times of need, caring for families until they can provide for themselves.

Ultimately it is up to each individual to take responsibility for his/her actions. It isn’t ethical to demand the government pay an entry-level position more simply because that employee has not acquired skills essential to qualify for a higher-paying position.

The reality is, if you want something bad enough, you have to work for it. Therefore, if you want to go from making $10.50 an hour to $15 an hour, work for it. It will be difficult and stressful, but it’s not impossible. Rewards come to those who dream big and work hard, not those who complain and demand handouts.

Coming from a lower-class family myself, I understand the struggles of trying to make ends meet. At times it felt impossible, but without the hard work and determination to thrive, there would not have been the opportunity to move forward.

What I’ve learned is hard work builds character that ultimately leads to success.