Raising the Minimum Wage


Graph depicting the minimum wage between modern developed countries. The United States ranks ninth on this list. There is a $5.30 dollar difference between the leading country (Australia) and the United States.

Lauren Brennan, Assistant Editor-in-Chief, Managing Web Editor

Prior to the release of the second coronavirus relief package, much of the democratic party was pushing to include a $15 per hour minimum wage in the nearly $2 trillion bill. Raising the minimum wage would be beneficial in general; however, it may not be the right time to try and make this big of a change. Raising the minimum wage would increase economic activity in the U.S. and even has the possibility to create new jobs by stimulating the economy through an increase in consumer spending. The main issue is that the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation and productivity. Right now, the federal minimum wage is set at $7.25. While Virginia’s rate has remained the same, other states have raised their minimum wage to approximately $13. Several states, including Virginia, are in the process of gradually raising their minimum wage. Starting May 1, 2021 the minimum wage in Va. will be $9.50. While this may not seem like a big increase, for some people, this would be an extra $100 a month. 

   For high school students, who tend to get entry-level positions, raising the minimum wage could be both beneficial and harmful. Raising the minimum wage would give students the opportunity to save up more for the outrageous expenses of college. Major corporations would not be greatly affected, since many of them pay well starting off. Some good examples would be Publix, which pays approximately $10 per hour or at least gives employees raises fairly quickly, and Chick-Fil-A, which pays around $11 per hour. Although raising the minimum wage will help many people, there are some hidden dangers and costs to the increase. Smaller businesses might have more trouble keeping up. This could cause these businesses to lay off lower-level employees in order to focus on more essential workers (usually, these are more experienced workers). This would make the job market more competitive for the younger generation. Business owners may also try to combat this by raising the cost of consumer products

   So while raising the minimum wage may be beneficial in the long run, right now it is not a good choice. People are already struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic. The senate made the right decision by not including a minimum wage increase in the bill. For now, the country needs to continue focusing on just getting money out to people in need through more stimulus packages, instead of trying to make too many changes. As people all across the country start to recover mentally and financially, the powers that be should revisit the issue of raising the minimum wage, but as stated previously, it’s just too much to handle right now.