EDITORIAL: Raising the minimum wage is good, but we’re not sure it should happen right now
There is no question an increase in the federal minimum wage would benefit students at Central Michigan University.
However, indecision is present in whether now is the right time to increase federal minimum wage to $9, up almost 15 percent from the current amount of $7.25, as President Barack Obama and several Democrats have proposed over the past month or so.
It cannot be denied that anybody working at the minimum wage right now is struggling to get by. This is especially true for many students, who work long hours in addition to studying to make their student loan debt more bearable, if only slightly.
Long gone are the days where students could work their way through college. Now, the only way to make it through college without a mountain of debt is if one is lucky enough to be born into a financially stable and secure situation or to earn as many scholarships as possible.
Raising the minimum wage would no doubt help students escape living in debt for years and would lift many on the bottom of America’s economic ladder out of poverty. That’s why this is a discussion we need to have.
Something should be done to accommodate inflation, but it is unclear whether more jobs will be created if the government mandates employees are paid more.
In theory, an increase in minimum wage would hurt small businesses, who in a weak economy, are already reluctant to take on new employees. A significant increase in minimum wage, like the one proposed by President Barack Obama at the State of the Union address last month, could further deter business owners from taking on a larger staff.
President Barack Obama and former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who agreed rarely, both said during the campaign that minimum wage should be tied to inflation. By that standard, minimum wage should be much higher than $7.40. When minimum wage falls behind those of the lower class, it hurts the lower class.
But at the same time, universities and small businesses depend on college students, most of which are making minimum wage, to function. By raising it, especially 15 percent, would require some budget changes, either the need for cash or hiring fewer workers.
Like many things these days, there’s a Catch-22 to this. We’d like to see those at the bottom make more, but is it smart to do — and at this magnitude — during an economic recovery?
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