Letters / Voices

LETTER: Consider the effects of higher wages

To the editor:

My name is Andrew Barrett and I am a fifth-year student on campus.

I recently read an article from the April 4 issue of Central Michigan Life and was compelled to write my thoughts on the subject. The article that I am referring to is entitled “A new wage,” regarding President Obama’s speech in Ann Arbor.

Lately, I have been seeing more and more news articles about calls for higher wages for employees. Although, in theory, it seems to be a way to diminish poverty, the costs of increased wages seem as if they’d actually reduce the abilities of many businesses and individuals around the country.
Imagine businesses who are already struggling to pay individuals the minimum wage and remain in compliance with the Affordable Care Act. A higher wage would sometimes amount to having to pay individuals approximately 40 percent more in wages.
How would more jobs be created when businesses are struggling as is?
Think of the individuals who have worked hard to get high-paying jobs. Suddenly, those jobs don’t seem so high paying when the increase in wages for everyone else inflates the general cost of the market.
The increase in wages will cause an increase in everything – including transportation costs for goods. It could have a minor effect or, quite possibly, a detrimental effect on our economy as a whole.There are an estimated 900,000 people who the wage increase would benefit, but 500,000 jobs would have to be cut. It will essentially throw those 500,000 people into a worse situation and benefit the 900,000 very marginally. To me, these stakes do not seem worth risking.

Before we say that we want a wage increase, it is our responsibility to consider the effects that will occur based on those decisions.

Personally, I hate having college debt, however, the degree that I’m getting is enabling me to manage my debts and will allow me to live comfortably. Not every job will be able to do this and people should think critically before they go to college. This means acting responsibly and living within our means or finding a way to make our means match the way we want to live.
Not every job is going to be your first choice, but a lot of the things that people view today as “needs” are simply “wants.” Our society has seemed to have lost that understanding somewhere in our history.
Andrew Barrett
Senior, Central Michigan University


  1. “The increase in wages will cause an increase in everything – including transportation costs for goods.”
    People making above the new minimum wage currently would effectively be given a pay cut as their wages are likely to not increase, but the costs of goods and services are likely to increase.

    • Jerry Hilliard says:

      The actual data from past increases in minimum wage suggests an increase in minimum pushes all wages in an economy upward. This in turn puts more money into the economy as a whole causing an increase in demand for workers.

      • Having lived through past minimum wage hikes I can promise that all pay across the board is not increased. Minimum wage increased, prices went up, my pay did not. Those of us making slightly above minimum wage at the time were suddenly making only minimum wage because of the increase. My buying power was reduced.

  2. Another group of people this will be hurt is our senior citizens. They are on fixed incomes and when the cost goods and services increase due to higher wages they will suffer as their income will not increase enough to absorb the higher cost of living. We have to remember that business owners, in an effort to survive, will have to pass the cost on to the consumer.

    • Jerry Hilliard says:

      If you are referring to senior citizens who have only social security for income, social security is indexed to inflation.

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