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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