The Fight for Fifteen: Good or bad?

Trevor Gulock, Co-Editor

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The “Fight for Fifteen” is an uphill battle which will bring serious consequences to the citizens of the United States. In the midst of a highly publicized “Fight for Fifteen,” a recent legislation amongst 19 states raised the minimum wage. New York raised its minimum wage from $9.00 to $9.70 on Jan 1, 2017. This seemingly small increase will have drastic effects on the economy of New York, which has the third largest economy of all 50 states.

Specifically, the state could experience a spike in unemployment and have fewer openings for seasonal workers. Jobs, particularly for students, will become more scarce, and since fewer companies will be able to afford workers at $9.70 per hour, layoffs and even store closings may occur. The United States’ largest employers, McDonald’s and Walmart, have already protested the effort to raise the minimum wage. McDonald’s manager, Dustin McKissen, has claimed that “if I were required to pay all of my employees $15 per hour, I would have to seriously consider whether I could continue to afford them.”

These negative effects have manifested in Massachusetts and Washington. These two states, which have the highest minimum wage at $11 per hour, have reported extremely high corporate payroll costs. This makes it harder for small businesses to succeed, impacting not only seasonal workers, but family business owners. Perhaps the state suffering the most due to the pay increase is California: Silicon Valley and Fortune 500 corporations are now leaving for the up-and-coming city of Las Vegas. With lower minimum wages and reduced property costs, the Las Vegas economy is booming. “If not for the $15 minimum wage, I’d have zero interest in leaving California,” says head of California Fashion Association, Ilse Metcheck.

This minimum wage increase on January 1, 2016, is a victory for those fighting for an increased minimum wage, but the negative consequences of these actions outweigh the positives. Decisions like these will set the precedent for future America. Therefore, it is important to ask yourself: “Does America need an increased minimum wage?”

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