The Instigator
NotArrogantJustRight
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
Grape
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

A mandated minimum wage does more damage than good.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Grape
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/20/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,010 times Debate No: 11248
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (4)

 

NotArrogantJustRight

Pro

This debate will consist of four rounds. Round One catalogs the pertinent definitions and rules, wherein my opponent may address any concerns. Rounds Two and Three shall comprise the claims, counter-claims, and evidence in a Lincoln-Douglas style debate. Round Four will be reserved for closing arguments and shall not be used to directly counter any previous claims.

DEFINITIONS:
Mandated: Requirement directed by an act of legislature.
Minimum Wage: The least allowable monetary compensation in exchange for one hour of labor.
Damage: Loss, detriment, or injury, whether to a person, his property, or his rights.
Good: Benefit; advantage; profit; gain.
Grape

Con

Examination of the resolution: My opponent proposes that a mandated minimum wage will do more harm than good, so in order to successfully refute this claim I must demonstrate that a mandated minimum wage will either result in a net benefit or have no net effect. Due to the definitions, I am going to assume that this applies only in the United States.

A few comments about the definitions:

Damage: Under this definition, are corporations considered persons? I am going to assume not as this is redundant with the fact that they are owned and managed by people.

Good: Though the word profit is used here, this definition does not stipulate exactly what has to be gained. Anything attained which is beneficial will qualify as good even if it does not have an objective monetary value.

Also, would my opponent mind if I used text sources? I understand that these are far more difficult to verify than Internet sources, but I happen to have some that are conveniently available.

That will be all for now. I await my opponent's arguments.
Debate Round No. 1
NotArrogantJustRight

Pro

Text sources are encouraged. I find them to be more reliable than solely internet resources. This debate is implied to be within the confines of the U.S. system and I find your definitions commensurate with mine.

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1) Minimum wages hurt employers.
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One can anticipate with some certainty that the alleged greed of capitalists will be entered as proof for the need of a minimum wage. We are continually told that businesses need to be forced to raise the wages of the common worker, for they will never do so voluntarily. However, this runs contrary to logic.

The key to understanding this is the awareness that no business will pay an employee more than the value of his contribution. As an employer is coerced into paying higher wages for his employees, he is forced to make one of two decisions to retain a satisfactory profit level. First, he could pass the escalated cost of labor on to the customer in the form of product price increases. Alternatively, he could reduce the cost of labor by reducing hours or laying off workers. If the circumstances do not allow either of these options the business owner would be forced to shut down and all parties involved would be the worse off.

Ultimately, the employer loses either productivity or customers; or he loses both in extreme cases when he loses the entire business.

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2) Minimum wages hurt employees.
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Advocates of the minimum wage rate contend that they are fighting for the betterment of the masses and generally the poor in particular. As I have shown above, this is a case of good intentions gone badly. In reality the minimum wage policy primarily hurts those it was designed to assist: teenagers and unskilled workers.

When hiring a worker, an employer must take into account more than merely the hourly wage. In addition to the wage seen by the employee, there is a cornucopia of other mandated benefits such as the employer's share of Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment and worker compensation programs. These employer-provided benefits run as high as 30% of the hourly wage [1]. Therefore, a $7.25 minimum wage [2] turns into a liability in excess of $9 per hour. When faced with these costs, employers will only retain those employees which provide a value of $9 or more to the company. This generally does not include transient workers such as teenagers and unskilled menial laborers. The market tends toward wage rates which allow as many people who want work to be employed and for those who wish to hire workers as many employees as they need. Institutional unemployment is the result of the government coercing employers to pay wages higher than this natural level [3].

Economist Henry Hazlitt expertly brings this idea forward. "You cannot make a man worth a given amount by making it illegal for anyone to offer him anything less. You merely deprive him of the right to earn the amount that his abilities and situation would permit him to earn, while you deprive the community even of the moderate services that he is capable of rendering" [4].

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3) Minimum wages hurt customers.
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Customers experience two effects from wages above the natural market wage rate. First, as briefly described above, price levels increase due to a natural tendency to pass higher costs on to the customer. Second, they experience a reduction in the standard of living.

As the required minimum wage increases, so increases the funds available to those who were not among the unlucky pink slip recipients. One will already see higher prices in those labor intensive markets which were forced to pass on cost increases to the customer. However, in the other markets which were negligibly affected by the increased cost of labor the prices will still have a tendency to increase since the entire market has experienced a general increase in money supply.

In other words, since customers potentially could have more money in their pockets they would be willing to pay higher prices for the goods they need and desire. At best they would experience negligible change, at worst a reduction in the standard of living.

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4) Minimum wages hurt society.
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As a net result of the three aspects described above – employers, employees, and customers – society in general would experience a shortage of labor, increase in unemployment, increase in black market jobs, and decrease in standard of living. By arbitrarily mandating a minimum wage for labor, the government is denying the right to work from those people who are willing and capable of working for less than that amount. When a person is unable to work legally the option is to not work, thus drawing unemployment and being a further drain on society, or work in the black market.

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References:
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[1] At the Intersection of the Minimum Wage and Illegal Immigration, Howard Baetjer, The Freeman Volume 57, Issue 2
[2] Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division (http://www.dol.gov...)
[3] Human Action, Ludwig von Mises, Chapter 30, Part 3
[4]Economics in One Lesson, Henry Hazlitt, Chapter 18
Grape

Con

Introduction:

I wish to briefly define my position on this issue. For purposes of this debate, I am not considering whether the State should have the right to regulate trade. My general position on the use of power is that it is only just when used to prevent of greater use of power or to prevent an otherwise unavoidable catastrophe. I am not going to be weighing the potential costs and benefits in this regard but instead will be looking at the end result solely from a socio-economic standpoint. This seems a better way to respond to my opponent's method of argument and is more conducive to weighing the net costs and benefits.

1) Minimum Wage Hurts Employers.

Despite my opponent's anticipation, I do not believe that any alleged greed is relevant to this discussion. I am going to ignore my opponent's preemptive defenses and move into the meat of this argument.

My opponent's argument is that a business will not pay a worker more than the cost of his labor. If forced to, the employer will either reduce employment or raise prices. My main objection lies in my opponent's stated rationale for doing this: "to retain a satisfactory profit level." What is a satisfactory profit level? Businesses cannot justify paying workers as low a wage as they wish simply because they do not feel their profit margin is adequate. If a company cannot stay in business while paying its employees a livable wage than it will die and the market will expand to fill the void. If this cost must be passed on to the customer or compensated by reducing employment, than that my be the necessary way to handle it (as with other costs). It is unreasonable to justify any business practice on the basis that it will return more profit.

Ultimately, the employer may lose productivity, customers, or the entire business. It would then be replaced by a better business that would be able to handle this (that is the one of the cornerstones of capitalism, after all.) This is true of any regulation placed on business to prevent them from becoming detrimental to society. Unfortunately, businesses sometimes have to take a hit for the greater good of society and this is one instance where it simply cannot be avoided.

2) Minimum wages hurt employees.

The point of this argument is to suggest that employment is reduced by a minimum wage because employers will not pay workers more than they are worth. This argument then goes into the exact nature of the costs in order to explain why there will be a further bias against the young and menial labors, who are primary minimum wage earners. However, my opponent completes overlooks that fact that businesses cannot simply only hire employees who provide labor worth the minimum wage. Even if only one person at a restaurant preformed labor worth $9 an hour, the restaurant would not hire only one worker. Regardless of what the minimum wage is, companies will hire the number of minimum wage earning workers necessary for the business to function or they will suffer greater costs in reduced productivity. A study at UC Berkeley showed that there was no statistically significant effect on teen employment that could be correlated to the minimum wage and any small loss of hours was offset by the pay increase. (1) The study found that the higher minimum wage actually attracted more workers and reduced the overall vacancy rate (increasing employment). Businesses cannot simply leave job positions vacant because it is slightly unfavorable to pay workers the required amount because the loss of productivity will be far worse.

To address Hazlitt's quote, I would like to point out that the phrase "deprive him of the right to earn the amount that his abilities and situation would permit him to earn" is extremely loaded. It suggests that paying a man more than he deserves is somehow a violation of his rights. If being paid less is a right than it is one I think any of us would gladly forgo.

3) Minimum wages hurt customers.

For this rebuttal I will address first the claim about price increase to compensate costs, then the claim about price increase due to more consumer spending.

First, generally speaking all costs in business are passed on to the customer. Once again, this does not been that any business regulation is automatically a bad idea. Businesses are typically regulated to confer social benefits (the minimum wage is an obvious example of this). Thus, the cost is socialized to all consumers. It is not significantly different than if there were no minimum wage and the poor were compensated an extra amount for their labor via a tax. However, the minimum wage is a much better way to handle this because it places the impetus to handle this on businesses. Businesses are more likely the reduce the effect on customers by increasing efficiency than the government because of their need to make a profit (which is another one of the cornerstones of capitalism). The point of society is that people suffer costs to benefit others so that they may in turn receive the same. It is necessary that those who work be paid a livable amount and the minimum wage is the best way to insure this.

The second point is that if consumers have more money to spend, it will slightly increase prices overall. I have to wonder how this is a negative effect. Is my opponent arguing that anything that puts more money into the hands of consumers is to be avoided because prices may increase as a result? This is in no way a negative effect.

4) Minimum wages hurt society.

My above arguments seem to counter this conclusion. The effect on business is a necessary side effect and anyway it is irrational to conclude that anything that hurts business must be detrimental to society. Employees are not hurt by the minimum wage because it does not reduce employment. Consumers are slightly effected, but the minimum wage is the most cost effective way to provide the necessary social benefit. The government is not arbitrarily mandating a wage that takes away the right to work, the wage is carefully considered so it can be set at the ideal value and it is businesses, not the government, that may elect not to hire workers as a result. However, businesses will need to hire workers regardless of the rates so the loss of employment is not great.

The benefits to society, by contrast, are extremely obvious. The minimum wage ensures that those who work are paid enough that they are able to maintain a decent standard of living. If the minimum wage is too low, or does not exist, than there is no incentive for people to get a job instead of simply living off welfare. People who are hard working but in a disadvantaged position deserve to receive decent pay. To allow businesses to pay these people crushingly low wages is a great injustice against them. Furthermore, if there is no minimum wage than companies would logically reduce all their wages to maintain the pay structure in much the same way they increase their wages when the minimum wage goes up. This would hurt all low-wage earners and not just minimum wage earners. Removing the minimum wage would take money from the poor and put it in the hands of the middle and upper class (taking money from those who need in more and giving it to those that need it less). The only possible outcome of this is to increase poverty.

I am approaching my character limit so I am going to stop there. I will develop more of my own arguments and bring in more of my sources in Round 3.

Sources:

(1) http://berkeley.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
NotArrogantJustRight

Pro

I feel confident that my previous points are sufficient to convince the majority of readers of the truth so I will limit my response to a rebuttal of my opponent and a few small clarifications.

Con begins by asking how to determine a "satisfactory profit level" for businesses. He claims that "[b]usinesses cannot justify paying workers as low a wage as they wish simply because they do not feel their profit margin is adequate." He is simply posing a question of greed in different terminology. The fact is, a business owner is an entrepreneur. The only reason virtually every business is run is to make a profit for the owner. Profit, in this matter, is simply another term for wages. The business profit is the entrepreneur's wages. One does not hesitate to condemn an attack on "regular" workers' wages and yet assists on the assault of the entrepreneur's wages. More on this in a moment.

Going one step further, Con suggests that "businesses sometimes have to take a hit for the greater good of society." Unfortunately, if the entrepreneur cannot make enough profit in order to keep a roof above his own head and clothes on his family's back the only alternative is to reduce costs by the methods mentioned in round two or close the business. This is a poor option for all involved.

"Regardless of what the minimum wage is, companies will hire the number of minimum wage earning workers necessary for the business to function or they will suffer greater costs in reduced productivity. … [B]usinesses will need to hire workers regardless of the rates so the loss of employment is not great." With this logic, would it not be more beneficial to raise the minimum wage to $25 or even $50 an hour? Faced with higher labor costs, a business is more likely to hire experienced workers at rates above the minimum wage since these workers have higher efficiency and productivity levels than entry level workers [1].

Con then neglects a few key issues when he proposes "[b]usinesses are more likely [to] reduce the effect on customers by increasing efficiency than the government because of their need to make a profit." This is the same profit which he earlier lambasted as being unjustifiable. However, my opponent fails to recognize that much of this efficiency is found through robotics and technology increases which reduce the need for human labor. In addition, unskilled labor is generally replaced with skilled labor, as mentioned earlier, due to the increase in productivity. This obviously hurts unskilled employees.

The quoted study at UC Berkeley can be easily countered by three independent studies all reporting that minimum wages correlate with unemployment of unskilled workers [2, 3, 4]. All three contend that minimum wages primarily hurt those the measure is intended for by placing employment emphasis on skilled workers. "Adding minimum wages to the model implies that [unskilled] workers have a more difficult time finding their first job. This, in turn, makes it more difficult for them to become connected and find better jobs" [3].

My opponent then alleges that Hazlitt's quote "suggests that paying a man more than he deserves is somehow a violation of his rights." This is contrary to Hazlitt's intent. In a free society, people must have the right to offer their services in the marketplace for whatever price they choose, whether they are workers serving employers or businesses serving consumers. If a person is willing to wash dishes for $3.00 an hour in order to gain employment history and business skills it should not be within the government's powers to deny him this right.

Con grasps the concept that business costs are transferred to the customer and I applaud him for this but he fails to see "how this is a negative effect." If a business is forced to increase the expenditure for labor due to a minimum wage, Con agrees that this cost is transferred to the customer in the form of higher prices. However, when a customer is forced to pay higher prices for items he commonly purchases this leaves less available for repaying debt and increased saving. The amount required for normal goods and services is referred to as the cost of living. An increase in minimum wage can affect an increase in the cost of living. This is a negative effect.

Finally, he brings in the ultimate excuse for a mandated minimum wage: "The minimum wage ensures that those who work are paid enough that they are able to maintain a decent standard of living." This is a common fallacy which is unable to bear scrutiny. Contrary to the popular belief that minimum wage earners are primarily single parents supporting a family, fully 80 percent are either not the primary earner in their family, a single adult, or they have no children. One study mentioned previously points out that only 14 percent of the benefits of a minimum wage go to families in poverty. In contrast, 59 percent of the benefits go to families earning more than two times the federal poverty line and more than one-third of the benefits to those earning three times the federal poverty line [4].

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Summary
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Following in the footsteps of the great economists, I will briefly discuss the costs of doing business. There are only five costs [5]. Whatever business you wish to select as an illustration, five costs will cover all expenses in connection with its operation. These five costs are:

1. Goods and Services Furnished by Others

We all expect those who furnish goods and services to be reimbursed. This is the main tenet of a free society and commerce. All should readily agree that these items should be paid for.

2. Human Energy

Here is the meat of the matter. The labor contributed by a worker should be reimbursed at a level appropriate to that of the value given. As my opponent recognized, this price is added to the cost of the final good or service. However, if given the opportunity to at least work in some capacity for a low wage versus not working at all and gaining no income whatsoever, the vast majority of people will choose to do what they are able until they can find a better job or gain the skills necessary for a better position. The presence of a minimum wage allows neither the employer to hire nor the employee to offer services for less than this arbitrary amount.

3. Taxes

Most agree that we all are responsible for a payment in taxes as members of society. Generally the only thing in contention is the level of taxes. Regardless of how high the tax burden, this cost gets transferred to the customer as a price of doing business.

4. Maintaining Tools

It is easy to show that machines do wear out and must be replaced during the normal course of operating a business. A separate account within the profit margin generally covers the maintenance, improvement, and replacement costs of machines and is calculated into the final prices.

5. Using the Tools

This is the most difficult point to get across. Tools do not grow on trees. Someone in the business concept must purchase the tools necessary to accomplish the end goal of that company. This person - the entrepreneur - takes on the financial risks of failure in return for rent with the use of his tools. This is the item of profit. Profit is the payment to the owner of the tool for its use.

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References:
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[1] Out of Work: Unemployment and Government in Twentieth-Century America, Professors Vedder and Gallaway, Chapter 15
[2] Labor Market Connections, Minimum Wages, and Youth Employment, Aspen Gorry
[3] The Effect of Minimum Wages on the Labor Force Participation Rates of Teenagers, Dr. Walter J. Wessels
[4] Raising New York's Minimum Wage: A Poor Way to Help the Working Poor, Professors Burkhauser and Sabia
[5] This Bread is Mine, Robert LeFevre, Chapter 9
Grape

Con

For this round I will primarily address my opponent's rebuttal. I likewise believe that it will not be necessary to bring up further arguments.

C1: My opponent seems to have misunderstood the meaning of the word 'wages'. In Chapter 8 of "Wealth of Nations" Adam Smith clearly defines wages as compensation that is paid in exchange for labor (1). The profits of a business would not qualify as wages. What my opponent perhaps means to say is that an entrepreneur's income comes from business profits. This is true, but it does not mean the entrepreneur should use any means at his disposal to increase his income without regard for the well-being of others.

C2: Just because a law prevents an businessman from making a certain amount of money does not mean it is necessarily harmful. Whether he goes broke or simply cuts back is irrelevant to the point. In business, some people will make money and some people will lose money. Just because you can't make money while playing by the rules doesn't mean the rules are broken. Otherwise there would be a perfectly good reason to legalize the sale of dangerous drugs, military grade weapons, and all manner of dangerous products that might help someone make money. Of course this is not what my opponent is arguing, but I use this extreme example to make the point that just because laws will hurt some people economically does not mean they all-around harmful.

C3: My statement "Regardless of what the minimum wage is..." was meant to point to the fact that this debate does not specific what the minimum wage would be and it is being discussed only as an abstraction. My opponent cannot argue that my logic fails when the minimum wage is $50 per hour any more than I can argue that my opponent's logic fails when the minimum wage is $0.01 per hour.

C4: I have overlooked nothing here. I never accused profit of being innately unjustifiable, I said that using business tactics which were harmful to the greater good in order to make a profit was unjustifiable. Here I instead offered an example of how the need for businesses to make profit can be applied positively. The idea that businesses put a greater emphasis on efficiency than government is not a new one. Since the early 1900's businesses have been promoting "Speed-Up" policies and meticulously working the maximize production and minimize costs (2). This is hardly dependent on "robotics and technology"; it is an innate trait of private enterprise. In addition, it is no so simple just replace unskilled laborers with skilled laborers. If I'm the manager of a Burger King and I need someone to run a cash register, I'm not going to start looking for someone with an B.A. in marketing just because the high school kids I'm hiring aren't worth the minimum wage. In some cases businesses may opt to hire more skilled workers, but if the job does not benefit from skilled labor than there is no reason to do this.

C5: I express no doubt that the Berkeley study can be countered by other studies. If it was not, this would not be a debate topic. However, I expect that a conclusion made at one of the most respected universities in the countries indicates that my viewpoint is valid. I find it unnecessary to spew statistics back and forth about this particular point because it will without a doubt prove inconclusive.

C6: My opponent seems to interpret the minimum wage was restricting a person's right to work for the wage they wish. I view it as restricting a business's right to pay a person what they wish. If there are dishes that need to be washed, a business cannot leave them simply because they would prefer to pay someone $3.00 an hour to wash them and the minimum wage is over that. Likewise, they would not benefit from hiring someone with more experience or a degree because it would not get the lob done any more effectively. Thus the business would have to hire the person for more than $3.00 an hour, benefiting him by giving him more income.

C7: My opponent has taken my statement out of context. I "failed to see how it was a negative effect" to give consumers more money. If consumers have more money and spend more money, I view that as an increase in the economy. If costs increase because there is more money in the hands of consumers, than this will cause businesses to make more money but it will not hurt consumers since the only reason prices increased in the first place is because the consumers were better off. And if some cost is transferred to consumers to make up for the costs of paying the minimum wage, it is more effective than government welfare due to the increased efficiency of private enterprise.

C8: If fully 80% of those earning the minimum wage are above the poverty line, than fully 20% of those earning the minimum wage are below the poverty line. Many of those from a household over the poverty line are young adults whose parents make a lot more money than them. Would many middle class kids be willing to work for $3.00 an hour if there was no minimum wage? I doubt it very much. In general, if your household is already making enough money than it might be pointless to get a job working for almost nothing. This seems to like it would lead to a decrease in employment. The remaining 20%, of course, would be in deep trouble. Sources have also shown that the minimum wage does benefit families who struggle to stay above the poverty line (3).

I'm going to address my opponent's summary minimally because most of it is about basic economic theory that I agree with and simply provides context to the debate. The most relevant point is the one made about Human Energy. My opponent seems to believe that if a person's labor is not worth a certain amount, a business will not pay that amount to hire him. However, faced with the choice of not getting the labor or paying the extra costs, businesses will often pay the extra costs. This insures that people will not get stuck working pathetically low paying jobs. That is also the cost of operating in a wealthy country: people are not expected to work for less than a certain amount, which is indeed arbitrary, because working for a worthless amount in a place where everything is (comparatively) expensive would be pointless.

Sources:

(1) Wealth of Nations (Chapter 8) - Adam Smith
(2) Robber Barons: The Great American Capitalists 1861-1901 - Mathew Josephson
(3) http://www.cbpp.org...
Debate Round No. 3
NotArrogantJustRight

Pro

My opponent has to date been content to submit attempted counters to my points and has failed to bring any specific argument in support of the minimum wage. The closest thing thus far has been the all-too-familiar cry of a bleeding heart: "The minimum wage ensures that those who work are paid enough that they are able to maintain a decent standard of living" [1]. These are the same people who want you to conjure up images of Ebenezer Scrooge when asked to think of Capitalists. However, the only question one needs to ask is whether or not we live in a free society?

Suppose Con works as a laborer creating toy airplanes for children. He works in a small shop using only hand tools and does the entire labor process by himself. On a good day he can build four complete airplanes.

Down the block, Pro also works as a laborer creating similar toy airplanes for children. However, Pro has the assistance of machines. These airplanes are created from die-cut metal frames which are spot welded in place for a superior structure. He can turn out 40 high-quality planes a day.

Both employees work the same number of hours a day arguably doing the same job. Are they both entitled to the same pay? If they both receive a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, Con's employer must charge ten times the amount charged by his competitor simply to cover the cost of labor. If consumer's choice has any ability to determine wages, Con should be compensated less than a dollar an hour for his trouble.

In an economy of open competition it is patently obvious that a person should be free to choose among the various available employment opportunities. In this case, Con would tell his employer where to stick it and find a more suitable job elsewhere; possibly down the street with Pro.

The point being that every person has the right to choose. The employee has the right to ask for a higher wage while the employer has the right to deny that wage in the hopes that another individual is willing to do the work at that price. The employee can simply move to a company willing to compensate him at the level he deems adequate.

Conversely, the employer has the right to offer a rate as low as he desires while the employee has the right to decline working for that rate. If the employer is unable to find someone willing to work at that wage he is forced to raise the rate until he finds suitable laborers or he goes out of business.

If freedom of choice is to be respected, then the only fair wage is one determined by the purely voluntary process of competitive bargaining in a free market. We can bemoan the unfortunate circumstance of the individual who is barely able to support a family in a simple shop such as the one Con worked in. But if we suggest that he receive a higher wage than that which can be sustained by the price consumers will voluntarily pay is to reject the ideals of competitive private enterprise. It is a rejection of freedom and an endorsement of Marxian philosophy.

In sum:

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1) Minimum wages hurt employers.
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Profit must be used for higher costs of labor rather than towards business expansion and advances.

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2) Minimum wages hurt employees.
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Those willing to work for less than the arbitrarily established minimum remain unemployed or must work in the black market.

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3) Minimum wages hurt customers.
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Customers must pay higher prices due to the increased costs of doing business.

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4) Minimum wages hurt society.
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Potential product improvements are delayed, unemployed workers must be supported by the employed, and increased prices reduce discretionary spending and investment.

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References:
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[1] Con, Round 2
Grape

Con

As I begin my conclusion, I would like to remind voters of the resolution: A mandated minimum wage does more damage than good." Note that I was under no obligation to prove that the minimum wage was necessarily beneficial, only that the costs do not outweigh the benefits.

For my conclusion, I would like to discuss the concept of a free market. As a matter of personal philosophy, I oppose the concept of authority on the grounds that it is innately unjust. For this reason I believe the market should be as free as possible. However, I view regulation of business in much the same way I view the existence of the State in general. It is necessary for us to have a government to prevent worse abuses of authority from occurring. In the same way, it is sometimes necessary to regulate the market. These necessary evils may not fall within what I would consider an idealist philosophy, but reality is not idealistic and therefore such things are necessary.

Having no minimum wage only makes sense in a very abstract and simplistic view of the economy. But when there is job competition, we cannot have a contest of who will work for less. When we want a minimum standard of living for ALL our citizens, we cannot allow them to work for less than what would provide it. When employers need bodies to fill positions, they cannot choose not to hire because the minimum wage is a burden. People who's families don't depend on them for money cannot be expected to get a job that pays less than is useful to them simply because that is what they are "worth."

In reality, what would the removing the minimum wage do? The small number of people that depend on it would be driven into poverty. Teenagers and others who don't depend on their wages would have no reason to work. All wages for employees would go down as companies maintained their pay structure.

What benefit could result from removing the minimum wage? The examples my opponent provided are quite hypothetical. I'm not going rebut them as the rules do not allow it in this round. But, in the real economy, the cost of paying minimum wage does not place a strain on major businesses. McDonald's spends over 300 million a year on advertising (1); it is very unlikely that a slight increase in wages would devastate their budget. Businesses are not significantly hurt by the minimum wage.

This debate is not a debate of freedom for the common worker. No one in American WANTS to work for $3 an hour when they know that is an insignificant amount in today's economy. And businesses aren't going to refuse to hire needed employees because the cost is too high. Is the cost of burgers at McDonald's going to go down if there is no more minimum wage? Unlikely. What is more likely is that profits are going to go up. The only 'right' that the minimum wage takes a way is the right for employers to force workers to accept dismally low wages so they can make more money.

This is not a "bleeding heart" argument. Nowhere throughout my argument did I condemn capitalists or capitalism. I think it should be obvious based on my arguments that that is not my position. However, I do believe that businesses are not moral agents. As an entity a business does not take morality into account in its actions. Though it is the capitalist ideal, businesses will not always act in a way that benefits society. That does not mean I believe that all businesses are run by Ebenezer Scrooge, only that I do not consider money-making institutions to be altruistic agents.

Is there a slight loss of freedom in that an individual cannot work for nothing if he wants to? Maybe, but in this case it is worth the cost of having to work for nothing if he doesn't want to.

The point of a minimum wage isn't to pay someone greater than the price which can be sustained. It's to make sure he isn't paid significantly less than the price that can be sustained for no other reason than because his employer wants to get richer. The employer isn't going to pay the man the cost of his labor, he's going to pay the man the price for which he will work. And if every employer is offering low wages, than the price for which he will work can be driven down very low. This doesn't make the employer "Ebenezer Scrooge", it simply means he is acting in the way which is most rational for him. Should this obvious problem for the worker be ignored in the name of "protecting his freedom?"

Removing the minimum wage transfers power into the hands of those who control the wages. It takes the power away from the many and transfers it into the hands of the few. It increases the power of businesses. Some on the right who call themselves "Libertarian" draw an arbitrary distinction between the State and business in their opposition of power. I support taking power from businesses and give to to workers because I'm a "socialist" or "communist", I support this instead because I oppose consolidation of power in all its forms, whether public or private.

The minimum wage gives the worker more power because it removes one way his employer can control him: his wages cannot be lowered below a certain amount. He is not at risk of having the work for no money simply because it is his employers wish. It takes power away from the few people who control businesses and gives it to the many people who work for them. It may be seen as a reduction of freedom, but ultimately it results in more economic freedom.

Sources:

(1) http://findarticles.com...
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
Or you could just do an unlimited voting period like I always do. Also, you can go back and change your vote, so it doesn't really fix anything.

Also: RFD

Very well done by both sides, all categories tied except sources. PRO had many more and higher quality sources.
Posted by NotArrogantJustRight 6 years ago
NotArrogantJustRight
Aaahhh.... Good call!
Posted by Grape 6 years ago
Grape
I vote myself "most convincing argument" but leave the other catagories blank to indicate to my opponent that I am not going to be voting myself all 7 points, expecting that they will vote themselves 3 points as well to balance it out. Thus, the debate starts tied we can both be relatively sure that no one will turn the debate at the last second by self-voting.
Posted by NotArrogantJustRight 6 years ago
NotArrogantJustRight
Vote for your own debate? Interesting... When in Rome!
Posted by Rockylightning 6 years ago
Rockylightning
grape pwns
Posted by alto2osu 6 years ago
alto2osu
Grape is a good opponent. As is WJM (assuming he wants this topic). Just challenge someone directly if you are afraid of a crap debate.
Posted by NotArrogantJustRight 6 years ago
NotArrogantJustRight
No minimum...
Posted by Grape 6 years ago
Grape
You cannot accept this challenge because you do not match the Instigator's age and/or rank criteria. Change this and I will accept. I do not intend to forfeit, I can assure you of that.
Posted by Grape 6 years ago
Grape
You cannot accept this challenge because you do not match the Instigator's age and/or rank criteria. Change this and I will accept. I do not intend to forfeit, I can assure you of that.
Posted by NotArrogantJustRight 6 years ago
NotArrogantJustRight
Sorry. My last debate was wasted by a 15-year old. I don't intend to get burned twice. I might add an exception if you intend to complete your end however...
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
NotArrogantJustRightGrapeTied
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Vote Placed by bongo 6 years ago
bongo
NotArrogantJustRightGrapeTied
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Vote Placed by Grape 6 years ago
Grape
NotArrogantJustRightGrapeTied
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Vote Placed by NotArrogantJustRight 6 years ago
NotArrogantJustRight
NotArrogantJustRightGrapeTied
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