The Instigator
adgatlaw
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
belle
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points

Laws making Minimum Wage Mandatory are necessary in this society

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
belle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/3/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,821 times Debate No: 11962
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)

 

adgatlaw

Pro

Laws requiring employers to pay employees minimum wage is necessary in this society. If you don't have a college education or you are even just working at a grocery store as a part-time job, you must rely on your employer to pay you minimum wage.
If there were no minimum wage laws, employers would be able to hire employees and make them "slaves". Especially in the economic situation this country is in currently, employees would be being hired for extremely low hourly wages, since everybody is desperate for a job.
belle

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for challenging me to this debate. Its something I've been thinking about recently, and my views have been evolving.

I stand in opposition to the resolution for several reasons. My opponent claims that minimum wage laws are "necessary" but hasn't explained to what. Judging from his round it appears that minimum wage is necessary to protect the welfare of those working menial or unskilled jobs. In otherwords: to protect the poor. This is false, in that minimum wage laws fail to benefit most poor people in a meaningful way. But such an argument also begs the question as to why employers are responsible for the welfare of their employees. I will expect my opponent to address this portion in round 2.

How do minimum wage laws hurt the poor? First, the data:

http://oregonstate.edu...

Though the minimum wage has been increasing steadily since it was introduced in the late thirties, "real wages" (ie wages as adjusted for inflation) peaked in the late sixties and have been falling ever since. Thus, even assuming that the welfare of the poor is a legitimate legislative concern, increasing nominal wages is not necessarily indicitive of an increase in welfare or purchasing power.

Second, the theory:

Minimum wage laws contribute to both inflation and unemployment. Both of these phenomena hurt the poor.

If the minimum wage is raised, that means, for a company employing workers at minimum wage, that the cost of maintaining production at its current levels goes up. Depending on how efficient they are, they may be able to absorb these extra costs and continue to make a profit. However, it is also possible that such an increase will make it unprofitable for them to continue to do business- it will be more expensive to run the company than they make by selling their products. If this is the case then either the business fails or they raise their prices to make up the difference. If many businesses choose to pass their costs onto the consumer, then the increase in the minimum wage was in vain (since the employee now makes more money but the cost of his expenses has increased concomitantly.

In general, by setting a minimum wage the government is making certain jobs economically unfeasible. If Bob works for me, and ultimately due to his contributions in 4 hours of work I make 20 dollars, in the current economy I cannot hire him without losing money. I would have to pay him almost 10 dollars an hour (here in San Francisco anyways, I don't know how much the federal minimum wage is), aka TWICE the profit I would make from his labor. I would lose money by hiring him. Businesses that operate at a loss fail.

Third, my opponents contentions:

"If you don't have a college education or you are even just working at a grocery store as a part-time job, you must rely on your employer to pay you minimum wage."

Why must I rely on any particular employer? As it so happens, I DO work part time at a grocery store. And they pay me more than the minimum wage. But I do not "rely" on them, I choose to trade my time and effort for their money. It is a mutually beneficial relationship. Were I unsatisfied with the terms, I would leave to seek my fortunes elsewhere.

"If there were no minimum wage laws, employers would be able to hire employees and make them "slaves"."

Patently untrue. Slavery is a state whereby one man has ownership rights over another by law. No such law exists in the US. Any employer who attempted to enslave their employee could be successfully sued for human rights violations. A true "slave" has no such recourse.

"Especially in the economic situation this country is in currently, employees would be being hired for extremely low hourly wages, since everybody is desperate for a job."

This is more accurate. However, for several reasons, it is unlikely that any job would pay a great deal less than a "living wage". This is because, just as employees compete for employers, employers compete for employees. Though they generally don't need any particular worker (just like no worker needs a particular job) if they are to be successful, they must have some workers (ie people producing value in some way). Any company paying significantly less than a living wage will not keep its workers, as they will be attracted to higher paying options. If no such options exist, the poor will turn to begging. As I said, a business without workers fails, as nothing is produced. The logical extension, since the supply of labor is not unlimited, is that companies will pay their employees enough that they will not starve, and enough so that it is more profitable for them to work than it is for them to not work.

On a related note, it is not profitable for businesses in general to pay their employees so little that they cannot afford to buy their product. This is of course not applicable to items such as luxury goods, or especially high end merchandise, but for mainstream consumer products produced by minimum wage labor, its true. A widespread policy of paying wage earners extremely low wages dramatically decreases the market for the goods each company is trying to produce. Paradoxically paying their employees higher wages, companies can actually increase their profits.

Furthermore, since we agree that unemployment is a bad thing, why would you make it illegal for some people to work? In essence your argument is that people should not be able to sell their labor at a price less than that which you deem appropriate. How can such an arbitrary designation on your part be "necessary"?
Debate Round No. 1
adgatlaw

Pro

adgatlaw forfeited this round.
belle

Con

I guess that means he agrees with me!
Debate Round No. 2
adgatlaw

Pro

adgatlaw forfeited this round.
belle

Con

My opponent never addressed my arguments. All my contentions stand unopposed. VOTE CON
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by adgatlaw 7 years ago
adgatlaw
Okay, very well.
Are you referring to the night of May 4th?
Posted by belle 7 years ago
belle
kind of busy atm but i will come back and accept this tomorrow night
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by belle 7 years ago
belle
adgatlawbelleTied
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Total points awarded:04