The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Raising the U.S. minimum wage to $10/hour is a bad idea

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 12/4/2014 Category: Economics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,346 times Debate No: 66384
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)




My position will be that raising the U.S. minimum wage to $10.00 an hour is a bad idea whose negatives outweigh the positives.

Opponent's position will be that raising the U.S. minimum wage to $10.00 an hour is a good idea whose positives outweigh the negatives.

1st Round is for acceptance.


I accept this debate and hope to prove that raising minimum wage to $10/h is more benifical then harmful to our economy. And with that said I wish my opponent luck and let the debate begin.
Debate Round No. 1


Ultimately a minimum wage is necessary to ensure the poor are paid more than slave wages. Even Adam Smith in writing "The Wealth of Nations" recognized its necessity.[1] Smith however also recognized that with higher wages comes inflation, or increase in the price of goods, writing, "The increase in the wages of labour necessarily increases the price of many commodities, by increasing that part of it which resolves into wages, and so far tends to diminish their consumption both at home and abroad.[2]

At any rate, my argument is not against "a" minimum wage, but too high a minimum wage. You see, while a minimum wage is necessary, by itself it does not actually fix the root problems of why the poor are poor; raising it will not give them a higher percentage of the overall wealth, as will be shown, and indeed will cost many of them their jobs.

The minimum wage was originated in 1938 at 25 cents an hour and was raised to 30 cents an hour the next year. While that may not sound like much today, back in 1940 you could buy a loaf of bread for 8 cents, a gallon of gas for 18 cents, and a new car for $1,611.[3] The minimum wage has since been increased as follows:[4]
  • 1939: $0.30
  • 1945: $0.40
  • 1950: $0.75
  • 1956: $1.00
  • 1961: $1.15
  • 1968: $1.60
  • 1977: $2.30
  • 1981: $3.35
  • 1991: $4.25
  • 1997: $5.15
  • 2007: $7.25
Now, if raising the minimum wage were the panacea for the impoverished that progressives purport, then the poor should be better off after all of those minimum wage hikes, correct? The facts show otherwise. From 1983 to 2009 the poorest 60% of Americans lost wealth while the richest 10% of Americans got 91.9% of all wealth gain.[5] Even though the minimum wage was more than doubled from $3.35 to $7.25, a 116% increase, the rich stole wealth from the poor.[6] This debunks the idea that raising the minimum wage will necessarily help the poor.

The movement to raise the minimum wage ignores the reason people are poor, which is not enough employment. However, a CBO report found that raising the minimum wage would reduce employment by 500,000. As noted by Jeffrey Dorfman of Forbes on the subject:

"The reality is that families in poverty very rarely have a full-time worker in the family; in fact, only 7 percent of the time. The entire bottom 20 percent of income earners (which includes some people above the poverty line) averages only 0.42 earners per household. People are not in poverty because the minimum wage is too low, or because their hourly pay is too low even when they make above the minimum wage. People are in poverty because they are not working or not working enough. They need jobs, not an increase in the minimum wage."[7]

A minimum wage increase is a job-killer, and this is evident from examining state employment rates. The following are the 20 states ranked by highest minimum wage, along with their unemployment ranks.[8]
  • 1-Washington: $9.32, rank 24
  • 2-Oregon: $9.10, rank 43
  • 3-California: $9.00, rank 47
  • 4-Vermont: $8.73, rank 10
  • 5-Connecticut: $8.70, rank 34
  • 6-Illinois: $8.25, rank 38
  • 6-New Jersey: $8.25, rank 38
  • 6-Nevada: $8.25, rank 44
  • 9-Rhode Island: $8.00, rank 48
  • 9-New York: $8.00, rank 24
  • 9-Massachusetts: $8.00, rank 24
  • 9-Colorado: $8.00, rank 9
  • 9-Minnesota: $8.00, rank 5
  • 14-Ohio: $7.95, rank 17
  • 15-Florida: $7.93, rank 24
  • 16-Montana: $7.90, rank 12
  • 16-Arizona: $7.90, rank 41
  • 18-Alaska: $7.75, rank 41
  • 18-Delaware: $7.75, rank 34
  • 20-Maine: $7.50, rank 22
  • 20-New Mexico: $7.50, rank 36
  • 20-Missouri: $7.50, rank 23
With few exceptions, states with high minimum wages tend to have very poor unemployment rates. And the highest ranked one here, Minnesota, just changed its minimum wage from $6.15 to $8.00 a few months ago, and hasn't yet had time for an unemployment increase to occur.

Job losses are the logical outcome of a minimum wage increase for the following reasons:
  1. Businesses, particularly small businesses, have limited assets to hire workers with. Say a small business has $100/hour to hire roughly 14 workers with, but the minimum wage increases to $10.00/hour. Now they can only hire 10 workers instead of 14. This is an overly simplistic example that does not take into account benefits, but you get the idea.
  2. Region competitiveness is decreased. According to analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, from 2001-10 the U.S. lost 2.8 million jobs to China[9] and 682,900 to Mexico.[10] The U.S. had a $318 billion trade deficit with China in 2013, and a $315 billion trade deficit in 2012.[11] Ultimately Chinese manufacturing workers are paid just 5% what their U.S. counterparts get paid.[12] Raising the minimum wage results in more outsourcing of U.S. jobs to low minimum wage countries.
  3. Even apart from outsourcing, companies, including CEOs, will react to the minimum wage hikes with automation (replacing workers with machines), hiring illegal immigrants, or converting full-time jobs to part-time in order to avoid paying benefits and overtime. Illinois' recent call for a minimum wage hike for example led to McDonalds replacing cashiers with machines.[13]
If a minimum wage hike would truly help workers then I would be all for it, but it does not reduce poverty.


[1];(pp. 147-48, 68-69)
[2] Ibid, p. 89


Okay so to start let"s talk about politics. Yes the dreaded subject that no one cares to talk about but in this instance we must. To start I would like to point out that as of the seventh of December my opponents party is the Republican party, nothing wrong with that he can choose what party he wants to be on as that is his own choice but due to this my opponents views well be more bias. Now I know you"re saying this is a debate about minimum wage why are you talking about your opponent being of the Republican Party; to answer you both parties have differing views on how the economy, i.e. we see that Republicans already think the economy is bad and dislike how Obama (Democrat) is handling things so Republicans strum up these fears that increasing minimum wage well just cause inflation and layoffs. This is the republicans scar tactic way to get people to vote for their side. On the other side we see that Democrats are more positive of the economy and to support Obama, and to remove those fears and saying that raising minimum wage would inject money into the economy and cause job growth. The issue here is both sides are wrong economist say that raising minimum wage to $10.10 an hour well do little to inflation and to job employment. So as we can see there the Republicans want to scare people into believing our economy is crumbling and that what Obama is doing as a democrat well only worsen our economy when all there doing is using scare tactics to get votes; and we see this on the side of the democrats as well as we see them pushing and saying that the increase in minimum wage would help our economy which is a major stretch of the truth. Now does that mean that we should forget about raising minimum wage no as raising the minimum wage still matters a lot. Economics say that increasing minimum wage would reduce poverty, reports show that a 10% increase to minimum wage would reduce poverty by 2% or more. Now Obama who want to raise the minimum wage to $10.10/h which would be a 39.3% increase which could reduce the amount of people below the poverty line by 4 million. And as an added benefit many of these people that are living off minimum wage are also living on food stamps and welfare and increasing the minimum wage would alleviate that stress and reduce the amount of money the government has to spent to keep these people in a house and fed as they can"t live off of minimum wage now as the economy is still recovering from the recession and inflation from the recession is still high and due to this people can"t live off minimum wage, yes minimum wage has increased with inflation throughout the years but when arguing about this you have to remember that we went through a recession and due to the inflation of that the current rate minimum wage is climbing it can"t keep up with the inflation and causing people to rely on government aid which is only adding to the pressure being put upon the government. That is all for this round I look forward do my opponents debate I wish you luck.
Debate Round No. 2


Con has essentially dropped all of my arguments and attempts to make this a discussion of which political side is better.

As I have pointed out, states with higher minimum wages have worse unemployment rates and those with lower minimum wages have better unemployment rates. I have also demonstrated that despite doubling the minimum wage from 1983-2009 the poor got poorer and the rich got richer. I cited a CBO report showing that the minimum wage will harm U.S. jobs.

All of this is commonsense. If you boost the minimum wage too high then the result will be job losses. You can have high employment or high minimum wages, you cannot have both. Job loss will occur for the following reasons:

1. Outsourcing

The Problem: Jobs will go where labor is cheapest, that is why China is growing so rapidly. By using no minimum wage coupled with free trade agreements they have become the world's manufacturing hub. If you look at the mouse you are clicking, the shirt you are wearing, the chair you are sitting on; odds are they will say "Made in China." The major expense for many companies is payroll, in fact it can make up over half a company's expenses in industries such as healthcare and education.[1] Therefore the easiest way for a company to increase profits is to fire workers or pay them less.[2] If you increase the U.S. minimum wage too high it will force even companies who want to hire U.S. workers to send jobs overseas in order to stay in business.

The Solution: The solution is not a minimum wage increase but to stop trading with low minimum wage countries such as China and Mexico.

2. Automation

The Problem: As previously pointed out, McDonalds has reacted to the minimum wage hike by replacing cashiers with machines. The more the minimum wage is raised the more companies will look to cut back on their workforces in favor of cheaper machines.

The Solution: Tax breaks for companies who hire more U.S. workers in relation to company earnings would result in more hiring of U.S. jobs.

3. Small Business Destruction

Small businesses account for roughly 70% of all U.S. employment.[4] Small businesses do not have the resources to outsource to low minimum wage countries or replace workers with machines; many small businesses are struggling from day to day barely making ends meet. A minimum wage hike can be the straw that breaks the camel's back for these small businesses, the vast majority of which have less than 10 employees.[5]

4. Part-Time Increase

Companies will increasingly move to part-time jobs to avoid the higher costs under an increased minimum wage. Even federal agencies like the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Postal Service are increasingly hiring part-time workers since the 2007 minimum wage hike.[6] Ironically this forces workers to work harder and more intermittently without the benefits of overtime or benefits, because full-time work is becoming too expensive for even the government to hire with. Similarly, part-time jobs are replacing full-time because of the increased healthcare costs required of employers.[7]

Minimum Wage Hikes Linked to Recessions

In November 2006 the Democrats achieved a massive victory, taking over both chambers of Congress for George W. Bush's last two years.[8] One of the first things on their agenda was a massive increase of the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour. Republican Jeb Hensarling warned them on the floor of Congress that they would spark a recession by doing so, and less than a year later the recession hit.[9]

Similar increases in the U.S. minimum wage have been quickly followed by recessions like the 2007 minimum wage hike was. For example, when the minimum wage was hiked from $3.35 to $4.25 from 1990-91 it was quickly followed by a recession.[10] The previous minimum wage increase before that from $2.30-$3.35 from 1978-1981 also perfectly coincided with a major recession in the United States.[11] The major minimum wage hike before that, from $1.60 to $2.30 occurred from 1974-76, and coincided with the 1973-75 recession.[12]

Inflation As a Result of the Minimum Wage

The logical result of a minimum wage increase is that cost of goods will go up. With higher hourly costs for gas station workers will come higher prices of gas. If grocery store workers cost more, so too will groceries. The inevitable result will be that businesses pass the higher costs on to consumers. One Seattle business has even gone so far as to reflect this price increase on their receipts.[13]

As a result, cost of living will increase. The poor will have more dollar bills but everything they buy will cost more as well. Furthermore, CEOs will react by increasing their own pay as well, which is why the poor keep getting poorer and rich richer. A minimum wage increase does not stop CEOs from firing workers or paying themselves more. The Federal Reserve will print more dollars to reflect demand, so that dollars become worth less. Thus all that has been achieved is changing the value of the dollar, the poor do not have a higher percentage of the wealth.

If one really wanted to help the poor they should get to the root causes of why the poor are poor, such as job loss due to automation and outsourcing. I already provided specific solutions that would help the poor. One should likewise restrict CEO pay either through capping CEO pay in relation to the average worker or mandatory shareholder voting on CEO pay at publicly traded companies.




Hawkeye117 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Alternative Solutions

I continue to argue that the solutions I've presented thoroughly in my 2014 U.S. Budget proposal[1] are preferable to a minimum wage in genuinely helping the poor, specifically:

1. Eliminate trade with low minimum wage countries such as China and Mexico where low minimum wage is defined as below a $4.00 per hour equivalent.

2. Restrict CEO pay somehow to historical levels, either through capping CEO pay in relation to company earnings or the average worker, or mandatory shareholder voting on CEO compensation at publicly traded companies.

3. Tax breaks to companies who hire more U.S. workers in relation to company earnings.

A Minimum Wage Increase Causes Job Loss and Recessions

Ultimately a minimum wage increase will result in more outsourcing of U.S. jobs. Jobs inevitably go where labor is cheapest, both at a national and state-wide level. China has overtaken the U.S. economically by outproducing us in manufacturing, using a low minimum wage coupled with free trade to parasite jobs from countries U.S., Canada, and the European Union. Westernized countries cannot compete with the low minimum wages and low worker benefit costs of China. As a result the U.S. is just one of many countries that has trade deficits with China; the entire European Union for example is running major deficits with China.[2] At a statewide level, as has been shown, states with lower minimum wages generally benefit from higher employment, and states with higher minimum wages tend to have lower employment.

As was pointed out last round, recessions are closely linked to massive increases in the minimum wage, and major recessions have coincided with major increases in the minimum wage over the past century. Thus it was no coincidence that after Democrats raised the minimum wage in January 2007 a recession quickly followed; this has been the pattern for decades and decades.

It should also be pointed out that despite substantially increasing the minimum wage in 2007 and trillions of dollars of stimulus spending by Democrats, U.S. employment is at a 30-year low[3], student homelessness is at a record high[4], and the number of long-term unemployed has increased so much that Obama is calling for further extension of unemployment benefits for those unemployed so long they are no longer eligible.[5] There are at least 13 million more people on food stamps than when Obama took office, with poverty at its highest level in 50 years.[6] American incomes have dropped 6% since 2007 when Democrats passed the minimum wage increase.[7]

Total U.S. employment in March of 2007 was 146.32 million, and did not exceed that mark until July 2014 when it reached 146.35 million.[8] Over a 7-year period, including much of Obama's presidency and the 2007-10 period when Democrats ran Congress, there has not only been no job growth, the U.S. actually lost jobs.


In summary, the period since the last major minimum increase has seen companies doing well but not the poor[9] as poverty has skyrocketed. In fact the companies which laid off the most workers since the recession began increased their CEO pay the most.[10] CEOs increase profits and their own pay by reducing how much they pay their workers through outsourcing, automation, hiring illegal immigrants, and conversion to part-time work/internships.

That major minimum wage increase did not help the poor, it wrecked the U.S. economy and the lives of millions of America's working poor. So I repeat, if increasing the minimum wage would genuinely help the lives of America's poor I would be all for it. However, it will not help them, it will harm them, and destroy the small businesses that make up the backbone of U.S. employment. Therefore I strongly urge consideration of alternative ways to reduce poverty that address the sources of job loss such as excessive CEO pay, outsourcing, and automation.





Hawkeye117 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


Jzyehoshua forfeited this round.


Hawkeye117 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by NoMagic 2 years ago
Pro, it was the 10 debates setting. I've just finished 9.
Posted by cheyennebodie 2 years ago
Any government intrusion into the economy always results in less wealth for everybody except government.That minimum wage business has never decreased poverty.Poverty is a mindset and lifestyle choice. That is all it is. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. If a man thinks poor, he will be poor. If a man thinks prosperous, he will prosper.

A poor thinking man will not be aware of opportunities that knock. For one thing, most opportunities arrive as hard work and hard choices. And most poor shy away from that lifestyle.

Just an observation.
Posted by Jzyehoshua 2 years ago
Strange, all of my post formatting got changed. I was using the Rich Text Editor and after submitting it removed the formatting.
Posted by Jzyehoshua 2 years ago
I didn't set any age limit, only requirements were to have participated in 10+ debates and have an ELO at or above my own. I would have set the ELO requirement lower (maybe 2,000) but the only way to set an ELO requirement was at or above my own rating.
Posted by NoMagic 2 years ago
Would like to debate you on this. but it says I don't match your age or ELO ranking. 44 years old, +2000 ELO, seems pretty close to yours.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by jackh4mm3r 2 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: FF and URA, as well as a logical fallacy not dealing with the issue on part of Con.