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Raising the minimal wage

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/29/2015 Category: Economics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,424 times Debate No: 83191
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (15)
Votes (1)




Hello, I am feelthebernie, and I will be arguing in favor of raising the minimal wage
The debate will work like this:

1. Introduction
2. Opening arguments
3. Rebuttles
4. Summary
5. Finishing statements

You can refute the opponents arguments in rebuttles and summary, but you cannot argue or refute arguments in your finishing statements.

You can cite evidence in anyway that you think is best.

I will be arguing three main contentions
1. It will allow the working class to grow
2. It will reduce income inequality
3. It will save the government money

I will now allow Con to give their introductions and how they will be arguing


Thanks, Bernie.

The main points I will be arguing (that I can think of now) will be the following;

1. Less-skilled/educated individuals will have a much harder time finding work, in turn bumping the unemployment rate up, which will lead to a higher homeless population, which will lead to many other negatives.

2. Employers will higher less workers because they have to pay 50% more, again increasing unemployment rate.

3. There would be less incentive to find a job that contributes more to society, as $15/hr is more than enough to live on everywhere in North America.

4. Business owners may raise costs of merchandise to make up for extra money spent on employees, which will cause the cost of living to go up higher, which will cause people to want the minimum wage to be increased constantly, in a viscous circle.

5. Most people living in poverty are living in such circumstances because they can't find work, or they aren't working enough hours. Not because of the "low" minimum wage. Raising this wage would make it even harder for those people to get jobs and experience and find a way out of poverty.

Good luck and let's see what's best for society :)
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you con and I apologize for not discussing with you prior to creating the debate.

I will start arguing my first contention that raising the minimum wage will help working class
Currently, the middle class is dying. According to the Pew Research Center ( the middle class is getting smaller, and the lower class is increasing. There is a misconception that this is because if unemployment, but that is incorrect. The unemployment rate in the US is the lowest it's been for years ( so the reason behind the dying middle class is not the lack of jobs, but the earnings from those jobs. As inflation has increased, we have not increased the national minimum wage to counter it, and this has lead to many Americans to not have enough money to keep up with rising prices ( with the middle class dying due to the lack of fair wages, this is not good for the economy. When the middle class makes money, this will make it easier for them to spend that money on goods. This is elementary economics, when more people have money to buy products, this puts more money into the economy.
Con will argue that this raising of the minimal wage will increase unemployment, but that is false. In 1968, we had an unemployment that was over 10 dollars when adjusted for inflation. The unemployment rate in 1968 was 3%. History has shown that when minimum wage is high enough to keep up with inflation, our economy does not crumble into anarchy, it thrives.

My second contention is that it will help reduce income inequality. Currently, in the US we have a growing income inequality problem. The top 20% are making over 80% of the wealth ( and the middle class is shrinking. This can be attributed to many things, such as unfair taxation, lack of estate tax, among other things. Now, I won't argue that this income inequality is because of the low minimum wage, but a raise in minimum wage could greatly benefit the middle and lower classes. Walmart cashiers make from 7.50 to 11 dollars an hour on average, yet Walmart is one of the most profitable companies in the world. They have more than enough money to raise the wages of their employees, but because they want to make money and because they are allowed to shortchange their employees, they make more money. This benefits the rich owners and shareholders of Walmart, but the people who work there have trouble getting by on that little money. If we made the rich pay their employees more, then that could decrease that huge gaping wealth gap.
I agree that there has to be some kind of wealth gap in a successful civilization, but this wealth gap where the rich get so much money and the poor get none is unfair to the people.

I will argue my third contention in the next round. I will now allow con to give their arguments and refute.


Thanks Berns, no worries. The two day limit is kind of difficult for me, as you can see I'm posting at the last possible second haha.

When the minimum wage is $15/hr, employers look for more skilled or dedicated workers, as they're required to pay 50%+ more than they're paying now. This will cause employers to take much more caution when employing people, leading to unskilled or younger people being replaced by more skilled individuals.

Now, for the general population (younger/inexperienced/uneducated), this is a bad thing. But it's also a bad thing for businesses - not only will they have to pay more to the employees, but they'll have to spend more time and money looking for the most qualified individuals, and telling the less qualified individuals know that they can't have the job because someone with a higher education or more experience has applied. Although this does somewhat happen now, with a minimum wage hovering around $10/hr, employers are much more capable of taking risks or going with applicants they like personally and are willing to train. Spending an extra $5+/hr, which will be an extra $40/day limits the freedom to choose who they like the most, over who looks the best on paper.

But the main impact would be on the lower/middle class. Raising the minimum wage would raise the requirements to get jobs in most places, meaning people who are poor to start, without an education, would have an incredibly hard time even finding work at places like McDonald's or gas stations. This rise in unemployment rates would lead to a rise in the homeless population, as it would be harder to support families without a job, obviously. And a higher homeless population will lead to more violence, government spending, etc.

It's also relatively easy to live on $15/hr, as the hourly wage to be considered in poverty hovers around $5/hr, and the hourly wage to be able to live happily is around $10/hr [1]. If people can get jobs doing next to nothing at shipping yards or fast food joints or places of the sort, and make $15/hr doing so, there would be little incentive to move up to a higher position. When you could make enough money to live more than happily doing very little, people who aren't as motivated would want to stay where they are, which would mean less people in management positions, leading to poorly run companies.

One very important aspect of raising the minimum wage is employers and management raising the cost of merchandise to make up for the extra money spent on employees. This will lead to a higher cost of living, and soon enough $15/hr "wouldn't be enough," because the price of everything is so high. It would just turn into a loop of raising the minimum wage, then raising the cost of living, then raising the minimum wage, until everything collapses. Keeping the minimum wage where it's at now will keep the cost of living around where it is now. Unless the cost of living raises drastically, there's no reason to raise the minimum wage.

The main impacts of raising the minimum wage would be detrimental to the whole of society. The cost of living would rise, unemployment rates would go up, the poor would become poorer, and there would be less incentive to move up in a company or get a better/more important job in society. Raising the minimum wage may help the middle class slightly, if they can afford an education to start off with, but that's about it. The upper class would have to dish more money out to their employees, and the government would lose money because people working jobs that require no skill would be getting much more than they need.

Debate Round No. 2


feelthebernie forfeited this round.


I guess I'll just get right to disputing your arguments :)

Dying Middle Class
First of all, I believe that we agreed upon an average of $10/hr across North America to be the "current average minimum wage." There is a common misconception that the "middle class" is making less money... that isn't the case, as the middle class stays the middle class, the only difference is more people are applying for entry-level jobs, like McDonald's, gas stations, etc. Jobs like this don't require an education, past experience, any money to put into bettering yourself for the job, etc. You don't need to buy a $2,000 Canali suit to work at your local Esso, nor do you need to spend $30,000 on student loans. The thing that validates paying minimum wage is the type of work done. There is next to no hard work done by fast food workers, there are next to no problem solving skills required - it's a basic job that doesn't require a hell of a lot of work put into it.

Employers pay their employers for the level of work. Someone working in a lawfirm for a hard eight hours 9-5 without a lunch break in order to close a big case should be compensated for their time, and paid accordingly to the work done. Most of the time that person has gone to get some sort of post-secondary education, so their time put into that job is incredibly valuable and helps the company immensely.

Someone working at a gas station, sitting on a chair behind the till playing Angry Birds on their phone for six of eight hours of the day, occasionally ringing in a purchase, doesn't require $15/hr, as the level of work is incredibly low. This person also most likely does not have a post-secondary education, and doesn't have very much to offer the company, other than their time.

The positive thing about a "low" minimum wage is it gives people incentive to get a better, higher paying job, and contribute more to the economy. Like I said in my previous round, the livable wage hovers around $10/hr in most areas of North America. Someone working a minimum wage job most likely lives at home with their parents, and doesn't have a lot of expenses to take care of. The person working a minimum wage job most likely hasn't gone to post-secondary to enhance their knowledge and education, and doesn't have a hell of a lot to offer the economy.

I'll need a source for that claim about the 60's, but even then, that was a long time ago. The times have changed. I'm not suggesting we crumble into anarchy, I'm simply saying if employers are paying employees more, they'll want the best employee for a job. If I was paying people $10/hr for doing next to nothing at a Chevron, I wouldn't look too much into education or experience, as I'm not running a Hospital - I'm running a gas station. If I had to pay 50% more, I'd want someone who's a little more fit for the job, and I'd want someone who's able to go above and beyond (although not by a hell of a lot) the call of duty. I'd find someone with either experience in other gas stations, or either a major in high school for marketing or sales.

The bottom line is if an employer is paying 50%+ more to their employees, they will want the best possible person for the job, making it harder for inexperienced or uneducated people to get jobs, as it makes sense that a person with an education will be hired over someone without one.

Income inequality
I never really liked the "we are the 99%" movements, so I'm glad you brought this point up.

In your whole argument, I haven't seen any real reason why rich people making lots of money is actually a bad thing. The main point I see is that rich people have lots of money, so it's unfair that they don't give it away to their employees, who do next to nothing. Much like my previous point, people are paid according to the type of work they do. Someone who puts clothes back where they belong isn't doing very much to benefit the economy and society.

Paying $15/hr to people who do very little is actually detrimental to the economy. Take a look at the jobs that currently pay around that much [1] - these are demanding jobs that either require some sort of post secondary education, are somewhat dangerous, or have a hard learning curve. However, they are beneficial to society - there are a lot of jobs in the health industry that pay around that much, which aren't easy jobs to do. If a job that involves putting clothes away pays the same as a job that requires a post secondary education, which involves writing up extensive medical reports on accident victims to ensure they get the proper treatment... a lot of people will choose the easier job, as it pays the same, meaning there will be less workers that are actually extremely beneficial to society and the well being of others.

Because someone makes millions of dollars a year doesn't mean they have to give it away. It's their money, and they earned it. And with that attitude, people that make minimum wage should donate to kids in India who get paid $.15 a day making shirts. Not everything can be fair to everybody. The guys who make millions also create jobs. Without these guys who have invented something or founded a corporation, there wouldn't be as many jobs. They earn what society wants to pay for their product, to want them to pay their employees more simply because they make a lot isn't quite fair to them. And like I said before, paying people that much will cause others to leave other harder, more important, fields of work to earn more by doing next to nothing.

Sure, speaking strictly from an economical standpoint, there are a couple good things about raising the minimum wage, as it will allow people to earn more than enough to live happily off of, but looking at the demographics of most people who work minimum wage jobs, these are kids that live at home, or people without an education. It's not necessary to pay these people as much as workers that are in fields which are beneficial to the whole of society. If they want to get paid more, they can get an education or build up their experience and apply to more demanding jobs.

Thanks, on to you!

Debate Round No. 3


Thank you for accommodating to my inexperience, and I again apologize for the forfeit

I want to start by rebutting some of my opponents arguments.
Con argues that people with lower wages will have more incentive to work harder, and people with high minimum wage will have less. However, in numerous studies done by Harvard and The Center for Economic Policy Research and the Center for Law and Social Policy found that people who were paid more worked harder and were happier. 44% showed that moral went up, 35% showed that they worked harder, and wasted substantially less time. When a business owner sees the benefits from increasing wages, they will want to implement it. My opponent also claims that businesses will loose money, but because of basic economics, this is not true. Simple equation: Employee works to make goods, employee gets paid, uses money to buy goods, employer has more money. If somebody has more money to spend, it will help the economy because they will use that and the money will end up back in the economy. Now, if the employer also works more because increased incentive to work, then the business will have even more goods to sell.

My opponent brings up that not everything can be fair to everybody, which is a ridiculous argument. Just because not everybody is going to get fair treatment all the time, doesn't mean we should allow people to not get the wages they deserve. These people work hard and still don't get a living wage, and its not fair. You are right, not everybody will get the same thing, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

My opponent also says " I haven't seen any real reason why rich people making lots of money is actually a bad thing"
Well, let me educate you. When a small percent of a population is making so much more money than everybody else, that is bad economics. A successful society is one where wealth doesn't only belong to one group of individuals. Ever heard of Rome? Rome fell because the rich had all the food and the poor starved, and this is an example of poor economic stability that leads to the end of a civilization.

I want to bring up a point I mentioned in my first round. It was that the government can save money. If people are able to get paid more, and the economy grows due to more purchasing of goods, then those who relay on government money and health care can have enough income to become economically independent, which allows the government to save money and not spend so much money because these people are more financially sound. We can use this saved money to pay for public education and other things that would help people get better jobs because they have a better education.

People work hard everyday and don't get the living wages they deserve. They are getting ripped off by a small handfull of people that have all the money but don't share it. We need to give these low income people something to work for, and a way to rise up out of the poverty line and show that they can work hard and make it in this country. Raising the minimum wage will help these people feed their children and family.

Help those in need of hope, and give them something to do their job besides the non-living wage of 7 dollars.


No problem, Bernard ;)

Again, I didn't see you say anything against my statement regarding a $10/hr average minimum wage across Canada and the US. So again, we should be just using that number, not finding the lowest or highest wages in a single state or province and trying to use that to our advantage.

Hard work
It would be great if you had a source to back this information up with. Nonetheless, I wasn't referring to work ethics. My point is that they won't have the incentive to move up in the company if they are paid well doing the least amount of work, or they will most likely work the easiest job that pays the least, out of multiple options. Like I suggested previously, if WalMart paid $15/hr, that would be the same wage as a medical records and health information technician [1] (keep in mind the median pay isn't the starting wage, which is obviously lower), and there would be less incentive to get a job that requires an education and harder work if you can easily get an entry-level job sorting clothes. The disadvantage of this, as I stated before, is an obvious lack of interest in fields that are incredibly beneficial to society and the well-being of others.

You have a good equation there, but it would only apply to manufactured goods, not services. And even then, there are other options when you're given money. You don't need to just spend it. You can save it, donate it, pass it down to your children, etc. So it won't always go back into the economy - just because someone makes more doesn't necessarily mean they will spend more. The richest people I know try to be as cheap as possible, because they want to be rich. And with this logic, why not just pay everyone $500/hr because it'll "go back into the economy"?

I highly doubt the employer will work harder because he's paying his employees 50% more. He'd have more incentive to find over qualified staff so he knows his extra 50% is going to people he doesn't have to baby through their shift... Again, something else contributing to the idea that the uneducated or inexperienced will have a much harder time finding work.

These people actually don't "work hard." Minimum wage is for entry level positions. McDonald's, WalMart, etc. Jobs that require little to no work. If these people were in fact working hard, they would be working in places that require hard work. It is not hard to work at McDonald's. It would be a different story if someone working at a law firm, putting 10 hours a day doing filing and getting constantly bombarded with tasks with no more than a half hour break got paid minimum wage. Like I've been saying, the work reflects the pay. Someone doing next to nothing gets the minimum pay, something people aren't necessarily supposed to be "living" on, anyway.

Rich & Poor
You have a good idea there, but simply paying people more money isn't going to fix it without causing more problems, as I've stated earlier. The main problem with this idea is that the rich create jobs. The reason people are rich is because they own businesses, created something that lots of people use, or are just really good at their job and have moved into positions that people pay lots of money for. The "1%" has created more jobs than the 99% multiplied ten fold. You won't see some guy working the floor at WalMart hire forty janitors, you'll see that big bad rich guy upstairs give those people jobs. The other problem with this is that those jobs are not meant to support a family. They're entry-level jobs, a good metaphor for life. It's the entry to life/the real world. Work an entry-level position for a year or so, go to school or get some experience, move up in the company or apply to other companies, or even start your own company, and make more money. The point of these jobs isn't to support a family, it's to give a kid or college student a way to make money while they're on the road to getting an actual career.

I also highly doubt America & Canada is going to go to sh*t because some people make more than most.

Government & Money
This is a really good point. However the amount the government would make would be pennies compared to other ways we could save money. And again, this goes back to my point that relying on people to buy more because companies pay them more isn't fool-proof. Why not just pay everyone $500/hr? It'll go back into circulation. People aren't just going to spend all their money because they can. Hell, if people were paid $5 more, that'd be enough to live off of, meaning they could save the rest, meaning companies won't be getting more money by giving their employees more.

"We need to give these low income people something to work for..."
EXACTLY! So don't just give them what they want without them working for it. They're "low income" for low work, not because they've spent $30,000 on student loans to get their BA in medical sciences, but because it's easy, nothing work. We are giving these people something to work for, by saying "here's what you'll earn if you want to do minimal work and not get an education... and here's what you'll earn if you want to bust your butt and get some sort of degree." Simply saying "okay everybody, here's more money," isn't going to give anyone more incentive to work more beneficial jobs.

The problem isn't with the wage, it's with the people who are deciding to work these jobs. If the average age of people working entry-level positions was 18, the average age of people working "livable" positions - such as accountants or secretaries - was 28, the average age of people working higher up positions in management or law was 40, and the average age of CEO's or high end businessmen was 55... we'd be set. Nobody would be complaining about the CEO's making a million bucks a year, and nobody would complain about the kids making a thousand bucks a month. The problem is the demographic of people deciding to work these jobs, not the pay of the jobs. These entry-level positions aren't designed for 40 year old single mothers of three, just like jobs that pay $15 an hour aren't designed for teenagers.

Sure, there are exceptions, like uneducated immigrants or people born into bad situations, but completely changing the way the system is designed to cater to very few people is detrimental to the whole of society. The majority of your argument revolves around the idea that the jobs these people work for minimum wage is hard. It's really not hard, and they aren't working hard, and these jobs aren't designed for people trying to start a family. There's no reason to increase these wages.


Debate Round No. 4


Thanks you con
I want to use this round to summarize my arguments

My first contention was that the middle class will benefit. As I stated earlier, middle class is dying, but the unemployment rate is not high. However, the people who work minimum wage jobs don't earn a living wage that would allow them to survive due to the inflation that has happened since we last increased it. We need to help these people so they don't fall to the lower class and are able to feed their families.
It will also help income inequality. We have the rich earning so much money but the poor are not. I am not saying the rich have to throw all their money away, but the wealth needs to be spread a little more evenly and increasing the minimum wage can help those lower income households rise out and grow financially.
Businesses should want the minimum raise to be increased because when employees earn more money, its been proven that they are happier and work harder and create more money. Also, if they earn more money, they can buy goods and services and the money circulates back into the economy. It's simple economics and it was proven to work when in 1968, we had an unemployment that was over 10 dollars when adjusted for inflation. The unemployment rate in 1968 was 3%. History has shown that when minimum wage is high enough to keep up with inflation, our economy does not crumble into anarchy, it thrives. We need to look at history and see that it has worked and will work.
Lower class needs a living wage, and 7.25 an hour just wont do it.
The government can save money. Sure, there are better ways to save money, but increasing the minimal wage not only saves the government money, it also helps lower class, increases productivity, and doesn't increase unemployment.

It's hard to get by in hour modern day economy. The rich get a majority of the money, the poor get virtually none, and the lower class is just getting bigger.
Raising the minimal wage can help people and help our economy. Let's not miss this great opportunity for growth and to improve the lives of millions of people just trying to get by.
Thank you.


Thanks for the debate, Bern-o-rama.

Minimum wage jobs are not jobs for people to live on. They aren't intended for that. They are intended to be a gateway job into the workforce for the uneducated or younger generation. These jobs are not made for parents or people hoping to start families. If anything, we should lower the prices of education so people can work better jobs. The jobs that pay minimum wage are good experience for people starting out in the work force, and if somebody wants to live on their own or raise a family, they should get a better job.

Like I said before, the jobs that currently pay $15/hr are jobs that are beneficial to the community. It takes more brains and critical thinking and experience to work in fields that pay that much, and to chalk up Burger King with important jobs like Health Information Technicians just doesn't make sense. Raising the minimum wage by 50%+ would take away the motivation to get a "good" job, and be more of a productive member of society.

The pay you get reflects the work you do, simple as that. If you don't do any work, you'll get the minimum amount of pay, which shouldn't be enough to "live off of." It should be reasonable for someone living at home, or at the very most, renting an apartment. Expecting to raise a family on that is ridiculous, and falls on the employee for having a silly idea instead of the employer for not paying "enough."

The most beneficial thing about having a "low" minimum wage is that it gives incentive for people to get a better job, which is better for society. I don't want to work at McDonald's for $10/hr, so I'll either go to school or use my McDonald's experience to apply to better places, like restaurants. The people stuck at McDonald's and not trying at all to get a better job don't deserve more money because they lack motivation and work ethic.

All in all, the main viewpoint for raising the minimum wage is a moral one, trying for everyone to be treated "fairly," which in reality is already being done, by encouraging people to get better jobs and be more beneficial to the society around them. If the right people worked the jobs that were intended for them, we wouldn't have very many problems at all.

Well I believe that's about it. Thanks again for a good debate!
Debate Round No. 5
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Hayd 2 years ago
Yes, I will try to vote on the substance of the vote. Not sure if I will have time though, what dsjpk5 was a d*ck move, I'll try to counter it.
Posted by Mister_Man 2 years ago
If someone could vote based on the content of the debate as well, that would be great lol :P Thanks
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
>Reported vote: dsjpk5// Mod action: NOT Removed<

1 point to Con (Conduct). Reasons for voting decision. Pro ff a round, so conduct to Con.

[*Reason for non-removal*] A forfeit is sufficient reason to award conduct. Forgiveness on the part of the debaters does not require forgiveness on the part of the voter.
Posted by Mister_Man 2 years ago
Okay cool, good luck then haha
Posted by feelthebernie 2 years ago
Correct, it will be abit long but i think i can do it
Posted by Mister_Man 2 years ago
No problem, so in your round you'll argue against my original points and then dispute my arguments?
Posted by feelthebernie 2 years ago
My apoligies for the forfeit, i tried working on it this morning but it says the site was down and I didnt have time all day. Can you do your next argument and ill try to combine both rounds together
Posted by Mister_Man 2 years ago
Kinda threw that together pretty quick, sorry if it's not put together that well.
Posted by Mister_Man 2 years ago
Okay awesome give me a second
Posted by feelthebernie 2 years ago
Yes, I agree with your proposal.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 2 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro ff a round, so conduct to Con.