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

Resolved: Minimum wages in the United States should be raised to ensure the welfare of its people

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/17/2014 Category: Economics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,067 times Debate No: 61875
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




The first round is to introduce yourself and your side on this argument. There shall be no evidence or arguments in the first round.

I am Gatermouth, and I believe the minimum wage should be raised. I hope my opponent accepts this challenge.


I accept this challenge and negate the resolution which is in favor of raising the federal minimum wage.
Debate Round No. 1


I am in strong affirmation of the resolution, which states that the national minimum wage should be increased. I will now give my contentions.

Contention 1: A $15/hour minimum wage won't result in major job losses because it would put money in the pockets of millions of low-wage workers who will spend it -- thereby giving working families and the overall economy a boost, and creating jobs. In 1996, we raised the minimum wage, and businesses predicted millions of job losses; in fact, we had more job gains over the next four years than in any comparable period in American history. (Robert Reich, Professor of Public policy, California University Berkeley)

Contention 2: Working full time should produce enough money to support a family. In 1968, the minimum wage was high enough to keep a family of three out of poverty. In 1980, the minimum wage was at least high enough to keep a family of two out of poverty. Today, the minimum wage leaves a working parent with one child in poverty. This is fundamentally wrong. (Lawrence Wittner, Professor of History Emeritus)

Contention 3: By under-paying workers, corporations are shifting the real costs of doing business to the general public. According to a study released this October by the University of California and the University of Illinois, 52 percent of America's fast food workers receive assistance from public programs like food stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and Medicaid, thanks to their poverty-level wages. As a result, taxpayers are contributing $7 billion per year to pick up the cost of supporting these fast-food workers. These taxpayers are paying enormous amounts to support the impoverished employees of Wal-Mart and other giant companies. (Lawrence Wittner, Professor of History Emeritus)

This is why I stand in firm affirmation of the resolution.


I stand in firm negation of the resolution that states,"Resolved: Minimum wages in the United States should be raised to ensure the welfare of its people."

I do not believe that we will have any arguments over the terms used in the resolution since all of them are well known enough for debaters to have a sufficient knowledge regarding their definitions.

Contention 1: Raising the minimum wage will result in major job losses. This obviously clashes with my opponent's first contention in which he makes the exact opposite argument. Let me explain how this will happen rather than just stating a fact that shows that the unemployment rates will increase.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about half of the people that made minimum wage were age 25 or younger. This means that the people who are paid these low wages do not need to live off of these funds. This means that if MW was required to increase that employers would look for better and more skilled people to occupy jobs so that they are not wasting valuable money on kids. Not only will the younger people of the US lose valuable experience in a workplace environment, but they will also be affected negatively down the road due to their lack of experience. Obviously, we would be harming the future of many adolescents which is not in the favor of the general welfare of our American people.
The Pro stated in his case that the 1996 change in legislation that increased minimum wage benefited the country and did not harm job growth. However, this is not really applicable to twenty years in the future as economic times have changed drastically since then. If the country had not had its historically bad recession in 2008, the situation might be different, but that is not the case and therefore the country has less money to spend for things such as higher wages.
So, we must look at the statistics in the past few years, in order to make a slightly accurate prediction. Let's compare the statistics of states that had minimum wages higher than $7.25 (the current federal minimum wage) and states where it was $7.25. The unemployment rate and average job growth of the states in the first category was 7.4% and .5%, respectively, while the states with a $7.25 MW had a 6.4% unemployment rate and .8% average job growth rate. The difference of these systems shows that the states with $7.25 MW had a 1 percent lower unemployment rate and a .3% higher average job growth rate. This shows the result of states raising the minimum wage slightly. Imagine if we were to more than double the current minimum wage to allow people to "live" off of these funds. Let's just say we as a country would be "something that starts with an 'F', ends in a 'D', and rhymes with firetrucked". Also according to, with every 1 dollar increase in the federal minimum wage, the unemployment rate increases by an astounding 1.48%. If we were to increase the minimum wage by $7.75 to $15, it would be predicted that we would be increasing the unemployment rates by 11.47%. This means that we would be projected have 36 million people unemployed in the US.

Contention 2: By increasing the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour, the incentive to get a better education will be removed. The reason that many people are likely to get an education in today's society is so that they will be able to get a good job that pays far above minimum wage. If we increase minimum wage, it may become easier to get a well paying job without getting an education. This is hurting the future of the United States as the youth of our nation will begin to feel less and less a need to get a good education after high school. If we set the precedence that our country will always increase the FMW so that our people can live off of jobs that require no skill, we are showing future generations that this is okay and this will lead to the harm and destruction of our economy and our society itself.

Contention 3: Increasing the minimum wage will harm small businesses, the foundation for a stable economy. If we increase the FMW, small businesses that are already struggling to pay their employees will be burdened with the unsolvable problem that is the lack of money. More money required to pay for jobs = less jobs for people in small businesses = an economy that is ruined. Small businesses are vital to the growth and thriving of the U.S. economy because of the fact that they create jobs, therefore becoming the building blocks in which the big money making corporations can thrive and feed our economy. Many small businesses that become larger businesses, will likely stay in the communities that they were created in leading to local economic growth. So, we can deduce that more small businesses that we have spread out through America will lead to national economic success. However, if we were to take the foundation of small businesses out from under these large corporations, the economic building that we Americans pride ourselves in will come crumbling down, a large reason for the recession in 2008 according to many economists.

Now onto further refutations to the Pro's case.
I have already refuted my opponents first contention above so I shall proceed to my elaboration on my refutation to his second contention.
If we look at the statistics it is found that hardly any people in the US are actually working for minimum wage. In the United States, only 3 percent of the population of hourly paid people (25+ in age) work for minimum wage. In other words about 2.25 million people are required to "live" off of these incomes. This shows that my opponents second contention regarding people not being able to live off of MW is a very tiny problem if we look at the situation from a cost-benefit analysis.
To refute contention 3, I would just like to point out that this argument can't really be used to reason why we should increase minimum wage. First of all only 3.7 million people work in the fast food industry, a mere 1 percent of America's population. Secondly, the reason that the people working in these occupations need to have financial help is because the jobs in this industry are ALL bad paying jobs. Jobs in the fast food industry don't call for 15 dollar an hour wages because they require no skill and a meant to be a part time job where employees are expected to make a low salary. Flipping is hamburgers is not a career and we can agree that a person working in their career occupation deserve more than a teen that flips hamburgers and messes up your orders way to often. The thought process that these people deserve to be able to live off of their fast food employing jobs is simply irrational. No one is going to be able to make a living sweeping floors and heating up frozen foods, and this has, and always will be, the case in any economy.
In order to earn more money, people who are currently occupied by these jobs need to focus on using this money to pay for an education that will give them a chance at making more money at higher skilled occupations. These fast food organizations need to make a profit in order to stay in business, it is quite a simple fact of the matter. If the profit made by one hamburger goes to paying the worker twice as much as the profit, the restaurant will have to increase the cost of the burger leading to less people buying the burger and the restaurant going out of business. These businesses cannot hand out money willy nilly and expect no long term negative consequences to follow. So, they must pay these workers less so that they, the restaurant, can stay in business. If people wish to have higher pay, they must put in the work that is required to secure a better paying job, they can't just expect to earn more money for such simpleton's job.

For these reasons, I stand in firm negation of the resolution.
Debate Round No. 2


I would first like to refute my opponents arguments, and then strengthen my own case.

My opponent stated in his first contention that the unemployment rates will increase. He stated that we are hurting the future of America if we raise the minimum wage, which I have already proven incorrect because even though the adolescents are losing jobs to more skilled workers (which they aren't), their parents are making more money. They are making enough money so that the kids don't have to work. Many of the adolescents that are working minimum wage are doing so because their parents aren't making enough money for the whole family.
My opponent also stated that the 1996 legislation change is not applicable because the economy has changed, but what my opponent fails to understand is that no matter how bad or good the economy is, the effects will be the same. The varying economy does not change how increasing the minimum wage will do in the long run. This is why my opponents first contention falls.

My opponent states in his second contention that raising the minimum wage will lower the incentive to find education. However, this is not true because good jobs still make 10-30 dollars or more over the minimum wage. All this is doing is letting families be able to live of their income, because today, it is hard to find jobs, so finding a minimum wage job is better than no job. This is why my opponents second contention falls.

I am out of time, so I do not have a chance to refute my opponents 3rd contention, so I will do so in my next speech.
This is why I believe the proposition is wining this debate, and urge for a proposition vote.


I stand in firm negation of the resolution.

My opponent stated that my first contention fell because of the fact that even if adolescents lost jobs to more skilled workers that it wouldn't matter because there parents will be making more, and he also states that many are working so that they can help support their families. My opponent doesn't seem to have looked at the statistics close enough to realize that neither of these are really the case in this situation. According to, "Minimum-wage workers under 25 are typically not their family’s sole breadwinners. Rather, they tend to live in middle-class households that do not rely on their earnings—their average family income exceeds $65,000 a year." This illustrates that the families of these adolescents that are working for these jobs wouldn't NEED to benefit from higher minimum wages. To address his argument that stated that the reason that adolescents are working at MW is to support their families, is the fact that many of these people ages 16-25 are working to learn skills that will be valuable to them in the workplace later on in life. MW wage jobs gives them the essential skills that will help them become more desirable in the job market. Because the statistics show that adolescents aren't working at MW jobs to support their family, my opponent's refutation to this part of my first contention should be disregarded.
Attempting to refute another part of my refutation, my opponent also stated that the 1996 legislation is in fact applicable to this situation because of the fact that no matter the state of the economy, the effects (of increased job growth) will be the same today, and that the varying economy doesn't change MW's positive effect. However this is untrue and quite illogical. Think about it, if employers in a good economy have relatively large amount of money, they will be able to spend more. Likewise, if they have a small amount of money they won't be able to spend it. So, my opponent's argument against this final part of my first contention is very irrational and should also be disregarded.
To my second contention, my opponent argued that people will still have the incentive to get an education because good jobs make 10-30 dollars more than minimum wage. He also said that families are benefiting because it is hard to find a job, so because of the lack of jobs they should be able to find a minimum wage paying job that also allows them to live off of this salary. However, there are more errors with these arguments. 1.) The fact that good jobs may or may not pay 10-30 dollars more than MW (haven't seen any statistical evidence to verify this) doesn't really work as a refutation to this argument, because of the fact that it doesn't show that people without educations will still prosper because of MW increasing. The reason that I stated my argument about the incentive of getting an education being removed with MW increasing, is to show that people won't need to attend college in order for them to be able to get a well paying job. If we give them 15 dollars an hour off the bat, they won't need to go and attend a 4 year college to get a 17 dollar an hour paying job because this won't be much of a benefit in their eyes. 2.) (he said that raising MW is good because many people can't find jobs) Very few people actually have to support a family living off of minimum wage. Often, people making minimum wage are providing a secondary income to their families. Very rarely is the stereotype that the people making minimum wages are single parents raising a child actually occurring. If we look at the actual statistics, the arguments I have just stated are backed. More than 75% of people over the age of 25 live in a family that is above the poverty line (so they don't really need to support a family) and only 4 percent of MW workers are single parents working full time. Again if we look at this from a cost-benefit analysis, we can see the negative cost (hurt economy) for the families of the 75%(families with MW workers above poverty line) far outweighs the 24%(families with MW workers below poverty line) that would benefit. Also, the 4% of single parents that are struggling to live off of minimum wage does not justify hurting the economy (by harming small businesses job growth) for the other 96%.

I am sorry that the Pro didn't get enough time to refute all of my points or defend any of his, but I didn't set the time limit for arguments so...

Anyhow, I still stand in firm negation of the resolution.
Debate Round No. 3


gatermouth200 forfeited this round.


I strongly urge for a Con ballot.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by cheyennebodie 3 years ago
Gatorade. Any government intrusion shifts the cost they impose on the general public. If government forces an increase in wages, the general public will pay for it in higher prices. That is how economies work. And when government suppliments a workers wages because they dio not have th get-up-and go to increase their skill levels, the public pays for that also. Government intrusion always falls on the back of the public.

In 1966 I got my first job at minimum wage.$1.25.Within a year I got a job making twice that. And as my skills improved. something happened, my wages went up. And do you know I have never had government make any decisions on my wages since.
Posted by cheyennebodie 3 years ago
How high. $10.00 an hour. How about 15 or lets just get it over with, $50.00 an hour. Then EVERYBODY will be dancing in the streets and the dawn of the liberal utopia will finally be upon us.Then we can all sit around and sip pina-colada's.Man has finally reached nirvana.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by lannan13 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture