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

Resolved: The US Federal Government should raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/22/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,494 times Debate No: 90730
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)





1. No trolling

2. Please keep some sort of format when responding

3. BOP is shared

4. 1st round is a constructive speech round


Federal minimum wage: The wage set by the American government as the lowest possible wage for American workers set at $7.25 an hour.

I negate the resolution that the US federal government should raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour for the following contentions:

Contention 1: States are much better actors

The economies of different states vary drastically for a reason. Certain states may be able to only support one minimum wage due to circumstances such as the labor pool, average education of workers, and how many businesses pay at minimum wage to any of their employees. Mr. Holzer, a previous chief economist of the Department of Labor wrote for the Brookings Institute in 2015 and has stated the following:

“In a city like Washington D.C. where unemployment among those with a high school education or less is at a worrisome 15%, jobless rates will almost certainly rise. Many employers will be very reluctant to pay high wages to workers whose skills – including the ability to speak English, in the case of many immigrants – are so modest. A likely result would be not only increases in unemployment but also drops in formal labor force activity (where workers work or search for legal jobs) and perhaps some growth in undocumented work among immigrants.”

We can see proof of this in the status quo with the failed project in Washington D.C where the minimum wage was raised, which failed miserably as there was little job growth in industries with low-wage workers as well as the fact that benefits and expenses on employees were cut so businesses could stay in the red.

This gives a valid example of how a minimum wage can actually harm the very people we are trying to help federally, which applies to the whole country. However, individual states are more understanding of their own limitations and can fairly regulate, and possibly raise, the minimum wage to fit the needs of the people while not being too stressful on the job market. A much more reasonable way to fix the problem would be to mandate that states raise the minimum wage by at least five percent, and at most 15%. We could see a moderate increase in revenue for people that could push more people into jobs with a higher incentive to join the labor market. However, as it stands, we cannot pass the resolution on the pretext that we are relying on the federal minimum wage, and not the states.

Contention 2: Increase price for consumers

Businesses exist for a one, primary goal: to make a profit. So, if we raise the minimum wage, we would see that businesses would be paying more on their employees and less on their products while demanding a higher price to still maintain a profit. A fifteen-dollar minimum wage, which is a huge increase for many states, would no doubt have this affect. In fact, we can look at Breitbart in August of 2015 which shows this exact problem occurring as pizzas, an everyday consumer item, cost thirty dollars at one pizzeria. This is only one example listed in the article. There have been estimates in the article from the National Federation of independent businesses that point out other harms as well as illuminate the problems associated with the minimum wage hike as well which includes the following escribing a possibility of legislation that would come through the state congress in California:

“…The state’s 2013 legislation raising California’s minimum wage rate to $9 per hour in 2014 and $10 by 2016 would shrink the state’s economy by $5.7 billion in the next 10 years and would cost the state roughly 68,000 jobs–63% of which would come from small businesses.”

We can see another example of this problem if we were to look at the American Enterprise Institute in 2016 where it is shown that:

“• In our weekly survey of ten of Chipotle’s markets, we found the company implemented price increases in half of the surveyed markets this week—San Francisco, Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Orlando. In most markets, the price increases have been limited to beef and average about 4% on barbacoa and steak, toward the lower end of management’s expectation for a 4% to 6% price increase on beef.

• San Francisco, however, saw across-the-board price increases averaging over 10%, including 10% increases on chicken, carnitas (pork), sofritas (tofu), and vegetarian entrees along with a 14% increase on steak and barbacoa.We believe the outsized San Francisco price hike was likely because of increased minimum wages (which rose by 14% from $10.74 per hour to $12.25 on May 1) as well as scheduled minimum wage increases in future years (to $13 next year, $14 in 2017, and $15 in 2018).”

We can clearly see from the examples shown that there is no such thing as a minimum wage that does not affect prices for consumers, showing that there is a balance that needs to be achieved between the personal need of people working the minimum wage and the consumer’s need for affordable goods and services. Since the fifteen dollar minimum wage does not account for this, we need to negate, if only to keep a fair and balanced system that can be tweaked later to bring about better effects.

Contention 3: Counter-plan

I will concede the following, the minimum wage needs to be increased moderately and on the state level to ensure that the previously mentioned points do not take effect. What also needs to happen is that we need to guarantee that there is a happy medium between the hike of the price for consumer goods and the individual need of money to support families for the people on the minimum wage. That being said, we should also incentivize getting into higher education and high-skilled jobs through prioritizing education in less affluent regions of the country and try to make college more attractive to those who come from poverty. Finally, we need to ensure that small businesses do not fail, so an annual audit of small businesses in all states should be done by the Department of Labor to ensure that progress is being made economically and to combat poverty and raise the standard of living. This will also help determine what states would need higher minimum or lower minimum wages. Until my opponent can refute my counter plan as a worse idea, we can’t pass today’s resolution with a clean conscience as we can tell there is a much better solution that could be enacted.

As clearly shown, one must negate the resolution and favor the counter plan instead to ensure that the previous points mentioned will not occur and we can have job security. Thank you.



Myth: Raising the minimum wage will only benefit teens.

Not true: The typical minimum wage worker is not a high school student earning weekend pocket money. In fact, 89 percent of those who would benefit from a federal minimum wage increase to $12 per hour are age 20 or older, and 56 percent are women.

Myth: Increasing the minimum wage will cause people to lose their jobs.

Not true: In a letter to President Obama and congressional leaders urging a minimum wage increase, more than 600 economists, including 7 Nobel Prize winners wrote, "In recent years there have been important developments in the academic literature on the effect of increases in the minimum wage on employment, with the weight of evidence now showing that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market. Research suggests that a minimum-wage increase could have a small stimulative effect on the economy as low-wage workers spend their additional earnings, raising demand and job growth, and providing some help on the jobs front."

Myth: Small business owners can't afford to pay their workers more, and therefore don't support an increase in the minimum wage.

Not true: A July 2015 survey found that 3 out of 5 small business owners with employees support a gradual increase in the minimum wage to $12. The survey reports that small business owners say an increase "would immediately put more money in the pocket of low-wage workers who will then spend the money on things like housing, food, and gas. This boost in demand for goods and services will help stimulate the economy and help create opportunities."

Myth: Raising the federal tipped minimum wage ($2.13 per hour since 1991) would hurt restaurants.

Not true: In California, employers are required to pay servers the full minimum wage of $9 per hour � before tips. Even with a 2014 increase in the minimum wage, the National Restaurant Association projects California restaurant sales will outpace all but only a handful of states in 2015.

Myth: Raising the federal tipped minimum wage ($2.13 per hour since 1991) would lead to restaurant job losses.

Not true: As of May 2015, employers in San Francisco must pay tipped workers the full minimum wage of $12.25 per hour � before tips. Yet, the San Francisco leisure and hospitality industry, which includes full-service restaurants, has experienced positive job growth this year, including following the most recent minimum wage increase.

Myth: Raising the federal minimum wage won't benefit workers in states where the hourly minimum rate is already higher than the federal minimum.

Not true: While 29 states and the District of Columbia currently have a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum, increasing the federal minimum wage will boost the earnings for nearly 38 million low-wage workers nationwide. That includes workers in those states already earning above the current federal minimum. Raising the federal minimum wage is an important part of strengthening the economy. A raise for minimum wage earners will put more money in more families' pockets, which will be spent on goods and services, stimulating economic growth locally and nationally.

Myth: Younger workers don't have to be paid the minimum wage.

Not true: While there are some exceptions, employers are generally required to pay at least the federal minimum wage. Exceptions allowed include a minimum wage of $4.25 per hour for young workers under the age of 20, but only during their first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment with an employer, and as long as their work does not displace other workers. After 90 consecutive days of employment or the employee reaches 20 years of age, whichever comes first, the employee must receive the current federal minimum wage or the state minimum wage, whichever is higher. There are programs requiring federal certification that allow for payment of less than the full federal minimum wage, but those programs are not limited to the employment of young workers.

Myth: Restaurant servers don't need to be paid the minimum wage since they receive tips.

Not true: An employer can pay a tipped employee as little as $2.13 per hour in direct wages, but only if that amount plus tips equal at least the federal minimum wage and the worker retains all tips and customarily and regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips. Often, an employee's tips combined with the employer's direct wages of at least $2.13 an hour do not equal the federal minimum hourly wage. When that occurs, the employer must make up the difference. Some states have minimum wage laws specific to tipped employees. When an employee is subject to both the federal and state wage laws, he or she is entitled to the provisions of each law which provides the greater benefits.

Myth: Increasing the minimum wage is bad for businesses.

Not true: Academic research has shown that higher wages sharply reduce employee turnover which can reduce employment and training costs.

Myth: Increasing the minimum wage is bad for the economy.

Not true: Since 1938, the federal minimum wage has been increased 22 times. For more than 75 years, real GDP per capita has steadily increased, even when the minimum wage has been raised.

Myth: The federal minimum wage goes up automatically as prices increase.

Not true: While some states have enacted rules in recent years triggering automatic increases in their minimum wages to help them keep up with inflation, the federal minimum wage does not operate in the same manner. An increase in the federal minimum wage requires approval by Congress and the president. However, in his call to gradually increase the current federal minimum, President Obama has also called for it to adjust automatically with inflation. Eliminating the requirement of formal congressional action would likely reduce the amount of time between increases, and better help low-income families keep up with rising prices.

Myth: The federal minimum wage is higher today than it was when President Reagan took office.

Not true: While the federal minimum wage was only $3.35 per hour in 1981 and is currently $7.25 per hour in real dollars, when adjusted for inflation, the current federal minimum wage would need to be more than $8 per hour to equal its buying power of the early 1980s and more nearly $11 per hour to equal its buying power of the late 1960s. That's why President Obama is urging Congress to increase the federal minimum wage and give low-wage workers a much-needed boost.

Myth: Increasing the minimum wage lacks public support.

Not true: Raising the federal minimum wage is an issue with broad popular support. Polls conducted since February 2013 when President Obama first called on Congress to increase the minimum wage have consistently shown that an overwhelming majority of Americans support an increase.

Myth: Increasing the minimum wage will result in job losses for newly hired and unskilled workers in what some call a �last-one-hired-equals-first-one-fired� scenario.

Not true: Minimum wage increases have little to no negative effect on employment as shown in independent studies from economists across the country. Academic research also has shown that higher wages sharply reduce employee turnover which can reduce employment and training costs.

Myth: The minimum wage stays the same if Congress doesn't change it.

Not true: Congress sets the minimum wage, but it doesn't keep pace with inflation. Because the cost of living is always rising, the value of a new minimum wage begins to fall from the moment it is set.
Debate Round No. 1


Observation: Plagiarism

My opponent has copied all of his points from the preceding website. Regardless, I will respond to them.

Rebuttal 1: Teenagers

The entire argument does not matter since I did not make this claim. What does matter, though, is the number attached to it showing the minimum wage that was measured.

“… In fact, 89 percent of those who would benefit from a federal minimum wage increase to $12 per hour are age 20 or older, and 56 percent are women.

What we are debating is a fifteen-dollar minimum wage per hour, so this entire argument is not under the resolution, and is considered void given no context on why this matters.

Rebuttal 2: 600 economists

I will concede that this happened, in support of the minimum wage increasing to $10.10 an hour of course. However, we are debating the minimum wage being higher, which will lose jobs in the long run. Remember, we are not debating simply a minimum wage increase, but one to fifteen dollars an hour, and this should be factored into today’s debate.

Rebuttal 3: Support from small businesses

The opinions of small businesses do not matter since I already given you an unrefuted example of how a minimum wage increase harms consumers. Not only this, but these are simply opinions and are not factored in to this debate.

Rebuttal 4: Tipped minimum wage

This entire argument is non-sequitur as it is not discussed in this debate.

Rebuttal 5: Job losses

I have already explained that job losses do not occur if the state were in charge of raising the minimum wage and I have used a Brookings Institution article to show why states are the best actors.

Myth 5 and 6

I have not discussed this in this debate up till now.

Rebuttal 6: Employee turnover

Alright, maybe under certain circumstances this may happen, but my opponent has not shown that the savings from employee turnover outweigh the price of paying more toward employees, which will increase the price of products.

Rebuttal 7: Not bad for economy

The article claims that since this has not happened before, the GDP will remain the same. Aright, but have we ever doubled the federal minimum wage within one year? If so, what was the effect of that?

Rebuttal 8: Minimum wages do not mean job losses

My opponent does not cite sources to prove this. Also, remember these are independent studies, not studies done on the national level. I have already shown you that a minimum wage hike will have different results in different states, so independent results are not important if done on the state level. Since this is not cited, I can only assume as much.



According to Heather Boushey, Executive Director and Chief Economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, raising the minimum wage is an important anti-poverty measure. A person earning the current minimum wage and working a 40-hour week makes $15,080 per year, which is barely above the poverty line for a single adult and is well below it for someone supporting children. The most recent proposal to increase the federal minimum wage would have raised it to $10.10 per hour, though it didn"t pass. More than half of the states (including the District of Columbia) already have higher minimum wages than the federal minimum wage. The District of Columbia is currently the highest at $10.50/hour. There has been discussion lately about increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, which would bring a family relying on a single wage-earner above the poverty line.

Minimum wage laws in the states as of January 1, 2016
so therefore, it should not be increased
Debate Round No. 2


Rebuttal 1: Minimum wage benefits

I have already shown why a fifteen dollar an hour minimum wage actually hurts private business owners. Not only this, but it also harms consumers due to hikes in prices for goods. In fact, we need to see that on average, the minimum wage being raised an be a harm unless certain precautions are taken. For example, we can allow states to make the decisions necessary as stated in my counter plan. What is important is the fact that while some states have a lot to benefit from raising the minimum wage, raising it to fifteen dollars an hour can put too much of a strain on private business owners and consumers.

Rebuttal 2: Evidence

My opponent cites evidence about the minimum wage currently and a raise to 10 dollars and ten cents an hour, yet this does not answer he resolution, which specifies the minimum wage being raised to fifteen dollars an hour. What needs to be shown is the fact that my opponent’s burden of proof is not met because he has yet to show the fact that the minimum wage has net benefits when raised on the federal level to fifteen dollars an hour. This means that I win.

Rebuttal 3: Plagiarism

My opponent’s arguments are filled with plagiarism, which detracts from any point he intends to make. Not only this, but my opponent has broken an important rule of debate, which should result in points being docked for conduct. Remember, this may not be an entirely formal debate, but we still need to have some rules in place to keep a fair debate.

Rebuttal 4: Living wage

My opponent has brought up an entirely new evidence which points toward a living wage, stating that many people make below the poverty line. But there are many poverty lines, and since this is not specified we can only assume that this is entirely made up. The government does not have the job to make sure everybody works and makes enough to feed a family, unfortunately that is not how capitalism works. A better solution to people not having enough money would be to invest in education and have a lower social safety net to incentivize people to work more and not use government funds to pay for their life.



andrewz61 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


I will wait until my opponent has responded before posting new arguments.


Adjusted for inflation, the federal minimum wage peaked in 1968 at $8.54 (in 2014 dollars). Since it was last raised in 2009, to the current $7.25 per hour, the federal minimum has lost about 8.1% of its purchasing power to inflation. The Economist recently estimated that, given how rich the U.S. is and the pattern among other advanced economies in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, "one would expect America"to pay a minimum wage around $12 an hour."

2Nearly half (48.2%) of the 3 million hourly workers who were at or below the federal minimum in 2014 were ages 16 to 24. An additional 22.4% are ages 25 to 34, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics; both shares have stayed more or less constant over the past decade. That 3 million represents about 2.3% of all wage and salary workers. (See more about the demographics of minimum-wage workers.)

3States With Minimum Wages Higher Than the FederalTwenty-nine states, plus the District of Columbia and nearly two dozen cities and counties, have set their own higher minimums. State hourly minimums range from $7.50 in Arkansas, Maine and New Mexico to $9.47 in Washington state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Together, these states include 61% of the nation"s working-age (16 and over) population, according to our analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. Among the cities that have enacted even higher local minimums are San Francisco ($15 by 2018), Seattle ($15 by 2021), Chicago ($13 by 2019) and San Diego ($11.50 by 2017), according to the National Employment Law Project.

4About 20.6 million people (or 30% of all hourly, non-self-employed workers 18 and older) are "near-minimum-wage" workers. We analyzed public-use microdata from the Current Population Survey (the same monthly survey that underpins the BLS"s wage and employment reports), and came up with that estimate of the total number of "near-minimum" U.S. workers " those who make more than the minimum wage in their state but less than $10.10 an hour, and therefore also would benefit if the federal minimum is raised to that amount. The near-minimum-wage workers are young (just under half are 30 or younger), mostly white (76%), and more likely to be female (54%) than male (46%). A majority (56%) have no more than a high-school education.

5The restaurant/food service industry is the single biggest employer of near-minimum-wage workers. Our analysis also found that 3.75 million people making near-minimum wages (about 18% of the total) worked in that industry. Among near-minimum workers aged 30 and younger, about 2.5 million (or nearly a quarter of all near-minimum workers in that age bracket) work in restaurants or other food-service industries. But because many of those workers presumably are tipped, their actual gross pay may be above $10.10 an hour. (Federal law, as well as wage laws in many states, allow tipped employees to be paid less as long as "tip credits" bring their pay up to at least the applicable minimum.)
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by XVIII 2 years ago
Agreed, at least Con seems to have the basic valid points and sources whereas pro will probably use liberal politicians and economists.
Posted by 42lifeuniverseverything 2 years ago
This debate again.... well at least this one is going to have lots of sources and such.
Posted by Alexforpresident 2 years ago
Minimum wage should be left to the states. The price if living in NYC is different then in Alabama. Different circumstances. The states will decide for themselves. People in a high price of living state will vote for a raise In minimum wage. That way more people get what they want and the federal government doesn't get involved.
Posted by blamonkey 2 years ago
I disagree, this is an economic issue of balance. We need to care for those in poor economic condition but not at the cost of small businesses. Thus the states should be in charge of the minimum wage to adjust it to a specific level to meet equilibrium.
Just my opinion, though.
You ca accept the debate though if you would like. Keep in mind though that you would also be affirming the resolution.
Posted by ViceRegent 2 years ago
State have no right to interfere with the right to contract than does the federal government. This is not a state issue, but a freedom issue.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by ivan2002 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: it was proven that bernies plan will add trillions in debt