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

Resolved: The United States Federal Government should raise the minimum wage to $15.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/29/2015 Category: Economics
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 957 times Debate No: 83168
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (17)
Votes (2)




This is a tournament debate. Using 16kadams Rules:


1. First round is for acceptance only
2. Second round is for cases only
3. BOP is shared
4. No kritiks/semantics
5. Voting is on arguments only
6. Breaking rules = loss
7. Sources don't need to be in debate, but if you do that put them in an external link.
8. No NAP or annoying libertarian philosophy (counts as a K). Stats master race
9. You accept definitions
10. Don't troll me. Punishable by losing the debate and an capital punishment through Jaguars.

Round Structure:

R1: Acceptance. If Con needs clarification, ask for it here. Otherwise, no arguments.
R2-4: Arguments/Rebuttals
R5: Closing Remarks. You can address previous arguments, but don't offer new ones.

Definitions: Minimum Wage:the lowest wage permitted by law or by a special agreement.
Raise:increase the amount, level, or strength of.

May this be a great debate!


I accept!
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks for accepting. There are many reasons that the minimum wage should be raised to 15 dollars.
1. Raising the minimum wage will benefit the economy.
By raising the minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour the economy will raise with it. "The U.S. economy is constituted by 70 percent consumer spending. Raising the national minimum wage would inject as much as $450 billion in the U.S. economy each year, money that entrepreneurs would have the opportunity to chase after. A $15 minimum wage would also save taxpayers an estimated $153 billion a year, according to a study by the University of California, Berkeley. This is because companies that pay low wages force workers to get food stamps and other benefits to help offset their low wages."
2. Benefit Americans,
Americans are in favor of a $15 minimum wage. "No one deserves to live in poverty. The last 30 years have drastically skewed labor relations in favor of the employer, lowering workers wages, health care, pensions, and job protections in the process, creating massive poverty and economic uncertainty. This dynamic is now considered "normal," where 30 years ago it was considered a radical anti-worker ideology. A $15 minimum wage is the quickest, most direct route to empower working people, and directly intervene into the labor market on the side of the workers."
An employee working a 40-hour week at the federal minimum wage would earn $15,080 per year. This income would leave a two-person household -- say, a single parent with one child -- just below the federal poverty threshold of $15,130....... Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, has introduced legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage to $9.80 -- about $20,400 for a year of full-time work -- within two years. In subsequent years, the required pay rate would be increased each year by the same percentage that the federal Consumer Price Index rises.

3. Benefit the world. If the US economy stays on it's feet, it will benefit the world economy. Since we learned in point one that raising wages will help the economy, if the economy is benefited the dollar goes up helping much of the world.

In closing.
I wish to say more but my internet is going wacky on me. Again I would like to thank my opponent for accepting and I apologize for the time it took for me to get'er done. I personally believe I have stated how and why it is important to raise the minimum wage to $15. Happy AIDS day!


The burden of this debate should be shared by both sides. As Pro, my opponent must prove the US ought (implying obligation or necessity by logical consequence) to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Pro should present the reasons for this on both pragmatic and moral grounds to fulfill the burden. Likewise, it is my definitive duty to prove, on moral and pragmatic grounds, the US ought NOT raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. With this out of the way, let's move to the actual arguments.

Contention I: A $15 wage hike is unfair and indeterminable
The goal of a wage hike is to reduce poverty and stimulate the economy. It's widely and commonly seen as a wage off of which one can live accompanied by the necessities in an acceptable standard of living. However, achieving this end is indeterminable. Whether it be $10.10, $15, $17, et cetera, there is no plausible or fair way to numerically calculate a just minimum wage on a federal playing field. The Huffington Post explains "Living wage measures are completely arbitrary and that [individuals], both conservatives and liberals, aren’t well qualified to determine what’s an acceptable lifestyle for other people.” [1] Federal governments cannot adequately instigate a just or fair living wage for their citizens. It's simply unjust for a government, federal or otherwise, to impose a wage requirement deemed unjust by the employers and/or community.

In many instances, this would be the case. Small communities, especially in areas where the cost of living is far lower than the norm. These areas, as well as others, suffer. American Enterprise Institute notes the reason: "disproportionate effects by location." [2] The cost of living differs from small, rural cities as opposed to bustling suburbias. Institutionalizing a "one-size-fits-all" system is bound to detriment at least one of the extremes.

Contention II: Effects on businesses.
If it were plausible to instigate a $15 living wage, we'd see dire circumstances shadow small businesses. The effects are compounded on these smaller businesses who can't effectively absorb the increase. Karen Heisler, co-owner of Mission Pie Bakery in San Francisco, California explains how her business would be affected. "Our business is dedicated to proving high quality food at as low a price as we can, but we won’t have room to achieve that. The most expensive meal on the menu is $8.50, a stew with vegetables and rice. Raising the minimum wage will have a huge impact, not this year but ultimately. It will probably require us to hire more experienced and skillful people. We will see a decrease in the number of businesses in the 20-employee range because it’s becoming impossible to make it because of the cost of operation." [3] A host of other businesses would be remarkably harmed, as noted by National Federation of Independent Business. [4]

These results are even more significant when it is recognized that 48.5% of private-sector jobs are employed by small businesses, according to the US Small Business Administration. [5] Moreover, as the American Legislative Exchange Council asserts small corporations have to stay competitive to stay open. They do so by keeping lower prices. [6] Adding to their burden would push them under, a potential detriment to nearly 50% of private-sector jobs.

Moreover, inflation becomes a concern for businesses as well. Economic theory indicates a wage hike will facilitate inflation. [14] A study by Aaronson, French, and MacDonald notes, “Higher labor costs faced by employers are pushed onto customers in the form of higher prices.” [15] The vast brunt of the cost will be passed to consumers, meaning higher prices. [20] If prices rise, this not only creates inflation, but also effectively negates a wage increase. [35] More money earned, but more money is required to be spent. The effects won’t be short-term, either. A study by Burke, Miller, and Long affirms “ increase in labor costs can spur inflation and undercut the real minimum wage, precipitating an endless spiral.” [16] It will become a spiral of minimum wage degradation and inflation.

Contention III: A wage raise to $15 an hour displays a host of flaws.
Perhaps one of the most important negative consequences to a minimum wage increase is unemployment concerns. Numerous studies indicate an increase in wages, especially one that more than doubles the current minimum, will facilitate job loss. The Congressional Budget Office claims that a potential 1 million jobs could be lost with only an increase to $10.10, which would only be furthered if the wage was increased nearly another $5 dollars. [7]

With basic consideration of simplistic economic theory and logic, flaws become increasingly evident. The money to pay those workers a higher wage HAS to come from SOMEWHERE. If companies were already making plenty of profit, they'd adhere to labor unions demands of higher wages. I understand some large corporations could honestly support a higher wage with little harm, but as a utilitarian and federal policy, the minimum wage hike is a bad idea. Smaller corporations, especially, would have to do one of three things to compensate for paying higher wages: a) raise prices, b) cut hours, or c) cut workers. For option a, we know that wouldn't be a good thing. Logically, this entirely removes any benefit from a wage hike. If you get paid more money, but suddenly products are all more expensive, what is the gain? More money flowing, which can lead to inflation. Other than that, there isn't a benefit. You're back to where you started, without enough capital to pay for your necessities and comforts. For option b, we know this isn't a good things. Less hours equals less wages, so once again, you don't actually see the benefits of the wage hike in the first place. For option c, perhaps the most ominous, you see unemployment grow. Who, one might ask, is going to lose their job? It's obvious that a corporation wants to keep its best, most skilled, and better educated employees, and would be willing to pay higher wages for them. But what about the less skilled and uneducated employees? To the company, all things considered, they wouldn't be worth $15 dollars an hour. These would be the ones to lose their jobs, and they are the impoverished. More people without jobs would facilitate more reliance on welfare, which obviously isn't beneficial.

Other studies indicated job losses, including ones from Miami and Trinity Universities [8], economists David Neumark and William Wascher [9], and a plethora of others. [11] [12] [13] Moreover, these effects aren’t simply short-term. The detriments are definitely long-term. [21] As it intends to solve for poverty, we can’t raise the wage. Sanderson claims “The biggest anti-poverty program we have in the U.S. is getting somebody a job.” [23] With disemployment effects prevailing, getting a job is difficult, and the subsequent deterioration of poverty is nonexistent.

In fact, the experts in the field (labor economists) overwhelmingly agree raising the minimum wage will facilitate job losses (73%) and that these losses will be disproportionately laid on the poor (68%). [10] Those disproportionate victims are often teens, as has happened previously. [18] This essentially makes teens unemployable, and entry-level jobs become less available for those just entering the workforce. [29] Furthermore, in a team of 100 economic researchers, two-thirds found disemployment effects of wage hikes. [30] The consistent trend of employment detriment studies from wage hikes extends all the way back to 1957. [33]

Contention IV: Extended detriments.
Obviously the effects already mentioned aren’t positive. But those effects can have extended consequences. For example, raising the minimum wage will increase crime, because of unemployment. When teens (who are disproportionately affected [19]) are unemployed, criminal activity is often subsequent. [17]

Furthermore, raising wages can encourage outsourcing [22], which sends jobs to areas where labor laws are less strict or negligible. [24] This wouldn’t be good for the US economy as the labor for not only employment but profits to US businesses and the GDP would be gone. [31] Another asset is illegal aliens, who tend to be hired on because of wage law abuse. [34]

Another extended impact would be technological replacement. When faced with the dilemma of either raising wages or using technology to replace human labor, the latter is desirable. [25] This has happened time and again, and lowers job opportunities for low-skilled workers. This trend has also resulted in wage inequality, another thing political rhetoric of wage increase claims. [26] It’s illogical to assume more jobs would be created when humans are simultaneously being replaced.

Another talking point for wage hike advocates is poverty. Yet, instead of reducing poverty as they advocate, poverty is actually worsened. [27] A primary reason for this is competition [28], but the result is obvious; raising wages only facilitates more poverty. Alongside the poverty, companies would likely cut benefits such as health care. [32]

I've provided a primarily logical and consequential argument as to why the federal minimum wage should not be raised. First, it's indeterminable. Second, it has location issues. Third, it harms business in a multi-faceted manner. Fourth, it facilitates unemployment. Fifth, there Tying back, all of these things negate the resolution because of logical consequence. However, since the goal is to reduce poverty and stimulate economy, this means achieves no positive end. Thusly, it's immoral to implement a policy which reverts its intentions towards an ultimately immoral end. For this reason, vote Con.

Sources in Comments

Debate Round No. 2


Alright! Rebuttal time! I see you have some contentions which I will address in turn.

First you claim minimum wages cannot be fairly proportioned to accommodate the city dwellers and the smaller townspeople. Actually that is not true. Fuel, groceries restaurants and rent, taxes all costs are often higher in small towns. This is because of the lack of competition it drives prices up. so wages balance here. Therefore the city dwellers will make money with wage increase and the townspeople will also. Also because of the lack of stores the townspeople will flock too the city to do their shopping which will add moola to the city which will pay the minimum wage for many workers. Also again it will help stimulate the economy.

Next you claim Raising the minimum wage will negatively affect businesses. However studies say you are wrong.
"Raising wages reduces costly employee turnover and increases productivity. When the minimum wage goes up, employers can enjoy these benefits of paying higher wages without being placed at a competitive disadvantage, since all companies in their field are required to do the same. Raising wages also puts money in the hands of consumers, boosting demand for goods and services............For these reasons, nearly 1,000 business owners and executives, including Costco CEO Jim Singeal, U.S. Women"s Chamber of Commerce CEO Margot Dorfman, Addus Health Care CEO Mark Heaney, Credo Mobile President Michael Kieschnick, ABC Home CEO Paulette Cole, and small business owners from all 50 states, signed a Business for a Fair Minimum Wage statement supporting the last increase in the federal minimum wage. As their statement explained, "[h]igher wages benefit business by increasing consumer purchasing power, reducing costly employee turnover, raising productivity, and improving product quality, customer satisfaction and company reputation."
The site also shows numerous studies that link higher wages to better business.

Next you claim raising the minimum wage will kill many peoples jobs. However the United States Department of Labor has regard this as a myth. Due to extensive research they know it will benefit the economy when wages go up. They say, "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.""

You say businesses won't have the money to pay wages. The Department of Labor says, "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.""

You say increasing the minimum wage is bad for the economy. US department of labor says, "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."

You say Increasing the minimum wage lacks public support. Department of Labor says, "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."

You say 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. The department of labor says, "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."

I personally believe everything you have brought to the table has been addressed on the link above. From negative affects on the economy to higher crime rates because of unemployment. Another thing is Huffington Post you have been using is not a very accurate site to use.


I have explained how wage increase will benefit the economy, benefit workers, and ultimately benefit the world. I have shown how it is moral to raise wages because no one should work their butts off and still live in poverty, "An employee working a 40-hour week at the federal minimum wage would earn $15,080 per year. This income would leave a two-person household -- say, a single parent with one child -- just below the federal poverty threshold of $15,130."
I have explained well how raising the minimum wage will add money to businesses and add money to groth for the economy. For this reason vote Pro. I look forward to my opponents response.


I'll provide some rebuttals for my opponent's initial speech, per the rules. I'll respond to his attacks on my case in the following round.

1. Benefit Economy
I have a few responses here.

> Economic impact is quite demonstrable in its effects, and they are quite negative. His assertion that it will inject money/spending into the GDP is demonstrably false, due to the nature of a wage hike.
> When wages rise, so do payrolls. So the money that would be spent would primarily go to paying the extra wages in the first place.
> Moreover, raising wages would force employers to raise prices to compensate for lost capital used to fund the higher wages. This passes the brunt onto consumers. Prominent economists Aaronson, MacDonald, and French confirm "prices unambiguously increase in response to a minimum wage change." [1] Unfortunately, a minimum wage won't help the economy when it raises prices. This causes inflation, which is never good for the economy, and also, essentially, negates the wage increase.
> When prices rise concurrent with wage hikes, these minimum wage workers are effectively in the same dilemma: prices are too high for them to afford necessities. Instead of poverty reduction, you have poverty facilitation along side the depreciation of currency.
> Neither of these things are good. What's more, any economic benefits would be negligible, and heavily outweighed by the detriments to individuals and the diversion from its asserted goal (poverty facilitation).
> Economic research confirms the harmful effects on economy. Harasztosi and Lindner affirm "costs of the minimum wage [are] largely passed through to consumers." [2] Employment is a big concern with benefits to the economy, and as I have definitively proven, jobs are indubitably destroyed by a wage hike.
> This is definitively true, and demonstrable by a plethora of evidence. Neumark and Wascher, after conflicting evidence was brought forth, revisited the wage debate and concluded there are STILL relevant and signficant disemployment effects. [3]
> There are hundreds of thousands of jobs to be lost in multiple individual states, as well -- from only a $10.10 increase. Economic theory suggests a $15 wage hike would compound and extend these negative trends. [4]
> The GDP would actually be harmed, per macroeconomics. Because of severe job losses, the proposal could reduce the current US GDP by $42 billion in 2017. [5]


> The above is a demonstrative graph representing the previous point. Essentially, because there would be severe elimination of jobs, the GDP would subsequently decline concurrent to these disemployment effects.
> Specifically in regards to job loss, here are some statistics. Job losses could total over 2.3 million for a $10.10 proposal nationwide.
$10 Minimum Wage Would Destroy Jobs Nationwide

2. Benefit Americans
Another area where I have some dispute:

> It can be reasonably argued and claimed that if a policy proposal has such dire economic effects, it would not equate to a benefit for Americans. This premise, I believe holds firm and unwavering. Yet, I'll address a few more issues within this specific contention to further reiterate my point.
> Perhaps one of the biggest problems the US faces is employment concerns. Particularly, there is young laborers who are finding it quite difficult to find a job. However, the policy implementation for which my opponent advocates does nothing to resolve this paragon issue. In fact, the proposal at hand facilitates LESS employment opportunities for those in the most need of them -- teens and the unskilled workforce.
> The concept is quite simple. When a firm is federally mandated to pay a specified wage (which is quite high, in most cases) they would logically hire the individual with the best skill set. This generally entails individuals with a college degree and experience in the field prior to hiring. Generally, neither of these conditions align to teens or the unskilled work force. Essentially, the ones that need the jobs the *most* are going to be excluded from the hirings.
> An economic study of dynamic employment effects by Meer and West of Texas A&M addresses this very issue. They note "it [a wage hike] reduces demand for new workers by raising the marginal cost of an employee." [7] Essentially, there is a higher cost for an employee. Consider, for example, the following: two products, of the same type, cost the exact same amount. One is thoroughly tried and durable one, while the other is untested and discernibly faulty.
> The choice is simple. It would only be obvious to choose the former. The latter, admittedly, is of less quality for all intents and purposes. The same is true for the labor force. The quality and value of a worker to a firm is essential.
> It's simply a matter of productivity. A tried and tested individual is likely to have higher productivity, similar to college graduates generally having better productivity. Economic research confirms "workers with more education tend to have higher productivity, which means they tend to produce more output with the same inputs." [8]
> Minority Americans, the ones who REALLY NEED the extra cash, are the ones who suffer the most, unable to find the jobs they need. [10] This doesn't benefit America, as it only widens the gap between the rich and the poor.
> Another issue is low-cost communities. The system, as proposed, is a federal wage -- "one-size-fits-all." However, this is untrue. There is no system that fits all areas.
> It's plausible that some areas with large corporations and few minorities (though unlikely) would be able to absorb the impacts. But more rural communities (which drive agriculture) would suffer greatly. Even in areas where the cost of living is simply lower, a higher wage would devastate the economy. These small-scale places simply don't have enough capital to put into the wages that would be required. [9]

3. Benefit the World
A final refutation area:
> It's rather dubious to assume that, weighing the considerable economic defecits and detriments to America that the world would be benefited by the US implementing such an outrageous wage.
> Moreover, if the premises are true that there is such economic downturns and American harms, the economy of the US wouldn't "stay on its feet" and would thus entirely negate this contention, as well as the entire constructive argument.
> I would assert that the premises I've shown are true, and that I've reasonably demonstrated that fact; however, it is up to the judges to determine that.
> My opponent makes the argument here of the "dollar going up" benefiting the US and the world. However, this is entirely false.
> A minimum wage hike would cause inflation. Though I've demonstrated the economics of this both in my constructive case as well as this rebuttal, I will again affirm this point in a more simplistic manner. Inflation, as defined by a paraphrased Investopedia is that when prices rise, the value of currency falls. Specifically "Inflation is the rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services is rising and, consequently, the purchasing power of currency is falling." [11]
> This definition renders obvious and direct inflation from a minimum wage hike. Since we've already established that prices will rise, there has to be subsequent inflation. Again, Investopedia simplifies "raising the minimum wage forces business owners to raise the prices of their goods or services, thereby spurring inflation." [12]
> Refer to Contention II in my case for more specifics and analysis.

There's clearly large concerns, and validated, that a wage hike will be harmful to individuals, society, and the economy. Under the only proposed framework (in which my opponent accepts as he did not contest), judges should value moral and pragmatics regarding the topic. As I have shown it would be immoral to send all of these individuals to unemployment and continued poverty, and have shown that it's largely illogical on economic, politcal, and social grounds to raise wages, we should not. For all of these substantiated and verified reasons, there is no option but to vote CON.

Debate Round No. 3


Briannj17 forfeited this round.


My opponent has forfeited... extend arguments. :)
Debate Round No. 4


Briannj17 forfeited this round.


Extend arguments, vote CON
Debate Round No. 5
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Forever23 10 months ago
ColeTrain passes into the next round! Congratgulations!
Posted by ColeTrain 10 months ago
How about now? even if it's not a thorough, long response, it'd still be better than nothing...
Posted by Briannj17 10 months ago
I keep getting a 500 error
Posted by ColeTrain 10 months ago
You can just respond now. :)
Posted by Briannj17 10 months ago
I told the airmax fellow. He should be able to reset this error.
Posted by ColeTrain 10 months ago
Ha. ;)
Posted by Briannj17 10 months ago
We are just going to have to go our separate ways. lol I'll get paid better though. hehe
Posted by ColeTrain 10 months ago
No problem... :) But where do we go from here?
Posted by Briannj17 10 months ago
Dough!! Sorry these past few days have been busy. Construction work, welding, exam prep. Family, school and work come before debate.Org. I sincerely apologize for my forfeiture. I can assure you it won't happen again.
Posted by ColeTrain 10 months ago
Doin't forget! only 7 hours left!
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by bballcrook21 10 months ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture
Vote Placed by tajshar2k 10 months ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: FF