The Instigator
Con (against)
The Contender
Pro (for)

Should Minimum Wage Be Raised?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/5/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 336 times Debate No: 93377
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
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I go against raising minimum wage because E.I.T.C. would generate the same results, without the job loss or other negative effects, as an increase in minimum wage. The counter plan to raising minimum wage is to make more money into E.I.T.C., make it better for singles and people with no children, and make in monthly or quarterly payments rather than 12 months. E.I.T.C. is not being improved upon is failure to recognize that an increase in minimum wage wouldn't be beneficial those in need.


Since Con has merely introduced their points--I imagine they will expand on them in greater detail in the following rounds--I will also have a short introduction. I'll begin by stating my advocacy. I support raising the federal minimum wage requirement in the United States to $10.10/hr, as proposed by a petition of 600 economists -- including 7 Nobel Prize-winning ones.[1]

Companies and employers have an incentive to keep wages low. They don't want to pay for workers' wages. That's the reason so many companies are moving plants to Mexico: cheap labor. Nobody likes spending money on stuff that could be cheaper. So companies universally keep wages low, because there's a pretty clear incentive to do that. While there is an incentive that exists in increasing worker productivity, insofar as wages are low *across the board* raising wages won't change much. Furthermore, there are sufficient monopolies in businesses today -- and too little encouragement of competition -- to keep wages high. $7.25/hr isn't sufficient to meet basic needs -- you can't earn a living on minimum wage. So the USFG has to raise the MW requirement to create a reason to ensure higher wages, and ensure that hard-working people earn high wages. Con says an EITC can accomplish all of this, but I'm left with no evidence that suggests this. The EITC takes up government revenue, which is better funded elsewhere when we can ensure wages are high enough to live.

Raising the minimum wage has other, economic benefits as well. It increases consumption because people who recently earn more money have an instinctive tendency to spend the money quickly. It increases worker productivity because people with higher wages have better incentives to work well -- much like how tips allow for greater function of restaurants generally.

Through this debate -- assuming my opponent responds -- I intend to show readers how the minimum wage, overall, maximizes human welfare and benefits the economy, and why we would all be better off raising it.


Debate Round No. 1


It"s not clear that it"s constitutional. The Supreme Court, in its opinion in the 1923 case Adkins v. Children"s Hospital of District of Columbia, made a strong argument that a minimum wage was a violation of the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of contract embedded in the Fifth Amendment"s language about due process and the deprivation of liberty and property: "To the extent that the sum fixed exceeds the fair value of the services rendered, it amounts to a compulsory exaction from the employer for the support of a partially indigent person, for whose condition there rests upon him no peculiar responsibility, and therefore, in effect, arbitrarily shifts to his shoulders a burden which, if it belongs to anybody, belongs to society as a whole." The Court later, in the 1937 case West Coast Hotel v. Parrish, reversed Adkins by a five to four margin. But maybe the court was right the first time around.

Even if the freedom of contract isn"t protected by the Constitution, it"s a natural right that should not be infringed. As President Kennedy put it in his inaugural address, "the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God." If two free people want to enter into a voluntary, consensual agreement that doesn"t infringe on anyone else"s rights, why should the government stop them? If someone wants to work for $5 an hour, and someone wants to hire that person for that much, and no one is forcing either one of them to enter into the agreement, by what authority does government step in and stop them?

It would eliminate jobs. Ordering businesses to pay entry-level workers more will make them hire fewer of them, and consider replacing more workers with robots or computers. That"s good if you are in the robot or computer business, but not so good if you are trying to combat unemployment. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that President Obama"s proposed $10.10 wage, once fully implemented, "would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers."


Just to clarify my advocacy once more: I support raising the federal minimum wage requirement in the United States to $10.10/hr, as proposed by a petition of 600 economists -- including 7 Nobel Prize-winning ones. [1]

My opponent's argument is plagiarized, from this source ( Put your own effort into debates, or lose. It's that simple.

In any case, Con's arguments are nonsensical anyway.

One, Con concedes that the Supreme Court agrees with the minimum wage's constitutionality. We presume something is constitutional unless proven otherwise. The role of the State is to maximize benefit to the citizens - it's that simple. Since a minimum wage hike does that, it should exist. There's no "uncertainty" as to whether it's constitutional. Also, this is an is/ought fallacy - what's already there in the constitution doesn't mean it should necessarily be upheld.

Two, there's no way to prove consent necessarily took place. Employers have an incentive to cut costs, and that includes low wages. If everyone pays low wages, there's no question of consent, because there's no choice in the first place - all business would pay low wages without a minimum wage. There are fifteen million workers who earn less than $10/hr in America, according to the Economic Policy Institute. [2] They're exploited that way, and if there's a monopoly (e.g. Walmart, which pays workers $9/hr) or if all businesses pay low wages to workers, then there's no consent involved. There's no way to prove consent, because these "contracts" are driven by necessity.

Three, the notion that it would cause the loss of so many jobs is wrong. A review of the literature on the subject by economist John Schmitt found that a minimum wage hike would have no discernible effect on employment whatsoever. [3] Minimum wage jobs exist in industries which are non-exportable, so there's no other way to get cheap labor, and corporations rely on labor. It's simple logic: industries need a certain amount of labor, and that's the only amount they're going to hire. I don't deny that a minimum wage hike to something like $15/hr would cause some unemployment, because at that point workers would be efficient enough to allow for less labor, but at anything less that $13/hr, there's not going to be a significant effect - most research agrees. Economist Michael Reich explains, "[D]ata shows that an increase up to $13 an hour has no measurable effect on employment." [4] Card and Krueger found that, in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, there were no negative employment effects whatsoever due to their respective minimum wages. [5] So Con's claim here is nonsensical too.

Con talks about the EITC, but fails to prove that an EITC would be effective at reducing poverty. A mandatory minimum wage is more effective than the EITC, because it has a bunch of unique benefits that I will go into soon. An EITC sucks up government spending, which means there's no way by which to cut the corporate tax rate (which is an unnecessary burden on employers and merely creates an incentive to fire more employees) and focus the government spending on more important things that need to be achieved. Poverty can be alleviated by a minimum wage without necessitating for more tax revenue being required, and the minimum wage provides certain unique benefits (e.g. increased consumption and greater productivity) that an EITC fails to provide.

Meanwhile, there are good reasons to raise the minimum wage. I provided an overview of those reasons, and Con doesn't address any of the arguments made. I hope to expand on some of them now.

First, employers have an incentive to keep wages low, and so they'll keep wages low. Hard-working people won't be able to earn a living from all the hard work they do. The Congressional Budget Office reports that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would lift 900,000 people from poverty. [6] A more liberal estimate, by Arindrajit Dube, found that an increase to $10.10 (about 39% increase) would immediately lift 4.6 million people from poverty, and, over time, would lift 6.8 million people. [7] This many people being lifted from poverty far outweighs any negative impact from a minimum wage hike. Lifting people from poverty is inherently good. These people can't meet their basic interests - while we live in the lap of luxury, some people don't get a plate of food every day. 17 million children in the United States live in food insecure households. [8] Duncan Walker of BBC News quotes one such child as saying, "Sometimes we don't have cereal and we have milk. Sometimes when there's a cooking show on I get a little more hungry - I want to vanish into the screen and start eating the food." [8] Living in poverty isn't easy. While some go and eat at expensive restaurants, others tear at the sight of such food when they know they can never afford it. That's enough reason to hike the minimum wage.

Second, reducing poverty like that means the government has to spend significantly less on welfare programs, social security, earned income tax credit, etc. 73% of American welfare expenditure is because of insufficient wages. [9] That's 73/100 x $454 billion = $331 billion, and nearly that much will be saved because of the amount of people that will be lifted out of poverty. That also opens the United States to reduce corporate tax rates, which would boost employment and further increase wages, creating an endless cycle of advancing human welfare.

Third, a minimum wage hike would boost consumption and increase productivity, thus boosting the economy. That's because people love spending newly-earned money -- they have an urge to spend. Basic behavioral psychology suggests as much. And behavioral economists agree too. That means, the less poor people become, the more they consume products. [10] The more consumption, the supply-side is boosted as well, which results in -- overall -- economic growth. A $1.75 hike in the minimum wage would increase consumption by $48 billion annually. [10] We're talking about a $2.85 hike, so the effects are nearly $100 billion more made by businesses annually. Furthermore, most research agrees that a minimum wage hike would boost productivity. [11] [12] That could mean growth in excess of $200 billion. [11]

Businesses could gain up to $300 billion annually, millions of workers could be lifted up from poverty, there's no harm from a minimum wage hike, EITC expansion alone would suck up too much government revenue which is better-invested elsewhere, and welfare costs are reduced significantly, allowing for greater improvement in human welfare. For all those reasons, vote Pro.


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Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by tejretics 3 months ago
>> "73/100 x $454 billion = $331 billion"

I should clarify that this is an approximate value. The exact value is $331.42 billion.
Posted by tejretics 3 months ago
Not sure I understand your question, or its relevance to this debate.
Posted by SJM 3 months ago
Tejretics do you know what anecdotal evidence is? What my opponent did was not authoritative, she state something personal and I said that it was an anecdotal fallacy.
Posted by TheWaywardWriter 3 months ago
I was about to debate with you as this question caught my attention, but seeing that you disagree with minimum wage being raised (as I do), I guess I won't. Good luck to you and your future opponent, I guess.
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