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

The Federal Minimum wage should NOT be raised

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/19/2013 Category: Economics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,478 times Debate No: 37918
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




The current Federal Minimum wage if raised would increase unemployment, increase overall costs, and cause a negative ripple through the economy. Many states have their own minimum wage laws which are higher now. I say leave the federal minimum where it is. If individual states want to raise their rate, that is their decision. But the federal minimum must not be raised.


The argument that raising the federal minimum wage would cost business owners more money, and thus force them to either lay off workers or not bring on additional workers, seems to assume that the only factor effecting unemployment is the finances of those employing the workforce. Instead, raising the federal minimum wage may work to incentivize people who have previously relied on welfare to seek employment. As the federal minimum wage stands, there are people who feel it is not worth their time to work for the minimum wage, and instead would be able to sustain a lifestyle they are comfortable with by continuing to stay on welfare for as long as they can.

The argument that raising the minimum wage would increase "overall costs" seems to be reasonable in the short-term; in that, business owners would likely try to compensate for the increased wages of their employees. However, there are many other factors that have a direct impact upon the "overall costs," and such a discussion seems to be beyond the scope of this debate.

As far as your statement that raising the minimum wage would have a "negative ripple through the economy," I will note that the very purpose of the enactment of a federal minimum wage is to increase consumer-spending power in order to stimulate the economy. That said, due to the inflation of our dollar over time, it would be reasonable for the federal government to raise the minimum wage in accordance with economic inflation, to preserve the intent of having a federal minimum wage in the first place. Without doing so, due to the already increase in "overall costs" of the standard of living in our country, minimum wage workers will continue to fall behind and the very purpose for a federal minimum wage would eventually become compromised.

Lastly, I agree with you that if states want to raise their minimum wage that is their decision. However, if the federal government feels the need to step in and set a floor for what it believes the minimum wage should be, it has every right to do so. (Darby)
Debate Round No. 1


First off, you question whether " the only factor effecting unemployment is the finances of those employing the workforce"
is true. Economics 101 would support that it is true in most if not all cases.

Your statement "raising the federal minimum wage may work to incentivize people who have previously relied on welfare to seek employment. " seems more an indictment of welfare than a cogent argument for raising minimum wage.

Here is another opinion (with a citation)

From :

"Beginning in 2008, the United States economy entered a recession. Yet, at a time when many companies found it necessary to cut labor costs, the minimum wage increased. Faced with the limited choices of ( remaining in business) or laying off workers, the minimum wage workers were the ones to suffer by being laid off, according to In 2004, three states that had higher minimum wage laws than were required---Alaska, Washington and Oregon---were among the five states with the highest unemployment, according to an Economic Policy Institute article by Jeff Chapman. "

To clarify, I would support keeping the minimum where it is, but making it beneficial for companies to give "merit' or "service" increases. In other words, keep minimum wage as a STARTING wage, but give increases based on performance.

This would be much better than a blanket raising of the wage for workers, some of whom are more of a liability than an asset.

On a personal note, I once worked for a Fortune 500 corporation that paid minimum wage plus commission on sales. Those that sold did well. Those that did not produce usually left for another job. Raising the minimum would not have changed anything at all.


DeepBlue forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Sometimes the utility of a debate is that it helps to refine one's statement. When I say "The Federal Minimum wage should NOT be raised", I mean it should not be raised NOW. The debate question had its genesis in news articles from New York and elsewhere as a response to people protesting for an increase. Raising the wage now is the wrong response , to the wrong problem and at the wrong time.

With the current level of unemployment, and those who are not in the labor market, the minimum should not be raised until those issues are resolved. To raise it NOW only compounds the overall problem with the economy.

When the federal government begins to act responsibly, this issue could be revisited.

California may be raising their in-state minimum to $10 per hour. Let's wait and see what their experience shows.

In the meantime, I still stand that "The Federal Minimum wage should NOT be raised at this time."


DeepBlue forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Mikus 4 years ago
There is a question of WHY there exists a minimum wage at all. If you contend that there should not be an increase, then for how long should the freeze exist for? Inflation and cost of living always should there not be a raise to the MW to avoid any decrease in comparison?
Posted by Ragnar 4 years ago
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited leaving Pro's arguments unanswered. Pro had one source and Con none. In a debate that depends on the facts of what happens when the minimum wage is raised, there should be substantial use of references. That would help Pro's case since all but a few studies show a raise causes unemployment.