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

let it be resolved that the minimum wage should be abolished

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/10/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,799 times Debate No: 30089
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (4)




There should be no minimum wage. The minimum wage is racist, terrible for the economy and harms the weakest members of society.


I accept.

I will be arguing that a standard for a minimum wage is necessary. I also reject the definition given above as a enforcing a minimum wage in society is racist.

You may continue.
Debate Round No. 1


To clarify I will be making an argument that the minimum wage is racist I'm not forcing it's assumption - CON is very welcome to challenge my argument there.

The minimum wage, like any price floor, leads to a surplus. A surplus in the form of labour means unemployment. This phenomenon is most obviously observed by studying teenage unemployment following the introduction of the minimum wage. Teenagers are an excellent surrogate for low skilled workers in general, since teenagers have minimal marketable skills (little job experience, no college education, poor work ethic etc.) Here is a study which examines the impact of a 43% increase in the federal minimum wage in Lousiana (this state has no state minimum wage law). Unemployment among Louisiana teenagers skyrocketed during this time period from 13.6% in 2006 to 34.4% in 2011.

The minimum wage has no power to raise wage rates. All it can do is prohibit employment of individuals with a skill set which demands they be paid a wage lower than the minimum wage. In general these people tend to be the most destitute, the most in need of employment. This is a vicious predatory law which greatly harms those who are most desperately in need of help.

Why then would anyone possibly support a minimum wage? There are do-gooders on one hand, who erroneously believe that this law helps the poor. Then there are the people who benefit from the minimum wage - namely skilled labourers. Let us assume you have a widget factory, and a skilled widget maker can make 15 widgets an hour and commands a wage of $20 / hr. An unskilled widget maker can make 5 widgets an hour, and commands a wage of $6.66 an hour. To the employer it really doesn't matter if he hires one skilled widget maker, or 3 unskiled widget makers. But what if there was a minimum wage of $10 an hour? Then the employer could not hire the unskilled widget makers, and the demand for the skilled worker would go up since the competition from the unskilled widget makers would be no longer present. And this is EXACTLY who advocates for minimum wage increases - unions representing skilled workers who make much more than the minimum wage. What's more advocates of the minimum wage implicitly acknowledge it's weakness. Why are there student minimum wages and minimum wages for waitresses which are lower than the general minimum wage? It is precisely because these groups are generally low skilled - a lower minimum wage for them lowers unemployment in those groups, just as a lower minimum wage for everyone would lower unemployment for everyone.

Milton Friedman has referred to the minimum wage as one of the most racist laws on the books. Before the minimum wage was introduced, unemployment among blacks was roughly equal to unemployment among whites. Today unemployment for black teenagers stands at a staggering 30%! This law unfairly targets minorities. It kills their ability to get a job, to learn more marketable skills, to stay out of trouble and to gain capital.

Here's another case study :

Between 2003 and 2011 teen unemployment in Idaho increased from 10.6% to 30.9%. Between 2007 and 2009 the federal minimum wage increased from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour. This policy is especially aggravating since it occurred during a recession, a time in which prices, including the price of labour, must fall. This is in contrast with Idaho's over all uneployment which stands at 7.8% as of May 11th 2012.


As I understand it it, my opponent is advocating that a lower minimum wage would increase employment amongst society, or indeed would benefit an employer to employ more people at a lower cost.

The problem here is, that most employers would probably prefer that option, as they get more workers for less money.
So in conclusion, one establishment or guy who sits at the top can earn more money whilst the ground workers get less.

I find this logic unreasonable to accept.

My opponent argues that unemployment figures are high, because the minimum wage is also to high, and it doesn't suit employers to pay too many people, my opponent argues, that if employers could pay people less, then they could employ more people.

The problem with this logic is, The standard minimum wage is a figure introduced and enforced by governments to ensure that people are payed the least possible wage apt to survive according to the society they live in.

For example, The minimum wage in London United Kingdom, is enforced by Government officials to ensure,

1: That employees are not being exploited by employers who take advantage of the vulnerable unemployed and desperate people who are eagerly seeking work.

2: the minimum wage is a set figure devised by government to force employers to pay at least the minimum wage requirement to employees, this figure is based on an analysis of what is deemed essential for people to survive with in today's economy and society.

Whilst my opponent argues that a lower wage would be more beneficial for society and increase Jobs. I have a source that portrays the contrary, stating an increase to the minimum wage is required to help support the less privileged.

Again whilst my opponent is arguing that a lower minimum wage be enforced to enable more employers to employ more people and increase more jobs, the point my opponent is missing, is that if you decrease the minimum wage, all you get, is yet another minimum wage. whist I am suggesting an absolute minimum must be enforced to protect exploitation and to ensure a decent standard of living I possible for an employee.

Now, my opponent seems to link racism to the set minimum wage, and he offers a citation with a source, claiming the minimum wage is racist to black people and causing unemployment amongst black people. I fail to conclude this as viable, firstly the minimum wage is not racist, simply because it applies to all races, it does not only apply to a certain race, in fact it aims to distribute income more fairly to everybody and tries to avoid exploitation to the need and vulnerable.

I hand the debate back over to my opponent and thank him for creating the debate, as it is his area of expertise, and not mine, I only hope I can do well in putting a case forward.
Debate Round No. 2


If it is difficult to survive on the minimum wage, then how much more difficult it must be to survive if you are making nothing at all. This is the result of the minimum wage, unemployment, and unemployment among low skill workers - the most vulnerable and the most desperate of all members of our society. People who's skill set is below the minimum wage, someone who might qualify for only $5 an hour when the minimum wage is $10.

Exploitation cannot occur in a voluntary relationship. When an employee and an employer make an arrangement to exchange money for labour this is inherently unexploitative. If the employee feels they are being exploited they are free to quit at any time. If the employer feels the employee is not worth the money, then he may fire the employee at any time as well.

A point of clarification. My sources so far did not establish that minimum wage causes unemployment among 'people' per se (except in a broad sense that teenagers / unskilled workers are people) but among unskilled workers specifically. You see it isn't just anyone who becomes unemployed by the minimum wage, it is the weakest and most desperate members of our society. People who need a job more than anything else. It is exactly THEY who are put out of work by the minimum wage. So how on Earth can these laws help those people? How does making someone unemployed HELP that person?

It's not that if the minimum wage were lowered that an employer would fire all his workers and hire people that are of less skill for less money and then somehow magically make profits. If a worker is employed by a company, then that worker is being profitable for that company - if they weren't, they would get fired. Lowering the minimum wage isn't going to alter the existing relationships between employers and employees (except where wages are kept artificially high by lowering competition between skilled labourers and unskilled labourers, that is to say someone who is making $28 / hr might see their salary decrease by a very small amount) what it will do is enable employers to employee low skilled workers, typically poor people, teenagers, minorities etc. who they are currently forbidden by law from hiring. It will create many more jobs, create a tremendous amount of wealth, teach these people who are currently forbidden by law from working new valuable marketable skills and enable them to command a high salary through the development of these skills and work history.

If you truly care about the poor, then there is only one thing to do. Eliminate the minimum wage and all regulations on the labour market. Proponents of the minimum wage like to pretend they are helping low skilled workers. They are not. What they are doing is causing unemployment among the very groups they claim to help helping.


I would like to begin by thanking my opponent for raising a interesting topic for debate, and his contribution.

My opponent has highlighted some of the negative effects that the minimum wage may leave in it's trail. But may I remind the audience, my opponent calls for the minimum wage to be abolished, based solely on the debate of the negative impact the minimum wage may cause. So I will attempt to persuade the audience to consider if the negatives presented by my opponent, outweigh the positive effects I will here forth present. If we can conclude that there are indeed positive impacts which counter the negative impacts, I will call on the audience to vote Con in this debate, and find the resolution to have the minimum wage kept in force by governments and not abolished.

First I will start by saying that the minimum wage is a fair way for employees to be treated by employers, it forces employers to pay an absolute minimum wage to it's employees, and avoids exploitation of the needy and vulnerable, who are the most likely to accept a job at a minimum wage.

In fact, I present a extract from a speech made by President Barack Obama, only this month, stating.

State of the union address 2013 " full text

The full text of Barack Obama's 2013 state of the union address as prepared for delivery

Tonight, let's declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour.

This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families. It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank; rent or eviction; scraping by or finally getting ahead. For businesses across the country, it would mean customers with more money in their pockets. In fact, working folks shouldn't have to wait year after year for the minimum wage to go up while CEO pay has never been higher. So here's an idea that Governor Romney and I actually agreed on last year: let's tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on.

President Barack Obama

As you can see, above in the presidents speech, there are many positives to be gotten from enforcing the minimum wage, it could even make the difference of putting groceries on the table or paying rent, and Obama even claims that it's one idea that even his opposition would agree on, to tie the minimum wage to the cost of living.

More benefits that can be gotten from the minimum wage are,

Helps Families

The Economic Policy Institute is an economic research group located in Washington, D.C., and it concluded in a 1999 study that nearly 40 percent of the minimum wage earners in the United States are working parents. To go even further, nearly 33 percent of the minimum wage earners are married couple raising children. Without a minimum wage, these workers may be forced to work for less money.

Reduces Tax Burden

A person making at least minimum wage is not using as many public services as someone on unemployment, according to economics expert Professor Brock Haussamen. An unemployed worker is given welfare, rent assistance and food stamps in many states. With minimum wage, the need for public assistance is lowered and this reduces the tax burden on the community and the state.

Employment Incentive

A minimum wage gives an unemployed person incentive to take a job because he knows what his minimum pay will be, according to economics website Economics Help. An unemployed person can compare the money he gets from public assistance and compare it to the minimum wage to determine the financial incentive to taking a job.

Business Budgets

Without a minimum wage, it can be difficult for small businesses to budget their money. With a minimum wage in place, a small business owner knows what he will be expected to pay per hour and he can create new jobs with his company based on this budgeting information.

Common Reference

The minimum wage makes the hiring process easier for young or unskilled workers and employers. The worker knows upfront what kind of wage she can expect, and the employer does not have to go through the process of negotiating a wage with a new employee.

All of the above is from this source.

Also this from another source.....


- Fair for workers to be paid a minimum wage.
- Helps low earners gain a higher standard of living
- Extra disposable income should lead to extra spending in the economy
- Helps increase the gap between wages for low earners and unemployment benefit
- May help reduce unemployment


- Increases the cost to businesses
-Businesses may increase their prices (cost push inflation)
- Businesses may be unable to afford to employ as many workers
- Could cause unemployment
- Other workers may now ask for a pay rise
- Doesn"t help the unemployed who don"t receive a wage

I will end by thanking my opponent again for such an interesting topic, that I never had thought of the negatives involved in paying people a minimum wage, however even after a more in-depth view myself into the topic, I am still against the minimum wage being abolished, and urge my voters to consider the same.

Thank you very much.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by johnlubba 3 years ago
Actually Philochristos, I thought using the president recent speech, was a good source to highlight what is deemed positive about the minimum wage, but suit yourself.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by induced 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro leaps to conclusions, while Con considers the "pros and cons" before deciding
Vote Placed by DudeWithoutTheE 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con does not actively contest the harms brought by Pro. Creation of direct clash is Con's responsibility. What we get is Pro saying 'Here's a load of bad things about the MW' and Pro saying 'Here's why it's good.' Pro at least attempts to engage with ideas like exploitation, though he kinda does it by assertion. Con needs to bring economic coercion in counter to that, and didn't. Overall, I felt like the basic Pro case was made, and the basic Con case not really.
Vote Placed by Deadlykris 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: There's a huge difference between repealing the minimum wage, and never having one in the first place. Pro's arguments seem to indicate that this is not the case, while Con's arguments, while not stating this specifically, more accurately describe what would happen if the minimum wage were abolished. Pro's arguments describe more accurately where we might be if no minimum wage ever existed.
Vote Placed by philochristos 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Neither side really disputed the main point the other side was making. Con argued that a minimum wage allows people to make a living, and Pro agreed insofar as those people can remain employed. But that's the problem--minimum wage leaves many people unable to make a living at all due to unemployment. So which is better--to have some people who can make a decent living while others are completely unemployed, or to have all people capable of being employed, but nobody making a decent living? It's a hard balancing act. My own opinion that a balance can be struck between these two extremes by having a minimum wage that is low enough to strike that balance. But in this debate, I thought Pro did a better job of defending his position and responding to his opponent, so I gave him arguments. I also gave him sources because Con mentioned many sources without citing them, and he used Obama's State of the Union speech as a source. Political speeches are not credible on issues like these.