The Debate Over Minimum Wage

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The Debate Over Minimum Wage Introduction: The Clinton Administration served notice in 1993 that it intended to seek an increase in the federal minimum wage. Liberal politicians applauded the new president, agreeing that an increase was overdue and deserved. However, their conservative counterparts lamented the policy proposal, fearful that a minimum wage hike would further unsettle the economic recovery that was underway at the time. Both liberals and conservatives began to marshal their statistical forces to support the long held claims concerning the positive and negative consequences of a minimum wage increase. Since then, political rhetoric has often ruled the minimum wage debate. (Mckenzie, 10, 1994) Minimum wage is a contentious issue because it is debated in a wide and eclectic audience. Minimum wage is at the heart of the economist's interest; he is in pursuit of finding its connection to job loss. Countries all over the world, including all members of the OECC, maintain minimum wage laws. For this reason, it is of obvious importance to policy makers. Because those that tend to earn a minimum wage are disproportionately from low income and minority families, the minimum wage has attracted attention from social activists as well. The topic is perhaps most interesting to the average American. At some point in our lives, almost everyone has been paid the minimum wage. Due to this fact, it is of popular debate over dinner, at restaurants, and in the typical American living room. The people of the United States should support raising the federal minimum wage because empirical evidence proves that it does not lead to job loss. Americans know a raise in the minimum wage is one way to help make work pay. For many working Americans an increase in the minimum wage will make the difference between living in poverty and not. Furthermore, a higher minimum wage, a floor to ensure workers that they're getting a fair deal for their efforts, provides a foothold into the middle class for many other families who would otherwise not earn a middle class living. America of the 1990's is a country of increasing disparity, where the wealthy are moving ahead while the working class is falling behind. In this economic phenomenon, the middle class is disappearing. One of our major defenses to ensure those in the working class receives a fair wage, is legislation providing for one. While many opponents of minimum wage cite labor supply and demand concerns with a legislated wage, we must look at the facts instead of the mere theory.
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