Raising the minimum wage won’t have the effect you are thinking. It is not a cure-all, nor is it a death sentence for businesses and/or jobs.
Neither side of the discussion as framed by the media is correct.
1 – Raising the minimum wage won’t magically make everyone on it able to afford a good lifestyle.
The cost of goods in this country is still too high. Inflation has been caused by the giant faraway bank with no auditors known as the Federal Reserve.
Raising the minimum wage won’t fix this. In fact, raising the minimum wage makes an increase in the cost of goods likely. The corporations want to keep profit margins where they are, so unless the low skill workers at minimum wage magically learn how to reduce costs for the company, thus making their raise in pay a non-issue for profits, the price of things you buy will rise in accordance to rising costs of labor.
2 – Corporations will not suddenly grow a heart (because they aren’t people) and let the extra 50% rise in cost of minimum wage labor eat into their profits.
Profits are what corporations live for. Profits drive earnings reports. Earnings reports drive stock prices higher. Rising stock prices earn executives massive bonuses.
Unless you change the system entirely, this is what will continue to drive business. One option is ending the stock market. Let corporations sell bonds to raise capital and rid our economy of the big swings caused by whims and guesses (speculation) over the value of a stock, while also removing the incentive of doing things that are bad for people but good for a ticker on a screen.
3 – Raising the minimum wage won’t drastically reduce the number of jobs.
Technology is doing that already. This measure may accelerate the pace at which technology eats those jobs, but they aren’t going to just fire people instead of paying them more. Companies need the people doing the work – otherwise they wouldn’t have them employed in the first place since corporations are not charities handing out jobs.
It’s too late to change the past. And a tidal wave is coming to wipe out millions of jobs. We’re never going to get them back. A screen can replace an order taker. A piece of software will replace inventory management and bookkeeping. A robot can replace a person on an assembly line. A car will drive itself to pick you up (bye Uber drivers and shitty taxi drivers!) in less than a decade.
All of this is inevitable. We shouldn’t try to stop it. It’s good for society to make advances. Progress. We keep saying we want it. Let’s not flip flop now.
We must find a way to take care of all the people who will soon be out of work for good. I think the most logical solution is a universal basic income with a single-payer healthcare system paid for by corporations – who are the ones pumping us full of garbage that makes us sick to pump us full of their pills that make us better, but not well.
It’s time we shifted our thinking. If we don’t do it now, we’ll be swept away by the tide too.