Hike in wage would help

The minimum wage needs to be raised to support the quality of life California is currently moving toward what has been called an audacious plan to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022. Minimum wage increases throughout history have drawn the ire of conservatives and the support of the population of the United States at large.

The reason Californian legislators are pushing for this change may have something to do with the fact that California currently has a high level of poverty, with 17 percent of its citizens currently below the poverty line. Notwithstanding, the rest of the United States’s overall poverty rate of 14.8 percent should be noted with disappointment.

As it turns out, the effect of a minimum wage increase on businesses is not as black and white as opponents purport. A minimum wage hike would clearly improve the purchasing power of low-income workers. This would lift the revenue of businesses in general due to consumers’ increased willingness to spend caused by the boost in income. In addition, the turnover rate of employees in businesses would decrease, reducing costs for businesses and saving them money to offset the wage increase.

Most people also tend to overlook the fact that in the year 2022, when $15 per hour is to be fully implemented, projected inflation rates will make that wage to be around $13 per hour in today’s dollars. This puts into perspective the proposal’s real impact, and how it is not as radical as opponents make it out to be in comparison to California’s current minimum wage of $10 per hour.

A minimum wage increase should be executed logically and conditionally. There should be exemptions to businesses that can prove financial difficulty. Another step to crawl up to $15 per hour using a safe and organized procedure is to reduce the wage increase in locations where real estate prices are lower, thereby making the fraction of wages in a business’ total costs higher.

Perhaps it would also be beneficial to reduce it in areas without tourist industries to absorb the impact better. Thankfully, the legislation does have some protection against unexpected events, allowing the governor to pause the process in the event of an economic downturn or a state budget complication. It also delays the schedule of increases by one year for businesses with fewer than 26 workers. These are intelligent elements of the legislation that make it robust and flexible, but there could be more. Regardless, in a state where nearly a fifth of its citizens are living below the poverty threshold, a dynamic approach such as this one is reasonable, justifiable and commendable.

We need to increase the minimum wage so that hardworking Americans are not wallowing in poverty, even after working exorbitant hours every week. The quality of life in this country should rise proportionally to its overall wealth, and we must take any steps that we can to address poverty in the United States with tenacity. We ought to ask ourselves by how much we can increase the minimum wage so that the most people benefit from it without negatively impacting the economy. I see no reason to fear $15 per hour. I only see a bold step in the right direction