Raising Missouri’s Minimum Wage Won’t Solve the Poverty Problem [OPINION]
There has been lots of talk lately about raising minimum wage at federal government on down to the state level. The latest conversation of raising minimum wage in Missouri to $10 an hour comes from the Missouri Senate, who this week voted to move up SB531 out of the Senate Small Business, Insurance and Industry Committee and can now be brought to the whole Senate for debate.
Personally I’m all about having more money, but the problem with raising minimum wage from $7.50 to $10 is it’s too big of a step, and a short-term solution to a long-term problem of getting people out of poverty.
I realize there are a lot of people that are below the poverty line. This would certainly allow people to bring in more money, if we all kept our jobs. Think about it; you’ll be able to spend an extra $100 a week at that rate. So that’s a great short term solution to helping people out.
Now here comes the “but” part. If you make $100 extra a month, that means more than likely the prices will go up on products and labor. So suddenly, that extra money is gone in a blink of an eye and suddenly, and in a couple of years we’ll be talking about $15 an hour and then dealing with the same issue.
There comes a time when reality needs to strike on minimum wage. I remember working for $4.75 an hour in the ’90s on my first job. I was limited to 20 hours a week. The next raise came when minimum wage increased to $5.15. Missouri enacted a law in 2006, called Proposition B, which allows the minimum wage rate to increase each year based on the Consumer Price Index. At that time, it set the standard at $6.50 and has now raised to $7.50. This at least allows business to adjust over the years. Personally, I feel this should be kept as the model.
On another note, there is nothing like the great satisfaction of a raise. It means you’re doing a great job. There are a lot of companies that employ people that only make minimum wage. I don’t think I’d feel very good if the only raise I got was because the federal or state government said I could have one, unless I worked for them. I fear there will come a time when we’d raised the minimum wage too much and those that are currently above the poverty mark making $15-$20 an hour will find themselves in poverty, because I don’t think the raises will reciprocate for everyone.
I don’t think this is a smart time to raise the minimum wage and we should keep following the model Missouri voters voted in.
That’s just my two cents worth, and I urge you to contact your reps and senators to voice your opinion. Let us know what you think in the comments.