Proponents of minimum wage argue that low income workers are underpaid and therefore unable to support themselves or their families. I find this to be true based on my personal experience where I at one time went from being a stay at home, married mom to a divorced, single mom with four children and mortgage to pay amongst other bills, working a full time job at minimum wage of $8.54 per hour. Although I struggled with this, I was quickly encouraged to further my education to climb the ladder for future job opportunities.
Based on our reading, the biggest losers in this are our youth, who are most likely to lose work due to the minimum wage and then being considered as disadvantaged teenagers. On average, teens enter the workforce with the fewest job skills and the greatest need for on the job training. Until and unless these disadvantaged teenagers can acquire these skills, they are most likely to be unemployed as a result of the minimum wage and least likely to have the opportunity to move up the economic ladder. There is another side of these facts, age has an effect as well. Not only do skills affect your pay but age identifies in the job world one’s experience. Employers often denies this but my children who are fresh out of college has experienced this first hand. The effects of minimum wage for those teenagers just graduated from high school or college are things such as the cost of living such as renting, purchasing a car, monthly bills. It is almost impossible for them to succeed with having their own apartment, etc. due to the cost of living with just being paid minimum wage. Despite these adverse effects of minimum wage, many state and local governments believe that people with jobs should be paid a wage on which they can “afford to live.”
The minimum wage has an aspect that its supporters are not inclined to discuss. It can make employers more likely to discriminate on the basis of gender or race. When wages are set by market forces, employers who would discriminate face a reduced, expensive pool of workers. But when the government mandates an above market wage, the result is a surplus of low-skilled workers. It thus becomes easier and cheaper to discriminate. Critics of the minimum wage also note that it makes firms less willing to train workers lacking basic skills. Instead companies may choose to hire only experienced workers whose abilities justify the higher wage. Firms are likely to become less generous with fringe benefits in an effort to hold down labor costs. The prospect of more discrimination, less job training for low-skilled workers, and fewer fringe benefits for entry-level workers leaves many observers uncomfortable.
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