Minimum wage affects you too


Nealani Elliston, Review Staff

Feature Photo By: Nealani Elliston – Former student Sumer Martin works. Last summer, the youth labor force grew by 2.4 million, or 11.6 percent, to a total of 23.1 million in July.

As senior year approaches and Rangeview students begin to look at colleges and other future plans, many students question how they’ll afford their future. They begin looking for jobs, working after school, weekends, and over summer break in hopes to have a bright future.  For students, it seems like minimum wage has nothing to do with them but contrary to this belief, the minimum wage affects us all.

“I had a job in high school because I was saving up for when I graduated,” says former senior Sumer Martin, “whether the minimum wage increases or decreases affects where I go from here.”

Across the country, the federal minimum wage is a heavily debated topic because of the gains and losses in either side’s solution. The opposing side argues that if the federal minimum wage is increased too much, it could have a negative effect on the employment rates. When employers are expected to pay their employees a certain amount of money, they have to take into account how much they will need to keep their business running.

If money needed to pay a higher minimum wage surpasses the amount of money needed to keep the business running, workers will be let go so the employer can afford to pay their workers. It is not easy for small businesses. According to The Balance Careers, “an increase in the minimum wage raises the standard of living for impoverished workers. The minimum wage hasn’t kept up with inflation. As a result, the pay of many workers, particularly those with families of three or more people, are now well below the poverty level.”

If the minimum wage is increased, it can help the economy by increasing consumer purchasing power and reducing turnover, while helping those who are still struggling to recover from the recession and this could eventually lead to the growth of big industries and thus raise employment rates.

Senior Nicole Beno and Junior Moyosore Adebesin laugh as they talk about school and work. “I think working now and saving up will give me spending money for food and other little things I’ll need when I go to college,” says Nicole. (Nealani Elliston)

One solution is to steadily increase the minimum wage. Many people solely depend on these wages even students who either help pay the bills or are helping ease their inevitable college debt. Now is the best time to begin increasing because unemployment rates were at an all-time low and though the country is beginning to recover from the recession and with the current government shut down this could quickly change.

According to The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the federal minimum wage is $7.50, which is significantly lower than the Colorado state minimum wage of $11.10 (as of 2019). Though the cost of living in Colorado is above the U.S average, it was one of the most moved to places in 2017 according to Forbes list. This is an example of how raised minimum wages can benefit our country.

If the federal minimum wage is raised too quickly the country could begin to move backward, if the government waits for unemployment rates to lower even more and our economy to continue to grow, it can have even better benefits but regardless it will have advantages all the same. When asked if he could live off of his minimum wage job graduate Joshua Priest said “No, there’s no way. Even with a decent raise, I still couldn’t live comfortably.”

Even as a single guy living alone in a studio apartment with the Colorado minimum wage Priest was sure he couldn’t live comfortably. What does this mean for single-parent homes of 2 or more kids? 7.50 an hour just is not enough.

A common argument against raising the minimum wage is inflation and the aftermath of the recession, but contrary to this, raising the minimum wage will actually help the economy. Many believe that by increasing the minimum wage everything else will be raised including sales tax i.e inflation. Though this is true if done right, big industries will thrive, which will create more jobs with higher wages. Higher wages will stimulate consumer spending as consumer demand increases according to Times. The people will be making as much money as we spend which will even everything out and give those in poverty an opportunity to build themselves back up.

The federal minimum wage affects many, if not all, Americans. That’s you! In the past, the government has failed and left the economy in bad shape, but now is the country’s opportunity to fix what has been broken and lead the United States down a better and more comfortable path for struggling Americans. Senior Daijah Rodriguez said, “I like to be independent,” she went on to say, “my plans after high school are to go to college, what motivates me to work is to not have to ask for help.”  It is not easy to live on $7.50 an hour that being the life that many lead. By increasing the minimum wage steadily, a new era can be devised where a college student, paying student loans, living alone or a family of 4 can live easier.