January 23 2017
One News Now
featuring Patrice L. Onwuka
A defender of freedom and faith asserts that the push for a higher federal minimum wage is not going to go away in the Trump administration.
While many states and municipalities now have wages above the federal minimum of $7.25, some individuals, think tanks, and special interest groups maintain that people need to make a "living wage." The idea, they say, is that a federal minimum wage of around $15 an hour would reduce poverty and dependency on government programs.
"What I think is missing here is the unintended consequences of minimum wage increases," responds Patrice Lee Onwuka with Independent Women's Forum (IWF). "We want to see everybody have higher wages, but when you look at some of the trade-offs and some of the immediate impacts of raising minimum wages to very arbitrary levels, you begin to see that maybe it's not worth it."
Examples of consequences include jobs cuts or fewer job opportunities.
Meanwhile, people in favor of a higher federal minimum wage point out that young people are not the only ones making the minimum wage. Onwuka acknowledges that is the case, but she adds that many minimum wage positions are not intended to be career positions.
"They're the first jobs or those low-skill jobs that you start out with, gain some skills, and hopefully parlay that into your next job or the next level on you career ladder," she explains. "It's unfortunate that there are some people, probably maybe 31 percent of people over 34, that earn minimum wages, but we want to ensure, though, that they get the skills they need … to be able to find higher-paying jobs."
To put it another way, continually increasing the bottom does not necessarily help everyone, says Onwuka.
"I think we need to ensure that people of all ages have the skills that they need to make minimum wage jobs just a starting point and not you know a career," she concludes.