Questioning the benefits of a high minimum wage

It’s been nearly a year since Iowa’s first minimum wage increase in over a decade, and the change seems to have benefited everyone. Last April, Iowa’s minimum wage was raised to $6.20 an hour, from $5.15. In January it was raised again, this time to $7.25. Not surprisingly, AHS students are very happy about the raise in the minimum wage. Many high school students make minimum wage, or close to it, at part time jobs. “For me it’s great, because I work at the pool and my wages went up last year and will go up again when the pool reopens this summer,” said junior Ben Jones. “I don’t know all the negative aspects, but for me personally it has turned out well.” Some people do question the effect on the economy, as minimum wage increases generally cause inflation, and the value of the dollar is already at a very low point. “The idea of raising the minimum wage is great, but there are a lot of side effects that must be considered,” said ISU freshman and AHS graduate Trent Lamar. “I’m not an economist, but a lot of people just hear the idea and are automatically all for it. An increase in the minimum wage is also going to cause an increase in prices. It’s all a matter of finding a common ground between minimum wage and inflation that would be caused by an increase.” What often goes unconsidered is the huge effect of minimum wage on those who really need it. Although the increase is nice for many young people with part time jobs, the actual wage must be much higher to make the difference that is needed. Governor Culver and the Iowa legislature boast about how many people they have helped with the increase in minimum wage as Iowa’s minimum wage is much higher than the national standard of $5.85. “The raise in minimum was long overdue,” said Vic Moss, director of the Emergency Residence Project, a home where people can go if they are going through hard times and need a place to stay. “The increase is definitely helping. It helps those making the very least amount of money get up a little. Also, those already making above the minimum wage also get small raise that can greatly help them.” No single figure has been given for a fair minimum wage that all could live off of, but Moss said that a single person supporting just him or herself, should make around $11 an hour. “It is good, but it is not enough. I don’t think it ever will be enough,” Moss said. “It should be really depends on the family, which makes it difficult because you can only have one minimum wage. What we need is more programs and subsidies. We depend on each other and we all deserve enough support to meet our minimum needs. We are all in this together.”