I’ve noticed that lately economic equality and helping lower class Americans has been a theme in the Torch. There have been several opinion articles written about raising the minimum wage.
Often, when there’s a problem in society that the government wants to help solve, the laws that are passed tend to have unintended consequences. Let’s look at raising the minimum wage. Who wouldn’t want to be paid more? Wouldn’t that help people put food on the table? However, raising the minimum wage doesn’t help as much as you might think. One, raising the minimum wage hampers businesses from hiring people. If it is more expensive to hire workers, businesses will be more hesitant to hire. The question has to be asked: Is it better to have a job that doesn’t pay enough, or have no job and income at all? Two, raising the minimum wage tends to raise prices for products and services. If a business has to pay more for labor, they aren’t just going to take the loss; they’re going to make up the lost revenue through raising prices. This not only hurts those on minimum wage, but everyone.
Economic equality is a problem in the country, and there’s about 10 million different ways to deal with them. My ideology would have me address the problem by 1) Lowering taxes, to give people more money in their pockets. Having more money would help people who are poor, and paying less taxes would accomplish that. 2) Rely less on the government to assist poor people and have non-profit charity groups take care of most societal problems. The government runs a deficit every year, and I cannot in good faith believe that they spend my money efficiently — but I’ve worked with St. Vincent DePaul and I can tell you that they squeeze everything they can out of the money you give them. And, 3) Have society realize that just giving people money doesn’t necessarily solve their problems.
I know that my solutions aren’t perfect either and that people will disagree with me, especially my non-profit argument. I will admit that the government can help people who are lesser off through appropriate action. My dad grew up in a mobile home and had a paper route when he was a kid, not so he could buy bubble gum, but to help pay the utilities. The government gave him financial aid to go to college and he now works at General Mills in Sales and Finance. My life is better because of it. However, I believe that government assistance and mandates have gone too far.
Societal issues such as poverty are much more complex than some may realize, especially when economics is involved. I would just ask that readers of the Torch to realize [sic] that you can’t solve poverty just by paying people more and to investigate [sic] the issue further on your own.