The Tug-O-War with Minimum Wage

By: Sarah Phillips

Blog Category: Minimum Wage & the Economy

There has always been ongoing debate about the appropriate minimum wage amount. This is especially true now as recent economic downturns result in a stark reality for those living on a minimum wage.

The main argument against raising the federal minimum wage is business community concerns. While a minimum wage employee is anticipating the wage increase to achieve the obvious objective of making more money, there is concern from the business community regarding the costs, especially for small businesses.   There is also concern that the public (including minimum wage employees) will bear the cost of the raise in minimum wage in the end.  These tensions only add to complexity of the issue.

For many, the most important principle is that people are able to earn enough to support themselves. This is called the “livable wage” argument.   Some businesses believe that the principle behind this argument is more important than costs to the business.  Another solution, one that is more long-term, is to increase job skill training to allow individuals to excel beyond the minimum wage.

As a result of changes in the economy, states began to individually pass legislation to increase their minimum wage to a higher amount than required at the federal level.  Some states, such as New Jersey, are including automatic future increases on account of inflation. On a federal level, the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 would raise the minimum wage and account for cost of living increases. However, even if this legislation is passed, debate is sure to continue about the best way to address the minimum wage.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race. 


The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. The Complex Economics of America’s Minimum Wage, Knowledge@Wharton (Nov. 11, 2013),


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s