Raising The Minimum Wage Won’t Work Because It Can’t Cure Greed

Tonight is Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, and it might be the most anticipated speech he’s ever delivered during the course of his presidency. It definitely will NOT be the most hyped, but if you take into consideration that his approval rating is hovering around 44% and people are already beginning to denounce him as the president of “change”, his speech tonight is of critical importance because, for the first time, many of his supporters are quickly losing faith. This time last year, America was so deeply entrenched in a polarizing gun rights battle that Barack actually brought tears to people’s eyes when he invited Hadiya Pendleton’s parents to the white house, and advocated that the nation entertains a serious discussion on gun control. But after a long year of debating the firearm issue, and watching Obamacare get up and running, you can expect to see the president attack income inequality very hard during his speech and advocate for the raising of the minimum wage – although that won’t do much of a damn thing. 

Last year, Obama proposed that the minimum wage be moved from $7.25-$9/hr, but this year many senate Democrats are advocating that the minimum wage is raised to $10.10. According to a study released earlier this month by University of Massachusetts-Amherst economist Arindrajit Dubewould, a $10.10 minimum wage increase would lift about 5 million Americans out of poverty. Analysis has also found that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would boost the U.S. economy by $22 billion during the initial phase-in period, creating 85,000 jobs.

But here’s the problem: Those figures can NOT account for greedy-ass corporate maneuvering, and GREED will always be the culprit that stands in front of a more equal and progressive workplace. And this brand of American corporate greed is so self-interested and elitist, that they can ignore the simple math of increasing their bottom lines just because the idea of spending more money is abhorrent to them. The idea that the “little people” should get little money is mainly reinforced because we STILL identify minimum wage workers with pimply-faced high school seniors, instead of grown-ass adults trying to support a family on a FULL-TIME wage that STILL keeps them in poverty.

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But every time I hear economists back these plans, I laugh, because they approach it from such a rigidly statistical place where they fail to account for the ignorant REACTIONS that a raise in worker wages would cause. First, businesses will start complaining that their profit margins are too slim to NOT raise the prices of goods and services which will leave minimum wage earners essentially in the same place. Then there will be other BS tricks instituted like decreasing staff hours, replacing paid workers with interns, or just combining two shitty jobs into one super shitty, terribly paid job. The main problem with the inequality in our economy is the fact that the people at the top WANT it that way. When you have a business world dominated by douchebags like Thomas Perkins, a venture capitalist with a net worth of $8 billion who recently said that the richest 1% of people in America are being treated like Jews in Nazi Germany, then it’s clear that our biggest issues aren’t just laws and numbers – it’s a HUMAN problem.

This Is Your Conscience

When Lincoln Anthony Blades is not writing for his controversial and critically acclaimed blog ThisIsYourConscience.com, he can be found contributing articles for Uptown Magazine. Lincoln wrote the hilarious and insightful book "You're Not A Victim, You're A Volunteer: How To Stop Letting Love Kick Your Ass". He is also a public speaker who has sat on panels all over North America and the Caribbean.