Minimum wage increase criticized
November 21, 2006
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Raising the federal minimum wage would be a “band-aid” approach, according to Stephen Smith, department chair of Social Science and economics professor at Bakersfield College.
Smith has mixed emotions about the possible increase, saying, “It’s good for those that keep their jobs.” He added “When minimum wage goes up, there seems to be an increase in teenage unemployment.”
When minimum wage is not raised more people are able to be hired, and then have the chance to work their way up. Industries that pay minimum wage cannot pass on the cost to the consumer. So, according to Smith, they have to make up with it by cutting down on service.
BC student Mary Buron, psychology major, said the rise of the minimum wage “will be good at first, but even out in the end, unfortunately.”
Nicholas Filoteo, radiology major, said, “I don’t really care.” Filoteo said a rise in minimum wage will not affect him because he never works for minimum wage.
According to Smith, the problem is really with the working poor in America. “If you want people to have more money, don’t raise wages, raise government help.”
According to Smith, the immediate effects of a rise in minimum wage would be unemployment, but in the long term there would probably be no significant effects.
Smith doesn’t believe raising the minimum wage can fix anything, especially locally. California minimum wage is $6.75 per hour, while federal is presently at $5.15 per hour. The rise in minimum wage is proposed to be integrated gradually, ending up at $7.25 on the federal level.
Smith predicts that over time California will adjust and stay 50 cents to $1 above the federal minimum wage but added, “it depends on the proposed law, it’s hard to predict.” Over time, Smith says, inflation would probably rise and the purchasing power of the minimum wage would fall back to what it was before the rise of minimum wage.