By Colton Pickard
One of the most robust platforms that Democratic Socialists in America stand on is raising the national minimum wage to $15 an hour. As COVID-19 seems to not be going anywhere, doubling the minimum wage would destroy the middle class and lower class. Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would increase prices to an unaffordable price for millions of families in America.
The unemployment rate in America is slowly dropping, but it’s still at 11.1%.1 That means there are more than 36 million Americans out of work. If the minimum wage was raised to $15 an hour in September, more Americans would be laid off or fired. The current 36 million Americans that are unemployed would soon be unable to afford basic necessities because companies would quickly be forced to raise prices so they can pay the remaining staff. Middle class Americans that are currently getting by comfortably would soon be on the brink of falling into poverty.
A government-mandated raise in the minimum wage would devastate poor communities. Many communities throughout America live off its small businesses, so doing anything that could shut down thousands of those small businesses would be a terrible idea. The small businesses that survive the COVID-19 shutdown will be forced to cut most of its staff or close its doors for good if there is a raise in the minimum wage.
Even a $1 increase in the federal minimum wage would raise poverty rates and government dependency by 3%, according to a study done by David Neumark, an economist at the University of California-Irvine. 2 Doubling the minimum wage to a point where socialists are satisfied would devastate thousands of communities across the country.
Capitalism lifts people out of poverty, where socialism puts more people into property. The Nordic countries, which are mixed-market economies, don’t have a minimum wage, and their citizens prosper. Instead of the government setting the minimum wage, unions negotiate the minimum wage for each industry. Those countries are also among the happiest nations in the world thanks to the free market and unions mandating their own minimum wage .3
The Nordic model of the minimum wage is the opposite of the socialist model, and the Nordic mixed-market model works a lot better than the socialist model. Unfortunately, if the minimum wage is raised to the socialist standard in America, more families will fall under the poverty line than will rise above it.
Colton Pickard is a Journalism major with a focus in sports and politics at Middle Tennessee State University. Colton is involved with multiple political organizations on campus and is fighting for freedom and educating his peers on the real dangers of socialism.