Nevada Public Radio Listen Live

"BBC World Service"
Facebook Twitter Follow Nevada Public Radio

Support Nevada Public Radio
KNPR's State of Nevada About SON Archives Participate Specials

The Good And Bad Of Raising Minimum Wage
The Good And Bad Of Raising Minimum Wage

AIR DATE: February 20, 2013

President Obama in his State of The Union speech called for a raise in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9 an hour. Nevada has a two-tiered system where workers without health insurance earn $8.25 an hour, while workers with health insurance earn $7.25. Would raising the minimum wage help or hurt the economy? There is research that supports both sides of the argument, but what are the real effects of a raised minimum wage?  We'll discuss the federal minimum wage and whether raising it would help workers, or stop businesses from hiring.


Danny Thompson, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Nevada State AFL-CIO

Victor Joecks, Nevada Policy Research Institute

David Cooper, Analyst, Economic Policy Institute

comments powered by Disqus
My personal opinion is that there shouldn't be a federal minimum wage. Every state has a different cost of living and economic status. Nevada ranks somewhere in the upper middle as far as cost of living, but is near the bottom economically compared to other states. Now is not the time to be raising labor costs (at least in Nevada). It used to be, back in the 90's, about half of teenagers I came in contact with had jobs. They usually were just minimum wage jobs, but they were jobs none the less. Now almost no teenager I meet is employed. Raising minimum wage means employers have to hire employees that are worth $9/hour. I don't think many teenagers starting out with their first job are worth that. I think employers see that too and it shows. Many of the jobs once filled by teenagers are now filled by older people. This has only been exacerbated by the recent recession. After they get some experience under their belts, they should be justly compensated with a larger paycheck. Teenagers need to learn to work so they can one day become productive members of society, and raising minimum wage only makes it harder for them to do so. Children are our future, after all.
SeanFeb 15, 2013 17:11:48 PM
Everyone is acting like businesses aren't going to respond by raising prices of products or moving overseas even more frequently. I personally don't feel like paying 20 bucks for a bag of popcorn at the movies either. I understand the "poor" don't want to be poor, but this is the land of opportunity. You are free to embrace those opportunities or to ignore them. This is not the land of free stuff. Human beings are the only known creatures with consciousness. Because of this fact, we all know that Poor/lower class people are aware of their situations. They only need opportunity and the will to move up. If they need anything at all they need more information on job training, grants/scholarships for college etc. We need to make sure it is available to them. If they don't choose to embrace these opportunities then you will know for certain that they in fact deserve the low paying jobs they end up at. Free money does not create diversity in the work place. Education and skills training does... This country makes me laugh some times.
steveFeb 14, 2013 22:08:37 PM
What those that oppose or suggest that we abolish the minimum wage fail to realize is that the burden of the low wage earners falls on the government in the form of medicaid and food stamps. It is a subsidy to big corps like Walmart. Everyone deserves a liveable wage that works an 8 hour day. Only a greedy employer who is profitable would cut hours or benefits or both when confronted with additional payroll cost. If the employer is not profitable and is paying minimum wage, then they should not be in business. It is just selfish and morally corrupt to deny an employee the dignity of a liveable wage in order to turn $1.00 in profit to $1.01 or $2 or $10.
ScottFeb 14, 2013 20:50:27 PM
There are just many people who live on the margins of life and are wanting to work but have few skills, fall through the cracks, have intellectual impairments, or criminal histories. I have worked with these people and they DO want to work but have a very difficult time finding jobs and can be let go from a job when things go bad. They simply do not have the skills to access help. Most people do want to work and need a decent wage to support themselves.
mary mackayFeb 14, 2013 09:46:21 AM
The basic economic laws of the minimum wage are this: 1) simply mandating that people are somehow worth $9/hour does not make them so, and 2) any increase in pay will *always* decrease demand for workers (just like higher prices on anything always reduces demand). In that context, the *real* minimum wage is actually $0/hour, for that is what people who are not capable of producing $9.00 worth of services for an employer will get when no one will hire them. And not getting hired denies these typically young, unskilled, uneducated and perhaps irresponsible people the opportunity to become better, more valuable workers and thus escape a lifetime of minimum wage jobs. Remember, most people in America earn more than minimum wage simply because businesses must pay more than that in order to get and keep good workers, not because those high wages are mandated by government.
Tom HurstFeb 13, 2013 23:11:41 PM
Web hosting facilities provided by Switch.