Rethinking 'Raise the Wage'
The U.S. House of Representatives just passed the Raise the Wage Act to increase minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next 6 years. Will the bill pass through the Senate? That remains to be seen (but we’re guessing the answer is no).
What is The Raise the Wage Act?
Bill H.R.582, affectionately called The Raise the Wage Act, caught the Nation’s attention after groups of fast-food workers and social activists across the U.S. protested their low salaries and demanded change.
The gist of it is this: federal workers’ minimum wage will be gradually increased over a 6-year period, going up to $15 an hour by the year 2025. The intent is to implement this bill at the state level.
It all sounds well and good, doesn’t it? Most people are good people who want to see others earn more and enjoy a higher quality of life. So how could there be a downside?
The Drawbacks of Raise the Wage
What few realize is that higher wages come at a cost, and it’s pretty significant.
Some things to consider:
Dining Out Is About to Get More Expensive
Let’s say your average bill for a dinner at a full-service restaurant goes for about $50. This covers not only your actual meal, but the electricity, water, rental space, sales, marketing, insurance, taxes, and the many other costs of running a restaurant. Of course, this also includes employee salaries.
If Raise the Wage is implemented nationwide, your bill will go up. Perhaps by a lot. Why?
The restaurant’s operating costs have just increased, and they need to make that money back somehow. They aren’t going to pay their workers more without getting anything in return, and the #1 way to solve that issue is by raising prices.
Your Grocery Bill Will Go Up
“No problem”, you may think to yourself, “I’ll just eat out less”.
You aren’t alone. In fact, the most common advice given to people struggling with their finances is to cut down on buying food at cafes and restaurants and instead, cook at home or bring lunch with them to work.
Guess what? When you do that, your grocery bill increases. People don’t like to spend more money; they’re kind of funny like that.
Businesses Will Close
There are many small businesses who simply can’t afford to pay $15 an hour and remain profitable. It isn’t just restaurants, but hotels, bars, and retail shops, too. That means we can expect these types of businesses to close, leading to increased unemployment.
It’s a vicious cycle of higher costs and people who aren’t willing to pay them. It sounds wonderful, but there are serious disadvantages.
An Impact Worth Rethinking
According to The National Restaurant Association, the U.S. restaurant industry is expected to hit $863 billion in sales this year, so you can imagine the impact this could have across the country. It’s an impact certainly worth rethinking.