JRNM 151 student
During President Barack Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address in January, he declared his intentions to raise the national minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by the second half of 2016. In a weekly address to the nation in last month, he reiterated his intent. The impact of these changes would affect minimum wage workers in every state.
The minimum wage in Ohio is $7.95 an hour, according to the United States Department of Labor. While this change President Obama speaks of may appear to be to the benefit of minimum wage workers, to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) it has positive and negative effects. Up to 900,000 families in poverty would, as outlined by Obama, receive higher pay, resulting in an increased household income, and approximately 16.5 million individual workers would see their income increase in the average week.
However, a termination of between 500,000 and 1 million minimum wage jobs would occur by the time the new wages are implemented, the CBO stated. Higher wages lead to increased prices to produce goods and services, higher prices for consumers, resulting in the purchase of fewer goods and services by the consumer and the hiring of fewer employees, according to the CBO. These new changes for part-time workers over the course of the next two years have resulted in mixed feelings.
“In general, I think minimum wages should be raised. I think it’s a good thing, but as long as everything else stays the same,” said Nunzia Crispino, a student worker in the Student Life Center, in reaction to the upcoming shift in wages.
Although in support of an increase in wages, Crispino doesn’t think the plan of action Obama had discussed really benefits part-time workers. “With the [impending] inflation, they sort of fool you. It’s just another way of getting money out of people,” she said.
“Makes sense because the cost of living is steadily going up, but it really is only good for some people and bad for a lot more. It’s a win / lose situation, I think,” said Cassi Mays, a student worker in Dining Services.
Sharing a similar view is Tyla Corlew, a student worker in Enrollment Services. Her source of disapproval for the increase minimum wage plan rests in the effects it could cause for many workers.
“I’m happy about the change, but feel upset about it too because it would affect so many,” Corlew said.
With an increase in wages comes the decrease in employment, claims the CBO. For many, this could cost families part of a household income. “I feel like they should find a balance because it’s all over the place,” she added. “They think they’re helping.”
Although it may be true that thousands to millions of part-time workers would benefit from higher wages, others may lose their jobs. The CBO has estimated a two-thirds chance of a slight decrease in employment of 1 million workers. When asked whether she would be willing to go along with this new plan, Corlew replied, “I can’t really do anything about it, so I’d guess I’d have to.”
Regardless of the opinions of those soon to be impacted, the minimum wage increase will have its advantages and disadvantages for part-time workers all across America.