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What are the positions on a minimum wage? Show more Show less

A minimum wage, which sets the lowest legal wage a company can pay its workers, is designed to prevent exploitation. Its backers argue the pros, including guaranteeing low-income workers a liveable wage, outweigh the cons. But who really benefits from a legally mandated minimum wage?

A minimum wage is ineffective at reducing poverty Show more Show less

Minimum wage laws do not benefit workers or businesses and are ineffective at combating poverty.
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The minimum wage doesn't address underemployment.

Underemployment is a far larger driver of poverty. A minimum wage does nothing to address underemployment.
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For many families, it is not low wages that contribute to conditions of poverty, but underemployment.

The Argument

Only 7% of families living in conditions of poverty in the US have a family member that works full time. This means that policies affecting a minimum wage have limited impact on 93% of the families living below the national poverty line.[1]

Counter arguments

Implementing or increasing a legal minimum wage spurs job creation through increased demand. This might bring more adults into the workforce and allow for more families living in poverty to secure full-time work. Therefore, the assertion that policies governing a minimum wage would do little to lift families out of unemployment is incorrect.


Underemployment is a larger driver of poverty than low wages.


[P1] Underemployment and unemployment are more responsible than low wages in developed economies. [P2] A minimum wage will have no effect on underemployment and unemployment. [P3] Therefore, a minimum wage is not effective at reducing poverty.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Policies affecting a minimum wage create jobs, reducing unemployment and underemployment.


Further Reading



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This page was last edited on Sunday, 24 May 2020 at 19:02 UTC