Why do many of us oppose minimum wage increases? Of course if you are living in a bubble and listening only to minimum wage proponents, the reasoning is simple: those who support a minimum wage increase care about the poor, and those who don't care only about the rich. But if you have been paying attention to the many arguments over the minimum wage that have been circulating the news media and the web over the past few years (I won't even bother linking specific ones, there are so many!), you can see that there are many reasons why this increase might potentially hurt the very people it is designed to help:
- Incurring real costs for public-service-providing bodies, such as school districts
- Creating a disincentive for businesses to hire, increasing unemployment
- Increasing the cost structure of struggling businesses, resulting in more business failures, concentrated among the very businesses that hire minimum-wage workers
- Motivating more automation for low-skill jobs, leaving unskilled workers less employable
You may have decided that these reasons are overblown, or that you think the supposed positive effects of the minimum wage increase would counterbalance these. But you can't dismiss these arguments out of hand: these are serious arguments put forth by well-intended businessmen, politicians, and economists, pointing to many ways in which the minimum wage increase theoretically might not be good for the poor.
If you say that opposing the minimum wage increase is insulting or insensitive to the poor, you are effectively saying that those below the poverty line are not intelligent enough to understand the arguments above. You are effectively implying that they can only understand the minimum-wage-advocate talking points about minimum wage increases helping the poor, and cannot seriously engage with the substantive arguments on both sides of this very important issue, or understand that many of us seriously believe the minimum wage increase would hurt, not help, them.
Isn't that the biggest insult of all?