Is raising minimum wage an effective way to reduce poverty?

 

I lived all of my childhood hovering somewhere between ‘at or below’ the poverty line.  One can only imagine the lack and the hardship that comes along with such a subsistence living.  At points in time, my brothers and I barely had enough to eat, while oftentimes not having proper clothing to wear.  I remember several times when my grandmother asked me to accompany her in the garden.  I thought she just wanted to spend quality time with me, I never knew that it was for survival.

So, I do not consider this question as a novice, “Is raising the minimum wage an effective way to reduce poverty?”  I’m personally aware of the struggles so many Americans are fighting every day.  I remember the desperation in my mother’s eyes when she couldn’t make rent.  I remember the feelings of hunger as I stood in front of an almost empty refrigerator… wondering… just wondering.

With these vivid personal memories at hand and my studying Corporate Finance and the economics behind our limited resources in this country, I offer this answer to whether or not raising minimum wage is an effective way to reduce poverty. 

Each week, I hope to provide an uncomplicated look into why I believe logic, history, and what we know to be true gives us answers.

I recognize that in order to have a meaningful discussion on such an emotionally charged topic we must all come to the table recognizing both the human and the economic side of this topic.  People are not widgets and cost analysis plans to be moved around at the whim of the corporation.  At the same time, we cannot be all heart and give no consideration to facts, figures, and logic.  We cannot live by our emotions alone.  Instead, we must inform our emotions with those things that do not shift. 

 

Kathy Barnette
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