Last updated on: 1/10/2023 | Author:

Pro & Con Quotes: Should the Federal Minimum Wage Be Increased?

PRO (yes)

Pro 1

Ashfaq Khan, Policy Analyst, and Rose Khattar, Associate Director of Economic Analysis at the Center for American Progress, stated:

“Women are the majority of federal minimum wage earners, with Black and Latina women also overrepresented. Tipped and disabled workers also earn subminimum wages, which remains federally legal. Failure to increase the federally mandated minimum wage consistent with productivity or cost of living has caused these workers to earn poverty-level wages and struggle to meet their basic needs, particularly at a time with high cost of living pressures and food insecurity. Women and workers of color often also have limited access to worker protections and basic benefits—such as paid sick days or healthcare—and disproportionately experience poverty through higher rates of food and housing insecurity; lack of access to quality healthcare; and lower economic opportunities.

Raising the federal minimum wage benefits not just those that earn the minimum wage directly and their families but also employers and the overall economy. Furthermore, by eliminating the subminimum wage for tipped and disabled workers, the federal government could uplift paychecks of millions of workers who are often trapped in poverty. Higher wages are linked to less worker turnover and higher productivity, thus benefiting employers. When low-wage workers and households have higher pay, they tend to spend more, which helps stimulate the economy. It’s imperative that Congress and state legislatures, particularly those in the South, raise the minimum wage to foster an economy that works for all.”


Ashfaq Khan and Rose Khattar, “It’s Long Past Time To Increase the Federal Minimum Wage,”, July 7, 2022

Pro 2

Kelly Anne Smith, finance expert, stated:

“[W]hen looking at the bigger picture—who the minimum wage impacts, who would benefit from raising it, how it currently compares with inflation and its long-term effects for the economy—one thing is clear: An increase at the national level is overdue….

It’s clear that the federal minimum wage’s purchasing power—the amount of goods or services that your money can buy—has severely eroded over time. The current federal minimum wage, adjusted in 2020 dollars, has less purchasing power than it did from the mid-1950’s to around 1980.

It’s important to differentiate here between minimum wage keeping pace with productivity and growing with inflation; if it simply grew with inflation (referred to as indexing), the money would have the same purchasing power over time. If it rose with productivity, minimum wage earners will continue to be able to buy more over time. That’s why some economists and politicians argue that only raising the wage to account for inflation isn’t necessarily the best option to help minimum wage earners.”


Kelly Anne Smith, “What You Need to Know about the Minimum Wage Debate,”, Feb. 26, 2021

Pro 3

Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), US Representatives, stated:

“Passing this legislation [Raise the Wage Act] would mean that millions of women will get a necessary raise. Many work hard every day performing services that are essential to our communities and our society, and yet they earn so little that they still worry about paying their bills. We’re talking, for example, about the more than half a million childcare workers whose typical pay is just $11.17 per hour. And we’re talking about the nearly 800,000 home health aides whose median pay is $11.63.

The overwhelming share of individuals doing the life-supporting, honorable, and extremely challenging work of caring for our children, people with disabilities, and seniors are women. These types of female-dominated, low-paid jobs are in the fields with the largest projected growth over the next decade. Meanwhile, Wall Street employees, who are predominantly male, made an average of $422,500 (over $200 per hour) in 2017.”


Pramila Jayapal and Ayanna Pressley “Pramila Jayapal and Ayanna Pressley: Raising the Minimum Wage Is a Women’s Issue,”, July 18, 2019

Pro 4

David Cooper, Director of the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN), Zane Mokhiber, Data Analyst at the Economic Policy Institute and Ben Zipperer, Economist at the Economic Policy Institute, stated:

“Raising the minimum wage to $15 would help ensure that more low-wage workers are paid enough to cover basic living expenses, i.e., a wage providing a modest yet adequate standard of living. As of 2021, in virtually all urban and rural areas of the country, a single adult without children working full time must earn more than $15 per hour to have enough to pay for housing and other basic living expenses. For individuals with children, year-round work at a $15 wage in 2025 will still be inadequate to achieve basic economic security.

Minimum wage increases have not led to significant job losses. Despite claims that raising the minimum wage would reduce job opportunities for vulnerable groups of workers, the best evidence shows little to no job losses in the wake of minimum wage increases and a net wage gain even if job losses have occurred. These benefits explain why surveys show that the people most likely to support a minimum wage increase are unemployed people, people of color, and women.”


David Cooper, Zane Mokhiber, and Ben Zipperer, “Raising the Federal Minimum Wage to $15 by 2025 Would Lift the Pay of 32 Million Workers,”, Mar. 9, 2021

Pro 5

Anna Godøy and Michael Reich, research economists at the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics at the University of California at Berkeley, stated:

“[H]igher minimum wages do not have adverse effects on employment, or the weeks or hours worked among minimum wage workers — even four years after minimum wages are increased. We didn’t find adverse employment effects among women and minority groups, either. As a result, we determined that the United States can raise pay to $15 an hour by 2024 without hurting jobs, even in low-wage states…

Higher minimum wages reduce employee turnover costs and increase worker productivity. They raise consumer demand by increasing the purchasing power of workers. Low-wage employers, particularly in the restaurant industry, also absorb minimum wage costs through small price increases in restaurants. Those of us who eat in restaurants are able and willing to pay a few cents more for a typical meal, so restaurant sales go up even with the small price increases.”


Anna Godøy and Michael Reich, “The US Can Raise the Minimum Wage to $15 without Hurting Jobs,”, July 11, 2019

Pro 6

Donald Norcross (D-NJ), US Representative, stated:

“The best social program in the world is a good job with fair wages and the dignity that comes with it. Now serving in Congress, I can say with certainty that raising wages is the moral issue of our time…

[The minimum wage is] stuck at $7.25 an hour. That leaves Americans who work full-time living in poverty. These families come up thousands of dollars short each month just trying to meet basic living standards…

It’s illogical that our nation’s workers are more productive than ever, but aren’t being rewarded for it. Workers are struggling with high health care costs, expensive prescription drugs and worries about whether or not they’ll be able to retire with dignity. The sad truth is, business profits are all going to CEO bonuses and offshore accounts instead of actual paychecks.”


Donald Norcross, “If Amazon Can Raise the Minimum Wage, Why Can’t Congress?,”, Oct. 12, 2018

Pro 7

The National Employment Law Project (NELP) stated:

“Raising the minimum wage right now is more important than ever. Minimum wage increases stimulate the economy by increasing consumer spending, without adding to state and federal budget deficits. Consumer spending drives 70 percent of the economy, and increasing demand is key for jumpstarting production and re-hiring. A raise in the minimum wage puts money into the pockets of low-income consumers, who immediately spend it at local businesses… Strengthening the minimum wage can help build a sustainable economic recovery – without increasing costs for taxpayers.”


National Employment Law Project (NELP), “Minimum Wage Question and Answer,” Raise the Minimum Wage website (accessed Feb. 10, 2016)

Pro 8

Sarita Gupta, Co-Executive Director at Jobs With Justice, stated:

“Economic inequality continues to increase in the United States. The richest 1 percent control almost 40 percent of our country’s wealth, while people earning the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour are living near or below the poverty line in almost every state. Women, who make up two-thirds of the minimum wage workforce, are most severely impacted.

Increasing wages seems like a no-brainer. Minimum wage raises across the board would put women and men on equal economic footing, as well as spur economic growth. Higher wages put more money in the pockets of more people and boost consumer spending, increasing overall economic activity. Boosting the minimum wage also would help shrink the gender pay gap and the imbalances of power in the workplace that come with it. On average, women earn only about 80 cents per every dollar that a man earns. And the gap is even wider for Black and Latina women.”


Sarita Gupta, “Why Women Fight for $15 Minimum Wage,” Women’s Media Center, Jan. 10, 2018

CON (no)

Con 1

Ryan Bourne, R. Evan Scharf Chair for the Public Understanding of Economics at the Cato Institute, stated:

“Yes, for those workers affected who are lucky enough to maintain their jobs, hours, and existing perks, an enforced minimum wage hike — through raising hourly wage rates — will increase their overall compensation. The CBO estimates that 0.9 million people will be taken out of poverty as a result. But a consequence of raising the mandatory wage floor that aggressively, the CBO predicts, will be that 1.4 million fewer workers will be in employment.

That’s because if you raise the wage rate that companies have to pay by government diktat, businesses will tend to only hire people whose productivity can command that rate, reducing job opportunities or hours available to young, inexperienced, or poorly educated workers….

Yes, 29 states have higher minimum wage rates than the federal minimum, and a host of (mainly higher productivity) cities and localities have much higher statutory wage floors still…. Studies attempt to exploit this variation between states to isolate the impact of minimum wages on jobs or hours. Evidence on the effects of these increases have been mixed. Those areas that have seen small increases in minimum wages from low levels do not appear to have seen large, direct employment impacts, especially when implemented in a strong economy. But it is important to remember that a $15 federal minimum wage will be extremely high relative to median hourly wage rates in some lower productivity parts of the country. That means the evidence that gives us the best indication on what to expect comes from places that have raised wage floors to very high levels.”


Ryan Bourne, “The Case against a $15 Federal Minimum Wage: Q&A,”, Feb. 25, 2021

Con 2

Isabel Soto, Former Director of Labor Market Policy at the American Action Forum, stated:

“A federal minimum wage increase would exacerbate the economic harm already faced by many businesses and their workers. While those minimum wage workers who are able to keep their jobs would certainly benefit from the increase, many others risk additional harm. Particularly threatened are the large number of unemployed individuals who previously worked as low-wage workers in industries that have been most negatively affected by the pandemic. The demand for those workers to return during this time remains unclear. Adding a federally mandated cost in the form of increased minimum wage would lead to longer unemployment, reduced work hours or hiring, and increased layoffs for low-wage workers as businesses balance reduced revenues and increased costs.”


Isabel Soto, “Examining the Effects of Raising the Federal Minimum Wage to $15,”, Jan. 27, 2021

Con 3

Jack Kelly, Senior Contributor to, stated:

“The idea of raising the minimum wage is noble and commendable, but many of the arguments rely upon raw emotion and neglect sound economic ramifications that will adversely impact the same people it’s trying to help.

Raising the minimum wage has a number of serious and negative unintended consequences. Employers, especially small family and midsize businesses, will be disproportionately hurt by the extra costs incurred. The local neighborhood stores and businesses with razor-thin profits will be forced to raise prices to make up for the addition labor costs. With the increased prices, customers may elect to take their business elsewhere. Losing customers means losing income, which could result in the business having to layoff workers.

Large corporations with big budgets will weigh the increased labor costs and elect to invest in technology to displace workers. This trend will soon become prevalent in the food service industry, hospitality, retail, construction and manufacturing.”


Jack Kelly, “The Unintended Consequences of Raising Minimum Wage to $15,”, July 10, 2019

Con 4

Adam Michel, Senior Policy Analyst at the Grover M. Hermann Center of the Heritage Foundation, stated:

“Such a move [raising the minimum wage to $15] would backfire in a major way if passed into law. It would hurt lower-skilled individuals the most, including teenagers, immigrants, and those without a high school degree. And women, who hold more low-wage jobs than men, would be hurt the most, accounting for more than 60% of the resulting lay-offs…

There is now ample evidence that pro-growth policies, like business tax cuts, fuel wage growth and new hiring. Research on the minimum wage tells the opposite story: one of job loss and wage stagnation.

The economic fact is that when the government forces businesses to pay an employee a mandated hourly wage, businesses are left with few options: Cut hours, lay off workers, or reduce benefits—or some combination of these.”


Adam Michel, “No, Wages Are Not Rising Because of Minimum Wage Laws,”, Aug. 13, 2019

Con 5

Vance Ginn, Director of the Center for Economic Prosperity at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, stated:

“Despite the commonly held perception that minimum wage laws reduce income inequality and provide the poor with a better life, the real effects are the opposite.

Minimum wage laws have proven detrimental by reducing job creation and the total hours worked for low-skilled workers, who are primarily paid the minimum wage and have less than a high school diploma or little work experience. And the laws raise prices for everyone – thus widening income inequality…

Lower-skilled workers are especially vulnerable to the proven job losses caused by federal minimum wage increases because employers who can’t afford the increases in the cost of production simply close up shop, reduce employee hours, or even switch to automation.

A recent study on the effects of minimum wage raises in California using data from 1990 to 2016 showed that a 10% increase in the minimum wage could contribute to a 3.4% reduction in employment. Key industries hit hardest are restaurants and retail stores that typically operate on razor-thin profit margins and often hire low-skilled workers and those new to the workforce.”


Vance Ginn, “Amazon’s Minimum Wage Revelation: It’s About Competition, Not Workers,”, Oct. 26, 2018

Con 6

Brittany Hunter, Associate Editor at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), in a Jan. 12, 2017 article for titled “What Puerto Rico Can Teach Us about Raising the Minimum Wage,” wrote:

“When the minimum wage is increased, the private sector is responsible for finding the means to actually pay for these increases. Though many companies will be forced to raise prices in order to continue operating within their profit margins, some might be left with no choice but to lay off employees or dramatically cut employee hours.

Since minimum wage pay is typically associated with entry-level workers, if employers are forced to let these employees go, they will lack the skills necessary to quickly rebound in the job market. As a result, the unemployment rate begins to rise.”


Brittany Hunter, “What Puerto Rico Can Teach Us about Raising the Minimum Wage,”, Jan. 12, 2017

Con 7

The Cato Institute stated:

“Some policymakers are proposing to raise the minimum wage, but that policy would be harmful. Research shows businesses would respond to the increased costs by reducing employment, particularly for low-skilled workers. Some businesses may pass the higher costs on to consumers. Despite the hope of proponents, the minimum wage does little, if anything, to decrease poverty.

It Would Result In Job Loss
Evidence of job losses have been found since the earliest imposition of the minimum wage…

It Would Hurt Low-Skilled Workers
Evidence shows minimum wage increases disproportionally hurt the people they’re supposed to help…

It Would Have Little Effect On Reducing Poverty
Evidence suggests that minimum wage increases don’t reduce poverty…

It May Result In Higher Prices For Consumers
The costs of minimum wage increases must be paid by someone.


Cato Institute, “Four Reasons Not to Raise the Minimum Wage,” (accessed Feb. 11, 2016)

Con 8

The National Restaurant Association stated:

“As businesses struggle to recover from the economic recession, dramatic, mandatory wage increases would place yet another financial burden on business owners who are already feeling the pressures of a weak economy and additional costs and regulatory complexity associated with the Affordable Care Act…

Many restaurateurs would be forced to limit hiring, increase prices, cut employee hours or implement a combination of all three to pay for the wage increase. According to National Restaurant Association research, 58 percent of restaurant operators increased menu prices and 41 percent reduced employee hours following the 2007 minimum wage increase.”


National Restaurant Association, “Minimum Wage,” available from (accessed Feb. 11, 2016)