More than 94 percent of Epoch Times readers who responded to a survey said they don’t support a federal minimum wage hike to $15 per hour.
The federal minimum wage has sat at $7.25 since 2009. President Joe Biden’s economic relief plan includes a proposal to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour over five years.
However, the Senate parliamentarian on Feb. 25 ruled that the minimum wage increase is not eligible to be included in Biden’s plan. Democrats could still ignore the ruling and proceed, but an aide for Vice President Kamala Harris has said that they would respect the Senate ruling.
Only 2 percent of the more than 27,000 survey respondents said the federal government should be the entity to set the minimum wage rate.
“There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution granting the federal government the power to set wages for non-government related work,” one respondent said.
More than 43 percent of respondents said businesses should decide, while a further 35 percent said it should be up to state governments. Twenty percent chose “other,” many of whom then specified that it should be left up to the free market.
Janice Baldwin from Texas said she believes the federal government should set the minimum wage rate, as it has national ramifications. However, she doesn’t think it should be set at $15, as employees will lose their jobs.
“Businesses of all sizes will lay off people if this law passes because they cannot [afford] this wage rate and their customers will not allow them to pass onto their pricing all of the wage increase,” Baldwin wrote.
Another respondent from Texas said the minimum wage “is supposed to be an entry level pay rate to provide first-time work experience for unskilled, inexperienced people. Not a living wage. It should motivate one to strive for a better job while filling employment needs of small businesses.”
A respondent from New Mexico said minimum wage jobs weren’t meant to be jobs to support a family.
“While Walmart can sustain $15 an hour, small businesses cannot and will merely pass the cost along to their customers, which may drive their remaining customers to Walmart,” the respondent wrote.
Biggest Winners and Losers
When asked who would benefit most and who would suffer most under a federal wage hike to $15 per hour, most survey respondents (53 percent) said no one would benefit, while almost 20 percent said big corporations would be the biggest winners.
Almost 14 percent said employees would benefit most, and a further 13 percent selected “Other,” of whom many went on to specify that “politicians” and “the government” would be the only beneficiaries.
“As we have seen in Colorado, when the minimum wage is raised by such a drastic amount, employers cannot afford to pay the wage and benefits, so many jobs are reduced to part-time, thereby nullifying the wage increase,” wrote Colorado resident Lisa Bird.
“Prices for goods and services increase across the board as businesses seek to maintain their profit margins. It doesn’t help the worker, since the wage increase is consumed by the increased cost of living.”
The largest portion of respondents (42 percent) said small businesses would suffer most, closely followed by “everyone” (37 percent).
“I own a small pet business, and this would put me out of business or I would have to raise my prices so much that I would no longer be able to compete with big business such as Petco, Petsmart, etc.,” wrote Tracy Montgomery, a business owner from Utah.
“People want a competitive wage, but the business has to be able to survive within its budget,” wrote a respondent from California. “If the business is forced to pay $15 an hour, it will do what it has to do to survive, which would be laying off employees.”