Minimum Wage Should Be Raised And Its Impact On Mental Health

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At the beginning of 2019, a huge change in the minimum wage was underway. 17 states decided to increase their minimum wage at the beginning of January 2019. The United States federal minimum wage is $7.25 but the government wants to start increasing this (Mumford).In 2019 The Raise the Wage Act’s hope is to increase the minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour by the year 2024 (Cooper). Raising the minimum wage will have a huge impact on the economy and a large number of American employees. There is much controversy on whether or not this will help or hurt the workers who benefit from minimum wage. Many of the people that want to raise the minimum wage argue how it will help many low-income families and workers. Today, teens have many responsibilities. Most students will go from school to sports and possibly to their job to end the day. Raising the minimum wage has caused a lot of disputes on who it would be beneficial to and whom it would hurt. Raising the minimum wage will negatively affect the opportunities available to teenagers through a rise in unemployment due to more selective employers wanting to hire adults. On the other hand, the rising minimum wage will be beneficial in creating a chance for more successes in college and future job successes and decrease the emotional and physical stress put onto teens from being full-time students and employees.

Rising minimum wage could have an unfavorable impact on teenagers through a rise in unemployment because of the more selective employers that give adults priority over teens. Owners are having a hard time being open to hiring new and inexperienced people. In an interview with an owner of an ice cream shop, Judy Herrel says that the majority of the people she hires are teenagers and only 25 percent of her hires actually work out. She went on to say that if the minimum wage was increased to 15 dollars an hour that she would be forced to start hiring older and more experienced workers because she may not be able to take the risks with a young new employee(Davis). Most small businesses have already started to do this because when raising minimum wage, business owners want to hire people with more experience and work ethic than a teenager thus, leaving many teens out of work. If the employers and owners of small businesses (where the majority of the youth work) start to decrease the number of students they hire, the unemployment rate in teens could greatly increase. There is a distinct correlation between increases in wages and the opportunities available for youth. The National Bureau of Economic Research did a study that conveyed there is a chance of a 2 percent decline in jobs available for teenagers for every 10 percent increase in minimum wage(Davis). With this decrease, it could put many adolescents out of work meaning that the rise in the minimum wage may end up hurting more teens that it will help. The unemployment rate going up could also force more students to want to make themselves look more available for the job. Many teenagers may cut class or even drop out of school just so they can make it to work. The number of students attending school with jobs could start to drop by almost 8 to 15 percent because of their jobs (Neumark). Students will want to make themselves look like they are the better hire by saying they can work during the school day as well as at night. This prioritizing of work instead of school may cause many students to continue working at the same level of a job due to the fact that they would no longer receive a higher education. For students who choose to discontinue school altogether, may continue to make the minimum wage the rest of their life could make around one million dollars less than students who continue with school and receive higher education(Kasperkevic). The students that do not have to worry about the increase in unemployment would also be the kids that receive a better education and a better job in their future lives. Employers wanting to hire more available workers may decrease the number of jobs for teenagers. With these limited job opportunities, students may want to make themselves seem more employable in turn, leading to a decrease in enrollment. Teenagers could start to pay more attention to work rather than their education and this could be a huge problem for them now and in the future. Despite these challenges facing teenagers, there are far more benefits that come with increasing the minimum wage.

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Raising the minimum wage will be beneficial in creating a chance for more successes in college and through future jobs. Many of the teenagers working in Massachusetts to provide for their family are also trying to provide for themselves and save up for college. Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour in Massachusetts would raise the wages of 89% of teens that work(Piierre). If students can earn more money they can save more money in order to pay off student loans more quickly and not worry so much financially. They could instead focus on which school they actually want to go to and be able to pay off the debts for school more quickly. Helping students pay things off now will lead to them having more money in the future to become more successful. One interview with the president of the Massachusetts Budget stated that studies have conveyed students working 20 or more hours each week will get lower grades than students who work less(Sears). By increasing, minimum wage students would not have to pick up as many shifts in order to pay the bills meaning they would have more time to spend studying. If students had the extra time to study their grades would improve immensely and this would help them get into better colleges leading to better jobs later on in their life. This would increase the likelihood that selective colleges would accept them, only further enhancing the opportunity for employment post graduate. Having the option to work fewer hours would greatly help students in achieving their goals and being able to improve in school.

Raising the minimum wage will positively affect teens by decreasing the emotional and physical stress put onto them from being full-time students on top of employees. A study done in 2014 from California conveyed that raising the minimum wage to 13 dollars an hour could decrease conditions that lead to more stress (Fratt). With a raise, students would be doing the amount of work and labor that is equal to the pay they receive. This would help teenagers be less stressed about going to work and school as well. With this increase in wages, students would be able to live a happier and less stressful life. Many teens around the country are helping their families out by contributing to rent and other expenses. Norma Meza who is a student on top of working 10 hours each week helps her dad pay the bills(Davis). Norma went on to talk about how she feels towards the raising of the minimum wage by saying, “Youth are the now and the future. If you believe in us, if you believe that all young people should have equal opportunities to thrive, then invest in our future!” (Davis). Norma and many other teens agree that by investing in their present the country would also be investing in their future. Without the minimum wage being raised it will lead to a generation full of high stress. This will lead to an even more costly future if a whole generation is in need of stress relief such as counseling and medication. Many teenagers would have less to worry about if their pay was increased and they were able to cut down on hours. Cutting down their hours would mean more time for teenagers to take a well-deserved break from all the stress in their lives and be able to spend more time with family. Higher wages for teens would mean they could find a more convenient balance between work and school. Teenagers could focus more on their school work which in turn would help them receive a better education and a better job later on without all the stress. With less worry about work, students could enjoy a more stress-free and successful life.

Every day new teens are being added or taken away from the workforce. During the Industrial Revolution, many children and teenagers were being put to work. In these times the wages were extremely low and did barely anything to help the families in need of money. Due to these extremely low wages, many children did not have the time to attend school leaving many uneducated and unsuccessful. Low wages are not the answer. In the past, low wages have only hurt teens instead of helping. By giving students a successful present, it is giving them a successful future. Even though there is a chance of more unemployment if wages are raised, it is still a necessity and the country should take the risk in order to help a generation as a whole. A 15 dollar minimum wage is essential for teenagers because it will not only help them currently, it will also help the country’s future. By allowing teenagers to have access to extra money in order to save up for future costs such as college it is letting them continue to learn and inevitably helping the country progress. The $15 minimum wage would not only help teenagers, but it would also help the population as a whole. Without having to put all of their towards student debt, they would be able to spend it on goods and eventually, helping the economy.  

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