Working for a Song

The minimum wage in Iowa is currently $7.25 an hour, but that may be about to change. During the last legislative session in Iowa, the topic was brought up, but never made it to the floor. A group called “Raise Minimum Wage Iowa” is now attempting to raise awareness for the issue in an attempt to get it back into the legislative discussion and maybe to even get a bill passes before the end of the year.

The minimum wage is the lowest legal amount that an employer can pay an employee either by the law or by special agreement. If a bill is passed, the minimum wage in Iowa will rise to $10.10.

There are arguments on both sides on whether or not the existing wage should change.

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Senior Luke Kreger rocks out on the fake guitar of Little Caesar’s.

Democrats in the Iowa state legislature think that the minimum wage should be raised because the current minimum wage has not adapted to inflation, and because of the this, many minimum wage earners are living below the poverty line. Those in favor of a raise argue that another major reason to raise it is that when more people have more money, they will buy more goods, and that will ripple throughout the whole economy.

CFHS economics teacher Chris Dyvig says that the minimum wage that companies pay is not related to the companies’ income.

“McDonalds is a good example, as they start all their workers out at minimum wage and have for the last 6 years. However over the last 6 years, McDonalds profits have grown significantly and they have given their shareholders a dividend raise each of the last 6 years, a 45% raise over a 6 year period, however, their entry-level employees still make $7.25 an hour, the same amount they were paid in 2008.”

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson says that even though McDonalds’ employees start out at minimum wage, there are many opportunities.

“We’re about providing opportunity,” Thompson said. “When we can help people to be able to have viable income, we make sure we do that.”

Republicans in the Iowa legislature, however, think that minimum wage should not be raised. The reasons for this are that because employers will have to pay more wages to their workers, they may have to lay some workers off in order to balance their budgets, and that could increase the unemployment rate. Another reason against it is that employers may hire less people  in order to balance their budgets.

Pizza Ranch manager Sam Pearce sees both sides of the argument.

“I think that the minimum wage is fine where it is at, but I definitely see the other side of the argument,” Pearce said. “It is hard to make a living off of $7.25 and hour.”

Dyvig thinks that minimum wage should be raised.

“I support a raise in the min wage, and would support a law where raises would be built-in every three years based on cost of living adjustments. That way, business would be able to plan for wage hikes, and the workers would be guaranteed earning a more competitive wage.” Dyvig said.

Sophomore Jacob Watters, who used to work at Texas Roadhouse as a service assistant.

“For high school students, I think the current minimum wage is enough,” Watters said. “But for adults, I’m not sure. If they have enough money to invest in an education they should be doing that, but if not, then maybe it should be raised.

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