Ellie Hogrebe, Staff Writer
The midterm elections that took place Nov. 6 across America had the potential to make some significant changes in our country. As predicted, the Democratic Party took control of the United States House of Representatives where they now have a majority. Democrats and supporters of their party will be relieved to have regained some political control in the lower chamber of Congress. This development could present problems to the Trump administration and the Republican Party in terms of passing desired legislation. However, Republicans strengthened their hold on the Senate with touted Democratic challengers being defeated in the elections.
Statewide, there were important measures on the ballot that had the potential to become consequential in the lives of Missourians. One of those proposals is Proposition B. This measure addresses the minimum wage in Missouri. By approving this proposition, voters agreed to a significant increase in the minimum wage. Currently $7.85 an hour, the ballot measure holds that minimum pay for workers in the state will be gradually be increased until it reaches $12 an hour by 2023.
This proposal was accepted by Missouri voters who attended the polls Nov. 6. In the countless radio, television and online advertisements that bombarded the public in the days and weeks leading up the election, supporters of this initiative celebrated it as a measure that would be significant in the lives of Missouri workers. Unfortunately, I fear that the impact Proposition B will have on workers in our state will not be a positive one.
Imposing regulations to increase the minimum wage sounds like a wonderful idea on the surface. Who would not want to make a few more dollars for every hour of work they put in at their job? What good-hearted person would not want people who get paid by the hour to get an increase in their wages? As I see it, there are legitimate reasons to oppose drastic increases in the minimum wage that have not been naturally determined by the market and economy.
Many businesses will not be able to retain the same number of employees and comply with the regulations directing them to pay their workers higher wages. As a result, they will have to reduce their staff numbers. Those who are most likely to lose their jobs first in these situations are low-skilled, uneducated workers, one of the main demographics the minimum wage raise is attempting to help.
Business owners and corporations may decide to pass on the new costs to their consumers, increasing the price of their goods or services. Products will be marked up to rates that are not equivalent to their worth. Buyers will have to make up the difference.
If employers are unwilling or unable to take these measures, they may be forced to close their businesses. Customers may be reluctant to pay the higher prices for their goods, or the business may be incapable of operating with a reduced number of employees.
I do not think the intentions of voters who endorsed the minimum wage increase of Proposition B in the elections are malicious. They see an opportunity to increase their paycheck or help those who work minimum wages jobs. However, there are consequences to artificially fiddling with the worth of employees that has been established by the economy.
The implementation of this initiative could directly affect college students, many of whom work jobs where they are paid hourly. Some may get a raise, but the less fortunate may find themselves ejected from their line of work by employers who simply cannot afford to keep them. This proposal could hurt more Missouri workers than it helps.