Instigator / Pro

Minimum Wage


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

Winner & statistics
Better arguments
Better sources
Better legibility
Better conduct

After 8 votes and with 25 points ahead, the winner is...

Publication date
Last updated date
Number of rounds
Time for argument
Three days
Max argument characters
Voting period
One month
Point system
Multiple criterions
Voting system
Contender / Con


Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase the federal minimum wage


Minimum wage: the lowest remuneration that employers can legally pay their workers
Increase: become or make greater in size, amount, intensity, or degree.
Substantially: to a great or significant extent - in the context of this debate, to at least 10.50 an hour.


1. Opening
2. Rebuttals
3. Rebuttals
4. Closing

Round 1
Thank you RM. I’m typing this on my phone so forgive me for the formatting and grammar issues that will inevitably arise. My case is going to be super short and concise. I will be expanding on these in the next round.  


When debating policy we ought to use the standards of consequentialism and utilitarianism. If the proposed policy will be met beneficial then it should pass. 

Facts about the minimum wage 

1) The min wage is 7.25 and has been stagnant since 2009 despite cost of living increases. 
3) There is not a single place in the Us where you can afford basic expenses on min wage. 

C1) Min wage increase improves economy 

As noted here 

Raising the minimum wage does not kill jobs. Leading economists have found that increases in the minimum wage have no discernible effect on employment, including employment in high-impact sectors like restaurants and retail.
• Recent experience in cities that have raised their minimum wages provides further support. San Francisco increased its tipped minimum wage to $12.25, before tips, and experienced positive job growth in the leisure and hospitality industry the following year.
• Raising the minimum wage increases consumer spending and boosts the economy. A study by Doug Hall and David Cooper estimated that a $2.55 increase in the minimum wage would increase the earnings of low-wage workers by $40 billion and result in a significant increase in GDP and employment.
• A raise in the minimum wage predominantly benefits low-wage workers, precisely those most likely to put additional income directly back into the economy, kick starting a virtuous cycle of greater demand for goods and services, job growth, and increased productivity.

C2) Min wage increase improves mental health 

higher wagws correspond tk better health 

More recently, graduate student Katharine Burmaster, at the University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues showed that interventions to raise wages could have a direct effect on mental health. They took advantage of a natural experiment in the Dominican Republic, where workers in one factory began receiving a "living wage" that raised their income above the poverty line, while workers in another continued to earn the standard wage. A little more than a year after the wage increase, researchers found 23 percent of workers in the living-wage factory had depressive symptoms, compared with 40 percent in the standard factory — a reduction in risk of 47 percent

C2) Reduce crime Higher wages for low-skilled workers reduce both property and violent crime, as well as crime among adolescents,” the authors write. “The impact of wages on crime is substantial … a 10 percent increase in wages for non-college educated men results in approximately a 10 to 20 percent reduction in crime rates.” More concretely, the Council calculates that raising the minimum wage to $12 by 2020 “would result in a 3 to 5 percent crime decrease (250,000 to 510,000 crimes) and a societal benefit of $8 to $17 billion dollars.”

R = Round

Take Note: The Debate structure disallows me to directly rebut points made by Pro in this Round. This both means that I am having good, not bad, conduct in saving some attacks for Round 2 and that I am typing this to make it clear that any rebuking in this Round to Pro's R1 is purely coincidental and inherent to me making my constructive case for Trade Unions and against substantially increasing the Minimum Wage.

Take A Further Note:  Read the comments (first few) on this Debate and the Debate's Description. This is not forcing me to be against Minimum Wage, but against a substantial increase of it in the US. I am entitled to take a left-wing-sided counter-proposal and Kritik'd angle on Min-wage increase being the optimal approach to helping the poor.

Contention #1: Minimum Wage's role in the left-wing's outlook, is a gap-filler in the process of making the nation merciful to those on the lowest(/lower) income bracket(s). 

The crystal-clear thing to grasp here is that minimum amounts to pay employees are necessary in all societies at present in the world because there's insufficient ways for the poor to cope without it. The nations that lack it are indeed inhumane to the poor (don't need to prove this, Pro will vehemently agree) while the nations that have it are at least trying to make the system merciful to those on the bottom-end of it, economically-speaking.

The Minimum Wage functions to fill in a gap. Since the US is lacking in so many ways (especially under Trump) in being merciful to the poor, such as subpar ways to make the private healthcare affordable (and taking Obamacare's failure to become single taxpayer system in the opposite direction of what the optimal solution was) as well as terrible public transport and what-not (that I hope Pro will agree makes the system merciless on the poor), it means that the poor in the US are left crawling on their metaphorical knees, getting cut on the dry rocks in the blaring sun and the only mercy shown seems to be public education (that is so terrible in standard in the US) and minimum wage. Benefits and such are kept to a bare minimum and given unscrupulously in some States and/or cities, while being given overly leniently in others in a way that's making the whole system go bankrupt and people enraged at the benefits-scroungers which catapults it to the opposite direction.

The point is, everything about the minimum wage is inherently a scapegoat-solution that patches the failure of the system to have enough ways to make the current minimum wage in the US (which would be absolutely reasonable if healthcare, transport, education and ability to gain qualifications was sufficiently available to the poor, even time-wise so that even if they could join a Community College their unreasonable hours to make enough cash to cope with the system leaves them shattered and incapable of putting the time and effort into a side-qualification-course). So much about the US makes it completely corrupt towards its poor, albeit less so than truly capitalist sh**holes like Bangladesh or whatever brutal "Libertarian Utopia" (excuse me while I puke at the irony of such a notion) that you can imagine where the poor are literally at the level of non-human animals in their rights and opportunities.

Fix all the other aspects of the US' failure to provide for its non-well-off and you don't need to substantially increase the minimum wage.

Contention #2: The concept of Trade Unions is a lost treasure.

The reason that the government needs to step in and blackmail employers to give reasonable wages and treat their workers to a minimalistically decent level when the workers are too poor to afford a lawyer to sue the employer and get reparations for it is a lack of trade unions (yes, yes I know that there are overworked and/or incompetent public prosecutors for them to get for free, theoretically or the imaginary compensation they'll be paid back if they put in the cash for a high-end lawyer).

There is this notion that workers will 'gang together' and that instead of workers getting a better deal, overall,  what happens is that desperate workers will refuse to join the Union and offer themselves to the employers as abuse-receiving workers in multiple ways that the Union members won't allow their members to get employed with (such as inhumane working week lengths among other things like, yes, less-than-decent wages for the work put in). Resultantly, the idea is that the unions end up forced to peer pressure all employees to join them or they will all, as a union, strike until the employers give into their demands (and not enough employees that are willing to work for terrible wages under horrific work safety conditions are there to 'fill in the gap' during such strikes).

This led the government to say 'no unions but we'll take over and make sure wages and work conditions are decent enough'. This then means that everyone who votes (not just the poor who have a backbone) that vote on one of two candidates, in a realistic sense, have only that capacity of 'say' in how good their wages and work conditions are, nothing more and no 'individual tweaks' to a local area's factory or whatever else you can imagine that a local trade union could do better for its poor than an entire Federal Government setting the minimum standards in this regard for the whole nation.

If we brought back Trade Unions and instead made a law that forced places to either hire only from the Unions or only from lone ranger poor-masochists, then we'd see a fairer system naturally evolve.

This is a secret counterplan than no nation, ever, has actually done. I invented this concept in my brain as I typed this and I challenge you to prove me wrong on this. There is no nation that ever tried to let things be right-wing to begin with and let there be a law mandating employment to either be all-Union or all-non-Union. 

The reason that this is so powerful and indisputably the best version of Social Democracy fathomable, is that the employers will see for themselves that workers are too exhausted, underfed and underloved (no time with family etc) to perform well at work, if they opt-in for the all-non-Union option. Over time, the need for healthy workers who demand a bit more, will be the naturally selected option.

I will go into depth on this counterplan and the concept of natural selection in it benefitting everyone involved and how it will even snowball into helping Contention 1 be dealt with, within the nation, in my Round 2. I want to see how Pro takes it on or disregards it as irrelevant.
Round 2
Waiving this round. Too busy with school and the investigation. Sorry. 
The basis of Pro's case against keeping the minimum wage as is, is that... The minimum wage doesn't 'kill' jobs (which is a lie), that it doesn't harm the economy (which is a lie), that it improves mental health (this is a scapegoat-solution to having public-funding increased in both psychiatry and in other areas that cause anxiety and such) and, finally, that it reduces crime (again, a scapegoat angle that is only technically true).

So, how exactly will I disprove Pro? Let's begin with comprehending the scope of this debate and what the US is to 'the world'. Powerful as it is, at the end of the day the US is just one nation competing in a world with many and this is the crux of why having a minimum wage that's too high can negatively affect local business. I admitted, passionately, in my Round 1 that having no minimum wage at all is a bad thing. As I said, read the Debate Description and the Comments Section to see that this debate is about keeping the minimum wage as is (or only slightly increasing it) versus substantially increasing it. Both sides are supporting a minimum wage existing. The issue is this:

While the US is the leading consumer market, representing over 26% of the entire global consumer market from 2017 to now,[1] it's not invincible to forces of influencing companies (whether they are corporations or LLC) to leave the US, if it forces them to pay their workers too much at the lowest level. What the US has/had going for it, more than any other nation, is that it did (prior to Trump) the power to charge more for doing business in the US (via corporate tax) than any of its competing 'full developed' nations but that's changed under Trump, which is strange unless you hate the poor and don't need to fund public institutions as much anymore.[2] So, with corporate tax lowered, if you increased minimum wage substantially what would happen is that both the poor in the nation would suffer AND that corporations would come over to the US in masses, almost entirely because of how it sells its own people out without taxing the corporations much for doing so, relative to the more public-sector-heavy nations like those of western Europe, Canada, South Korea etc. that actually care for their poor, relatively speaking.

If you substantially increased the minimum wage, but kept corporate tax fairly low, then something else will go wrong; any way you use the tax money will be unfairly burdening companies who rely more on hiring the poor than on hiring the rich. What I mean is, you would be unfairly making life far easier for corporations who hire middle-to-upper class workers because the most that the higher minimum wage would affect them, is that their janitors or receptionists get more pay. In contrast, all of the more essential jobs, which hire people on the bottom end of the economic spectrum, will suddenly suffer as it costs them more to hire the same amount of workers as in other nations (and to keep up with the profit margins of the higher-end market corporations) so what you'll end up with is no one wants to run a supermarket in the US, especially if you don't increase corporate tax, since they are going to want to be some diamond-trader or high-flying law firm that hires as little people on the minimum-wage end of the spectrum as possible. This will indeed ruin employment rates among the poor and will also hurt the economy as it will force everything to become public funded, since no one will be selling groceries, providing cleaners for your house or anything like that. 

As I say in my Round 1, the minimum wage is a scapegoat-solution that patches everything that needs to be dealt with by disincentivising the nation to deal with those things. Do you not see the issue? The higher you make the minimum wage, the less that the middle-to-upper class voters and influencers in the nation are going to vote in the left-wing candidates. They will want more and more to become private-funded so that they can even-out the burden on them and the poor, who are going to be more and more unemployed as corporations won't go into sectors that involve the poor as much, are going to even agree with the rich and hate the entire situation. What has to happen is that the reasons you increase the wage to a substantial degree, should become handled by public funding, especially by corporate tax, but also by progressive income tax. This helps the poor be able to work for the wages that they do, which are calculated to be the minimum one could need to survive in the US, and also helps the system realise it needs to adjust in more public-sector ways to ease the cost of living on the poor, such as more availability of quality public healthcare, transport and education, rather than to say 'well we make them get paid more, so we now can provide less for them' and enter a vicious cycle that ends in plutocracy.

The mental health issue is covered by me. I explain how to lower the financial anxieties and burdens, even including increased quality and availability of universal mental healthcare, in my outlined solution.

My Trade union plan is near flawless and I will explain why in the next Round, but so far I'm not challenged on it.

Round 3
Thank you RM. 

It is incumbent on me to prove that we should raise the minimum wage and it is incumbent on my opponent to prove why we should not. I agree with my opponent's CP. We ought to bring back strong labor unions. However, I fail to see why we can't do both. Here's the problem with just bringing back labor unions.

First, many states have passed right to work laws which have completely undermined labor unions. It will take lots of work to undo these horrendous laws and will take several  years. Until then, labor unions are far weaker than they used to be. 

Second, raising the minimum wage gets immediate benefits to those who need them the most. Simply waiting to bring back the labor unions will be harmful to those who need the pay raise.

No, Virt, that's not how this is going to go. It is actually quite insulting that you would try to shift BoP and be as lazy as you've been but it's time to remind you why I am #1 and you are whatever place that is, eleventh or what?

I am the real deal top debater of the world and no matter what goes on in my life, I either make time to debate or lay down my sword. You turn up debate after debate saying 'sorry, life got in the way.' Do you think it's somehow easier for me than you? I don't know what you know about me IRL but I do things, clean my house, buy things, cook or whatever I do to share the chores with those in my household. I take time to listen, reassure and care about my mother on a daily basis and have had many events, be they funerals or cousin's birthdays that would otherwise break a lesser debater. I make sure the timers hit me gradually enough that I have the time or I say 'shit, I can't do this' and get a loss with grace.

You can't constantly stand there making 0 fucking arguments towards meeting your BoP and expect mercy, from your opponent, or respect for even turning up, from the voters. You made a debate entitled (read the description to see this is the actual debate): Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase the federal minimum wage.

You literally debated that basically mentally ill people cope better if they have less worries over their cash and that this is proof that minimum wage will solve mental health issues as well as saying that forcing corporations to pay their workers more, at the lower end of their wages, is going to not hurt the economy. This was your sole case made.

You never once defined 'substantial' but I said that if you need to massively/substantially increase minimum wages above what they currently are, that the problem is entirely with things that are not the minimum wage. I also said that not only is there a set of harms that come with increasing the minimum wage but that everything is solved better with trade unions being brought back but this time having a law that forces workplaces, especially in the blue-collar level, to hire either only from the Union(s) or only from non-Union members.This would help corporations see for themselves that malnourished, over-stressed workers underperform overall against workers that demand some more pay for less hours but are very healthy, mentally and physically. Also, what I was going to do if you attacked the Union-reform concept was to point out that this would also force workers to care about themselves and join Unions to be able to be hired by places that give a shit about them. In response you say 'First, many states have passed right to work laws which have completely undermined labor unions. It will take lots of work to undo these horrendous laws and will take several  years. Until then, labor unions are far weaker than they used to be.' to which I say, so repeal those laws and add in the clause I said had to be added in (not allowing corporations to hire both Union and non-Union workers to undercut the power Unions have). Then you say 'Second, raising the minimum wage gets immediate benefits to those who need them the most. Simply waiting to bring back the labor unions will be harmful to those who need the pay raise.' This is utterly ridiculous. You may earn above minimum wage but have a mother who can't walk due to severe arthritis and a whole array of other things that make you need more money than someone who earns minimum wage (or less than, if we want to go there). The simple-minded notions that workers who earn the least need the most is the very naivety that led to every single Communist regime being a pigsty to reside in during their reign, both in terms of civil rights AND in terms of the economy. North Korea and Cuba are testament to that, even to date, meaning even when it's sustainable it's still horrifically naive and hostile to those who need the most in it.

Are you really going to stand there and tell me that, among the middle-to-lower range of classes that those who need the most are those who earn the least? A single male who, even if he produces offspring, is going to end up responsibility-free for anyone but himself is hardly the same as someone who's with a big family where many are struggling physically and emotionally. I would know this as in my personal life I have people very emotionally dependent on me while I am not necessarily the most financially dependent among them, I don't feel any shame admitting this or whatever. There are so many 'needs' that you cannot just measure so you'd be a fool to automatically assume is going to be going to those who need most when you pay all those who earn the least more, by force. Instead, what you'll do is encourage corporations to fire them or even completely alter the business to be more up-scale as it's a bad idea to even be in the sectors that involve blue-collar workers if there's a disproportionately high wage forced upon corporations who hire them. This is going to end up with both the poor and the rich hating one another, suffering under laws that make both of them more of a drain on each other.

Now, please, make a damn argument that meets the burden of proof of the resolution or concede. You have the burden of proof here, not me.
Round 4
I want to apologize to my opponent for not putting my best foot forward in this debate. I would love to restart the debate and present the arguments I originally wrote. For now, I will gladly give RM the win and would love to ask if we could redo it with the arguments that I had planned to post. 

Okay well thanks but you cannot win this debate. If you bring more, I simply will bring more. Create the debate again and if no-one accepts for a week or so, I will. Make the topic the thing in the description NOT 'minimum wage'.

Trade Unions seriously are the solution to all corruption IF THE GOVERNMENT says to corporations 'hire from the Union(s) in your are only and let them compete or hire only from non-Union members'. There was a viable Kritik (that is not gonna be found by Googling, only thinking):

The Kritik to my entire case is this:

The non-Union members will register as a Union of cucks to the rich willing to work for terrible pay, in terrible conditions and for more hours than the other genuine Unions and their members are. 

This Kritik destroys my assumption that the willing to serve the rich at their own sake are going to be pitted against the Union members in a way that forces them to give in unless they want to suffer brutally but there's a reverse-Kritik.

In this Kritik, you ignore the BLATANT fact that the people who are willing to work in such terrible conditions etc are always going to be too few in any area to ever properly populate workplaces. This ALSO is exactly what I would hope would happen, defeating entirely the idea that anyone can undercut the Unions long-term. The reason they get undercut when corporations are free to both hire from Unions and non-Union is that there's power in the corporation to say 'we will only hire from the Union willing to allow us hire these guys who won't demand a damn thing from us'.

This then leads me to the further counter-Kritik: The other Unions in all areas would set a condition in their policies 'if you hire from the pseudo-Union of the non-Union workers that are abusing a loophole in the system, even though there's so few of the, we will not let you hire our members' and this time it is the Unions who'd win the pressure of negotiation and striking-game as the non-Union members even in their pseudo-Union will migrate into the Unions due to the pressure socially (peer pressure), rationally and emotionally (as in 'right thing to do').

This would not be assumptions, I would explain precisely the mechanics by which the Unions failing happened and why this single-handedly solves EVERYTHING about the deficit in minimum wage and brutal working hours for the wages paid that is happening in the US.