Poverty for people who work full-time is a concerning issue. If you put in 40 hours a week of your life to the benefit of someone else's business you deserve to not have to worry about how you are going to meet your basic needs such as paying rent or putting food on the table. The solution seems simple, raise the minimum wage, give these workers more money. The reality is that throwing money at a social problem is always a superficial solution. Money can never resolve underlying social problems on its own, and will, in fact, often make matters worse in the long run.

What are the roles of government and business in society?

This is actually the crux of the misplaced logic of thinking raising the minimum wage will provide long-term, meaningful relief to the working poor. It is the government's responsibility to look out for the people and the overall welfare of the country. The role of business is to stimulate the economy by ensuring that money is moving about, creating jobs and ensuring that products and services are available. Ideally, business and government will have a symbiotic relationship, where each recognizes the value that one brings to the other, without confusing their roles and responsibilities. The government should be friendly toward business and ensure that regulations they enact are not overly harsh or damaging to economic growth.

Business can have a humanitarian component and awareness regarding social responsibilities. Ultimately, though, social problems are the responsibility of the government and economics (profit) is the responsibility of business, and both are essential to a functioning society. Raising the minimum wage is the government refusing to address the underlying social aspects of the working poor and instead forcing businesses to be responsible for this social problem.

Businesses cannot solve social problems, it is fundamentally contrary to their purpose and role.

Redistribution of wealth in America

The 99% movement was on to something, but their anger was misdirected.

It is not the responsibility of businesses to take care of the social problems that plague the United States. The anger of the 99% movement should have been directed at the government, not corporations. The necessity of the Redistribution Of Wealth has been recognized by some of the smartest and wealthiest people in the country with 170 pledged through Bill Gates' Giving Pledge to give away more than half their fortunes (Giving Pledge.com). While the intention is noble, Americans should not be relying on private individuals and businesses to determine how to best collect and spend money to benefit the country and its citizens. This is the job of government, and taxation is, in fact, the only way to improve the Quality Of Life for the most vulnerable citizens and ensure that funds are distributed in a manner that benefits everyone, not just a lucky few.

Raising the minimum wage is not a solution for wealth redistribution. In fact, the most profitable businesses are often also the most desirable workplaces and are the least reliant on minimum wage workers. Consider the banking and finance industry, the oil and gas industry, the armaments industry, and the tech industry. Most of the jobs in these industries already pay many times the federal minimum wage and come with an assortment of benefits. Raising the minimum wage is not taking from the rich and giving to the poor, it is taking from the middle class, or even other poor in some cases, to give to the poor, while the ultra rich remain unaffected. The businesses that are the most reliant on minimum wage workers are those in the retail and service industries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

These are most often small to medium-sized businesses with middle class or struggling owners, and many of them could be put out of business entirely by a $15 minimum wage. 85% of workers in the United States work for businesses with less then 20 employees, according to sbecouncil.org, and 42% of American's are earning less then $15 per hour, according to the National Employment Law Project, and policies that weaken this important business sector will have lasting negative effects on the economic health of the country.

More money vs. quality of life

The result of trying to solve the problem of working poor by throwing a bit more money their way will not have any significant impact on quality of life over the long term.

In the short term it would seem effective with wages raising faster then expenses. History has shown that the cost of this type of regulation would take more then 10 years to be fully realized, but the resulting inflation is entirely predictable. The lowest earners will always be the lowest earners and expenses will adjust themselves to be affordable for the average family. The end result will be that 42% of Americans could be classified as working poor even though they are now earning $15 per hour or more. All that can be achieved by the raising of the minimum wage is inflation. The threshold for poverty would be raised, not eliminated, not changing the unavoidable fact that no matter what the minimum wage is, it is still the minimum.

The current U.S. government's strategy of cutting taxes for the wealthiest businesses and citizens with the expectation that successful businesses can solve social problems is irresponsible. The strategy should be the opposite. The wealthy should be taxed more, and the extra money should be put toward items that directly affect the quality of life of every American citizen. Public Health care, minimum income safety nets, and free quality education are examples of initiatives that most protect and equalize our most vulnerable citizens and benefit every citizen.

Americans can actually do better then just tossing poor people a few extra dollars each month. It is possible to improve the quality of life for every American and minimize class differences.

As the 99% movement pointed out, there is enough money for everyone to be secure. The United States Government just needs to recognize that its first priority should be to the people of the United States, not the businesses of the United States. Leave businesses to do what they do best -- maximize profit and contribute through taxation.

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