My basic position is that people need to earn a decent wage to have any hopes of bettering their lives and the current minimum wage locks people, especially single mothers, into a cycle of dependency on government programs. To be sure, raising the minimum wage has a down side. The job market, for example. Businesses tend to be more selective in hiring when they have to pay more for the same work. This results in a tighter job market but also leads to a more productive work force. Many small business would argue that raising the minimum wage would lead to prohibitively higher costs, forcing them out of business. Well, not to sound callous, but tough shit. In the business world, only the strong survive. You learn to adapt or you perish. Many companies have done it before, and the good ones will continue to do so. I'm not a big fan of protectionism. The winners get stronger and the economy grows. Besides, the dire predictions of conservatives on this matter have yet to come true.
As far as universal health care goes, I grant you that it is a wonderful idea. However, given the track record of our government on the matter thus far, I'm not holding my breath. Raising the minimum wage is something that could realistically happen. And raising the minimum was is not mutually exclusive with UHC, but would help ease the burden on the health care system. Fewer people trying to hold down two or more jobs just to make ends meet means fewer stress related health care problems. More single mothers making enough at just a single job means fewer children alone less often means children raised better.
Raising the minimum wage is a better idea than UHC (which in itself is a great idea) because:
It's more likely to happen. When you're starving, a sandwich today is better than a feast a year from now.
It raises the standard of living of those that need it most.
It opens up opportunities to better the lives of those less fortunate, improving society as a whole.
It decreases dependency on government programs.
It lessens the burden on the health care system
Of course, raising the minimum wage and providing universal health care are not mutually exclusive, we can and should have both.
—Doug Weston II