Minimum Wage And The Disillusioned
Thanks to an incredibly misguided attempt to be helpful by McDonald’s, there is a lot of conversation about minimum wage going on. Fast food workers from several chains are striking, calling for $15 an hour. The argument is that it is impossible to live on minimum wage. To a degree, I agree with that. Minimum wage is not enough to live on.
But you’re not supposed to live on minimum wage.
The apparently shocking truth is that minimum wage is not designed for you to live off of. Jobs of that nature are not intended to be long-term solutions to financial stability. They’re supposed to be “get your feet under you” stepping-stones. Granted, I will acknowledge that the economic tumble kind of scuffed that up a bit, but at this point in time that is a bit of a moot point.
Some of the chemists I work with barely get paid $15 an hour. At the risk of sounding arrogant, if a chemist with a college degree who handles the medications the population at large depends on is worth just $15 an hour there’s no way someone assembling burgers or pizzas should be getting that. I know accountants, engineers, and teachers who effectively get less than that.
Logistically it’s a terrible plan as well. Raising the minimum wage to such a ridiculous amount does nothing but add to the inflation problem. By saying that jobs geared towards high schoolers and designed for high turn over rates are worth that much, you’re downsizing the value of a dollar, and then we’re going to have this conversation all over again in a few years.
Maybe it is a little too low, and a serious conversation needs to happen. Afterall, when you compare the current average cost of rent in each state to that state’s minimum wage, you’d have to work over 65 hours a week just to put a roof over your head (and forget about eating).
But demanding as much or more than people working in specialized areas with skills that require years of training and education? That is ludicrous and insulting to anyone who earned a job through hard work and training.