What’s the price of minimum wage?

Don’t get me wrong.  I believe everyone should have equal opportunities to reach levels in life they’ve always dreamed of, but just because I believe it, doesn’t mean everyone will.  That’s unfortunate. 

Many of you may have heard of the recent talks and decisions regarding the increases in minimum wage.  There’s been much debate about what’s fair and what’s unfair from all sides of the issue.  Some have been accused of being greedy or entitled, while others have been called heartless, stingy,  and insensitve.  Well, here’s my side.  Federal minimum wage standards were first enacted in 1938, when wages were set at a measly $0.25 per hour.  While I believe there should be an increase, in 71 years minimum wages have only moved up $7.00, it has to be fair. 

The fact is, the proposed increase to minimum wages will come across the board.  No worker will be left out, including those who haven’t performed well, report to work late, disrespect their supervisors, and to those who don’t exactly provide “customer service” in the customer service industry.  Is that fair?  Is it fair that I and many others made the financial sacrafice, choosing to pursue higher education in order to increase our earning potential, only to be lumped into the same economic category as those who could have either cared less about going to college, were too lazy to go, or didn’t want to make the same sacrafice to attend?

Some could argue with my points above, but the truth is most new graduates of higher education don’t go to work immediately into their field of study and most don’t immediately earn the salaries they expected to have.  So after years of hard work and sacrafice they’re rewarded with a starting salary of $12-$14 an hour.  Hey, but wait isn’t that the same amount workers in the service industry are demanding they earn?  If fact, some protestors have argued they need to have a minimum of $15 per hour to support their families.  Side note:  These jobs and wages were never designed for individuals to support families.  They were created to help young people develop work ethic and build experience.  Why then should we encourage our children to do well in school and go to college if in the end  their counterparts who didn’t go their route will make the same income.  Now that’s not fair.  It’s also unfair to reward workers that who have not made efforts to stand out, even in the service industry, who don’t really won’t to grow in their fields, all because the federal government says so.

If we make the increases minimum wage workers are demanding, we pay the price initially, but also in the long run when our youth decide not to go to college and study to pursue careers in the areas that help this country compete with the rest of the world.  We also pay because we continue to lend credence to the “entitlement” mentality our citizens suffer with currently.  “I don’t have to work hard.  I don’t have to try, because the government will give it to me regardless.” 

So now we don’t even bear responsibility for how far we go in life, for what our future looks like?  Give me a break.

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