Here’s something I found on Facebook today (and no, the person who posted did not agree with the Wall Street Journal guy). His argument was basically that the minimum wage should be low because it teaches people that they don’t want to work minimum wage jobs. Ah, I see. Because otherwise people wouldn’t realize a job flipping burgers was crappy. It seems to be another example of people insisting that being poor builds character. Mind you, they might have a point, because it seems like most of these rich people have no character whatsoever.
Also, Paul Gigot claims that working minimum wage teaches you to show up on time, because apparently if you make a living wage you can come in late every day. Wouldn’t people be more likely to show up on time if they were making enough money for it be worth their while?
It seems like a lot of people don’t even consider how expensive it is to work. You need transportation, and often a particular sort of clothes. I also often find myself buying food, because even though I generally bring a lunch, I get hungry more than once in a period of eight or nine hours. For some people it might be cheaper not to work, but it gets even harder to find another job after you’ve been unemployed for a while. Also, if these low-paying jobs are so bad that the main thing they teach you is that you want to get out of them…well, someone still has to work them, right? And it would be better for all involved if it’s someone who doesn’t hate the job, right? Why is everyone supposed to want to climb the ladder, even if that weren’t pretty much impossible these days? Do we really want to be teaching workers that the only value of their job is in teaching them how terrible work is? Obviously a lot of people do think that, but is it what we’re aiming for? I don’t know. I’ve always been someone who thought of work as something to do in order to do what you enjoy, but there ARE people out there who enjoy their jobs, right? I’ve also heard that restaurant jobs are allowed to pay LESS than minimum wage, the rationale being that they get tips, even though tipping isn’t mandatory. Shouldn’t a tip be a bonus on top of your salary, not a replacement for it? I grew up hearing that you were supposed to tip based on how good your service was, but now I’m not so sure. After all, even bad servers have bills to pay.
Another argument of Gigot’s is that raising the minimum wage would price people out of the job market, which I’ve heard plenty of times before.
I’m not saying there isn’t some truth to that, but employers are now allowed to pay next to nothing, and they still turn away most of the applicants. Which is why, while I think we definitely need to raise the minimum wage, the more important issue is that businesses can get away with pretty much anything they want. Conservatives will keep talking about how giving businesses tax breaks and such will “create jobs,” when in truth a lot of them aren’t going to hire more people unless they have to. I mean, why would they? They want to make money, not assist the community. And if employers can fire people for no reason (literally in Right-to-Work states, which are the exact opposite of what the name sounds like; New Jersey is one of these), what incentive do they have to do their job well? Sure, you can get fired for doing a bad job, but you can also get fired if you do a great job. I guess the lesson is that there’s no way to win, but I pretty much knew that even before I started working.