Patrick Byrne Professor Saunders

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When it comes to the income that people receive when working a minimum wage job there seems to be two different opinions people have about it. One would say that minimum wage is too low and it is not enough to live on. The other side would say it needs to stay ay the current rate because people need to understand that a minimum wage job is not supposed to be a career. This discussion on minimum wage has been going on for many years. There has been a lot of controversies on which side is best either for the individual or society as a whole. In my opinion you should not be trying to make a career or life out of a minimum wage job.

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Minimum wage jobs were designed to show how to do the basics of a job, learning skills such as working a cash register or how to treat a customer, understanding the value of a dollar or cleaning the floor. They were also designed for teenagers to work while in high school or while going through college.The minimum wage job was not designed for people to make a career out of it. Parents are contributing to the problem by not encouraging their kids to get a job at an earlier age by saying “enjoy high school and get a job later” because some kids never get a job until the age of 20.

These kids are now entering adulthood and have no idea how to adult. Some are twenty years old and still asking their parents for money instead of having money of their own to spend. The result is when at this age they go to a find a job no one wants to hire them because they do not have the experience. They think since they are twenty they shouldn’t have to work at Mcdonalds. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics “people are now getting hired between the ages of 19-24 years of age which is later than it used to be”.

The old statistics show that people were getting hired at minimum wage jobs at the age of sixteen”. Parents need to start telling their kids to get a job as soon as they are able to even if it is only part time working one or two days a week. This will help prepare kids for the “real world” rather than the parents trying to protect them from it. It seems society is trying to protect kids from everything, instead society is hurting our youth by sheltering them from this rite of passage. Getting a job in your teenage years is a valuable tool to growing into a responsible adult. The current generation feels that they should get everything for free and should be provided by the government. Minimum wage jobs were created for entry level positions to prepare you for more responsibility and eventually a move up to higher pay. MInimum wage positions were never designed to maintain a livelihood. Understanding the need to work hard in our lives to become successful is important, but instead people think and expect that minimum wage is going to take them through life.

Having a minimum wage job at an early age could also help people through college without having to ask their parents for money. Parents are already exhausted paying for college. Even if the parents were not paying for college, you have the money to pay for it yourself while working this minimum wage job. I think that people are getting too comfortable with these jobs and thinking that they should be getting paid the big dollar for making a burger. They don’t understand that these jobs were made just to get you through until you can get a better job or the career of your choice. It has been said that college is too expensive.

The costs are constantly increasing along with inflation but you can still go to a community college for forty six dollars a unit and get an associates degree. By doing this people can get a better job that pays more to help with the cost of living. According to the New York Times website “last october, just 65.9 percent of people who had graduated from high school the previous spring had enrolled in college.” This is one of the lowest numbers we have experienced in the past 5 years of high school graduates. Instead of going to college these students are working the minimum wage jobs. On average, people are not going to college but are now trying to survive on lower incomes and the number seems to be rising.

A suggestion would be for employers of these minimum wage jobs to start hiring more kids at the age of sixteen rather than older people or machines to do the work. They are hurting the workforce by just trying to get the biggest profit they can, while driving up the prices. If they would just let teenagers willing to work for minimum wage, work. It would help the younger generation to understand what having a job really means.

According to an interview on the Washington Post website, an interview with a Mcdonald’s employee stated that “there was double the number of people working in the store, approximately 70-80, as opposed to the 30 or 40 that work there today because preparing the food took a lot more doing” this is showing that businesses are trying to get out of employing people instead of replacing it with robots or machines. This is in part due to the unwillingness to work and the quality of workers along with the fact that machinery has just become more efficient. The american worker just doesn’t want to work and this is because we are not instilling a good work ethic within our youth.

When raising minimum wage the cost of living also increases. According to a California government website “on average the rate of inflation raises 3%” but with the raise of minimum wage, inflation has the possibility of sky rocketing. Minimum wage workers will make more per hour but the cost of living will also increase. The cost of living, such as going to the supermarket getting gas, interest rates, etc will go up. It is not a simple answer to the long asked question of “how to fix the minimum wage gap?”

As discussed there are two different sides of the debate when it comes to minimum wage and how it affects people. Raising minimum wage needs to slowly rise with the cost of living. To many people depend on minimum wage jobs as a way of life and this is not what they were designed to do. Our younger generations need to understand that it is not recommended to make a career out of a minimum wage job and that they should strive for a more lucrative position through education and experience. Empowering generation X and Z to strive toward a high school diploma, certificate, degree or higher education will only help them and our economy in the long run.

The counterargument to this debate is the price of living is already too high for minimum wage workers. After working a forty-hour week on minimum wage the average person makes $420. dollars which is $ 1,680. dollars a month before taxes. Workers may have a car payment, rent for housing, credit cards, food and other expenses such as medical bills. This is not a living wage and it was never designed to be that way.

In the larger picture, this is a never-ending cycle that has a constant increase in the cost of living that is affected by the increase in the minimum wage. As an american community, we should begin teaching primary and secondary students to strive for better. Minimum wage is a great place to start in the workforce but we should never stay there.

With the completion of a high school diploma or GED, people increase their attraction in good-paying employers. By looking at history the increase in minimum wage has solved little to none of our problems. Inflation has continued to grow and now workers are looking for more help from the government. “The American dream is known for freedom and opportunities so let’s start our children young to work hard and achieve better.’

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