Don’t Raise The Minimum Wage


I know this post is going to get a LOT of negative feedback.  I’m not too concerned about that because we all have a right to our opinion.    So here goes.

There is a big push right now (mainly from progressives) to raise the minimum wage to something like $15/hour.   They feel that low skilled, hourly jobs are worth much more that what is paid currently.  They have a right to their opinion (see, I told you so).  But I hate to inform them….they are wrong.  Raising the minimum wage that high is not a good thing.

The Federal minimum wage is currently $7.25/hour.  That’s a lot more than the $3.25/hour I made in high school in 1990.    I’m not going to argue that $7.25/hour is a lot of money…it isn’t.  I’m not going to say that you can survive easily working 40 hours a week on it…you can’t.  I’m also not saying that we should never raise the minimum wage…we should.

So, What AM I saying?

What I’m saying is that raising the minimum wage to $15/hour would put too large a burden on small businesses and it would quite frankly be over paying low skilled jobs.  $15/hour is equivalent to $30,000/year if you worked 40 hours a week.   I work with people right now in an office with college degrees that do not make that much a year.  So, you’re saying that someone flipping burgers or running a cash register should make more than this college graduate working in a professional workplace?

I feel that I’m getting a bit off topic here.  Let me bullet point the reasons I think we should not raise the minimum wage

  • Burden on small business – The fact is that most small businesses are just barely scraping by.  Let’s say I have a small business and I employ 20 entry level employees.  I currently pay them $8.00/hour to start out (more than the current minimum).  Now you are going to make me nearly double their salary.  That’s $7 more per hour per employee.    That’s $5,600 a week in additional salary I have to pay out.  As a small business owner there’s no way I can do that without either firing people or raising my prices.
  • It’s Not Deserved – This is the harsh reality of the situation that no one wants to hear.  If you can learn the job you’re doing in an hour with no special training or skills…then it probably isn’t deserving of $30,000/year.    I started out bagging groceries in high school.  Anyone with two working arms and legs could do that job.  I didn’t deserve more than minimum wage and I certainly didn’t deserve to be paid a wage that would support a family.  These days our society seems to have an entitlement problem.  People think they are entitled to certain things.   In my opinion, the only things you are entitled to are life, liberty, and the PURSUIT of happiness.   Everything else must be worked for.
  • You’ll Put High School Kids Out of Work – Let’s face it.  If I have to pay someone $15/hour I’m going to hire the most responsible people I can and high school kids are not usually on that list.  What this means is that many kids will not have that high school job where they learn so many important things and learn the value of working hard for a wage.  Employers (especially small business owners) will instead hire mature employees who can work flexible hours and be more productive…..more bang for the buck (or 15 bucks).

I stared straight out of college with Walmart (yes the evil one) and I made (with a college degree) $7.75/hour.  It was horrible.  But here’s the deal…I didn’t have to take the job.  I chose to take the job.  That’s something that’s missing here.  If you don’t like what an employer pays then go somewhere else.  It’s still a free country (for the time being) so you aren’t obligated to work for them.  I worked that job until I was able to get a better job.  That new job didn’t pay very well either but I stayed with the organization (for the last 15 years) and I have now worked my way up to a nice paying position.

That’s something that many people of today’s generation don’t get.  They want instant satisfaction.  They want to be able to make enough money for that new car, that mortgage and that family right now.  They don’t want to work hard and work their way up from the bottom.  I see it every day in my organization.  These kids straight out of college who haven’t accomplished anything…they think the world owes them something…it doesn’t.

Many companies promote from within.  This means that if you stay at Walmart or McDonald’s and endure the low starting pay you can work your way up.  I saw it myself at Walmart.  If I chose to stay, I could have been promoted withing a couple of years to a very well paying position.  The store manager at the store I was in made a lot of money and he started at a stock boy.  You must be willing to put in the hard work and the time to succeed.   We cannot just increase the minimum wage so that someone with no skills and no experience makes enough that they don’t strive to do better.

One last point.  I was talking to the lady who works at Subway the other day.  She told me that she works that job full time in the morning shift until mid afternoon.  Then goes to another full time job from mid afternoon to late night.  Then on the weekends she works an overnight job at a hotel.  She is doing it right.  She is working hard to improve her life.   She said her goal is to eventually own a Subway franchise.  She is saving the money from all of these jobs to make it happen.  We need more people with that kind of work ethic in this country.

It’s kind of late and I’m sure some of this may be incoherent so I apologize.  But leave a comment below with your opinion.  If you disagree, tell me why.   I love a good debate.  But just keep it civil.



About Author

Ben is a follower of Christ, a rabid computer geek, small business owner, and breaker of things. He is married way above his station in life and has three wonderful children who have made driving him insane their mission in life.

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