The Magical Minimum Wage

Over the hubbub of the minimum wage hike racket, I’ve heard a lot of people shouting about different sides of the debate. Yesterday, someone shared this picture on Facebook:

minimum.wage.1

I’m getting tired of hearing the debate. Here’s the real facts.

Raising minimum wage to $15 an hour will be disastrous. You want inflation? Double the minimum wage then stand back and watch the fallout. I can’t believe nobody is wondering why gas prices more than doubled after Obama took office. I will tell you why: federal minimum wage was kicked up from $4.75 an hour to $7.25 an hour. Businesses do not eat those losses; they pass them on to the consumer. When a business that pays minimum wage for new workers suddenly has to pay twice what they were paying, they’re not going to sit there and say, “oh, well – we’re not gonna make as much money!” No. They’re going to raise the price of everything they sell. Everything is going to cost more, from a loaf of bread to a gallon of gasoline to a crappy McDonald’s hamburger. It’s going to go way up in cost, so it’ll go way up in price.

The more a business has to pay to make a product, the more it costs for the consumer to enjoy it. My girlfriend’s 22-inch tube TV cost about $100 when she bought it. My 55-inch flat-screen cost about $600 when my dad got it for me for Christmas a year ago. The technology of both of these items is very different; a tube TV (which they no longer make) is simple to build and the parts are cheap. A large flat-screen requires more expensive parts, more time, and more labor to build. Compare two different restaurants: McDonald’s and Smashburger. A quarter pounder at McDonald’s costs about $4 (depending on where in the country you are). A “small” hamburger at Smashburger costs about $6. Why? Because Smashburger pays more for better ingredients and they pay their employees slightly more than minimum wage.

The concept is the same for workers. The more a business pays its workers, the more the consumer will pay for the products being assembled and sold by those workers. My iPhone cost me about $200 (I had to sign a new contract with my cell carrier to get it that low, but hey…). My iPhone was also assembled at a factory in China. Had my phone been assembled at a plant in the US, it would have been exorbitantly expensive and I wouldn’t be able to afford it. Why? Because workers in the US cost that much more.

The principle will not change if minimum wage is doubled. These people keep thinking, “oh, if I only made more money…” Yet they refuse to face the fact that if they make the government force their employer to pay them more, things are going to go downhill fast. Their employer will raise the price of the food they’re making, driving some consumers away. The poor people who tend to eat at places like McDonald’s won’t be able to afford it anymore. The cost of basic necessities will shoot up. Suddenly, making more money means nothing because the problems just followed them right into their new predicament. These people don’t think about the consequences of their demands.

What I’m going to say next is going to really piss off a few people, but it needs to be said.

If you want a better life, you have to make it yourself.

I used to work for JP Morgan Chase. After that, I worked for American Express. I hated working in an office setting and having to kiss ass everywhere I went. I really, truly, genuinely hated my job. I made a lot of money, but I hated where I was and felt like I was in a dead end profession. I would prove my abilities beyond everyone else, but would always lose out on promotions to new departments because my boss needed me where I was. I was tired of it. So, I took a pay cut to go work as an EMT full-time. I’m actually making more money now because I love my job and I’m willing to work a lot of overtime. I can take my EMT certification back to my home state and make even more money there. Emergency medical and rescue are always in demand, and since I am capable of dealing with people who are bleeding and throwing up, it works for me. I wanted to make a change in my life and be happy, so I went out and found something that would facilitate that for me.

If you are going to screw around in high school, refuse to attend college, and spend all your time and money trying to have fun, then the consequence is that you’ll never be worth more than minimum wage. You’ll never have marketable skills. Thus you will never have a better job.

Oh, and this whole thing about having kids and working minimum wage? Oh, please. If you hadn’t hopped in bed, you wouldn’t have a kid. If you couldn’t afford a kid, you should have thought about that before jumping in the backseat of that car. Yay, you had sex! I’m glad it was fun! Now, here’s the consequence – a responsibility to take care of a tiny little person who will be completely dependent on you for the next eighteen years (likely longer, considering how poorly you’ll teach basic principles of responsibility). Just like you’re not thinking now about how your demand for more money will affect the future, you didn’t think about how that twenty minutes of fun might affect your personal future. Whose fault is that? I didn’t benefit from you having sex. Why should I have to pay for it?

Cry me a damn river.

Find a trade school – yeah, the ones that your beloved President makes fun of when he tells you to go get an education – and learn an in-demand skill. Learn how to weld. Learn how to fix a car. Learn to be a plumber, an electrician, or a licensed contractor. Go learn medical coding and billing. All of those professions make a lot more money than fast food does (and don’t require mopping up after a patient who misses the emesis bag). And, bonus, you won’t have other minimum-wage earners yelling at you for screwing up their orders and throwing food at you.

You want more money? Go find a way to earn it honestly rather than twisting people’s arms with some emotional appeal that will only make things worse. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, stop expecting everyone else to pay your way for you, and make your own life better. Nobody is responsible for you and your spawn except YOU. Forcing the minimum wage up with not magically solve your problems, nor will yelling at me that you slaved over a hot stove for that cheap chicken sandwich that I just bought to get my blood sugar back up again. I tell you what…do that for 24 hours at a stretch and I’ll be impressed.

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Comments

5 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. James Painter,

    Seattle is trying to pass the $15 wage. I hope they do. Let the citizens of Seattle be the guinea pigs. We can all sit back and watch the disaster that will inevitably occur.

  2. Barbara from New York,

    I LOVE the way you write!!!! You are so articulate and I want to share this with everybody!!! I wish I could educate the stupids who think that raising the minimum wage is the answer to their economic woes, when it will be the most disastrous job killer since Obamacare.

  3. I think Ron Unz in his articles explains why it’s not that stupid idea as some, who do not actually read the data, think.

    http://www.unz.com/runz/raising-the-national-minimum-wage-to-almost-12-per-hour/

    But of course, Ron Unz thinks the raise of minimum wage is mainly directed at discrimination of immigrants :)

  4. Ah, and here in Poland we have no minimum wage rise, yet we had a similar increas in oil prices. Maybe something else was responsible for the price inflation, eh?

  5. TR,

    Race issues in the news:
    Here is another word that is being used, recently by a lot of reporters, to drive both Dem people + GOP people nuts:segregation.

    Now, to make the problems of USA schools look worse than they are, some reporters are saying that a grade school is “segregated” if: 1) there is a large-size amount of black students in your school or 2) if your school has black students in it + the school is in a poor neighborhood.

    Here’s the reality: school segregation was when a number of USA towns + USA societies, before the 1960s + 1970s, DECIDED purposefully to put black students into underfunded schools, and schools that were known to have teachers with inadequate skills.

    I truly believe: that almost all towns, + societies, + states in the USA do not segregate schools. They do not knowingly separate the schools by races, and send some races or people to worse schools.

    You may find a few schools that segregate-so if you find them, please report them, because segregation is illegal. It is illegal in America.

    Almost 100% of US adults and US schools do not do segregation on black people, or on any other people that you can name.
    If you find a town or school that does, please report them. As a nation, to be good people, we do not do this to people in schools.

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