I will be putting out a small series of articles highlighting some of what I see as problems in our society. They are in no particular order, just some ramblings of things that I see that are wrong.
The first issue that I would like to focus on is the minimum wage debate.
Many people who are currently working jobs that pay minimum wage would love to have a raise to $15.00/hour. They like to say that they are not able to provide for their families or make a living wage. I understand how frustrating that can be. It is very difficult to have a tight budget. (Believe me, I know what a tight budget looks like!) However, first we must look at what that family sees as being a good life for them. A good portion of society seem to think that they are entitled to all the luxuries that some others have without putting in the same effort that is needed to provide those luxuries. For the most part, we get out of this life what we put in to this life. We reap what we sow, so to speak. As each of our children grow up and start to make their own way in this world, my wife and I remind them that it has taken us a long time to acquire what we have. It takes time, effort, and sacrifice to get where we are now.
The minimum wage jobs that we are referring to here are not meant to provide a living wage. Perhaps, a single person could survive on it, especially if they were to split living costs with other people making minimum wage. (Read – roommates.) But it is not meant to be able to provide for a family. In my opinion, minimum wage jobs are for teenagers who are learning to work and earn their own way. They are perfect for people who are also working on their education to help them on their path to financial stability. Sometimes they are there for retired people who may need to supplement their retirement incomes. In our family, we have also used minimum wage jobs to help bolster our own family budget – especially when certain luxuries are needed/desired.
There is definitely a time and place for minimum wage jobs. However, it gets tiring hearing the talk about raising the minimum wage to help people live within their incomes. In the short term, raising the wage bolsters the wage earners for a time, but then there is also a cost of living increase directly associated with said raise. Businesses are forced to either raise their prices to compensate for the extra payroll costs, or they are forced to cut the number of employees needed to provide the same service. Either scenario hurts the economy. Businesses have budgets and have limits that they must adhere to, as well.
Our economy thrives when government stays out of the free market. By doing so, the market itself dictates the prices of goods and services, which in turn, dictates the wage that is demanded for providing the work needed for a particular good or service. Since the federal minimum wage was enacted in 1938, it has been raised 22 times! We need to be careful about clamoring to raise it again.