Recently, Obama has been making an effort to raise minimum wage from $7.25 up to $10.10. That sounds pretty good right? It seems like especially good news to us college students who hold the majority of minimum wage jobs (more than 50 percent). But in all actuality, raising minimum wage may not be such a great idea.
Over the past year, workers have gone on strikes across the country, demanding that minimum wage be raised up to as much as $15. Raising it is very tempting in politics because it can score some major political points – even George W. Bush signed a minimum wage increase into law during his time as President. There are many reasons behind the desire to raise minimum wage, one of which being that it might hopefully be the key in pulling people out of poverty. But despite these good intentions, it could actually do more harm than good.
Increasing minimum wage will make it harder for people to get entry level jobs (especially unexperienced, young people). Unfortunately, as I was constantly reminded growing up, money doesn’t grow on trees; it has to come from somewhere. That means it will cost employers more to hire people because they will have to pay them for more than what their labor is worth. As a result, they simply won’t offer the jobs. So even though the people who already hold those jobs would be getting paid more, the opportunity would be lost to those who weren’t lucky enough to already have had a job locked down. Let’s face it though; most people in poverty who are living off the government would love to do anything to continue living off of the government. Regardless, at least now they have a chance of being hired if they did decided they wanted a job. If minimum wage is raised, their chances would become much slimmer.
Another thing to consider: many minimum wage jobs aren’t worth that much. If it were to be raised to $10.10, that would mean someone working at McDonalds could potentially be making almost as much as some teachers. That is completely ridiculous; teachers have one of the most important jobs, hands down. Without them, we wouldn’t be educated, and without an education, we would have nothing. The fact that teachers are severely underpaid has been a topic of conversation for a long time, but that’s a discussion for another day. How though, can we raise wages for mindless jobs such as fast food, while people with real, meaningful jobs are being paid almost as little? It doesn’t cost ten bucks to flip a burger or open a cash register.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that entry level jobs aren’t important, but they are also not something to strive for. I have had plenty of minimum wage jobs, and I don’t expect any more than what I’m getting. These are the jobs that help put young people through school. They are great ways to gain experiences and basic skills like time management, and responsibility.
But in the end, they aren’t the jobs we will (or should) settle for. Eventually, we will be getting paid a decent amount of money working hard in a career that we’ll deserve to be paid well in. We’ll actually be making a significant difference in society, whether it be as doctors, lawyers, businessmen, teachers, etc. If minimum wage increases, it will jeopardize the whole process. It will be harder for students working toward getting more prestigious jobs to be hired for those first basic level jobs. Working in jobs like retail, or fast food, gives us the skills needed to help us along the path toward reaching our career goals. Not being able to get hired for those jobs would be bad news for us, and bad news for everyone else relying on us in the future.
Raising minimum wage may seem like a good idea, but there are plenty of reasons it’s not.
More harm than good may come out of it because it would become much harder to be hired for entry level jobs.
If you want more money, go out and get a real job.