Thursday, December 5, 2013
I should know better than to read the comments on anything
There are two major refrains that always run through any discussion of upping wages for the folks doing the scut work for society. The first comes from employers whining that it will mean raising prices and that's going to kill business. Here's a news flash for all you McDonald's/Subway/Burger King franchise owners: if the minimum wage goes up, it doesn't just go up for your store alone -- it goes up for everyone. The playing field is still level.
The second piece of stupidity that gets repeated ad nauseum is that all those people doing the scut work are just too damn lazy or uneducated to look for something better. What the minimum wage burger flippers need to do is get an education and improve themselves. Ditto the underpaid hotel maids and nurse aides and a whole lot of other people who work at the dirty jobs that keep this country running. I want to know what planet those people who spout that line live on -- have they bothered to look at the American economy lately? It's a service economy. Where are jobs being created? In retail and in health care, i.e., sales clerks and home health aides. No one needs a college education to qualify to run a cash register at Dollar General or to help old ladies take showers. Yes, it's great if you can get an education and find work as a software engineer or an investment banker, but there's a limited number of those jobs to go around. The reality is that there are a lot of over-educated people flipping burgers or changing diapers.
On the other hand, the fact that you don't need an advanced degree to make change or help old people bathe doesn't mean you don't deserve to be paid a living wage. Regardless of the job, if you put in a full day's labor, you should receive enough pay to live on. I can remember a time when that wasn't such a hard concept to understand. Apparently those days are long gone.