The following article is written by our guest writer, Travis Augustine, a fellow member of the Conservative Union. If you enjoy his article, let us know! You can also read more of his work at his blog, http://w9hdg.dyndns.org/
So let me get this straight. You work at a fast food restaurant. You have no education beyond maybe high school, you have no marketable skills, no drive or ambition, and you have the nerve to walk out on your job because you want $15 an hour…to flip burgers…and ask “do you want fries with that?”
I’m sure plenty of you are screaming at your computer monitors already saying “I have a degree and I work at McDonalds because its the only job I can find.” Yup, you have a degree. Good for you. Guess what, you majored in the wrong field. A masters degree in underwater basket weaving is not going to land you a career, no matter what your college recruiter or advisor (who just wanted to make money, by the way) told you. You should have gotten a degree in a field that was going to grow.
Five years ago, I was making about $20/hr in a manufacturing job, my wife at a different factory was around $14/hr. We lost our jobs at the beginning of the recession. I found a job starting at $10/hr and I worked my way over the course of two and a half years to about $13 an hour. What was I doing? I was installing cable TV, internet, and phone in people’s homes. You want more money than I was making in a very technical field. During that time my wife returned to school and got a degree in a medical field (a field that is growing rapidly). She now makes just under $14/hr with just over a year of experience under her belt. Now I have returned to school and am pursuing a Bachelor of Natural Physical Science/Physics education. This degree will allow me to teach science in any middle or high school in the state. Another field that is always looking for people. That’s right, we choose fields that are growing or otherwise always looking for new people.
The bottom line is we elected to better ourselves in order to get good paying, stable jobs instead of taking a job in a field that is intended for students, stay at home parents that want something to do for extra money while their kids are away from home attending class, etc. They are not careers. They are entry level jobs intended to teach you work ethic, money management, and responsibility.
For those of you who think that minimum wage should be $15/hr let’s talk about that shall we? As I mentioned above, my wife makes about $14/hr after returning to school and getting the skills necessary to do her job. Those skills gave her a degree and thousands of dollars of debt which she now has to repay. The reason her employer pays more than minimum wage is because she does not have minimum skill, she has demonstrated by her obtaining a degree and good grades that she has drive and dedication. In short, she demonstrated maturity and responsibility. If minimum wage is $15/hr what would her employer have to offer people in order to not only stay, but consider going into the field? $25/hr? $30/hr? That will drive health care costs up. Remember she has people’s lives in her hands daily. She isn’t flipping burgers and asking, do you want fries with that. When I graduate with my bachelor’s degree I will be likely starting in the upper $30k low $40k range for my salary. If minimum wage is $31k/yr why should I spend all that money to get the education necessary to get the job I want? Teachers wages would have to go way up. How are school districts going to pay that? In the case of private schools, tuitions will have to go up, in the case of public schools, taxes.
The long and the short of it is, as wages rise, the price of goods and services will follow. Small businesses such as Mom and Pop dinners will be driven out of business because they will not be able to handle the higher wage requirements, unemployment will rise due to employers cutting hours in order to make payroll, inflation will skyrocket due to rising prices in order to make up the lost revenue and soon that $15/hr won’t be enough and you’ll be crying for $20, $30, or more.
You want $15/hr, get off your butt, get back to school and get an education in a growing field. McDonalds offers great tuition assistance. Kahn Academy offers many great free classes. Make yourself employable and you too can make $15/hr.