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Looking at a $15/Hour Minimum Wage

Fast Facts:  Doc Thompson takes down liberals’ minimum wage myths

The article in the link provided above recently appeared in The Blaze, and openly describes some of the problems associated with increasing the minimum wage that few of those holding minimum wage jobs fail to take into consideration.  Contrary to the thinking of many demanding this dramatic increase in the minimum wage, low paying minimum wage jobs were never meant to be used as a primary source of income that would support the family unit.  Furthermore, people who spend year, after year, after year, in minimum wage positions demonstrate they are either unemployable for other reasons (no high school education, criminal background, etc.), or simply haven’t the ambition to better themselves to acquire more gainful employment elsewhere.  Any number of them are supplementing their earnings with public assistance, too.  Employees seldom realize one of the largest expenses small business owners have to pay are those associated with labor.

The best example I have for this involves a husband and wife who both work for what could be deemed a facet of the fast-food industry.  He is a cook, and she a waitress/server.  Their family unit includes children, and receives forms of public assistance (welfare) in addition to what he and she earn at work.  It’s unknown if either possesses a high school education. He and she have been employed by this franchise for several years.  The husband openly supports the effort to increase the minimum wage to $15-per-hour, and has said as much in social media.  He likes the idea because he thinks once adopted, he’ll be literally “rolling in dough” because he routinely works between sixty and seventy hours weekly.  However, his tune quickly began to change once I presented him with some scenarios that increasing the minimum wage to $15-per-hour would place an unfair financial burden on the company employing him, and that the increased costs could have a very detrimental effect on not only his job, but also that of his wife.

In the first case I presented to him I asked him what he thought his chances would be to continue working between sixty and seventy hours per week were his employer to have to pay him $15-per-hour plus overtime?  The answer to that is, “next to none“.  I then told him that he and his wife could also see their work schedules chopped to as little as thirty hours per week, especially if the employer is required by law to provide full-time employees with healthcare coverage.  Working thirty hours per week would allow this man and his wife to be considered only part-time employees thereby exempting their employer from the healthcare mandate.  The end result is that their household income would drop substantially.

Secondly, many of those demanding the $15-per-hour minimum wage say that all businesses have to do to compensate themselves for paying their employees more is raise the prices they charge for the goods and services they provide.  That’s all well and good, but what happens when those prices become so high that consumers either cannot afford to pay them, or take their business elsewhere?  The answer to this is that the business loses business and revenues.  The effect this could have on this husband/wife team is that they may end up losing their jobs altogether simply because their employer would not longer need them.  He never answered me in relation to this.

But what upset this man the most is when I informed him that even were he to be able to work forty hours (the normal work week), he would be earning a gross annual income of $31,200.00.  With earning like this, he and his wife would no longer qualify for the public assistance benefits they are now receiving.  As you might expect, to this he cried “foul“!  “No fair“, he said.  “How am I to get ahead without entitlement benefits?“, he said.  His responses made it very clear to me that this man hasn’t any intentions to better himself in any way that could result in his acquiring a higher paying job.  He demonstrates a thought process I see in a lot of people who are making minimum wage paying jobs their careers, and that is he want more money and all the freebies taxpayers have to give him.  To this I strongly object.

Don’t kid yourselves people.  Even though there may be things in the backgrounds of these people demanding this dramatic increase in the minimum wage, there are opportunities and programs abound to help overcome those problems.  The magic is that the person, himself or herself, has only to have the ambition to effect change.  Without it, their chances of becoming formally productive members of our society are almost non-existent.

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