Oh, That Lovely $15/Hr Minimum Wage?


When I was in high school, I thought getting the minimum wage was incredible. I worked in an upscale boutique, rarely bringing any money home with me. It was that 20% discount that kept me broke. I had no problem working the minimum wage in college. Once again it was that department store discount that provided for an endless supply of shoes. Once out of school, I continued to work there on commission. It wasn’t much, but the buying power those days was much better than today. My $120/week check went went a heck of a long way. Gas was .59 a gallon. In Atlanta, a year later, the rent for the apartment my sister and I shared was about $225/month. We could walk two blocks to the local store and buy what I needed to cook dinner – for about $2.50. The very same items I would use today:

  • large head of cabbage – $2.50
  • celery – $1.99
  • carrots – $1.60
  • onions – $.79/lb
  • egg roll wrappers – $4.99
  • broccoli – $1.99
  • snow peas – $3.99 (small bag)
  • bean sprouts – forget it!  They’re never fresh

What could be purchased – extremely fresh – in 1977 in Atlanta for $2.50, would now cost me close to $18.  Granted, I could make 3 meals out of it, but that’s the point.  I know how to stretch the product now, and make better Chinese food than most restaurants.  I could go to the local oriental market and load up on stuff for $10.  Today, forget it.

It’s called inflation.

No matter how much people scream and yell about a living wage, until inflation is controlled, our dollars aren’t going to cut it.

Zero Hedge

“…To our total shock, the study found that higher minimum wages caused a 9.4% reduction to total hours worked by low-skilled workers, or roughly 14 million hours per year.  Given that a full-time employee works 2,080 hours per year, that’s equivalent to just over 6,700 full-time equivalents who have lost their jobs, just in the city of Seattle, courtesy of moronic politicians who don’t seem to grasp basic mathematical concepts.

 Our preferred estimates suggest that the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance caused hours worked by low-skilled workers (i.e., those earning under $19 per hour) to fall by 9.4% during the three quarters when the minimum wage was $13 per hour, resulting in a loss of 3.5 million hours worked per calendar quarter. Alternative estimates show the number of low-wage jobs declined by 6.8%, which represents a loss of more than 5,000 jobs. These estimates are robust to cutoffs other than $19.45  A 3.1% increase in wages in jobs that paid less than $19 coupled with a 9.4% loss in hours yields a labor demand elasticity of roughly -3.0, and this large elasticity estimate is robust to other cutoffs.

Adding insult to injury, pay hikes weren’t nearly enough to offset lost hours…

 Importantly, the lost income associated with the hours reductions exceeds the gain associated with the net wage increase of 3.1%. Using data in Table 3, we compute that the average low-wage employee was paid $1,897 per month. The reduction in hours would cost the average employee $179 per month, while the wage increase would recoup only $54 of this loss, leaving a net loss of $125 per month (6.6%), which is sizable for a low-wage worker…”
None of this matters.  They can raise the minimum wage to a million bucks an hour and it won’t make a bit of difference.  Just the process of raising it hurts everyone.  And, no, it isn’t fair.  But –  maybe, instead of demanding individuals who are making less than ten bucks an hour be handed $15, perhaps examine their qualifications.  The average minimum wage worker is there because they are unskilled, teenagers, or uniquely unqualified for anything.

There is a dirty little secret here.  Of the millions of Americans who work only about 3.3 million are making at or below minimum wage.  That’s ONLY 4.3% of all workers in the US.

Pew Research

Of the young workers, they are eventually going to grow up and get better jobs.  There are some people who are incapable of earning more than minimum wage, and honestly, probably aren’t worth that. In so many ways, this is yet another liberal scam to pander for additional votes.  Please, show me one burger flipper who is worth$10 an hour.

There is another dirty little secret liberals aren’t willing to share. You know those burger joints? Did you know that the chains all have policies in place for in-house advancement and mentoring of youth? They have scholarships. They promote from within. I know of one person who started flipping burgers for McDonalds when he was sixteen. They paid his way through college. They helped him purchase his first franchise, then his second and so forth and so on. He’s now a big-shot corporate VP on his way to the very top of the food chain. They do promote from within. Maybe the reason people never go beyond minimum wage is their own fault?