The image above is making its way around the internet and for me, Facebook. The idea, of course is to make the point that someone making minimum wage isn’t able to afford even rent, much less eat. However, the chart fails to examine some deeper truths about minimum wage:
- Very few Americans work at minimum wage. And the vast majority of them that do live in homes with other wage earners making significantly more. Examples include teenagers and spouses of primary bread winners.
- Minimum wage earners should not be in the market for 2 bedroom units without a roommate. For many years I bunked up with a friend. At times even two. In fact, there were times I slept on the couch or floor of a buddy until I could make ends meet.
- Minimum wage earners almost always make more than the minimum wage very quickly.
- By raising the minimum wage, the marginal employee will make the REAL minimum wage – $0.00
To be sure, we all want an environment where anyone who wants work can find work. But we have to agree that we live in a world where people bring different levels of value to the table. Further, that these people travel a graduation of value. We start out with no work experience and are compensated poorly. As we grow in experience and knowledge, our productivity rises and our compensation likewise increases. By changing this, the only thing that will occur is less employment.