Who Earns Minimum Wage

Fast Food Minimum Wage

One of my favorite arguments against the minimum wage is that so very few people earn it.  And those that do make the minimum wage are learning much more than the value of any money they might be making.

In short, working for free is darn near worth it at some level – think my young child who would prefer the experience over the money.

Anyway, it turns out that I am not ALWAYS right:

“I personally think we need to get more workers involved and shut these businesses down until they listen to us,” perhaps even by occupying the restaurants, said Cherri Delisline, a 27-year-old single mother from Charleston, South Carolina, who has worked at McDonald’s for 10 years and makes $7.35 an hour.

Now, to be strictly honest making $7.35 is earning more than the Federal minimum (South Carolina has no State minimum wage) but I will stipulate that after 10 years a dime doesn’t make a difference.

But here’s the rub – why is Ms. Delisline still working at McDonald’s ten years on?  In the last ten years what has she done to increase her marketability?  This, especially in light of the fact that she has, in essence, never been given a raise?

Another example:

“I don’t think $15 will make me rich. … I just want an apartment for my family and be able to have my kids in their own room, to not have to wait for the washing machine or the bathtub, and I don’t want to be behind on bills if I take time off or get sick,” said Salgado, who earns minimum wage after 12 years with the company.

Twelve years making minimum wage – how is that possible?

** Though notice that mandatory 35% wage cut die to Obamacare **

What set of circumstances has taken place that prevents even modest skill improvement that would warrant a raise or a change in jobs/careers?  How much more valuable would these young ladies time be spent learning than protesting?

Finally, whatever the case that may be preventing an ever increasing career progression, there are other life decisions that are being made that is not helping but only compounding the problem:

Delisline said she and her four girls live with her mother…

Nancy Salgado of Chicago said she and her two children…

Given that an individual is making the minimum wage, the idea that they would make the decision to start a family is incredulous.


2 responses to “Who Earns Minimum Wage

  1. The capitalist in me says “suck it up” and agrees one-for-one with your points.10 years and still making minimum wage raises a lot of flags. I would also venture to say that if they are single mothers, between their employers and local/state governments there are likely a number of education/re-education programs available to them in order to move up into a more living-income-worthy line of work.

    Ever see “Pursuit of Happyness”? The guy was studying in subway bathrooms in order to move up, with every disadvantage and excuse available to him. As much as I can sympathize with certain individual situations, in my work with the disadvantaged and the poor I still find that it’s predominantly their mindset, not their race or socio-economic situation, that determines what they are paid – “Nobody will give me a job” vs. “If I can’t find one, I’ll create one” sort of thing.

  2. “Given that an individual is making the minimum wage, the idea that they would make the decision to start a family is incredulous.”

    Enter the feminist argument that, as part of “The Patriarchy”, you are oppressing the sexual and reproductive rights of women or words to that effect.

    Beyond their being an epidemic of Narcissism in our culture, there’s also an epidemic of Victimhood which more and more people seem to be signing up for thinking it should be as good or better than a full-time job.

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