Aiming low

“I had to work three minimum wage jobs to get by, and I made it, so I don’t see why minimum wage should be increased!”

This is a mindset I have never quite understood — things were bad for you, and therefore we shouldn’t try to make them better for other people?

Raising the minimum wage so people don’t have to work three jobs just to get by seems like a good idea to me. Besides, every time we raise the minimum wage, the economy improves. (If people have more money, they spend it, and the economy improves. Duh.)

But today I want to discuss that attitude. Can someone explain it to me? I’ve seen it many times, always from some conservative who thinks that we should lower our standards instead of raising them.

“Those damn unions want to increase wages and working conditions!” they scream. “Why should they get paid so much more than I do?” Well, that’s a very good question. Maybe you should be unionizing too so that you could get paid a better wage.  Why not raise everyone up instead of bringing others down?

Why can’t we increase standards instead of aiming for the lowest common denominator?



2 thoughts on “Aiming low

  1. I’ve noticed that often the person with the “I had three jobs” argument also did it 20 years ago–when minimum wage was closer to a living wage. I can’t explain the attitude other than to think that it’s a form of envy. Or revenge. They had to struggle so hard (and they should be proud of themselves for “making it”) that seeing someone get to where they are with less struggle seems fundamentally unfair to them. But like you, Mike, I really don’t understand the mindset.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, I have an otherwise awesome friend who says that a burger-flipper should make what he made when he got out of college . . . 20+ years ago. Any you know what? The gray-haired lady who gives me my barrel of iced tea at the McDs drive-thru does a lot more for my day than the middle managers at the factory that I don’t even know what it is they make. Both jobs contribute to society. Both jobs have value.

    And the persistent myth that min-wage jobs are “Kids who work a bit on the weekend to earn some beer and gas money before they go home to the big wacky house they share with 10 other guys and play vid games in between studying for finals and taking Betty Sue for a soda,” like being poor is some adorable reality show. The Waltons can do without another billion. They’ll survive.

    Liked by 1 person

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