Seattle Increases Minimum Wage. Hoo…ray?

Seattle increased its minimum wage to $15 today. Good for the people who will be receiving the money, I guess. I, however, am torn intermittently between the indifferent “Whoop-de-doo” and the gung-ho “I can’t believe they could collectively be so stupid” mentalities.

I already had no sympathy for people working minimum-wage positions who constantly demanded more money for doing a task that a considerable number of other people would do in a heartbeat without complaining. Does the job suck? Probably. However, these usually aren’t skilled positions. There’s a reason it’s called a “minimum-wage job” and not a “minimum-wage career”. You can’t realistically expect to make a living wage with a job like that especially if you’re trying to support your family. Companies with these positions aren’t required to make sure you can survive when you’re not at your job; they look out for your basic safety during your shift and that’s about it. Companies are generally more interested in making a profit so they can grow and stay afloat; the company only looks out for itself and that fosters economic competition within any given market.

The problem with such an across-the-board raise in minimum wage is the phrase hated by people who exploit the hell out of it: entitlement mentality. It goes something like this: “I shouldn’t have to work for success or try to better myself so I deserve any of its benefits; I should just be handed whatever I want whenever I want”. Remember when all those McDonalds employees walked out of the restaurant (believe me, I use the term “restaurant” VERY loosely here) and demanded to be paid more for what they did? I have a news flash for them: there are tons of people who would take your job in a second if given the opportunity. Shut up, get in line, be happy to have a job in a crappy economy, and try to make something better of yourself while you do it so you DESERVE to make more. Focus on self-improvement and increase your worth instead of bitching and moaning about how the world is so unfair. You’re doing a job any high-school student can realistically do. You’re a dime-a-dozen and it’s about damn time you realized it. It’s going to be difficult but nothing worth doing is ever easy.

Let’s use the McDonalds example for the end result of what will happen with an across-the-board increase since that new money will have to come from somewhere:

  1. Prices will go up; it’s generally a given in situations like this. How significant the increase will be depends on the next factor below.
  2. Product quality will diminish. McDonalds isn’t exactly heralded as the food of the gods but I’d like to think they still have standards. Cheaper materials will need to be used in order to create the same product and retain the same profit margin. I’m fairly certain the existing “meat” they use doesn’t truly exist in nature in any one animal so that means they’ll have to find an even lesser quality ingredient. That’s pretty damn scary since it will most likely wind up being even more unhealthy and filled with artery-clogging hatred than before.

The short-term thinking of “let’s just raise minimum wage” does nothing for our society as a whole. All it does is serve to make society lazier since they have to put in less work for any benefit and make companies put out substandard product. Can you imagine how much of a negative ripple effect this could have on the country as a whole if it gains traction nation-wide?

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