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COMMUNITY VOICE

$50 an hour for minimum wage? Why, that would be ridiculous

Thursday, July 24, 2014 - 12:01 am

On a recent trip, I found myself talking with a college student while on a tour.

She was around 20, and like so many beneficiaries of parent-financed higher indoctrination, she not only knew the answers to everything in the world, but she dripped with an impatient condescending contempt for those troglodytes who lacked her enlightenment.

I found myself particularly interested in her views on “living wages.” She proceeded to explain to me that it was impossible for young people to live in most urban areas on the “ridiculously scandalous” pay one would receive from the federal minimum wage.

She explained to me that “no one in the world” supported the current minimum wage level other than, “big corporations that want to exploit people.”

Intrigued, I decided to ask her a few questions. “Why do you think anyone would be foolish enough to take one of these low-paying jobs?” I asked.

Ms. Indignation: “Well, uh, they don’t have any other choice,” she sputtered.

Me: “Why is that?”

MI: “Because the government hasn’t raised minimum wages yet!” she screeched.

Me: “Is there a reason the businesses aren’t already paying more to those workers?”

MI: “It’s greed! It would only reduce all of their crazy profits and CEO bonuses, and that is the only reason they fight a living wage amount.”

Me: “You know, you have convinced me. We need to just raise the minimum wage, like you say. Let’s make it $50 an hour and let’s make it effective right now.”

MI: “Well, don’t be ridiculous. We can’t do that.”

Me: “Why not?”

MI: “Because the businesses can’t afford to pay that much.”

Me: “How do you personally know how much each and every business can afford to pay its workers?”

MI: “I guess I don’t really know, but I only think it should be raised to maybe $15 an hour.”

Me: “Why? Why not go for $50 an hour?”

MI: “If you raise it to something crazy like $50 an hour, well, it would blow everything up.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

MI: “Everyone who was making less than $50 an hour will feel cheated because new unskilled people will get the same pay as them. You will have to give them raises, too. Also, it will make the cost of everything skyrocket. The increase in wages will not feel like you are getting any more in wages because everything will start to cost more. People like me who are just starting out will have a hard time getting a job. I would guess companies would start trying to find ways to not hire people, like having people order food from an iPad instead of having waitresses. That’s just silly, saying we should have a $50 an hour minimum wage.”

I scrunched my face up in an expression of disappointment and disbelief. “You sound like one of those right-wing extremists,” I said. “What do they call them? Economists?”

“Oh, no!” She said. “I will never think like one of those kinds of people,” she gasped in disdain.

Little did Ms. Indignation know, she already does.

Ric Runestad is a resident of Fort Wayne.