Within the last week, California passed the nation’s first $15 an hour minimum wage law. The point of the law was to assure people in entry-level positions serving you fries could receive a “livable wage.”
Immediately California’s governor, Jerry Brown, admitted the law was a bad idea, but essentially its heart was in the right place. It’s about “economic justice” or something like that.
Isn’t it interesting that politicians and activists never care to discuss the “minimum wage” of our men and women in uniform? An Army E1 Private has a starting salary of $18,378 per year, which works out to $8.84 per hour. Does it make sense that someone willing to flip burgers should be paid nearly twice as much as someone volunteering to risk his or her life?
Not to me.
And even if you factor in food, lodging and healthcare benefits for our military, it would still seem to me an entry-level soldier deserves more than an entry-level French fry server. But our national priorities have been messed up for some time.
By the way, my first job back in the day paid $1.85 an hour at a movie theater. I was 16 years old and living at home. Never in a million years did I expect to subsist on that wage.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, minimum wage earners today aren’t much different.
They’re probably still living at home. Minimum wage workers tend to be young. Although workers under age 25 represented only about one-fifth of hourly paid workers, they made up nearly half of those paid the federal minimum wage or less. Among employed teenagers (ages 16 to 19) paid by the hour, about 15 percent earned the minimum wage or less, compared with about 3 percent of workers age 25 and older.
They’re not trying to support families. Of those paid an hourly wage, never married workers, who tend to be young, were more likely (7 percent) than married workers (2 percent) to earn the federal minimum wage or less.
It’s a stepping stone. Among hourly paid workers age 16 and older, about 7 percent of those without a high school diploma earned the federal minimum wage or less, compared with about 4 percent of those who had a high school diploma (with no college), 4 percent of those with some college or an associate degree, and about 2 percent of college graduates.
And oh by the way, it’s not a race issue. The percentage of hourly paid workers with wages at or below the federal minimum wage was little different among the major race and ethnicity groups. About 4 percent of White workers and Black workers earned the federal minimum wage or less. Among Hispanic or Latino workers and Asian workers, the percentage was about 3 percent for each group.
But why let facts get in the way of a progressive socialist agenda?
[Note: This article was written by Michele Hickford]