People Want To Work. Just Not for What They’re Being Paid

Income inequality is becoming more apparent

Ellie Daforge

--

Photo by Andre Taissin on Unsplash

You’ve probably seen the signs, either in person or on the news. They’re popping up outside of businesses that have gone dark, explaining they closed early due to lack of staff. Oddly enough, they’re usually outside of restaurants that pay minimum wage.

Even though the cost of consumer goods has risen 5% in the past year, and a used car now costs 29.7% more, wages in the U.S. aren’t keeping pace. The federal minimum wage is still set at $7.25 an hour, and was last increased in 2009. Yes, you read that correctly: 12 years ago.

It is not worth it to fill up a car with gas (or even catch a bus) and work for eight hours to earn $58 — before taxes. What does that pay for? Almost nothing, so people are quitting.

By one estimate, if the minimum wage had kept up with inflation, it would be $22 an hour. That seems a lot more reasonable when you look at the ever-rising cost of housing, food, and healthcare.

I’ve heard a lot of arguments over the years about why we shouldn’t increase the minimum wage. “It’s just meant for jobs for teenagers.” Then why are stores open 8–3 during the school year? “If you try to increase the minimum wage, they’ll just replace workers with robots.” If…

--

--

Ellie Daforge

Article writer, aspiring YA novelist & health scientist.