Minimum Wage: The Least of Our Worries?
Published: Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 18:12
College students rely on jobs such as retail, food and other service industry employers that offer minimum wage. Although we are in the process of getting a degree, there are many others in the U.S. not on said track and rely on it as their income for potentially the rest of their life.
The struggle on Capitol Hill lies in between the choices of raising minimum wage to $8.25 or keeping it at the rate of $7.25. The average person earning that for a full-time position could expect to bring home around $870 a month after taxes. That’s barely over $10,000 a year. However, for college students not relying on much other than groceries, rent and tuition, that doesn’t faze us as alarming or worrisome.
With that said, making $8.25 an hour could lead into adding another dollar every year or so and inflating our economy in a not-so-healthy way. Although it has been said that those who are working for minimum wage barely live above poverty, everyone has to start from somewhere.
As I had mentioned before, college students work for that paycheck just the same as everyone else. The only difference is that hopefully in four years or so, they can trade that type of pay stub into a salary.
Increasing minimum wage has a few dangerous elements that could affect not only the workers but consumers as well. Prices will be increased to satisfy that excess payment in employment and HR. Raising the minimum wage could also devalue the college degree. Although some do not wish to go to college or further their education after a certain point, there are some who do, specifically for financial reasons.
Do not get me wrong or mistake my opinion for churlish behavior. I have worked many minimum-wage jobs myself, and I certainly appreciate the hard work and long hours that are put in such establishments. It just seems that we have lost focus as to why we are raising wages. Is it for purposes other than rent, groceries or utilities? Perhaps we have to take a step back and realize we may have to work these kinds of jobs in order to make our way up a ladder, whether it be social, corporate or even personal.
Maintaining a minimum wage is certainly a hard decision since many struggle to make ends meet by the end of the month, our economy is still a bit rocky from its first pitfall in 2008, and college degrees are expected in the professional world.
But it puts a value on many things in hindsight as well. Hard work, studying, time and effort all equal a priceless equation that will never be solved by a mere minimum wage.
Amber is a sophomore studying public relations and advertising.