Z.A. Silverman is a senior financial management major at Clemson University dedicated to understanding the world and attempting to make it a place where each individual can maximize his or her potential by allowing equal opportunity for all.
When you think of someone calling to repeal the minimum wage, the first image that comes to mind may be of a greedy Wal-Mart or McDonald’s CEO who aims to oppress the working class by keeping wages as low as possible. However, when you look at who the minimum wage hurts the most, the answer is not corporations; its small businesses and younger workers. Whereas Walmart and McDonald’s may still resist paying workers a higher minimum wage, they have access to vast resources and capital, which gives them the ability to either increase worker wages or buy expensive automated machinery that negates the cost of paying low-skill workers. Small businesses, on the other hand, often don’t have the capital to invest in automated machinery or to pay the higher wages required by State regulations, limiting their options for growth and workforce expansion.
As a result, on the workers’ side, an absence of training-level jobs means that the jobs which used to be available for entry-level workers looking to work their way up would now either be automated or blocked by legislation that claims a “living wage” is necessary for all jobs. Almost every high school or college graduate has asked this question before— “If every job requires experience, and I don’t have any experience, how can I get a job?”
The answer is that the minimum wage has changed the nature of the workforce. Low-wage jobs that were used to build skills and/or break into new fields in the past now face excessive demand due to unnaturally high wages, blocking out those with the most to gain. Who’s to say that inexperienced workers looking to add to their skillset and resume wouldn’t accept low-wage work? Even flipping burgers or working a cash register teaches much more than a motion of the wrist or how to press buttons; punctuality, customer service, responsibility, teamwork, and communication are all valuable skills that translate into the advanced job market, even if they’re learned through experience at an entry-level position. (more…)