Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Minimum Wage – Raise it up!

“Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour,” said President Obama on February 13.

The current minimum wage in California is $8 an hour, but next year it will go up to $8.25 thanks to the California Assembly Bill 10 promoted by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, which was passed this April and also states minimum wage will continue to increase in conjunction with inflation rates and should be $9.25 by 2016.

Apparently, it will help fix our ever-rising state deficit and solve our current social gap.

Alejo states the current minimum wage, “…causes middle class families to fall down the economic ladder.  It’s the reason our middle class is shrinking and the reason we are facing the largest gap between upper and lower income Californians in at least 30 years.”

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Genius plan, or just another guess?

A raise in minimum wage could mass produce middle class Americans once again, and could possibly lower the upper class. Could a $2 per week raise help struggling families?

Many people are happy to hear they will be receiving a mandatory pay raise, mostly all minimum wage workers are typically satisfied; however, the companies are not.

Companies and corporations are making massive profit with the current wages they are giving, in order to keep their profits steady, they must find something else to cut, like hours, product quality, or product costs. Wouldn’t this hurt the lower class?

“…the facts are indisputable: Minimum wage hikes lead to job losses,” said Michael Saltsman, research director at the Employment Policies Institute, a nonprofit research organization in Washington.

Small businesses are already struggling to make ends meet; a 25 cent rise is a lot for someone who owns a small restaurant in a small town.

“People are going to say that $3 for a cup of coffee is crazy, but that’s what it’s going to take if we need to raise wages to what is being proposed.” Says Joyce Beschta (owner of a small diner in Cedar Rapids) as reported by George C. Ford of the Los Angeles Times.

Get ready because life necessities will get pricey! If everyone has money, then the cost of living will go up which means the minimum wage will have to go up again, and this will be the never ending cycle of life.

Not only are the corporations and small businesses forced to pay more but they know the people have more, demand will be high and they will raise the price of their product again.

“Top executive compensation averaged $9.4 million last year at these firms, and they have returned $174.8 billion to shareholders in dividends or share buybacks over the past five years.” As published in the Los Angeles times, the states averaged profits by the wealthy few. With these averages, there is no way they will be willing to give all 10,000 workers a 25 cent pay raise.

A raise in minimum wage might put a band aid on some problems in the community, but there is no way to “fix” the social gap; changing the entire government and the way it’s run would be the only way.

If there was a “fix” it would have to be motivational, something inspirational that would change the minds of all minimum wage workers and push them to strive for a better life. Not by just giving them more money and saying, “ere, this is extra money for you, now keep flipping those burgers.”

Minimum wage jobs can’t support entire families! It’s out of it’s purpose! Minimum wage jobs are for the falling and getting back up, or for independent high school or college students looking to buy their books. They are not for a woman who has had four children within the past five years.

But, there is reasoning for all of this – it’s true, minimum wage was invented to prevent corporate abuse of workers. It seems, with inflation kept in mind, that the corporations are in fact taking advantage of the system and their workers. If minimum wage were to have kept up with inflation (as AB10 will induce) the current minimum wage would be around $10.57.

It’s very true, workers are working harder to live larger but the corporations are almost working less, with inflation on their side.

Obviously, corporate officials could afford to give the extra 25 cents but they won’t unless they’re forced and that’s where the government steps in. “The free market fails to set a fair price when one side holds all the bargaining chips. In another context, this is why laws exist against monopolies.” As written by Jeff Chapman in the Who and Why of Minimum Wage.

Its also true that the there are workers who are loyal to companies, businesses, and corporations their entire lives, decades at a time, but still make only a little over minimum wage.

This is the way the world works. The distribution of money has always been a problematic issue, no matter what part of the world you are from.

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