I read the recent “Con” opinion against raising the minimum wage, “Is a $15 minimum wage worth wealth redistribution?” What does the writer think has happened over the last 50 years besides wealth redistribution upwards?
When the minimum wage was $1.60/hour, working full time, a year's wages could buy you an average new car with a few hundred dollars left over. You could pay the average 1 bedroom rent with less than 2 week's wages. You could earn enough in 5 months to pay the tuition for 4 years at a university. Here we are, 50 years later, with the minimum wage $7.25. Working full time, it would take you over 2 year's wages to buy an average new car. The average rent for a 1 bedroom would require almost the entire month's wages. Tuition for a year at a university would cost more than an entire year of wages.
Rent, car, education, are basic costs the average person can understand. If you worked an entry level job 50 years ago at minimum wage, you could take care of yourself. Working a similar entry level job today at minimum wage, you cannot survive, unless you are getting food stamps, or working two jobs.
The reduced buying power of minimum wage jobs is responsible for much of the wealth that has been redistributed upward, primarily to the economic group that has fared best over the last 50 years, the top 1%. If you work, your wage should provide a basic living.
Christopher Carter, Pine Island