MoveOn.org was doing a letter-writing campaign to newspapers about the minimum-wage issue, so I wrote a little something for the LA Times. I’ll let you all know if it gets published.
My family and I have worked in various service fields for years, specifically customer service and food service, but also in health care. As the first college graduate in my immediate family, I’ve finally managed to land a nine-to-five desk job. The high cost of my college education and the utter impracticality of offsetting those costs at current minimum wages has left me with an absurd amount of student settlement loans to repay over the course of the next ten years. Still, I am far better off now than my siblings, who continue to hold two and three part-time, low-wage jobs in industries that generate loads of revenue for someone somewhere. Raising the minimum wage is only a step in the right direction, but it is a critical step. The people who hold minimum-wage jobs are the people who perform functions that make it possible for the rest of us to go about our day-to-day lives. Without decent wages, they face extraordinary difficulties in bettering themselves and advancing in society. Sure, some have done it. I am one. I’ve heard a lot about liberal elitism, but what about the ultra-capitalist elitism that says that if you don’t know what you want to do with your life at twenty-two or twenty-five, or if you’re not ruthless and cutthroat, or if your parents weren’t, you don’t deserve to make more money?
The argument I’ve heard is that a raise in minimum wage will result in employment cutbacks. At some point, we as a society are going to have to learn to take better care of the people doing the work than the people trading the stocks. Raising the minimum wage is one step in that direction.
Now I’ll get back to writing about my trip!