Monday, December 09, 2013

Minimum Wage

Unless you've been living under a rock, you should know by now that unions are now demanding that fast food joints like McDonald's and Burger King pay their employees $15 per hour to slap a hamburger patty on a bun and say, "Do you want fries with that?"

You know, when I was a kid-- I was probably about 10 years old at the time-- my dad and I were going somewhere in the car.  I was telling him, "If we had the money we do now, but with the prices of 100 years ago, we'd be so rich." 

Funny how memories work.  I can barely remember what I had for breakfast, or what day it is, but I remember that conversation clearly.  I even remember where we were.  In the car.  On Western Avenue, at that stop light at the corner of Western and Irving St.  In West Orange, Texas. 

I also remember my daddy explaining to me that it is workers' demands for higher wages that makes prices go up.   I learned something at the tender age of 10 that a lot of people don't seem to understand even today.  When you pay your workers more, you have to raise your prices to cover the increase in payroll demand. 

Remember that when you're paying $10 for a fast food burger.

So, one of my friends on Facebook posed the question, "What should we the people do to help those who aren't motivated to help themselves?"

Aaaand I'm reminded of another story from my childhood.

When I was a kid, we always had cats as pets, because we weren't allowed to have dogs.  I'd always thought it was my mother who didn't like dogs, but turns out it was my daddy.  But that's a different story for a different post.

When I was a kid, we always had cats as pets.  Our cats, as cats are wont to do, often climbed trees.  And sometimes got stuck.

Me, being the tender hearted animal lover that I am, would run frantically into the house crying, "Mama!  Mama!  [Whatever the cat's name was] is stuck in the tree!  We've got to call the fire department!  We've got to cut down the tree!  We've got to do something!!"

My mother, unfazed, would reply, "He'll come down eventually." 

But I wouldn't accept that answer.  "He can't come down!  He's stuck!"

And my mother then uttered some of those wise words -- you know, the kind you don't appreciate until you're older--

She said, "He'll figure it out when he gets hungry enough."

That, my friends, is my answer to the question.  Let them get hungry. 

Now, I think it's important to note that I am not talking about those who cannot work due to illness or disability, or for some other legitimate reason.  I don't have a problem helping them, though I still don't think it's the government's place to do so.  But again, that's another post for another day.

No, I'm talking about young, healthy, able-bodied people who are perfectly capable of supporting themselves, and bettering themselves and their situations, but choose not to do so. Because they are lazy.  Because they lack motivation.  Because they just don't want to put in the effort to learn a skill or get an education. 

We should stop rewarding their laziness.  Stop subsidizing their lack of motivation.  Stop treating corporate America like it's your sugar daddy, where you put in your token 40 hours and they hand you everything your little heart desires.  Stop giving them more and more money for the same menial labor. 

Let them get hungry.

And when they get hungry enough, they'll figure it out. 

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