October 1, 2023

It’s safe to assume that many of us are attending college to graduate with our degree to get out in the world and make the money we deserve after working hard. While the debate over the increase of California’s minimum wage has been the subject of debate for a while now, I am starting to develop more of an opinion about the matter as I am about to enter the workforce.

For the last three summers, I have worked at a local waterpark and each summer I stepped into a higher position for which I was thankful. When I became a supervisor and received a pay raise, I believed it was necessary to get paid more because I had more responsibilities and duties to accomplish that merited an increase in pay. I also believed the front line employees (what I was when I started) deserved minimum wage because their work was not as demanding and was not held to as high of a standard compared to those who led them.

Working a cash register is not hard (you don’t even have to calculate the change that needs to be given).  Cashiers should not be paid $15 an hour when the supervisors or managers are the ones who have to deal with difficult customers, answer to their corporate office and successfully lead a team of employees so the establishment runs smoothly.

The minimum wage in California is currently $9 an hour and will increase to $10 in January. As college students, we spend a lot of money to learn more so we can be some of the best candidates for our future careers. Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, like many employees are arguing for, would take away the validation of those who work hard and deserve to be paid more than
minimum wage.

The Congressional Budget Office projects the $10 minimum wage increase would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers, or 0.3 percent. While the figure is merely a projection, it is unknown what the real effects of an increased minimum wage
will be.

While many low-level workers would receive higher pay that would increase their family’s income, some jobs for low-wage workers would be eliminated, according to the CBO. The income of most workers who became jobless would decrease and the share of low-wage workers who were employed would fall.

Aside from those in easier beginning job positions not deserving more money, from a national standpoint, raising the minimum wage would result in businesses losing more money to help support employees with the federal requirement. However, many businesses would have to find it more cost effective to lay off employees or raise the price of their products so they can still make some type of profit. The evidence is already present as many restaurants have kiosks to order from rather than interacting with a human.

The Los Angeles City Council has recently voted to increase the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour from $9 over the next five years for as many as 800,000 workers, making Los Angeles the largest city in the nation to adopt a major minimum-wage hike.

While many of us may need to work a few jobs just to pay for the necessities in life, minimum wage jobs were meant to be entry level jobs that would only be temporary. While there is not really anything we can do to prevent the minimum wage from rising, we can appreciate the employers who appreciate our hard work and appreciate the fact that we took the time to learn more in college to deserve more than the minimum wage.

I, like many of my colleagues, are working hard toward a degree in something we love, and while raking in money should not be our primary motivation, knowing that we are valued for our time invested into learning is important.

While there is not necessarily anything we can do directly to prevent the minimum wage from increasing, we can appreciate that we are in the process of getting a degree to better ourselves and fall in love with our future

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