Minimum wage was never meant to be a living wage. Does that sound harsh? Well it is not.
There are millions of people who enter the workplace for the first time each year. These people are newbies, they are untrained, untested rookies who need a job. They are mostly high school students and college students beginning their work life as they continue their educational goals.
These jobs are intended to train up the next generation of workers. If you want to succeed you show up on time, dress appropriately, have a respectful attitude and be an asset to the company.
You start out at the bottom where you learn to achieve and you either get promoted or use the job skills you learned to find a better paying job with another company.
There are also millions of people working part time at beginning positions in service and other industries. These workers are varied and include retirees, mothers going to work after an absence while raising children, men and women who are supplementing their income with a second job, and those who are starting over in a new career. The part-time worker doesn't require the employer to expend healthcare or other full time benefits so having part time staff helps both the employer and the employee. There is no expectation on the employers part that the part time worker will stay very long or want to move up in the company, although they can if they want to. The employee has a job to supplement their income and that they can leave at any time.
MINIMUM WAGE WAS NEVER INTENDED TO PROVIDE A LIVING WAGE. It is a starting wage.
The expectation is that the new employee or the part time employee wanting to move up will make themselves valuable enough to get out of the minimum wage category of worker.
Learn on the job, model the behaviors that make a good employee, apply for promotions or look for a higher paying job elsewhere.
Get yourself out of the beginning worker category.
If you are going to stay forever in the lowest paying jobs in our society you are always going to be poor.
Should there be exceptions to being expected to get out of the minimum wage category? Not if you are an able-bodied person. We must teach our kids to achieve and strive for excellence. It is their responsibility to learn and grow as an employee and to advance in their knowledge, skills, and abilities. That will make them promotable and valuable members of the workforce.
They will earn more because they have the knowledge, skills and abilities that employers pay more for. Again I repeat - get yourself out of the newbie, rookie, unskilled class of minimum wage workers as soon as you can for your own sake, the sake of your family and the sake of the country.
The only exceptions to being expected to get out of the minimum wage category is if the worker is mentally, emotionally, or physically challenged and they want to work but cannot achieve at higher capacities. I personally know people who are blind, physically disabled, and emotionally challenged that work. They are working at their full capacity at "beginner" type jobs, but will probably never be able to go beyond that. This is where government can help. Provide incentives for employers to hire these workers, train them to succeed and then have the government through Social Security provide additional income for these people. They will have wages they earned which will provide the wonderful knowledge that they achieved and worked for their pay AND they will receive a supplement that increases their salary.
One other thought. If the beginning salary is raised, the salaries of all the other employes in that company must be raised as well. A person who has worked their way up the pay scale deserves to continue to make more than a person who gets an undeserved increase in wages they didn't earn. So, a raise in the Minimum Wage has a "Trickle Up" effect. Of course, all of these salary increases most likely will result in job losses or price increases.
Food for thought.