Why is Everyone Wrong About the Minimum Wage Increase?

          New York state recently set a precedent by raising the minimum wage of fast food workers to $15 per hour. While those workers celebrate, and rightfully so, they face a backlash in the court of public opinion. But whether you agree or disagree with this ruling, the two prevailing arguments are missing the point and creating much bigger problems.

          As with everything else in our current watered down, politically correct culture of today's United States, there are two prevailing trains of thought based on dramatically different points of view. Again, as with most things in the world today, the truth will never be allowed to see the light of day because the truth exists somewhere in the middle. Lurking in the shades of grey that our left or right culture will not tolerate.

The workers

          Our first point of view comes from those the workers and their main supporters. They make valid points in that the current minimum wage of New York does not meet the high cost of living that is present in that state, most notably those inside New York City. They argue that those jobs are the only work many can get to support themselves or their families. Again, this is fact that is tough to debate. Where they take it too far is when they argue about their company's owners or CEOs drastically higher income compared to theirs. Let's get this straight, yes, you are on the front lines baring the brunt of the work dealing with rude customers and pouring your blood sweat and tears into a sometimes thankless job. It's easy to hate the corporate "suits" whose income is exponentially higher than yours when they sit in air conditioned offices and penthouse suites.
          But here's what they're not thinking about, those executives are EARNING that higher paycheck. Sure it's less physical work, but they are running a multi-billion dollar corporation, and ensuring that you have a job. They had better be making more than you. They had better be making a LOT more than you! Otherwise where's the incentive, and where's the reward to move up that corporate ladder and deal with the mental stress and overwhelming demand that is put on your every decision? And let's not forget those mid-level or small businesses where the owner/operator is pulling double duty working "in the trenches" then doing the corporate work when they can. They deserve more than the person that's just punching the clock, doing their job, then going home and not thinking about that business until their next shift.

The office

          Now comes the counter-point, those supporting the CEOs and owners. As I said before, the person on top had BETTER be making more than the new hire with no skills. That's just good business logic. One reason why they should? That number that the news and that workers like to grab ahold of and put on their posters and in their chants might be the take home, but if they are good at their job and actually care about the business then some, if not most of that money is being re-invested directly back into said business to make it better. They argue that higher wages from the bottom means less money going into the business, and again they're right. It's also cutting in to the profit line, which no executive ever wants to do. So that money has to come from somewhere, which means people may be getting laid off or fired. If you're paid more, you can expect more will be asked from you, to step up and fill in that gap in the workforce now.

The answer

          So if both sides are right, what's the answer? Who should win in the fight of workers against the office? Everyone. And it's easier than you think. Workers, first off realize you're not fighting AGAINST the office for what you're worth. You are fighting FOR yourself, your way of life, and what you truly are worth. And executives, you aren't fighting AGAINST your employees. You are fighting FOR your business. By offering a more competitive wage, you grant yourself the ability to be more selective in your hiring process. Your not looking for that person that just punches the clock then goes home, you're looking for someone that takes pride in their work. Someone willing to step up and not just earn that paycheck, because they know if they make the business better than everyone involved wins. They will be rewarded with raises, perks, or more opportunities. You will be rewarded with a happy workforce that increases your bottom line without blaming you for being greedy and catering to Wall Street. Remember, if you fight for something it's much more rewarding than just trying to beat the person you're fighting against.

My experience

          Just make sure you do it the right way. I know when I was working in a restaurant I had to learn several different positions to earn a higher paycheck. After I did that though, the state raised the minimum wage and people being hired made as much as I did on their first day then I did. When I left I was the best cook they had, the most experienced overnight manager, and someone who could fill in in literally any job needed at any given moment. Guess what happened to my motivation when some high school kid that wouldn't last more than a month before quitting cause it was "too hard"? Yup, it was gone.

Another example

          That's the lesson the GravityPayments CEO is learning the hard way, that his best intentions are backfiring in the worst possible way. If he would have put a little more though into this, and raised everyone in his company by a certain percentage instead of just increasing the lowest paid workers to match some of his hardest paid workers, it would have been better executed. Now Gravity will most likely go through a period of time where good people quitting and they will be stuck with the lowest common denominator of work effort. hopefully their experiment works in the long run, they are able to bring in passionate people that take pride in their work and push out those who are just skating by... but it's going to take time and money. The two things that there just never enough of...

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