Me, on that “Fast Food Workers don’t DESERVE $15/hr” article

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April 17th, 2015
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By now you’ve probably seen it. This article on The Blaze swatting down fast food workers. I just spent my breakfast writing up a response to a Facebook share, and I thought I’d post it here as well.

My take.

There are a couple of competing issues here that make this to me make this article an oversimplification:

1: $15/hr means something very different in San Francisco than is does in Kentucky and that’s basically ignored. $15 in SF is not a livable wage 
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2. The author uses heavy, cherrypicked, anecdotal data (tweets from other people saying when they first made $15) to support the idea that because some have toiled away to reach that level, all should. In addition to ignoring geography, he also ignores inflation. Asking someone my parents age when they first made $15 and asking me (when I was 16, working in real estate) are going to result in very different answers. Neither is evidence of a reason to hold others down.

3. This fallacy that hard work has a 1:1 relationship with earning salary. This completely disregards huge factors like connections, intelligence, access to education and, perhaps the biggest factor, luck. There are plenty of fast food workers who no doubt work harder than I do, but do not command the same salary, and it’s as a result of some combination of the above. 
4. That because other, more valuable jobs (teachers, pilots etc), don’t pay well, lesser jobs shouldn’t either. This is the easiest one for me to disarm, as those aren’t mutually exclusive. Rather than argue for fast food workers to make less, why not argue for firefighters and police to make more?

While the factors above raise significant concerns about the validity of the article, I can see why it’s polarizing. The comments on here about entitlement etc ring true with me as well. Whether the number is $15 or some other higher number, the minimum wage is not acceptable.

This article immediately reminds me of is the attached quote from Barbara Ehrenreich (yeah I’m that guy who saves pictures of things that hit home with me in magazines for discussions on Facebook years later). 

Rather than argue with anyone on the internet, what I’ll leave this thread with is this: do you want to live in a society where there are jobs that people cannot live a reasonable life on? Not everyone is smart/clever/educated/connected enough to advance in life, and IMO it’s on the rest of us as a society to at the very least not take advantage of them. Happy Friday!

 

 

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