By in Politics

The "Just Better Yourself And Find A Better Job" Argument Against Raising The Minimum Wage

One thing that drives me nuts is how, whenever discussion about raising the minimum wage comes up, there are people that are opposed to it that say "why don't you just find another job if you want to make more?"

First of all, where are all of those other, higher-paying jobs? Suppose a person is TRYING to find a better position. Does everyone have the luxury of spending all day trying to find these ideal, above the poverty line jobs that are (not) out there?

Second of all, even if these people who only deserve to get paid peanuts for their work because corporations like McDonald's and WalMart say so do find other jobs, won't there still be minimum wage jobs that need to be done? Won't food still need to be made and served? Won't retail positions still need to be filled?

The real question is, why do we allow corporations to set the rules and pay people not even enough to afford a two bedroom apartment? How is that ethically or morally sound? What kind of an example are we setting, when we allow our people to be exploited in such a manner?

You can't have it both ways. You can't brag about how this is the greatest country on the planet, when its people, who work full-time, live in poverty. That's not greatness. That's a shame.

Image Credit »

You will need an account to comment - feel free to register or login.


Squidwhisperer wrote on January 30, 2015, 10:47 PM

Am I right to think it's Oregon that's making headway here? Thinking about the new "statistic" that, by next year, 1% of the world's population will own over 50% of the world's wealth. Which is up from 40% in 2000. Seemingly the super-rich are good with their investments.

BNelson wrote on January 30, 2015, 11:09 PM

I work for a big corporation for darn near minimum wage and you are so right. Even if I quit somebody else would still get stuck with the job. If you want to improve things get a maximum wage so that CEOs cannot make 500 times more than bottom employees. I am college educated but do not want to drive further for a better paying job.

bestwriter wrote on January 30, 2015, 11:53 PM

I thought the minimum wage norm was set by Government. Why Corporations?

CountryWine wrote on January 31, 2015, 1:15 AM

Where do I even begin? That statement you make where the person just needs to find a better job if they want better wages is actually not as easy as well doers think. Not everyone has the ease to go searching for that "better job."

BodieMor wrote on January 31, 2015, 1:52 AM

It is neither ethically nor morally sound. Just sad.

ElfenLied21 wrote on January 31, 2015, 2:09 AM

Exactly! The cost of living as well as groceries have gone up over the decades so why not minimum wage. I don't think it is fair to have people work two or more jobs just to make a living. I remember a woman actually died working three jobs because she fell asleep in her car that had a can of gasoline in it because she was so exhausted and sometimes didn't have time to go to the pump for gas between jobs.

WordChazer wrote on January 31, 2015, 3:54 AM

Zero hour contracts should be outlawed as unethical and illegal. Either you have the work for the staff or you don't. If you don't, why bother hiring them in the first place? That's almost false pretences.

UK_Writer wrote on January 31, 2015, 4:03 AM

It's true - away from large cities the jobs don't exist. And, the access to affordable training is also very limited these days since they destroyed adult education in evening classes by concentrating on, and funding, adult literacy instead. For those lucky enough to have the right qualifications, or be close to a college that does offer a course that is in their line of interest and who are lucky enough to live in a big city, the world can seem straight forward. But it's not for most.

JohnRoberts wrote on January 31, 2015, 11:21 AM

Yes, but since when was McDonalds supposed to be a job in order to support families. What happened to McDonalds being a starting point for teens and ending place for seniors? The glut of foreigners have choked away those jobs and helped created the desperate teen job crisis.

SoundNFury wrote on January 31, 2015, 2:47 PM

Yes, I think Oregon is one of the places that have seen success with raising the minimum wage. I agree, the super-wealthy have been just rolling along fine with the economic downturn of recent years.

SoundNFury wrote on January 31, 2015, 2:48 PM

I have heard that idea tossed around. I don't think it would ever happen in the U.S. though. It is insane, however, how CEO's can make SO much more money than the bottom rung, when there are record profits. It's pure greed, no way around it.

SoundNFury wrote on January 31, 2015, 2:49 PM

It is set by the government, and right now we have this ongoing debate about whether the government should raise it, or even be able to set it in the first place. We have conservatives in this country who actually think that the government has no place regulating the minimum wage that people make. I think that's stupid, but some people think that way.

SoundNFury wrote on January 31, 2015, 2:50 PM

Exactly. I think a lot of people are trying to get better jobs. They are either just not there, or not attainable.

SoundNFury wrote on January 31, 2015, 2:51 PM

It is very sad. The fact that it has to be argued to try to convince people is just very sad.

SoundNFury wrote on January 31, 2015, 2:52 PM

I think I heard about that story. Just unreal that we force people to live like that. I agree, the minimum wage should be tied to cost of living increases.

SoundNFury wrote on January 31, 2015, 2:53 PM

I'm not familiar with what those are. Sounds shady, though.

SoundNFury wrote on January 31, 2015, 2:54 PM

Yeah, it's just not so easy to "find a better job." People have lost a sense of empathy and compassion for those who struggle.

SoundNFury wrote on January 31, 2015, 2:55 PM

I think that whole notion of McDonald's being for teens and seniors is probably just a right-wing myth.

WordChazer wrote on January 31, 2015, 3:04 PM

Hire someone but do not guarantee how many hours they will work per week. Have them be available for whatever you ask them to work. Never mind child care, medical appointments, social life, they have to work when you tell them. And you don't issue rotas more than a week in advance. Never the same rota twice. So when I was at one of our local retail stores, I knew I was working Friday and Saturday evenings. Regularly. They were 'my' shifts. Under a zero hour contract, I might not have been guaranteed to work those shifts for those hours every week. It's similar to a day contract arrangement and makes holding a second job for necessary income to top up a dayjob impossible. You can't budget for anything either.

SoundNFury wrote on January 31, 2015, 3:32 PM

Oh, okay. Thanks for the explanation. Yep, that sounds like something that clearly only benefits the employer.

Squidwhisperer wrote on January 31, 2015, 3:38 PM

Not to mention the absurdity of CEOs getting turfed from their jobs for shabby performance, and walking out with severance to could feed many of us for decades.

CountryWine wrote on January 31, 2015, 3:58 PM

I've been out of work for four years now. I'm actually over qualified in a lot so those jobs won't get me hired. Weirdest thing I have heard in my life.

SoundNFury wrote on January 31, 2015, 4:00 PM

Oh, that sucks. I have heard of that happening, though. Hope it turns around for you.

CountryWine wrote on January 31, 2015, 4:02 PM

For now I am just worried about my health. Stress has me all in a big funk and messes with my sleep now.

DWDavisRSL wrote on January 31, 2015, 4:08 PM

The economic reality of raising those minimum wages to be enough to afford a two bedroom apartment this year is that the landlords will then raise the rent on the two bedroom apartments because there will be more demand than supply and the new livable minimum wage will either no longer be enough or will have to be raised again. At the same time, the cost of the goods and services provided by those minimum wage workers will increase, meaning a reduction in demand, meaning a need for fewer workers, which would I suppose reduce the pressure on those rents. But that would be little consolation to the minimum wage workers who can no longer find jobs because fewer people are eating or shopping at the restaurants and stores where they worked.

SoundNFury wrote on January 31, 2015, 4:14 PM

There has been a lot of gloom and doom talk about the consequences of raising the minimum wage, but what I have seen in areas that have actually done it, is actually closer to the reverse. I just refuse to believe that people have to live in poverty and rely on government assistane, even though they have a full time job. Especially when corporations are raking in record profits, and CEO's continue to give themselves massive bonuses.

DWDavisRSL wrote on January 31, 2015, 8:14 PM

What you have to keep in mind is that in almost all the areas where the minimum wage has been raised by legislation, the market was already paying above the federal minimum wage for most of those jobs because there were more vacancies than people to fill them. The market demand for workers was pushing the wages higher. None of this excuses the corporations from raking in record profits, though making a profit for their stockholders is their reason for existing and to do otherwise would be negligent on their part. As for the CEOs, I would love to see executive pay capped at a multiple of the salary of the lowest paid worker in the corporation and the elimination of stock options and stock price tied bonuses. These tend to skew corporate decision making based on short-term objectives rather than the long-term good of the company and its stockholders. The one important thing to remember: corporations exists to make a profit. They are not philanthropic or charitable by nature, though sometimes the people that run them may be. Corporations do not exist for the purpose of providing employment. Needing employees arises out of the profit motive.

JohnRoberts wrote on January 31, 2015, 9:02 PM

A dumb comment. For many decades McDonalds and similar businesses were noted for being a starting point for teens and actively hired them. Don't you remember when McDonalds actively hired seniors? It's a left wing myth that McDonalds is supposed to support families. Every time you libs here something you don't agree with or want to acknowledge, it's a right wing myth but God Forbid a conservative use the term left wing myth.

SoundNFury wrote on January 31, 2015, 9:40 PM

No, it's a fact that most people who make minimum wage (not just McDonald's) are in their thirties. I do realize that it is a stepping stone for some, and a place for seniors to find work too....But the fact is that they do not comprise the majority of people in those kinds of jobs. I say "myth" because somehow, people took that and ran with it, saying it is only for teens.

GemOfAGirl wrote on January 31, 2015, 10:58 PM

Five years ago, I was in a college class with a woman who was in her late 20's, who was raising a small child. She worked at McDonald's. She was working toward a degree so that she could "find a better job". She was absent from class regularly. I asked her once if everything was OK, and she told me that her boss knew that she was taking college classes, but whenever someone quit or got fired, he needed someone to cover a shift, whether or not it conflicted with school, and he had let her know that if she couldn't do it, he'd let her go and hire someone else who could. The money was terrible, but she needed every penny. In what little free time she had, she tried to find other work so that she could quit, but had a really difficult time getting interviews scheduled between classes and her work and trying to find a babysitter (her child was two years old). She wasn't able to complete the class - her boss's demands made her fall behind to the point where she couldn't catch up. I saw her recently, still behind the counter at McDonald's. She's still trying to take classes, but doubts that she'll ever be able to graduate.

The people who make the "just better yourself and find a better job" argument have no idea what they're talking about. It's easy to look down on someone else when you never take the time to try to get to know them or their situation. Apparently, lack of compassion and lack of empathy are true American values.

jiangliu1949 wrote on February 1, 2015, 5:48 AM

I agree with you .You can't be always on the move and do another job from scratch .What you can do is that let the boss raise the wage .There must be a regulation in which average wages increase in line with the cost of living .

Ruby3881 wrote on February 1, 2015, 1:38 PM

I am all in favour of every worker having access to full-time employment, and earning a living wage. I completely agree with you that current wages are too low, and we can't just expect low income earners to magically land a better paying job. At the same time, I think raising the minimum wage doesn't address most of the problems. The net effect of a higher minimum wage is often a pay cut for people who can least afford it - and if prices go up because merchants figure their customers have more money to live on, the situation becomes even more dire.

I think it's important to ensure that all workers are paid a fair wage. But I think we need to do more than just raise the minimum wage.

SoundNFury wrote on February 1, 2015, 2:59 PM

Could not have said it better. I don't know what happened to people's sense of empathy. The sad fact is that a lot of people would criticize this person for having a child. People just suck sometimes, that's the only way I can put it.

SoundNFury wrote on February 1, 2015, 3:03 PM

I would love to see the minimum wage raised, and also tied to the rising cost of living.

SoundNFury wrote on February 1, 2015, 3:04 PM

True, it won't be a "magic bullet" by any means. But it would be a start.

Telynor wrote on February 2, 2015, 12:52 AM

That whole 'minimum wage' controversy comes from the Calvinist leanings from the early settlers and Victorians. It's a sad commentary on our society that money and prosperity are linked to moral worth.

SoundNFury wrote on February 2, 2015, 12:54 AM

I agree, it's sad that people only value other people by what they do, and often look down on others.

Telynor wrote on February 2, 2015, 1:19 AM

Poverty is not ennobling-- it's not much more than slavery under another name. I've lived close to the poverty line for most of my life, especially as a child, and during the last decade and a half when my health collapsed and I was left with my social security benefits to survive on. The great disparity in wages and wealth in the country, if left unchecked, will have terrible consequences in the future, as any student of history will tell you.

SoundNFury wrote on February 2, 2015, 1:22 AM

I agree. And it gets me how many people actually vote against their interests by keeping these people in office, who just don't care about them at all.