FT207: “Raising the minimum wage only discourages upward mobility.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 31st, 2014

Fundamental Truth

McDonald’s is one of the Few Places that will hire an Unskilled and Inexperienced Person

Teenagers want a lot of things.  A car.  A smartphone.  Nice clothes.  Popularity.  Fame.  But one thing you’ve never heard a teenager says is this.  “I love working at McDonald’s.  I wish I could work here forever.  If only they would raise the minimum wage so I could.”

A lot of teenagers work at McDonald’s.  Why?  Because it’s one of the few places that will hire an unskilled and inexperienced person.  Because a job at McDonald’s is an entry-level job for a teenager new to the workforce.  A place they can earn a paycheck without having the ability to do anything.  Where they are taught everything they need to know on the job.  While McDonald’s pays them to learn.

Some teens will work enthusiastically at McDonald’s.  Enjoying their first job.  And earning their first paycheck.  So they don’t have to depend on Mom and Dad to buy them what they want anymore.  While others hate these jobs.  And refer to them derisively as ‘hamburger flipper jobs’.  They don’t want them.  And those who do work there do so reluctantly as they are a lot like that teenager.  They are unskilled and inexperienced in doing anything else but an entry-level job.

There is a Direct Correlation between Paycheck Size and Skills & Experience

Some teens work while in high school.  Some go on to college and work at another McDonald’s on campus.  Or at some other entry-level job that requires no skills or experience.  So they can learn workplace skills.  Gain working experience.  And learn the responsibilities that come with having a job.  Others get bored or want more money.  And use their newly acquired skills and experience to get another job.  After graduating from high school.  Perhaps entering an apprentice program in the skilled trades.  Or becoming a line-cook somewhere.  Gaining more experience.  And earning more money.  To become an electrician.  Or go to culinary school and become a chef.  Even open his or her own business.

These people are moving up.  Which is why we call this upward mobility.  They go from an entry-level job to one requiring more skills and experience that pays better.  They may go to night school or college to gain skills that will help them get a job requiring greater skill and/or experience.  Which pays even more.  Allowing them to look to and plan for their future.  Acquiring education, skills and experience along the way that opens the door to bigger paychecks.  Which you need to raise a family.  Have a nice house.  A new car.  Nice vacations.  To save for your children’s college education.  And your retirement.

You can’t have many of these things, though, if you never leave that entry-level job.  If you stay in that entry-level job you’ll never be an engineer, a doctor, a pilot, a millwright, a pipefitter, an accountant, a hotelier, an architect, etc.  And you’ll never get the larger paycheck that comes with these professions.  For there is a direct correlation between paycheck size and skills & experience.  The more you have the more you’re worth.  It’s just that simple.  Which is why it is a good thing that entry-level jobs pay the lowest wages.  For it encourages upward mobility.  Mastering the skills at one level.  And then moving on to master new skills at a higher level.  For we want people to move on so there are pharmacists to fill our prescriptions.  Dentists to fix our cavities.  Engineers to build and maintain our cellular networks.  Aircraft mechanics to keep our planes safe.  Etc.  None of which we would have if no one left their entry-level job.

Staying in an Entry-Level Job for 5 Years could put you 5 Years behind your Earning Potential

The Democrats always want to raise the minimum wage.  To get votes by giving people more stuff.  In the case of a higher minimum wage it’s a bigger paycheck.  They’ll cite the single mother of 3 struggling while working 2 jobs to support her children.  And say it’s just not teenagers working these entry-level jobs.  These are single mothers and single fathers who are barely making it.  And we need to give them a living wage.  But paying people more for these entry-level jobs is the worst thing you can do for them.  For it removes the incentive to leave these jobs.  Jobs that these employees don’t love to begin with.

President Obama wants to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.  Others want to raise it higher.  Some would even like to make it $40,000 or $50,000 a year.  But imagine the affect of that on kids graduating high school who want a lot of things that Mom and Dad won’t buy for them.  If you can have a lot of money now instead of working hard to earn that same amount of money later what do you think these kids and young adults will do?  A lot of them will take that bigger paycheck now.  And maybe work there 3-5 years enjoying life.  Flipping those burgers.  While some of their former classmates from high school will have started a career.

Raising the minimum wage only discourages upward mobility.  Life is short.  Time passes fast.  Staying in an entry-level job for 5 years could put you 5 years behind your earning potential.  It could change where you live.  And what school your kids go to. Because that smaller paycheck will limit your options in life.  A higher minimum wage may sound nice.  But it would be the death knell of any hope or aspiration you ever had.  People stay in jobs they hate because they don’t like leaving their comfort zone.  If they have decent pay and benefits they will endure some of the worst jobs ever (bad boss, office politics, a coworker they can’t stand, dealing with unruly customers, etc.) because it is easier and less scary than finding a new job.  These people are never happy.  They never truly enjoy life.  And they just dread Mondays.  Raising the minimum wage will only condemn more people to this fate.

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FT156: “Government needs to help us make the right decisions because we can’t…unless we’re a teen girl choosing an abortion.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 8th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

We don’t adapt to Our Environment we adapt our Environment to Our Needs

In the springs birds mate.  The female lays eggs.  She sits on them in the nest to keep them warm.  When they hatch she feeds her babies.  The mother chases away predators that get too close to her babies.  She teaches them to fly.  And then boots them out of the nest.  Where they go off to become adult birds.  Then the mother does it all again next spring.

Birds are very smart at being birds.  And the skills they need a mother can teach her offspring in a few months.  It’s not quite the same with human offspring.  Who receive more parenting than any other animal on the planet.  For humans need about 20 years to reach full size.  And even longer to gain full maturity.  And knowledge.  Taking 12 years of public education.  Then a trade school.  Or college.  And real life experience.  Years of knowledge and experience before they can leave the nest

Birds live in their environment.  And adapt to it.  Whereas humans are far more intelligent.  We’re able to think.  And use tools.  We have grown wiser over time.  Such that we don’t adapt to our environment.  We adapt our environment to our needs.  We mastered fire.  Built shelter.  Made clothing.  We learned how to farm.  And how to domesticate animals.  We created tools.  And built machines.  Simple machines like levers and wheels.  And advanced machines like airplanes and computers.  Advancing our quality of life.  We lived longer.  And healthier.  Things birds haven’t done.  Which is why they can raise their offspring to adulthood in a few months.

At our High School Graduation we Probably Know only Half of what we will Learn in Life

Some people mature quicker.  Some gain knowledge faster than others.  Some people keep learning new knowledge.  While some specialize in one area of knowledge.  Like a skilled trade.  Or medicine.  And while focusing on mastering these areas of knowledge they may spend less time learning other things.  Like history.  Or economics.  It is a complex world.  Where highly learned and skilled people do remarkable things.  But it takes time to learn the knowledge and skills to do these remarkable things.  And there is always more knowledge to learn.  No matter how learned and skilled we become.

There is a learning curve.  We’re born with a blank slate.  We learn a lot when young.  How to eat.  Drink.  Go potty.  Dress ourselves.  Tie our shoes.  Recite the alphabet.  To talk.  To obey.  Learning the consequences of our actions.  Things to help us in school.  Where we learn the three Rs.  Reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic.  And how to think critically.  To solve problems.  To manage a household.  We learn history.  And rudimentary economics.  To help us live in the real world.  After we leave the nest.  Some of us get a job out of high school.  Some go to a trade school.  While others go on to college.  Or serve in the military.  And even after we’ve left the nest we still have a lot to learn.  And lot of experience to gain.  Which is why we go to trade school and college.  And the military.  To keep acquiring knowledge.  If we graphed this learning curve it would look something like this.

Average Knowledge

Note that the learning curve is steep in our youth.  Before school our parents teach us everything they can.  Then we continue our education in school.  By the time we graduate from high school our learning curve begins to flatten out a little.  As we may be settling on a career path.  And focusing on the education for that career.  But even at our high school graduation we probably know only half of what we will learn in life.  Either from further education.  Or real world experience.  Also, few of us acquire all the knowledge we have the potential to learn.  Which is why the learning curve flattens out in the 70% range.  No one can learn everything there is to learn.  But everyone can learn the maximum they have the potential to learn.  Sadly, a lot of this forgone learning is history and economics.  The kind of knowledge that makes a person less susceptible to a politician’s lies.  Explaining why so many bad politicians win elections.  And why they pass so many bad policies into law.

Young Liberals who still have so much to Learn vote as if they Know Everything

The learning curve flattens out in our twenties.  And even more in our thirties.  With our formal education complete we gain knowledge through experience.  And from studying things that interest us.  For our own enjoyment.  Or to help us make better decisions.  We read newspapers.  Watch the news on television.  Listen to AM radio.  In our forties we are well established in our careers.  And have long given up the idealism and childish pursuits of our youth.  As we are raising our own children.  Who are beginning to think they know everything.  Who don’t want to listen to their old and out of touch parents any longer.

By our fifties we have lived a long life.  And have seen a lot.  We’ve heard the same political arguments through the years.  And no longer fall for them.  We come to learn that our parents were right about a lot of things after all.  We become more conservative in our old age.  Because we’ve seen what works.  And what doesn’t.   Often times it’s always the things that are less fun that are best for us.  Of course trying to explain that to our children who know even more after earning a degree from a liberal college is next to impossible.  So we accept that they, too, will have to learn this as they raise their own family.  And get wise with age.  Like we did.

The Left labels conservatives as a bunch of old people living in the past.  Out of touch with the modern world.  Something young liberals want no part of.  So they naturally gravitate towards the Democrat Party.  These young people who still have so much to learn.  Who vote as if they know everything.  The fact that the Democrats win elections based in large part on the youth vote says a lot about the Democrat Party.  For they are the party of the uninformed voter.  Which the Democrat Party acknowledges by expanding the role of government into our private lives.  Because left to our own devices the Left believes that we won’t make good decisions.  Unless, that is, we’re a teenage girl choosing to have an abortion.  Then she is wise and knowledgeable beyond her years.

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