The $15 an Hour Minimum Wage: revisiting the memes

California is implementing a $15 an hour mininum wage, something that raised many objections. And they all showed up as memes on social media. We’d like to take a look at those memes again, hoping that we’ve made some progress answering those questions!

Meme 1:
The huge jump to $15.00 will overwhelm our economy and hurt businesses.

Uh, no, the wage will not go up suddenly. California’s Fair Wage Act of 2016 raised the minimum wage from $9.00 to $10.00 per hour on January 1, 2016. This measure increased the minimum wage to $11.00 per hour, effective January 1, 2017, and by $1.00 each of the next four years.

This year, 2019, the minimum wage is $12 per hour. It will not reach $15 per hour until 2022 and 2023.

Meme 2:   Minimum wage jobs are for teenagers.

This is not only false, but impossible. As most teenagers are required by law to be in school most of the day and off work by 10 pm. If minimum wage jobs only employed teenagers, who would serve you your food at lunch? Or sell you that office ice cream birthday cake you forgot to pick up the night before. Maybe you need gas on your way to work, but the gas stations are closed because all the teenagers are in high school. No alcohol sales in liquor stores. There is no way a business can run off teenage employees alone. 

I am also offended by the ongoing sentiment that the ‘Fair Wage Act’ only applies to fast food service, like MacDonald’s.   Minimum wage covers many different industries. Also, many assume that a minimum wage job is only meant for teenagers who use it as a stepping stone to better paying jobs when they get older.  But not everyone with a Masters Degree or PHD gets their dream job. If you don’t find food service to be a real job then why do people work there?

Next week: Meme #3,  Why should we raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour when marines only make $11 per hour?


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