Over this past semester I have clarified my understanding of how our government works. I was required to follow a government policy, track what has been going on with that policy, and relate it back to what we were covering in class. I normally would have chosen something that impacted me more personally, such as healthcare policies, since that is my chosen career. I instead chose minimum wage, something I wasn’t sure how it would affect me, my opinion was very sporadic depending on the information I had at the time, and I could find out how to obtain more information on it, which I could apply to other government issues I wanted to learn more about.
My original opinion of minimum wage varied, as I said. I felt that minimum wage was too low, but didn’t deserve to be $15/hr. When I finished my Associate’s Degree and obtained my certification, I didn’t make $15/hr. and working in a medical laboratory takes more specialized knowledge. If minimum wage was increased, how would that affect my current wages? I now have 12 years of experience, lead a department with in the lab, and have much more responsibilities than when I first started. My wages have increased based on my performance, experience, and attitude, as I feel it should be. I’ve worked hard to get where I am and now have a year left before I finish my Bachelor’s Degree to qualify for the next tier in my certification level. Needless to say, I believed in the posts you see on Facebook stating “Minimum Skills, Minimum Pay.” But I also believed that everyone should make enough to be able to provide for themselves, the “Living Wage”.
I originally intended my blogs to cover just the changes in minimum wage and to highlight the debates seen throughout the nation. However, news was slow and I ended up with a mixture of current news and an informative approach on how the policy is controlled through the government. It ended up being a very informative blog, and as I tried to leave my personal opinion out of it, hopefully non-partisan.
I’m still not sure what my current opinion is. I now believe that minimum wage should be a livable wage and should be indexed with the economy. That would allow the policy to stay current with the economy and should then become less of a partisan issue. Business could then plan accordingly for reasonable, predictable increases instead of substantial increases such as New York and LA are experiencing. I also feel that each state should create their own and not rely on the national minimum wage. The cost-of-living in each state/area should be taken into account. However, I don’t feel that you can increase minimum wage without bumping up the entire pay scale. The same percent increase should be given across the board, but not counted as a yearly raise taking experience and merit into account.
Giving someone in fast food, a service profession, where you hear complaints about incorrect orders and rude service, $15 an hour is fine, as long as the paramedic, with a college education, and where mistakes end up jeopardizing someone’s life instead of just their dinner plans, are adjusted accordingly. Someone who has been working for 25 years at McDonald’s should be paid more than the high school student starting their first job they are training. A trickle-down theory is great, and I’m sure over time it works. But in the meantime, you have thousands of individuals upset with the government and each other because legislation only affects the minimum, not the average. I know there are others that disagree with me, and my focus tends to be more on the individual, rather than the businesses, but I tend to want to look for a solution that helps everyone out. That’s the medical professional in me, looking for efficiency and quality in an area outside of my expertise.