Dear Minimum Wage Protester

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Fri, May 29 - 12:00 pm EDT | 3 years ago by
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Kiraspondence - Minimum Wage Protestor

Dear Minimum Wage Protester:

I recently saw you and your friends on TV blocking streets as you shouted and marched for a higher minimum wage. You said it is unfair that your job as a fast food worker barely meets the cost of living in this large American city. You scowled at the reporter as you looked into the camera and said, “I can’t support my family on the minimum wage and how can anyone expect me to?”

After you spoke they cut to the weather and a segment on something you eat everyday that JUST MIGHT KILL YOU but no one ever answered your question and since we’re talking about justice, I think that was unfair. You deserve an answer to your question and it’s your lucky day: I just happen to have the time and the space and the primo cushiony chair at Starbucks, so let me take the time to answer your very pertinent and passionate question.

Ready? Here’s your answer.

We don’t expect you to raise a family on the minimum wage. Why do you? A minimum wage is just that – the minimum wage. It is a starting point, a base. It is the promise of something better while assuring you that you at the very least won’t receive less.

If you’re raising an entire family on the minimum wage, you’re doing it wrong.

You are not meant to live on minimum wage, my friend. In America everything is a promise. The very essence of this country is a promise – the promise of a better life, better community, better opportunity, better direction. That’s what people came to do, that’s what we’ve struggled with our entire existence as a nation – how to have better and do better and be better.

I realize that you think that is what you’re asking for – better. But the problem is that while you want to have better, you don’t particularly want to do better. Doing better is what gets you paid more. In effect, you are your own wage-raiser. What you want is to get paid for showing up – the minimum effort one needs to put in to maintain employment; but you want to be paid for doing more than showing up.

That’s not how it works. I understand that the minimum wage in big-city America doesn’t stretch very far. Perhaps there’s a longer conversation to be had about exactly why it is so expensive to live city-life these days. I can guarantee you mandatory raising of the wage for every single worker in town will only raise the cost of everything. You’ll always be chasing the cost of living as long as you keep driving up the minimum wage.

Success takes hard work.

Minimum wage sucks. Don’t settle for it. Show up to work on time, work late, work extra shifts, do the things no one else wants to do without being asked. Be courteous, be helpful. Go to school at night, on weekends, or online.

Get better.

Get better at work, get better at education, get better at life. Earn a raise, then earn another. Earn a promotion, earn that degree.

Get. Better.

Become the person who owns the fast food joint and you’ll never have to worry about supporting a family on the minimum wage again. Become the person who owns a degree and maybe you can even become the person who owns the company that franchises the fast food joint. Is this starting to sink in? Are you starting to see the process here?

You are not obligated to stay at a job that doesn’t pay you enough. If you don’t like the pay, go find a job that pays more. If you don’t qualify for a job that pays more, ask yourself why and then go fix that. No one owes you anything, and you owe no one anything.

Like I always say, America doesn’t owe you an opportunity. America is the opportunity. You are already five steps ahead of everyone else on the planet simply by being a citizen of this country, no matter what “class” you were born into. You are literally the one percent in this world.

We all make decisions. Some of us make the decision to bring children into the world while we are still but children ourselves. Some of us make the decision to drop out of school and neglect that high school degree. Some of us make the decision to stay where we are in life instead of taking risks that lead us to success. If you don’t think the minimum wage is enough to live your life on, you need to make new decisions to change that.

But that’s not what you’re doing, is it? You’re asking someone else to make the decision for you so that you can continue to put in the minimum effort while being paid above minimum-effort wages…and yes, dear protester, I do believe you are putting in the minimum effort. If you were doing more than that you wouldn’t be standing in the street blocking other people from their own jobs they are trying to get to so they can keep moving up the employment ladder. You’d be at work…working…like workers do.

In conclusion, dear protesters: If you want an increase in your wages, earn it. And if you don’t want to earn it, then shove it.




Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Kira Davis is a writer, video blogger and homeschool mother of two. She has interviewed President Obama and appeared on Fox News, The BlazeTV and the Dr. Phil Show. Kira is a dog person but she owns a cat anyway. You can find her on Twitter @RealKiraDavis.

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  • Vera6049

    I’am working at home, doing some simple jobs which only require a PC and internet connection and it’s the best job i ever had… After 6 months on this job and i got paid total of 36 thousand dollars… Basicly i earn about $80 every hour and work for 3 to 4 hrs on daily basis.Best part to whole this thing is that you can make your own schedule when you work and for how long and you get a paycheck weekly.

  • Vera6049

    I freelance from home, completing simple jobs that only require a computer and internet connection and I couldn’t be happier… After six months on this job and i earned in total 36 thousand dollars… Basicly i make close to 80 bucks/h and work for three to four hrs most of the days.And great thing about this is that you can manage time when you work and for how long as you like and the payments are weekly.

  • Bordeaux Vixen

    “Show up to work on time, work
    late, work extra shifts, do the things no one else wants to do without
    being asked. Go to school at night, on
    weekends, or online.” Not everyone has the opportunity to do these things, lady.

    • JohnnyN2O

      Really? Get off your ass and find another job. America is the opportunity.

    • Larz fesug

      Do you support the fact that these workers wages are supplemented by public assistance?

    • JohnnyN2O

      Yes but all public assistance should be time limited unless there is a severe permanent disability.

      Mc’d fry cook is not a career. High school / college / moon lighting.

    • guest

      Mc’D's fry cook is the last job left that they can’t send to China.

    • Ebaie Winna

      Everyone has the opportunity to do these things. If your poor, like I was, a community college will offer financial assistance to help you pay for school. If your company does’t offer overtime, quit and go to a company that offer the ability to get overtime. Fact is, if your lazy and have no drive than your going to make minimum wage. We live in the land of opportunity where we are all created equal, a nation where “EVERYONE HAS THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO THESE THINGS, LADY.”

    • Bordeaux Vixen

      While I’m glad you find a way to change your financial status, your assumptions about others are vast and problematic. What if you can’t find another job? What if you have disabilities that limit your work options? What if you have kids? Mental illness?

    • Ebaie Winna

      Wow! You have a lot of excuses in life. Yeah, what if I feel
      down and broke my leg? What if my pinky toe fell off? What if I found out I had a long lost sister? What if, what if, what if… Now I know why you support a huge pay raise based on absolutely no effort or personal sacrifice. I could have
      made a ton of excuses and just stayed a McDonald’s my entire life, but I choose a different path. ALSO I didn’t just “FIND a way to change my financial status”, I worked my arse off for years in a very competitive school and job market (while raising a son). I didn’t just stumble upon it, I fought for it…

    • Bordeaux Vixen

      great job! since it was so difficult, what makes you think everyone can do it? your inherent assumption is flawed.

    • Ebaie Winna

      My “inherent assumption” is based on effort and hard work, so my assumption is still accurate. Like the author said, you give the minimum you’ll get the minimum. Anyone could do what I did, its called challenging yourself. Obviously your a person that, when faced with adversity, quits. So my original assumption is not flawed, instead your personal ideals are the flaw… :)

    • John Gomes

      I agree with you on principle Ebaie, however, one of the big issues with minimum wage in general is that, at it’s core it’s an ethics issue. For instance, I live in Ontario, in Canada. In Ontario, the poverty line, which is the bare minimum one would have to make to eke out a life is $23 000 dollars a year, give or take Our current minimum wage is $11 dollars per hour, Assuming a 40 hour work week, no time off due to illness or emergency, you’re still only making 22k. When you’re minimum wage still keeps you as living in poverty, unable to live a decent life, that is an ethical and moral issue. I don’t think minimum wage should be increased to some huge number like 15 dollars an hour, however, it should atleast keep pace with inflation and give someone the bare minimum necessary to eke out a living in the area that they live.

    • Ebaie Winna

      YES! Finally someone who make sense… The only problem with the moral/ethical issue is most corporation don’t exactly exercise this emotion. So instead of relying on the goodness of others, it’s imperative to work harder to get ahead. I live in near Los Angeles, in a smaller city on the outskirts of L.A. county. Today the city council just voted to raise the minimum wage to 15$ (essentially increases wages by almost 100%) a hour, absolutely nuts. Now people with AA degrees or certificates (or people that stayed with a company for years working up the ladder) that worked hard for their 15$ have had their years of hard work squashed. It is a ethical and moral issue, problem is people make uneducated short sited decisions, that cause long term damage to hard working families. That said, I’m totally for smaller, incremental increases in wages based on inflation. Check out the link below, numbers and data don’t lie…

    • John Gomes

      In that respect I disagree. Just because a job is minimum wage does not mean it is not a hard job, or menial. For instance, I’m currently Concierge for a condominium. My job does not only entail security, but in actual fact is more customer service oriented. I have to log packages for the over 1000 people that live in my building, conduct pre and post inspections for damages when residents use the building facilities, like our theatre or party rooms, de-escalate disputes between residents, deal with drunks etc. My job entails some danger, yet I only make minimum wage, and is more customer service oriented then security, I’m essentially doing both. If I was in a similar customer service position in an office, for instance, I’d be getting paid 14-15 dollars an hour. I agree with you, we shouldn’t rely on other people’s good will and work hard, however, our governments should better represent their people and enact laws to better regulate the way these corporations treat their employers. The current system has our governments protecting corporate profits to the detriment of the majority of their citizenry

    • Ebaie Winna

      It’s a free market society which means you have the right to leave anytime you want. If you believe your worth the 14-15 dollars an hour go to your employer and state your claim. If your really worth that much an hour your company will have no choice but to pay you your entitled rate, if not they will lose a valuable employee to another company. The problem with customer service is essentially anyone with a couple weeks of training could do what you do. Not to offend, but this is why you’re making minimum wage. Now if you decide to go to school and become a nurse, that takes years of school, and years of on the job training to fulfill a position. The people that can fill nursing positions are rare, which is why they get paid so much. Apparently you would like a government body to step in and decide for your employer what each person is worth?!? I fear the day when government gets so large they could actually go to an employer and tell them what to pay each employee. That is definitely not a free society…

  • Michael Powe

    What a load of bushwah from an arrogant, condescending wank. The author demonstrates a remarkable lack of understanding of economics and the workforce. Basically, her message is, “I’m alright, screw you.”

    There are millions more individuals in the work force than there are available openings for jobs, Genius. Do you really think that “work two jobs, go to school, get a better job” is useful advice, when university graduates can’t get jobs? Oh, right, you don’t actually know anything about the job market.

    The assertion that raising the minimum wage “causes the prices of everything to go up” is false, and has been demonstrated to be false. I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t take advice from this woman on the best place to buy groceries, let alone on how to live one’s life. She lives in a bubble.

    • Oscar the grouch

      You sir, are an idiot

    • Oscar the grouch

      I’m also quite sure that any minimum wage job would happily employ a college graduate. The fact remains that simply making it through college doesn’t entitle you to a high paying job. Or any job at all for that matter. No jobs in the area you live in…move to a different area.

    • Larz fesug

      I bet you support fracking too ammiright

    • Larz fesug

      Lets all move to the jobland, where all jobs are given away. Well then we will all have a job!

    • Oscar the grouch

      That’s the kind of short sighted, ignorant type of view that makes me in NO way, shape, or form symphathize with the “under-employed” population in this country. How about the fact that in the Dakotas, there is huge opportunities to work for very decent wages with very minimal expirence. Yeah, Jobland, South Dakota….where the beer flows like wine.

    • Anonymous

      Are you talking about the shale oil boom, which went PFFT and vanished in a little puff of fairy dust this winter when oil went below $60 a barrel, and all the oil companies laid everyone off and padlocked the gates?

      “Go to Alaska. I hear they need people to help finish building the big oil pipeline.” I still hear that one, almost forty years after it was completed.

    • JohnnyN2O

      Then why stop at 15. Let’s make it $25.

      Because business can’t afford it. That’s why unions are already asking for exceptions from the rule. It’s extortion.

    • PChuck

      Hell, let’s make it a hundred! I told my city councilmen that and he said it was absurd. I said so is your idea of a $13 minimum wage.

    • Oscar the grouch

      Please provide ANY reputable source of information pertaining to your statement about price inflation.

    • Larz fesug
    • Oscar the grouch

      Sure, the McDonalds & Walmarts who operate on enormous margins will not feel these effects. My concern is the mom & pop shops of America that already are beyond struggling.

      You also must realize that that study employes a 10% increase in minimum wage. When the vast majority of proponents are asking for excess of 50% raises. Please read your own information before you throw a random Google search out there for all to behold.

    • John Gomes

      Larz, the “article” that you posted is not from a reputable source. Firstly, the employment policies institute is a front group for Berman and Company, a PR company. Also, EPI has been caught using skewed data in their sponsored studies. The article you mention is a hit piece they did to discredit a Princeton University study on the effects of minimum wage increases that was done in 1992, that was then redone in 2000 with the same conclusions. Oscar asked for a reputable source, you did not provide one.

    • Ebaie Winna

      Michael Powe you are the problem. I had a kid at 18 making minimum wage and I knew I couldn’t survive and provide for my family. So you know what I did, I worked full time and went to school at night. I got a degree in engineering and now making more than minimum wage and can now enjoy my life. Those 6yrs going to school was terrible, everyday day was a struggle. You want to give people a huge raise for doing absolutely nothing. What of the people with a trade, say a welder, they make 16 or 17 an hour. Do you think when minimum wage reaches 15$ the welders will also get a 80% raise? No they well be making the same as a kid in high school flipping burgers. Your views are short sited and moronic. By the way, if you decide to go to school and get a bachelor’s degree in dance, then guess what, your not going to find a job.

    • Throwingrocks

      And once your job is no longer there, what then? Congrats, you worked hard and got ahead – so did millions of other people who are now making minimum wage or just above minimum wage. They did what you did – got an education, worked hard, made a life for themselves. Then the job market changed and they got thrown out of their jobs. Now they’re looking at a degree that’s 20 years out of date, they’ve got kids and a mortgage, cars and credit card debts that were easily manageable with their old job, but now they have to find a way to pay off all of those bills while at the same time building up the skills they need to get a job in a new industry… and for many of them, it requires taking a job that’s at minimum wage or just above it.

      This situation isn’t nearly as simple as you and the author are making it out to be, nor are the people most affected by this simply uneducated layabouts or lazy in some way. There’s a lot more complexity to this issue than opponents are willing to admit.

    • Ebaie Winna

      Like I said in my earlier comment, go to school and get a relevant degree or trade. Spetzer86 commented, “When you start college, don’t get a degree in Women’s Studies or Ancient Greek Literature. Try medicine, nursing, computer science or engineering.” This way no matter what happens to your company you have a trade that few people have, thus your employment is more valuable. My father got laid off a few times in his life, but since he has a trade (construction) he was ALWAYS able to make more than minimum wage. And yes the situation is just as simple as the author wrote, essentially learn a trade = get paid more. I haven’t made minimum wage since I was 17(worked a McDonalds in High School), once I turned 18 I applied for jobs with more responsibility and pay. Once again people like you like to make excuses for individuals that make minimum wage. Guess what, if your a adult making minimum wage you made some really poor life choices. You views essentially kill the value of the dollar, and make other peoples trade and accomplishments mute. An example is… I work in construction, learned a valuable trade that took years to learn, I now make twice as much as minimum wage. Now politicians and individuals like you want to double minimum wage because you PITTY the poor, now my years of learning a trade is wasted. Soon very quickly all goods (food, clothes, entertainment) will also continue that trend and double in price. Congrats your short sided view just destroyed the value of a dollar, and minimized all the accomplishments of people with a trade/degree. I hope my post educated you, thanks for the reply…

    • Throwingrocks

      You really have no idea how the real world works out there, do you. You’re one of the lucky ones who worked their assess off, did the right things AND managed to not get screwed over by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Congratulations!

      About the only thing you haven’t learned is empathy. The world isn’t nearly as simply as you, or the author, make it out to be. As to the “Greek literature” or “Women’s studies”, that just shows your own personal level of both bias and ignorance. I’m currently working with a trio of engineers who have 20+ years experience as engineers, have masters degree’s in engineering and yet… that didn’t help them find new jobs when the company they worked for decided to close shop and lay everyone off. Now they’re getting paid only about 50% more than me (a project management specialist), and I’m barely above minimum wage right now. They did all the right things – they got a great degree, they got a great job, they worked their assess off… and then the company downsizes and suddenly 300 engineers are looking for work at the same time.

      So did your post educate me? Yeah, but not in the way you think it did. It just showed me that you – not the guys I work with – are the problem with our society. You are the one who is devaluing other people. You are the one who, frankly, deserves to be laid off like my co-workers far more than they did – you need that sort of experience to actually understand how destructive your inane rhetoric actually is.

      (when it comes to me? Yeah, I’ve made a bunch of mistakes leading to where I am now. Of the people in my position, though, I’m one of the few who you could say I’m here due to my own mistakes, and not due to circumstances beyond my control. Go ahead and rag on me and my mistakes all you want, but when you ignore the people who didn’t make mistakes, I’m going to call you out on it because you’re completely and utterly wrong.)

    • Ebaie Winna

      I apologize if you feel i was ragging on you, that was not my intention and I do have sympathy for all people in your situation. But that still does NOT validate a essential double in minimum wage, which will essentially destroy the wages of everyone else around you, including the engineers that you work with. A individual that has a engineering degree, nursing degree, etc, does deserves to make more money than someone without a degree.

      Once minimum wage increases, all goods (food, clothes, etc) along with housing will also increase. The new $15 an hour will be the same as the $8 current minimum. After that there will be another “fight for $25″ campaign. It will be a revolving circle of government bail outs. No matter the situation your involved in doesn’t justify bringing down every-ones wages around you.

      By the way I understand how it feels to be poor, I was a janitor with my Dad every night for two hours cleaning a luggage manufactures building from the 5th to 9th grade. So yeah I do have enough life experience to understand I don’t want to work like that for my entire life.

      In my short life I have in my life put in tons of personal sacrifices, countless hours of studying, along with students loans, and lost time with my son that I can not get back, all while attempting to make our lives better. The fact is how “fair” is it for someone in my situation to have the same salary as some dude at McDonald’s that simply cried to the government for another handout. Go to night school, get a certificate, do something that will set you apart from all the other competition. I live in southern California where employment is extremely competitive, if I could do it, anyone else one with drive could also find decent employment.

    • Bordeaux Vixen

      Buddy, just because you could do it, doesn’t mean anyone else could. Not everyone learned the value of hard work from their stable dad, not everyone had a stable (or nice) dad. Get a grip!

    • Ebaie Winna

      Yes I did have a Dad in my life, and for that I’m eternally appreciative of him. But I put my self through school, paid ALL my own bills, got my own job, and took care of my own family. That’s my whole point, if I could accomplish what I did (which is relatively little), ANYONE, especially in America, could do what I did. Fact is your an enabler, you want to make excuses for people that have made bad decisions and are now 40yrs old making minimum wage. Hell, I may be in that situation in a few years, who knows. But I’ll fight my ass off before I give up on my creating MY OWN future. Stop giving people excuses for leading a life of laziness.

    • Bordeaux Vixen

      no, i want to make a world where the blind can survive

    • Ebaie Winna

      I can’t change the world, I don’t posses the resources for such an endeavor. What I can do is better the life of my family members. What I do know, is that you’re NEVER going to change the world making MINIMUM WAGE then complaining about how life is so difficult, I might as well not even try.

    • Bordeaux Vixen


    • Spetzer86

      When you start college, don’t get a degree in Women’s Studies or Ancient Greek Literature. Try medicine, nursing, computer science or engineering.

      If there’s still no job, maybe you can use your own ideas and start a business. Although that may be more difficult because some idiot increased the minimum wage and you can’t afford workers. If you’re right and minimum wage doesn’t matter, then I guess this won’t be a problem for you.

    • Bordeaux Vixen

      i love what you said

  • JohnnyN2O

    I made $10 a day mowing yards in summer of 1968 – 69. I was 10 years old. This is America, if you don’t have a job, it’s because you don’t want one.

  • Throwingrocks

    I wish it were as simple as the author makes it out to be, but it’s not. There are wide swaths of the population now who, 20 years ago, would have been easily able to make 2-3x minimum wage, worked very hard to get those jobs… but then those jobs vanished and nothing came in to replace them. Manufacturing is the easiest example, but other things like file clerks, records management, human resource workers, etc. are all vanishing at an astonishing rate as technology improves.

    And there aren’t comparable jobs that are being created to offset these losses.

    This is one of the downsides of technological advancement. And it also means that a large amount of the new minimum wage workers are older, trying to get back into the work force because they have bills to pay, kids to raise, etc. and they need to work SOMEWHERE while they try to get assistance to change their skillset. You can’t take someone who spent 15 years working in a factory and put them into another industry overnight, or realistically, even within a year.

    This doesn’t even get into the situation that some industries find themselves in where they lay off a segment of the work force… then rehire people at half the salary to do the same job through temporary agencies. That’s a situation I’m in – I’m doing the exact same type work for 1/3 the compensation. (Technically 1/2 the take-home pay, but I get no benefits, no sick days, the bare minimum in vacation pay and no employer-matched retirement fund, which drops it down to 1/3 the overall pay) I would LOVE to get some retraining for another industry, but I’ve got bills to pay and the jobs that would pay me the same as before? Perhaps 1 in 10 of them still exist. I can’t simply get up and move to a new city because I have a wife and kids, so I’m stuck where I am until I can push back into that job pool, or until I can find something else to jump into that will pay me what I was being paid before.

    So yeah. This author needs to really get their head out of their arse. Or they need to get fired, find that their credentials are no longer useful, then have to go through trying to pay their (adult-sized, I would expect) bills while trying to pay for the super-sized education bulls (compared to when they were last in school). Then maybe they’ll look at themselves in the mirror and say “Get. Better.”…

    Oh, who am I kidding? If that happened to this author, we’d see a blog post about how horrible the world is and how hard done by they are, and how much society needs to help people like them and oh woe is me!

    • Kasimir Urbanski
    • Anonymous

      Pretty much.

      “Go to college and get a degree, then you will be worth more to employers!” So the kids pick up a six-figure college debt and they’re still working part-time at Starbucks.

      “Be an engineer like me!” There are scientists and engineers and computer programmers in India and Bulgaria and Poland too, and they work VERY cheap. You’ve now put yourself into cutthroat wage competition against people who are paid pennies a day, plus millions of H1Bs who are only too happy to work for minimum wage. Do you hear the giant sucking sound, the one Ross Perot tried to warn us about twenty years ago?

      You can call people who work sixty hours a week at four part-time minimum-wage jobs a lot of things, but “lazy” sure isn’t one of them.

      As long as US trade and immigration policy are written by and for people who think American workers are overpaid, this is going to continue.

  • Zebulon Haggis

    You fucking idiot.

  • Justin Montgomery

    well this article is full of baseless opinions. Have you ever did any research at all? Well if you did you would at least know the simple fact that minimum wage is a the lowest point in history when adjusted for inflation. Our economy was at its best when we had a high minimum wage. Did you also know that due to deregulation taxes for the wealthy are at an all time low. It was at 70 percent and has slowly been reduced they barely pay 12-15 percent. This also correlates to a healthy economy. These are all facts not opinions. Did you also know that minimum wage supports more families than it does the younger generation? More facts….

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