Wealthy countries, such as the USA, should have little trouble in securing quality wages for employees. This is an argument that Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) has claimed for over a year. His assault on the American wages is still growing strong.
In recent tweets, the senator has claimed that the United States is “the richest country in history.” With great income, prosperity, and opportunity comes the responsibility for wealthy governments to protect their people from poverty. At the moment, a person who works full time at minimum wage to support one child and a spouse is far below the poverty line.
While this is a fair argument in support of wages for families, it is in opposition to non-family wage earners. For example: Do teenagers need to earn $15/hour? Having low-paying jobs helps to maintain large companies. “Keep them in the US,” President Trump is quoted as saying. Does that spur or slow the economic drive of this nation? These questions do not deter Bernie’s movement.
“In Burlington,” according to Mr. Sanders, “75% of voters” showed great support of a minimum wage increase to $15/hour. He is certain that the country is also willing to agree to such an increase. This will encourage good workers to stay with a company. High quality service people are usually the number one or number two reason for repeat business, from a customer point of view. This is why many merchants ask for customer surveys. Bosses want to ensue that their employees are meeting the needs of the customers in a polite and professional manner.
Wealthy wage earnings seem to equate to success for many Americans. However, in our school systems we encourage students to aspire to be the best in the things that they love. Why, then, do we demur the clerk at “McDonald’s or Burger King?” A quality employee should be retained. However, at 7.25/hour, that same person can not afford to stay as a clerk. Thus, either the employee seeks a promotion or moves out of the profession. Wealthy citizens are given more trust.
This is at the heart of Bernie Sander’s assertion. In a country that encourages opportunity– a country that takes pride in “the American way”– we do not seek full potential out of all Americans. The truth is that a full time employee earn a wage above the poverty line. No one disagrees with that statement. But, raising the minimum wage does not guarantee that the poverty liners will decrease. Some even argue that it is “un-American,” because in the USA people are encouraged to seek new and better opportunity. Allowing a person to stay in the same part of a profession for an extended period (10,20,30 years) does not necessarily encourage movement.
How does this logic resonate with police, teachers, and fire-fighters? People in these professions, as well as other public servants, work at the “entry-level” for the entire time that they are employed. Many of these people are excellent in their profession, but are forced out of it do to wage freezes. For example, the average teacher in the USA, who has been teaching for 20+ years earns only 3.15% more than a brand new teacher. What this says about the employment is that either it is undervalued or it is just an entry level. Do we want to retain quality police, fire fighters, etc.? This same logic continues into the retention of clerks at the local store. Quality is as quality does. If we are going to pay a flat rate for all people in a given profession, and that flat rate is near the entry level, then that entry level must be a sustainable wage.
Otherwise, why should the person stay? Some citizens claim that people stay in the given profession because of a “calling.” However, that “calling” can be a scary thing. People can be called to do good and bad. I prefer that people work in a profession under the condition of success. Do what you are good at doing. Unfortunately, wages at the bottom are so far removed from the top that people tend to gravitate from what they are good at doing to what they need to do. This does not foster growth, but it does encourage resentment.