Staff Editorial: Keep your mind on your money

The California Legislature passed a bill on Sept. 12 that will increase minimum wage earnings from $8 an hour to $10 by 2016. The proposed hourly $10 pay would increase California’s minimum wage by 25 percent, according to the California Chamber of Commerce.

The Golden State currently boasts the sixth largest minimum wage nationwide. In 2016, it would be the most profitable place to live for unskilled workers, which could partially offset the state’s expensive cost of living.

But some politicians have expressed doubts regarding the ambitious legislature.

“Such a significant increase in the minimum wage may jeopardize any economic recovery California is enjoying,” said Jennifer Barrera of the California Chamber of Commerce in a letter to lawmakers.

Working an eight-hour shift for $8 an hour simply is not worth it for any extended period of time, considering the fact it is impossible to live in California off a single minimum wage job.

Those who oppose the bill believe that businesses and business owners will have trouble covering the costs of employee salaries, and warn that a reverse effect could take place.

Instead of stimulating the state economy and producing more consumer dollars, employers may be forced to downsize and lay off workers in order to maximize profits.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, California’s unemployment rate is 8.6 percent, higher than the national average of 7.6 percent.

For all the wage slaves out there, they know how competitive the job market is on the west coast in 2013. However, in 2016, it will only worsen as thousands will migrate to California in search of a better life.

The proposed economic paradise could quickly deteriorate into a wasteland if employers make layoffs, combined with a flood of opportunistic relocators.

This historic decision has made the entire country contemplate the role of minimum wage jobs in our society. Is the system working as intended, or is this increase simply a bandage on a festering wound?

If you have the means, it is possible to never have to work for minimum wage and simply go straight into a career after college. However, for the majority of Americans, working a minimum wage job will be a necessity at least once in their lifetime.

In California, it is feasible to live off $10 an hour, but certainly not comfortable.

Many Californians rely solely on minimum wage jobs to survive, often being forced to work two jobs just to make ends meet.

This country still needs and relies on unskilled labor, but at the current cost of living, it cannot sustain life. We are left with Americans trying to survive using a system that was never intended to do so in the first place.

In the next couple years, working a minimum wage job will certainly be more enticing, but it still won’t be a viable longterm career path.

Minimum wage jobs are meant to be transitional jobs available to able-bodied citizens before they can learn a skill and earn big money.

Americans should never aspire to earn only $10 an hour, and neither should students.

Editorial, OpinionRomanComment