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Minimum Wage, Adulthood And Choices

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raise-minimum-wagejpg“I’m tired all the time.” That’s the lament of one of the working mothers in the video below (from The Guardian), as she describes her life working minimum wage jobs. She and the other women featured are all fighting for an increase in pay to $15 per hour (like Seattle’s recent mandate.)

I feel for them. I can’t imagine trying to raise a family on minimum wage salaries. But I have several issues with what I see in this video.

The first is actually what I don’t see. I don’t see any husbands or fathers. It’s a fact of life that women who have children without a husband are far more likely to live in poverty.

The next issue I have is that these adult women are complaining about being tired and not having enough time. I would say, “Welcome to adulthood. Join the club.” I don’t know any parent – married, single, rich, poor – that is not tired or would not love to have more time to relax and enjoy their family. We all work hard. We all have commitments. Being a parent is exhausting and tough. But it’s the choice many of us have made, and it’s our responsibility to make sure we do it well.

Also, I know that finding healthy, fresh food in the city can be a challenge. But almost all the food I see being purchased and consumed here is high cost, low nutrition junk food. If you have to watch every penny (and I’ve had to do that), junk food is a terrible daily diet.

College is not for everyone, but nearly every one can learn a skilled trade. People all over the world figure out ways to work from home and be with their family more, for instance. Many of us choose college for both education and a better paycheck, but there are certainly other options to increase one’s income. Minimum wage jobs are not meant for adults who want to raise a family.

If these women think life is expensive now, wait until they start making $15 an hour. That bag of gummy worms at the local bodega is going to cost a lot more when the owner has to start paying his night shift more money.

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Elise Hilton Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.

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