Minimum Wage

December 5, 2013

This graphic has been floating around online.

It’s pointing out that most minimum wage earners are not teenagers as per an apparently common assumption, that in fact 88% are 20 or older, plus another large percentage being over 40, how many are parents, etc.

In other words, the main argument for not thinking little of minimum wage earners and that they ought to earn more is… They aren’t teenagers!

Because teenagers don’t deserve decent wages as they are living at home and just using that money to go to the movies or buy video games or get high, an assertion whose chief basis is… they’re teenagers.



I mean, do people seriously think Every Teenager In The World is living a comfortable suburban white upper-middle-class life and has their every need met by underappreciated parents? I just don’t understand the need to cling to this ridiculous assumption. Or that any teens whose lives aren’t that great are in such a situation because they did something “wrong”, like run away or get pregnant or drop out of school.

Believe it or not, “spending money” is hardly the only reason a teenager might want or need a job. Sometimes their minimum-wage-earning parents (represented in that graphic) just aren’t earning enough to support the family, so the teenager looks to contribute to the family by getting her own job. Maybe their parents have refused to pay for college, or are just incapable of paying, and they need to work to fund it themselves. Maybe they’ve been kicked out of or emancipated from their homes and need to support themselves so they don’t starve.

In fact, it’s a travesty that their earnings would even need to be justified like this. Who cares why they need to earn money? That’s really nobody’s business but theirs. Just like with everyone else.