Unemployed not considered in minimum wage debate

© 2014 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. - For those talking of increasing the minimum wage, what about the unemployed? A higher minimum wage makes it even harder to get a job. This is especially so for low or no-skill workers looking for their first job. Sadly the proponents of increasing the minimum wage do not even invite the unemployed to discussions.
      We hear from employers, employees and certain members of the buying public who are overjoyed to pay more money so workers making the minimum wage take home more money. Well, I am a bit skeptical that people want to pay more money.
      So the unemployed are not at the table. How do they feel about raising the minimum wage? Many cheer because they do not equate an increase in the cost of labor for employers with a diminished job market for no and low-skilled workers.
      And the most important people not sitting at the table when we discuss what it takes to support a family of four are the unemployed who have not found their first job. Know this: everyone is worth a certain amount to an employer. Skilled workers trade productivity for wages and both the worker and employer are made better by the transaction.
      For most people their first job is the most important job they will ever get since without that they cannot get better jobs. We are seeing young people reaching thirty without a first job. The valuable lessons of the first job are best applied in their teens.
      That first job often in high school usually is a "no brainer" sort of happy hands job where the drill is to do exactly what the boss says and be on time. The most important thing young people must learn is be on time and do what the boss says. Read full column