Virtually every Conservative I know had a minimum wage job, and it was usually a gross as hell, go home filthy at the end of the shift, back-breaking, job.

I hauled construction materials around in the burning Florida sun and emptied restaurant grease traps.

The difference between Conservatives and Progressives is that the Conservatives said: “this job sucks, I’m going to work hard, gain skills, and earn myself a position where I don’t have to do this sort of shit for this little money.”

Progressives said: “this job sucks, I’m going to protest so that the government tells my boss to pay me more.”

It’s not that Conservatives have never worked a minimum wage job, it’s just that we know that a minimum wage job is supposed to be a first rung on a ladder to success, not a career.

Her precept is wrong.



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By J. Kb

16 thoughts on “The first half of her pet theory is backwards”
  1. “Think of this every time I see “Businesses could find workers if they just paid more!”

    Aren’t Liberals to ones saying things like “we need to pay government workers a lot to get the best and brightest” ?

  2. Winner winner: “It’s not that Conservatives have never worked a minimum wage job, it’s just that we know that a minimum wage job is supposed to be a first rung on a ladder to success, not a career.”

    The hardest job I had was running my business – I had to my specialty, and then learn bookkeeping, insurance, advertising, workers comp, taxes … the list kept on going for years before profitable enough to contract that out.

    1. Bingo. Minimum wage is not supposed to be a living wage. It’s for kids who are living at home and subsidized by their parents so they can learn basic work skills and learn to pay for stuff. It’s for people starting out who are living in a shared apartment so they can get experience and move up the ladder. And, sure, for retirees and folk like that who have other income and are looking for a little extra (or for something to do). What I find most amusing is that the very same people who think that minimum wage jobs are horrible have *no* problem at all offering unpaid “internships.” Hypocrites.

      What McArdle doesn’t realize is that almost all Conservatives have worked for minimum wage. Most have a resume of many such jobs — I can list hauling hay, cleaning construction sites, cleaning manure ponds at a dairy, carrying doors at a warehouse at a manufacturing plant (because I had a strong back and was cheaper than renting a forklift), and selling fertilizer (less than minimum wage — almost all commission work). When I was in high school, McDonalds was the place to work — half the high school worked there, and the other half ate there.

      But at almost all those places, even those who didn’t move on to other employers moved out of minimum wage. I know some people who stayed at McDonalds — and became shift supervisors, then managers, then multi-location managers, then had their own franchises. I know some people who stayed at the door company — and became equipment operators and technicians and managers. I know people who worked on construction sites who became apprentices and then journeymen, and are now contractors. And it’s still going on. I had a generator put in my house a few weeks ago. There were three people there. One person was a gofer. I would have guessed 16 years old, but I think that’s illegal now (unfortunately). One was an apprentice electrician. One was a master. The apprentice was telling me that he was doing the gofer work a couple of years ago, had another two years of apprenticeship, and was planning on starting his own business in about 4 years. He was in his early 20s. My nephew worked for minimum wage for a local company while in high school, started making a bit more when in college, and was offered a very nice starting salaried position when he graduated.

      I gotta say, I don’t know anybody who stayed too long running a front loader on manure ponds. I didn’t. I ran out of clothes to burn.

      If you’ve worked at a fast food place for 20 years and you are still getting minimum wage, or if you have been the gofer for an electrician for the past decade and a half — and you’re not happy doing it — the issue isn’t the minimum wage.

  3. Try being a dishwasher in a crappy seafood restaurant. And, pulling that in for a whopping $3.35 an hour.

    Moving up to supermarket cashier for the same wage was a promotion in my book.

    On the other hand, the average “progressive” does not actually work until after they get out of college.

  4. A wise man I once worked for said: “If I could buy all the (fill in the blank) techs for what they’re worth, and sell them for what they think they’re worth, I’d be a rich man.” The point being, is that what someone will pay you for a given job is based on the value you add to the organization, not on whatever intrinsic value you think you have, nor on what a you consider to be a”fair wage”.

  5. Minimum wage? BTDT: landscaping.

    Own business, of minimum wage workers? BTDT: landscaping. In high school.

    THAT is why I got into the sick people business, approaching 50 years ago.

    1. I wish I was making min. wage when I was starting my first business. 4 years of hand to mouth and a lot of really bad cheap food.

      Then back to working for the man for better then min. wage. Then the next business…

      Still living close to have to mouth but with a take nice place and take nice toys and a wonderful family.

  6. I bet she never really worked a minimum wage job. Or she did but she had mommy and daddy‘s trust fund to keep her afloat.

    I distinctly remember we were supposed to get our yearly reviews for a raise. A whole $.14 an hour higher than minimum wage. Whoopty do. The manager in my department was told by the manager of the store to not put them in so we would not get raises. That was store policy. He did it anyway and dared them to fire him.

  7. Literally shovelling s**t for $1.25/hr. THAT motivated my ass to stay in school, trust me!!!

    1. I did that same thing, but I got $3.00 an hour. And lunch. Like you it motivated me to stay in school. First paycheck job was working for my dad in a machine shop. Made $5.00 an hour sweating and getting dirty for 10 hours a day. Honest work but made me work extra hard while in college to make sure I ended up working less hard, in a physical sense.

      1. There’s nothing like working a hard, dirty, low paying job to provide motivation to make college count.

  8. You missed the second part of her theory. The part where “Progressives” should stake their future on profitably running a low-wage business.

    What she’s trying to point out is that both sides are assuming the other doesn’t understand their view, and therefore are talking past each other.

    So yes, I agree with you that most conservatives have worked minimum wage jobs and chose to do whatever it took to not stay at minimum wage. I know I did, and I can go further and explain just how frustrating it is to work your @$$ off, get recognized with a 50-cent raise, only to have your legislature raise minimum wage by 50 cents two months later and be right back at minimum, along with a bunch of people who DIDN’T earn it.

    But I’d bet most of the “Fight for $15” “Progressives” have NOT bet their personal fortunes on successfully and profitably running a business full of minimum wage workers who all demand an unearned raise that WILL break the business.

    Understanding goes both ways. She’s not wrong.

  9. I started out as a teenager working in the fields, planting tomatoes or detasseling/derouging seed corn. That was when the minimum wage was about $3 an hour. It was only a couple of months worth of work over the summer but I made enough to keep me in licorice whips, comic books and .22lr for the year.

    My first “non-farm” job was flipping burgers at the only fast food restaurant in the county at the time…McDonalds. I got my first raise after 3 months, second after 6 months and by the time I moved on after less than 2 years, at age 18, was making almost 2x minimum wage.

    I worked second jobs at various times after that to make ends meet but even when I was a cashier/stock boy/cleaner at a gas station convenience store, they paid me more than minimum wage. I delivered Pizza for a while and they paid minimum wage plus tips. The tips were more than the salary most days, so I don’t consider that “working for minimum wage”.

    The point being, minimum wage is a starting point, not an ending point. I’m old now…not too far from retirement; I don’t have a 4 year degree, and I make WAAAAAAY more than minimum wage, because I’ve worked, and bettered my position, and made myself valuable to employers so they’ll pay me to keep working for them.

    If you’re not a teenager gaining your first job experience and you’re still making minimum wage, you’re doing this whole “work” thing wrong.

    So, I believe most likely the first half of her proposition has for the most part already been accomplished.

  10. IMO the problem is not minimum wage jobs but unskilled people who have no motivation or desire to progress and better themselves for any number of reasons. For some maybe it isn’t possible, and I’m perfectly willing to accept and believe that. But, I believe the vast majority can improve themselves, their life, and their outlook if they cared enough to or were willing to put in the EXTRA work to do it. What I’ve personally witnessed is people think that get stuck don’t think they should need to put in the extra effort and that it is unfair they need to grind to get out ahead. Yea its shitty, but you want to wallow in place or climb out of the mud pit?

    But who knows, maybe I’m sitting up here on my high horse because I’ve been fortunate enough to never work a minimum wage job… because I’ve always had a skill that paid better. Now that is not to say I haven’t done hard, menial, and shit work. Try scoring high power matches in direct sunlight for 10 hours straight during the summer for $50… that was a great days wage at 12. But when $10 of that was gone instantly to buy lunch and a Gatorade or two, that sure did teach me that I needed to make more money, easier, and more quickly at that. Similar revelations were learned from lawn mowing, scoring silhouette matches (with the added benefit of running all day too!), snow removal, and summer ground and building maint.

  11. One more comment. Sorry, it’s a bit of a long one:

    A few years ago I got a cold call from a union rep, asking if the union would have my support and if I would sign the petition in the “Fight for $15” campaign to raise the state minimum wage to $15/hr. I told him, in no uncertain terms, No. I do not support that campaign.

    He asked why not. (Heheh. I’m a bit “loaded for bear” on this one. 😉 )

    I asked him in return, how long he’d worked in his union job (35-ish years, now retired and volunteering for the union). Then I asked him what education he had to qualify for that job (trade certifications at first, got a degree in his field later).

    I asked him how long he worked in his union job and how old he was before he earned the inflation-adjusted equivalent of $15/hr (about 10 years on the job, in his mid-to-late 20s, before he got there).

    I asked him how many union members currently earn minimum wage, that would be directly, positively affected by this (almost none).

    Finally, I asked him if, based on the state minimum wage at the time of just under $9/hr, if brand new workers are going to get a ~60% increase in pay, would there be a push and demand for the rest of us to see a ~60% increase? (No, there’s no plans for that.)

    I explained that I was in the same boat as he was, just a couple decades behind. I worked minimum wage as a teenager like he did, but worked hard and earned some raises, got education and certifications, got better jobs, and still had to work in my industry for nearly a decade and was in my late 20s before I got to the adjusted-equivalent of $15/hr.

    Given that, I do not understand the push by so many who worked hard to earn that, to give it to uneducated, inexperienced new workers — largely teenagers — who haven’t earned it.

    It severely lessens what the rest of us worked so hard for. Doubly so if we’re not going to see the same relative increase, because raising minimum wage WILL raise prices, and if we’re not going to see an increase THAT directly affects OUR quality of life.

    So no, I told him, I would not be supporting the “Fight for $15”, as it goes directly against my and my family’s best interests.

    In the end, he had to go on to other calls and push for the campaign — that was his job as a union volunteer — but I think I planted the seed that it’s maybe not such a great plan for the vast majority of union members.

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