Jobs Don’t Exist So That You Can Support Your Family


Image by The All-Nite Images on FlickrI hear this argument all the time when discussing Minimum Wage laws: “How is a person supposed to survive, making X dollars an hour?” The answer, of course is, you’re not. The idea that every single job should pay enough to support a person and his whole family, is ludicrous. Think about the last time you paid someone to do a job for you; a plumber, landscaper, painter, or whatever. Did you come to an agreement on the price based on how much money the worker needed in order to pay his bills, or did you pay him or her based on the job performed?

Some jobs pay more than others because they are simply more valuable to the person who is paying. As consumers, we love choices. We sometimes choose to buy lesser quality goods to save a little money. Sometimes, we choose more expensive goods because we find them to be worth the money. But somehow, this gets lost on those who think even the simplest jobs that require no skills at all, should have some minimum price arbitrarily set by the government.

What is a job anyway? You may use your job as your source of income in order to support yourself and your family, but this isn’t the reason for its existence. A job is something that needs to be done. Someone needs something done and is willing to pay for it because having the job performed by someone else is worth more to that person than the money he is giving up. And the person who voluntarily accepts a job offer has determined that the money he or she will receive is worth more than the time and effort required to perform the job. If both sides didn’t feel they were better off by entering into the agreement, no agreement would ever take place. It isn’t one-sided as many would have us believe.

If you subscribe to the notion that society owes you a job that pays a certain amount, then why aren’t you contributing by hiring someone to do your dishes for you, just so you can help someone pay their bills? Maybe because it’s not worth it for you to pay someone to do your dishes? What if I told you that not only must you hire someone to do them, but you also should pay that person a “liveable” wage? When people claim to have a right to a job or a right to a minimum wage, they always forget that someone else needs to be forced to provide that so called “right.”

If you can’t make enough money doing a particular job, then you need to be doing a different kind of job, one that is more valuable. This may sound harsh, but it is also economics and common sense.

“But these companies are just so greedy! They always want to pay you less.” Umm, yeah, and employees always want to earn more, those greedy bastards. Somehow, the vast majority of jobs pay more than the minimum wage set by the government. Have you ever wondered why that is? Employers are greedy. They don’t want to pay more, but somehow they do. Who is forcing these evil people to do this against their will, if it isn’t the almighty government? Could it be that those jobs are actually that much more valuable to employers than minimum wage jobs? Could it be that if they refuse to pay more, they could lose employees to their competitors? That couldn’t be, could it? Because what we are told is that if the government didn’t step in, these evil corporations would have us all working for nothing and we would have no choice in the matter.

Jobs that require little skill and are therefore, not as valuable to employers actually serve a great purpose for students and those with little or no education. It allows them to gain some of the basic skills necessary so that they can become more valuable, and earn more as a result. If you want people to earn more, you should be thinking of ways to make them more productive/valuable, not finding ways to prevent students, the poor, and the unskilled, from accepting jobs that pay less than what you feel they should get paid. How dare you? Laws that mandate a minimum wage just backfire and hurt the very people we are trying to help.

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