Lowell Kalapa: Debate over 'Minimum Wage' Shows Ignorance

As we approach another session of the Legislature and with Congress about to go on a holiday break, there will be renewed rhetoric about raising the minimum wage. There is obvious ignorance demonstrated when the minimum wage is characterized as a “living wage.”

Proponents of increasing the minimum wage decry the fact that the minimum wage is insufficient to make ends meet for a single mom who has to work to support her children. What those proponents seem to forget is that the minimum wage was adopted as the lowest possible wage that could be paid to a worker and is usually extended to those who join the workforce with no job skills at all. We are talking about, for example, a high school student searching for a summer job who has no work skills, be it understanding that they need to be at their place of employment before the shift begins or that dressing appropriately is a requirement to hold that job, be it wearing shoes instead of slippers or with hair well groomed if the job requires serving a customer in a restaurant or in a retail store.

The minimum wage was never meant to be this “living wage” that everyone from the President on down to local legislative leaders would like people to believe.

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