I am going to start off by stating an unpopular opinion: raising the minimum wage will only raise the cost of living. In Washington state, the current minimum wage is $11.50. While people on the lower end of the pay scale may be ecstatic by a larger paycheck, the world around them will continue to raise their prices to match, if not supersede, the minimum wage hike. Everything will balance in the economic world, and society will cycle back to fighting for a higher minimum wage. I am here to tell you that this is a dream that will stay just that; a dream.
The millennial generation is continuously being scrutinized for complaining about cost of living. People have actually told me that it is either because we as a generation are lazy, or we as a generation lack the proper skills to obtain a higher job. Here is a secret: one of these statements is technically correct. While we a whole are far from lazy, the cost of living has risen to the point that large amount of jobs available for people in their twenties cannot sustain a comfortable life. When I say comfortable, I mean a reasonably priced one-bedroom apartment, a reliable, used car, enough furniture to set us apart from the homeless, and a fridge full of healthy, essential foods. Apparently, this is a lot to ask for.
I am fortunate enough to have a job that pays above minimum wage; however, it is still not enough to live a comfortable life in the ever-growing Clark County. This generation is continuously working to obtain a job that makes enough to not live at their parents, but those jobs typically require an advanced degree with X amount of years of experience. Even when employers say that experience is preferred, but not required, they will still lean towards the person who has the experience. Jobs are not giving people in their twenties the chance to gain experience, or at least the experience that doesn’t require folding clothes or working a drive-thru. How can people in their twenties gain necessary experience when employers won’t give them the chance to do so?
My hope our society is that someone will have the courage to speak up again this counter-productive process and demand necessary job experience to obtain a decent job with a decent wage. If I could see this within my lifetime, that’d be cool too.