A Higher Minimum Wage Would Eliminate Opportunity for Success

September 9, 2015

by Nick Novak

This column was originally published by The Daily Signal.

Watching the news these days, it may seem like a minimum wage job is the equivalent to a life sentence of poverty. But nothing could be further from the truth. A minimum wage job is not an end, but a beginning of what could be a very successful career.

For more than a year, union-backed protesters have held coordinated rallies around the country calling for a $15 minimum wage. While the protesters make claims that it is impossible to get a raise or a promotion in fast food, the mainstream media has been more than happy to go along with their story.

Many reporters completely ignore the other side of the debate. Even when research from well-respected economists is provided, the media would rather focus on individuals that claim to be “stuck” in minimum wage jobs.

This story portrayed by the media is not typical, however. In fact, it is likely that many of the most successful people in our country today started at a minimum wage job. That is the case for Maggie, owner of the Culver’s restaurant in Little Chute, Wisconsin.

Maggie started working “the bun station” at Culver’s more than 15 years ago for minimum wage. For those of you not lucky enough to have a Culver’s in your area, they are a fast food restaurant that serves delicious Butter Burgers and frozen custard.

Culver’s is also a place where many young kids get their start in Wisconsin and the Midwest. If the narrative told by the union bosses were accurate, none of these kids would ever go anywhere. They would be stuck working the bun station decades from now still earning minimum wage.

But this isn’t what happens. With hard work and determination, the skills learned in a minimum wage job serve as the building blocks for an individual’s career. Two-thirds of minimum wage workers earn a raise within a year. The typical raise is almost 25 percent. Many go on to earn much more in future years.

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