You’re Worth What You Can Get

If you know me, or have argued with me online, you ought to know that I’m a fiscally conservative dude. People hear “conservative” and they imagine Scrooge McDuck hoarding and counting his endless piles of money while Little Timmy freezes and starves to death outside. The truth is that being a “fiscal conservative” only means that you don’t play fast and loose with your money. You avoid impulse buys, and put more consideration into purchases and decisions that might affect your financial situation. You don’t spend money on a whim. It also does not mean that you are rich.

All of that needed to be said and for good reason. I’m not a huge fan of new regulations to drastically raise the minimum wage. But no,it’s not because I’m evil.

Scrooge McDuck counting his money.
Scrooge McDuck counting his money.

While many people who are against raising the minimum wage claim that “Burger flippers aren’t for $X per hour! This is outrageous!”, my stance is very different. I think you’re worth whatever you can persuade someone to pay you.

If Joe Teenager can convince his manager to pay him $50 an hour to flip burgers, then by all means I support it and applaud it. Sincerely. The key word here though,  is “convince”.

I don’t like the idea of strong arming someone into paying you more, especially when your employment there is voluntary.

All transactions should be mutually agreed upon by both parties; the buyer and the seller. Imagine you’re selling you car and someone offers you far less than you’re willing to sell it for. You have the right to not sell it. Employment is no different. As an employee, you are selling your services in exchange for an income, or benefits, insurance, etc. The employee naturally wants to maximize his income, and the employer naturally wants to minimize his payroll, but unless both parties can reach an agreement, there should be no transaction. Forcing a wage on your employer is no different than forcing your neighbor to buy your car for more than he’s willing to pay for it, simple as that.

The gut-counter-reactions to this might be “But people need a job to live!”  True. you may need a job, but don’t forget that businesses are not in the business of hiring people that need jobs. They’re in the business of making  money. Whether you need a job or higher pay is not the business’ concern – it’s yours.

Before you sharpen your pitchforks, hear me out. Just because I’m against raising the minimum wage does not mean I’m against higher pay. Just because I’m against rape, doesn’t mean I’m against sex. Just so long as each is consensual.

I don’t mind people getting paid more. I don’t mind burger flippers getting paid more. I try to avoid Walmart which pays a “starving wage”. I frequent businesses like Costco and In-N-Out which voluntarily pay well above minimum wage. I also tip well (when deserved). I vote with my wallet. I encourage everyone to vote with theirs. If enough people do it, it could cause some shifts.

Who works minimum wage though? Who should be? Lower paying jobs are usually entry level positions that don’t require much experience or a heavy hitting résumé. Ideally, they are for teens and young adults looking to gain experience and build their résumé in order to advance to a better job.

Entry level jobs are self explanatory. They are jobs for people entering the work force. By their nature, they are meant to be short lived. You get one, grow, learn, and move on to the next level, and the next person takes your place. It’s kind of like kindergarten. They can support a lone wolf, but probably aren’t suited for supporting a wolf pack. So teens be warned! Having kids on a McDonald’s paycheck is probably not a great idea.

Here’s where “fiscal conservative” finally comes into play. Making more money is one thing. Making decisions that result in less expenses is another. People need to think of life in terms of finances. the car you drive, the neighborhood you live in, the clothes you wear, and even when and how many kids you have are all financial decisions.

Would you buy a car if you couldn’t afford the payments?

Would you buy a home if you couldn’t afford the mortgage?

Would you buy a puppy if you couldn’t afford the food?

If no, then you shouldn’t have a baby unless you can afford to raise it. Again, simple as that.

Actual ad from a NYC teen parents awareness campaign.
Actual ad from a NYC teen parents awareness campaign.

Simple as this is. Straight forward as this is. No-nonsense as this, a lot of people hear that and are offended. They’re repulsed at the idea of children being a financial decision instead of a “life decision”.

What many fail to realize is that almost every decision is a financial decision, or at the very least will result in a different financial outcome. Life isn’t free, and so long as that’s true, life decisions are financial decisions.

That’s a whole other conversation and blog post, so let me stop there. Steering this all back on track, the point to all this is simple, so let me wrap this up.

Minimum wage jobs are meant for teens and people with few obligations – not for families.

Instead of regulating businesses to take care of people, people should regulate their own actions to better take care of themselves. If you’re 40 with three kids and on minimum wage, you *probably* made some poor choices, even if it was simple having more kids than you could afford. If you meant to have one child and ended up with triplets, then clearly you’re an exception to the rule.

No matter how old or young you are, if you’re in the work force or entering soon, always be improving yourself and making yourself more commercially valuable.

If you’re a voter, vote with your wallets before you rush to the ballots.

If you’re an employer who can afford to do so, try to help your staff out a little bit. Generosity goes a long way, and happy employees work better.

No matter who you are, remember that every decision is a financial decision, whether you life it or not.

All transactions should be mutually agreed upon by both parties.
All transactions should be mutually agreed upon by both parties.

Finally, you’re not worth what you think you are. In fact, you’re not worth what others think you are. You’re worth whatever you can convince someone else to give you.

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