The minimum wage crisis is a manufactured crisis to force employers to pay higher wages to illegal immigrants.

How does this work exactly?

First, the minimum wage was never intended to be a living wage for anyone, ever. The minimum wage was instated as a first-time employment option for those who are just entering the workforce, such as teens who are usually still living at home and still going to school. The minimum wage is designed to allow the teen to gain work experience while finishing high school, and allows the employer to pay the unskilled worker while that person is learning a trade. As soon as the teen gains the necessary work experience and education, he or she can then move on to a better-paying position and earn a living wage.

What is happening now is, we have been flooded with millions – perhaps as many as 40 million – illegal immigrants who have no education and no skills, and can therefore do nothing but work at minimum wage jobs, on which they cannot support families. Their taking of these jobs keeps teens and those just entering the workforce from getting a starting position to gain the necessary work experience needed to get a better job and disrupts employment all across the board for everyone.

These people will not become better-educated and will not gain the skills necessary to move on to better-paying jobs. Plus, it is illegal for them to even be employed because they are in the country illegally. These people are admittedly a boon to employers who don’t want to pay more than necessary, and in fact, they pay these people less on average than they would have been willing to pay a teen just starting out.

But there is an even more insidious side to raising the minimum wage to a living wage. A majority of the employers in this country are small businesses that operate on very tight margins and budgets to be viable, and restaurants are a perfect example of this. They pay minimum wage at best, and usually less, with the balance being paid to their workers in the form of tips.

If the minimum wage rises from $7.50 to $15, as many are demanding, a restaurant will have to cut its employees by half or double its prices to stay viable. How would you like to pay $15 for a hamburger? Or $10 for an order of french fries? Or $8 for a cup of coffee or glass of tea? Or $5 each for a doughnut? In addition, it would drive most small businesses out of business and massive unemployment would result.

If you don’t believe that, look at Seattle, San Francisco, Portland and others. They have raised their minimum wages to $15 and are the places in the country where unemployment is rising rather than falling, and where members of the middle class who open small businesses and employ a majority of workers are fleeing to parts of the country that are friendlier to businesses.

Dr. Jonathan C. Jobe, of Crescent Valley, is a retired educator and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

Recommended for you