Teens __ Victims of the Minimum Wage?

I have seven grand children by blood and seven more by marriage, They range in age from seventeen to twenty-two. Sadly, not one of them shown any desire to further their education and learn some real job skills. On the plus side, every one of them has a job and except for the youngest, they are all living on their own and struggling to make their way in life. For that, I am grateful because many young people today are unemployed with little prospect that will change any time soon.

From a recent Wall Street Journal article:

Only 24% of teens, one in four, have jobs, compared to 42% as recently as the summer of 2001. The nearby chart chronicles the teen employment percentage over time, including the notable plunge in the last decade. So instead of learning valuable job skills—getting out of bed before noon, showing up on time, being courteous to customers, operating a cash register or fork lift—millions of kids will spend the summer playing computer games or hanging out.

According to this article these are the worst statistics for teen employment since records began to be kept in 1948.  The author offers an opinion as to why this is:

The lousy economic recovery explains much of this decline in teens working, and some is due to increases in teen summer school enrollment. Some is also cultural: Many parents don’t put the same demands on teens as they once did to get out and work.

But Congress has also contributed by passing one of the most ill-timed minimum wage increases in history. One of the first acts of the gone-but-not-forgotten Nancy Pelosi ascendancy was to raise the minimum wage in stages to $7.25 an hour in 2009 from $5.15 in 2007. Even liberals ought to understand that raising the cost of hiring the young and unskilled while employers are slashing payrolls is loopy economics.

Yes, they should understand that, but:

The Center for American Progress, often called the think tank for the Obama White House, recently recommended another increase to $8.25 an hour. Though the U.S. unemployment rate is 9.1%, the thinkers assert that a rising wage would “stimulate economic growth to the tune of 50,000 new jobs.” So if the government orders employers to pay more to hire workers when they’re already not hiring, they’ll somehow hire more workers. By this logic, if we raised the minimum wage to $25 an hour we’d have full employment.

Continue reading this article and you learn that black teens have far worse. their unemployment has now reached 41.6%. But, the part of the article that interest me the most is this:

…The other day we saw ABC’s George Stephanopoulos baiting Michele Bachmann on the minimum wage, as if refusing to raise it would be some epic political gaffe. Ms. Bachmann didn’t back down from saying that the minimum wage has contributed to unemployment, though she didn’t explain why.

What she or another candidate should do is stop playing defense and ask why Mr. Stephanopoulos doesn’t seem to mind a black teen jobless rate of 41.6%. Someone truly brave would come out for a teenage sub-minimum wage of, say, $4 an hour. In certain circumstances employers can now pay teens a minimum of $4.25, but only for 90 days. This makes employers reluctant to hire at all. Make the case on moral grounds that a mandated wage that is too high blocks the young and unskilled from grabbing a place on the economic ladder.

Now there is a novel idea. Someone (a politician) standing-up for a sub-minimum wage for teens. I like it! I’m betting there are a lot of teens who are not in school and have no job skills who would jump at a chance to work for $4.00 or $5.00 per hour. But you can bet your butt that the child labor nannies would be up in arms over such a barbaric idea. No, they would rather raise the minimum wage and put more teenagers on the street.

Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?

51 thoughts on “Teens __ Victims of the Minimum Wage?

  1. I think that you are absolutely right! Two of my sons apprenticed with their dad and learned carpentry, along with plumbing and electrical. One of them went to technical school after the navy and the other is still working with his dad. Most kids don’t have that opportunity but they should. This used to be the norm, either to apprentice at no pay or at a low pay. Now with minimum wage their is not much of a chance for young people to learn skills. All the rules make it prohibitive as well as illegal often, to teach kids jobs where they are required to use power tools. It is very limiting and unneeded! I am not saying that kids should be used, I am saying that we are preventing them from learning skill that are needed and useful. There are so many co.s that are willing to go to Mexico and get workers with a green card, or even use illegals that the kids have nothing to do. Where there used to be jobs here picking peaches in the summer, a lot of the orchards have either gone out of business, or become self pick because they can’t afford minimum wage. They used to pay by the bushel and there was an incentive to work hard to actually make money. When they have to pay them by the hour, the fruit tends to remain on the tree and their is no incentive to work at all!

    1. Thanks for a great comment, Patricia. Besides putting some money in their pockets, when young people have to work for that money they begin to appreciate what it takes to make it in this world. It builds character and gives them a sense of self worth. Minimum wage laws, especially in hard times, destroys any chance many young people have.

  2. I’ll take it one step further…ELIMINATE THE MINIMUM WAGE!

    Harsh…? I say not, after-all we are trying to mimic a free market economy.

    This would be a direct economic stimulus to our economy and create JOBS [what a novel idea(?)].

    Any Politicians willing to take a real stand to rescue the American Economy?


  3. I spent months volunteering to get my feet in the door. It gave me experience, and my future employer knew I was sincere and committed . Perhaps the unemployed youth might think about giving it a try.

  4. The minimum wage in neighboring Washington is $8.67, one of the highest in the country. Young people 14 and 15 may be paid 85% of the minimum. There is nothing about flipping burgers or pushing buttons on a register that warrants that amount of money. It’s, at best, a $7.00 or even $6.50 per hour job.

    Most young people today are not good workers. We have a friend who owned 5 or 6 Taco Bells. He was finally driven to sell because it was so hard to get competent workers and he was tired of the hassle.

    It has been proven that a high minimum wage puts people out of work. If an employer is forced to pay almost $9.00 per hour his solution is going to be employing fewer people. Simple. It’s a math issue. Numbers don’t lie.

    Don is correct – eliminate the minimum wage.

  5. My son will be old enough to work next year (14) and I really hope he’ll be able to find a job. But with so many experienced adults out of work, the competition is extremely tough for inexperienced teens. And I don’t blame employers for hiring older workers over teens. This is another horrible casualty of this administration and our stagnant ecomony that will have reprecussions for years to come.

    1. I don’t know what a Big Mac Combo cost in the States today, but here in Venezuela a young person working in McDonald’s has to work about five hours to earn enough to pay for a Big Mac Combo.

  6. Yes, a higher minimum wage does prevent some companies from hiring more workers.

    Many parents don’t put the same demands on teens as they once did to get out and work.

    I’ve seen a lot of that with parents. In fact, I know several college graduates who will not work — never mind that they’ve been offered decent jobs.

    The sense of entitlement in our nation is out of control!

    1. A while back I read a comment on a blog I don’t recall that said: To many parents spend their time trying to their child’s friend instead of their parent. There may be some truth in that.

      1. This idea that parents (and teachers) have about being friends with children is indeed a huge part of the problem today.

        As a teacher, I don’t aim for friendship. Instead, I aim for respect.

        Now, once my students are all grown up and out of college, then we can be friends and address each other by our first names. Until then, the hierarchy is clear.

        I was brought up that way. Voila! It worked!

      2. I couldn’t agree more. My sons and I became very close friends only when they became adults and were making their own way in life. I’m reminded of that old movie with Sidney Portier (Spelling?) titled “To Sir, With Love.”.

  7. BTW, when it snows around here, no neighborhood teenagers show up to shovel us out — even though this house has a handicapped ramp, and it is obvious that we need assistance. We would gladly pay for that kind of assistance!

    Now, my homeschool students often show up — but no neighborhood teens ever do. They’re inside playing on their computers.

  8. The minimum wage is another case of liberal do-gooderism running smack into reality that says the do-gooderism actually does harm, and the liberals ignore it. Of course if you raise the price on unskilled labor an employer will hire fewer people. (Hint to liberals, businesses only stay in business when they make money.)

    Rent control is another example. The highest costs in the country are the two places with the most vigorous rent control laws, NYC, and San Francisco. Rent control is a perfect way to ensure that buildings become dilapidated and less lower cost but more high priced housing is built.

    These numb-nuts can’t even understand that drilling for domestic oil is a good thing and that the people it will be best for are the poorest of our citizens who will not only have more employment opportunities, but will be able to spend less of their disposable income on energy (like gas for their cars to get to work). They can’t figure out that taxes on businesses, and the cost of regulation is actually a cost born by the consumer, again, raising prices for all which disproportionately affects the pocketbooks to the poor. They still hate Walmart, for goodness sake… The place where the lower classes can buy decent quality goods that enhance their lives at a price they can much more easily afford.

    All of this and more are examples of how the progressives and liberals espouse their love for the poor and the middle class, yet the reality of their policies is harm to the very people who they claim to be protecting.

  9. Well stated. I agree.

    All we need to do is look at Europe, where youth unemployment tops 25%, and that among mostly college graduates.

    High minimum wage, government mandated generous benefit packages for all, and labor laws that make it almost impossible to fire anyone all work against youth trying to break into the job market.

    Liberals are incapable of learning any lessons from the real world

  10. Before minimum wage laws, black teen unemployment was lower than white teen unemployment – since its inception the numbers have drastically reversed, culminating in your 40% number for black teen unemployment.

    Your first job is not supposed to be a huge “moneymaker” – it is designed to give you experience and to establish a work history that you can put on a resume – the pay is secondary in my opinion.

    Minimum wage is only designed to protect people who already have jobs, hence its huge support from the labor unions – they see minimum wage as a bar to competition. If it costs almost as much to hire non-union labor, why not just hire the union?

    The travesty of it all, as can be seen by the crime rate in our urban locations, is the simple question, ‘If teens can’t get a job, what are they gonna do to make money?”

    1. The union connection is worse than you state. In many union contracts the prevailing wage is set at some multiple of minimum wage. The higher the minimum wage, the more the union worker is paid. Once more, Dems using deceit (claiming to be doing something for the poor) that really benefits their union cronies while doing harm to the people they claim to be helping.

  11. My grands are too young to work, 8, 4, 2 and 2, but their Moms and Dads work, and none of them are making minimum wage… The lowest paid of my kids is one of my daughters and she hits $13.50 and hour… She’s single and living with her mother so she’s OK… The rest are WELL above that, and even then, they have to budget for the future…

    I remember when minimum wage was $2.00 an hour and I made $2.10 an hour… I was married, the wife stayed home and we lived pretty well, had dinner OUT at least once a week, things like that..

    It was a different America back then…

  12. It is said, every time someone wants to raise the minimum wage, that it will cost jobs. Anyone who brings that inconvenient fact up is attacked in the media. They pass it anyway, and it costs jobs, and they come around in a few years to do it all over again.

  13. The Center for American Progress?? Isn’t that Podesta’s nest of pinkos? Never trust the claims of any organization that contains a derivative of or the word “progress”.

  14. You know I’m going to swing for the conspiratorial fence here. Throughout history revolutionaries have counted on the discontent of the youth. They need the anger of the youth to help advance their agenda. Unemployment does breed discontent. We also know that teen unemployment increases when the minimum wage is increased and yet the Democrats/progressives are always wanting to increase the minimum wage. Why would they do this if they already know the outcome. I mean with the youth not working it means their hands are idle and you know the saying about idle hands. Food for thought.

    1. I hadn’t thought of that angle, John. Now that you have laid it out, it makes sense. When I think about it more, a minimum wage law has to be unconstitutional. People have a natural right to freely enter into contracts.

  15. I would like to see minimum wage nixed. For some reason we have both unemployed teenagers (and adults) who expect to get minimum wage and illegal immigrants who flaunt labor laws.
    I think what might contribute to this statistic is that many kids in middle class families are over-scheduled even in summer (taking prep courses, AP classes, etc.) and will not take a menial job.

      1. Because they grew up with hovering “helicopter” parents. They were never on their own…
        My daughter is 4, and pretty much all kids her age have some sort of “classes” — music, ballet, gymnastics, etc. Some kids have “classes” every day of the week. They will be over-scheduled through their childhood teens. They are prepped for college from the day they are born, or even before, if mother holds a Mozart CD to her tummy. That Mozart trick is a total scam, no serious childhood development specialist approves, but I know parents who did it.

  16. “Even liberals ought to understand that raising the cost of hiring the young and unskilled while employers are slashing payrolls is loopy economics.”

    Yep, but like you said, they won’t. It’s in liberals nature never to learn from their mistakes or from reality, there could be 50% unemployment and moron liberals will be scratching their asses trying to figure it out whilst calling for greater taxation and higher wages.

    Liberals won’t learn, hopefully the voters will.

  17. Minimum wage laws put a minimum on the price of a product, which in this case is someone’s labor. Think about what would happen if they put a minimum price on cars; say $5,000. This means cars that are worth less than $5,000 would not be sold because people would not be willing to pay for them. Just like the cars would be unsold, so is the labor. Minimum wage laws hurt those it is supposed to help. Here is a funny video explaining how this works: http://www.truthinexile.com/2011/07/19/how-the-minimum-wage-creates-unemployment/

    1. Logycal, thanks for coming by and joining the conversation. The video you linked is priceless. You should know that I am now obligated to steal it form you and use it. It is too good not to share.LOL
      I enjoyed visiting your site, “Truth In Exile”, so much I’m adding you to my blogroll. I hope we see more of you here at Conservatives on Fire.

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