Guest Submission by Gene Brown
I was standing in a pecan orchard, an inadequate stand-in for my convalescing brother-in-law, shepherding the crop from the field to an eventual semi. A young man walked up and informed me that he wanted to take a test at a local community college, and asked permission to take off of work after lunch.
Harvesting pecans is not the most glamorous of vocations. However, because it is entry level employment, it does come with some real-life lessons.
We have all had a first job, whether it be on the working end of a rake, pumping gas at a corner filling station, (I just dated myself, didn’t I) waiting or bussing tables, or swinging a hammer. Perhaps the most important lesson we all learned from those jobs is that there has to be a better way to earn our paychecks, even if it means that we have to first earn a sheep skin to do it.
Entry level employment should also teach us certain work ethics such as punctuality, industriousness, and a commitment to a task. It should also require from us particular deportments such as being amenable, courteous, and sociable.
Entry level, as the term connotes, means a foot in the door with a chance to learn, progress and perhaps find your calling.
The young man in that orchard wanted to qualify for an auto mechanic course. Another young man was using this job to pay for a portion of his final semester of college, and yet another decided that working with his dad laying pipe was better than raking pecans into piles.
I see these instances as a normal and natural progression, and why entry level employment is honorable.
One of the greatest obstacles to creating more of these jobs is the minimum wage.
If a business is in a competitive market, then the price of a completed product or service is already set. To maintain a slim profit margin, the cost of labor and raw materials has to remain fixed. When government requires an arbitrary and artificial minimum wage, then the number of employees vying for the labor funds has to shrink.
One of the most insidious results of a minimum wage is that union tradesmen and journeymen of every stripe will demand that they retain their percentages above entry level employee wages shrinking the labor force still further. This is one of the main reasons we pay new car prices for a vehicle that does not have a commensurate value. There is absolutely no wisdom in having pay raises based on law and not productivity.
I see the call for increasing the minimum wage as a cry of false compassion. It will result in fewer employees, and generally the individuals that need the new skills and lessons will be dealt the cruelest blow. There is nothing compassionate about reducing the labor force and creating more government dependents.
Compassion comes from teaching a young individual productivity and responsibility. We need more entry level employees and less minimum wage!
That’s my nickle