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article imageOp-Ed: Opponents of minimum wage need to examine reality

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By Stan Rezaee     Aug 11, 2013 in Personal Finance
The minimum wage debate has become a hot-topic debate in the wake of a series of strikes by workers in the fast-food and retail industries.
Digital Journal and other media outlets have covered the strikes while readers could find arguments for and against raising the minimum wage. After reading the arguments, scroll down to the comments to see the real debate between readers.
However too often you're going to read remarks like "These are low skilled jobs" or "You're only worth your skill set" along with "If you don't like the pay then find a new job" or something sarcastic like "Lets raise the minimum wage to $100 an hour."
Such remarks have become common by those who oppose raising the minimum wage and has led to heated arguments.
This outlook would have had merit at a time when the middle class was strong and the manufacturing industry was the backbone of America. Today the middle class is shrinking while most manufacturing jobs have been outsourced, leaving only a few good opportunities and an abundance of dead-end jobs.
First, one needs to get over the perception that a person working in fast food is a teenager with a summer job or some deadbeat in need of pot money. The Center for Economic and Policy Research had reported that the average fast food worker is an individual between the ages of 25 and 51, struggling to survive with only a high school diploma. This is the same group that would've had a fulfilling career in the manufacturing industry a decade ago.
Yet the struggles of surviving on minimum wage are not just limited to those with only a high school diploma. The Wall Street Journal reported back in March that an estimated 284,000 college grads were working in a minimum-wage job. If you're in college or just graduated then you know what I'm talking about.
So what happened to those high paying jobs that were promised if you earned a college degree?
According to the National Employment Law Project, the majority of jobs lost during the recession were middle-waged. Meanwhile, the food service and retail industries are responsible for 43 percent of jobs created during the recovery.
The sad truth is that the service industry has replaced the manufacturing industry while the middle class slowly withers away. Nobody is contributing to the discussion by sitting on a high horse and looking down on the economically disenfranchised.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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More about Minimum wage, labor strike, fast food workers strike, Economy, Job losses
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