The Dignity of Work: An American Story

Made in America

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence” – Martin Luther King Jr.

The American Dream enables all individuals to strive for more. To achieve better goals and personal standards, one’s work must match that vision. Minimum wage laws were set in place to protect the dignity of workers within the developed world and place fair pay checks in accordance with one’s labor. Since President Kennedy, the minimum wage has gone from $1/hour to $7.25/hour to combat inflation and higher standards of living. Many individuals start at minimum wage jobs and move up to better position jobs as they progress with experience and education. Governor Romney and President Obama agreed that minimum wage should be pitted at $9/hour to bridge the gap between the line of poverty and standard of living levels. While this plan was supported by many citizens and elected officials, fast food chain workers are left wanting even more.

Employees at major fast food chains have been going on strike to display discontent with the current national minimum wage standard. These fast food workers are arguing for a $15/hour national minimum wage and more rights to unionise. Finding a job is hard enough in the current economic situation, thus, it is hard to see the rationale behind these striking workers. Currently, national employment sits at 7.3% where many in the middle class are having trouble finding any source of income. Jobs and wages must be set up in balance with the level of sophistication that respective form of work takes. Many of the job positions in the fast food industry do not require high levels of skill, however, provide a sphere to understand the commitment required to become successful in the private sector. Their are many alternatives to the current minimum wage standard and a strong solution would to leave it state governments to adjust their minimum wage to their respective economy.

Many factors affect an individual’s ability to keep their hard earned pay checks. These barriers come in the form of the federal government and overly powerful unions. Here are some solutions that can assist individuals to keep their source of income:

  1. Simplify the federal tax code and eliminate income tax
  2. Pass Right-to-Work legislation across all states and allow for employees to opt-in or out of unions
  3. Let states create their own level of minimum wage laws based on their standard of living and line of poverty
  4. Encourage employers to invest in benefit programs
  5. Provide incentives (tax breaks and to companies to employ more workers as they franchise out

It is clear that minimum wage laws are placed to recognize the dignity of work, however, it cannot be taken to the levels as the fast food workers and Senator Warren suggest. Individuals must have the ability to keep their money and invest it on themselves and their family. The fundamental problem in America is not wages, it is the accessibility of blue collar jobs. Capitalism is meant to stay within America and it the federal government should do all it can to bring back multinational companies and make them American once again. The United States cannot be a knowledge or white collar society as that has been squeezing the middle class into the welfare state and making foreign markets even stronger. American workers need to be put first and their opportunities must be plentiful, thus, elected officials should work on domestic job plans instead of more and more foreign trade agreements.

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