Watching the documentary about the cook working for $10.00 an hour really opened my eyes to how hard it is for some Americans. Several people, that do in fact work hard, work for less than 10.00 an hour. With minimum wage currently at 7.25 an hour, it is safe to assume that several people work for that. While in college, I have worked some jobs here and there for minimum wage, and I had the mindset that it would be like working for little to no money. But once the pay checks started coming in, I was wrong. I thought this isn’t so bad, I could survive off this. I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about with people saying the “living wage” was around $11 and something. I kept thinking I could easily survive off of $8.00 an hour if I had too.
The fact of the matter was until seeing this documentary, I was blind. Granted I still do believe that I could survive off of minimum wage if I had to, but survive is all I could do. For some reason, blame it on my youth I guess, I had completely forgot about retirement. It wasn’t until I seen someone older working day after day for minimum wage while not receiving retirement benefits that it hit me. Sure I could survive on minimum wage, but when I hit retirement age, and got old enough I couldn’t work anymore, I would be in the crapper.
It is kind of sad that America, the land of opportunity, doesn’t have a better system in place than this. The South, particularly, is known for selling its labor for cheap. When in the end, we are all humans; it would seem to me that we would take better care of each other than we currently do. We care more about having a little extra money in our pocket than we do if our neighbor can barely afford to eat. The companies will do everything in their power to keep labor costs at a minimum. If labor in the U.S. gets too expensive, they will simply move overseas to another country where than an exploit its workers for cheap labor. This cause labor wages to stay low in the U.S. For example, if a group of workers go on strike for higher paying wages, the companies will simply go out and hire minorities for an even lower wage. Then once the previous workers start going hungry, they will bring them back for sometimes an even lower wage than they were getting paid when they went on strike, this is very common in the south, where there are high populations of minorities willing to work for cheap.
The “simple” solution to this would be to raise minimum wage. However, this could potentially devastate the south. The southern economy operates on selling its cheap labor. If minimum wage was raised, this could eliminate one of the incentives to companies staying in the south. It could and probably would have negative effects on America in general as even more companies would move overseas. Labor is already cheaper overseas, if America raised its minimum wage, it would only push more companies to move their factories overseas. It is going to take both the American corporations and American people to come together to agree to stay operating in the U.S. while also paying its employees a fair wage. Until this happens, things will only get worse.