A college degree doesn’t guarantee anyone a big paycheck anymore.
About 284,000 Americans with college degrees were working minimum wage jobs last year, according to the Wall Street Journal. That’s 70 percent more college grads working for the minimum wage than 10 years ago. Still, the number is down from its 2010 high of 327,000.
As unemployment skyrocketed during the economic downturn, job opportunities for everyone -- including college graduates -- narrowed and low-wage work began to replace steady middle-class jobs. Three-fifths of the jobs lost during the recession paid middle-income wages, while the same share of the jobs created during the recovery are low-wage work, according to an August study from the National Employment Law Project.
Are you a college grad with student loan debt working a minimum wage job? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The result: Nearly half of the college graduates in the class of 2010 are working in jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree and 38 percent have jobs that don’t even require a high school diploma, according to a January report from the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. The report called into question whether too much public money is being spent on providing students with degrees that make them overqualified for the only jobs that are available.
But it’s not only the government shouldering the cost of a college degree. Household student loan debt soared to a record in 2010, with nearly one in five American households burdened with college debt. And with the weak job market, recent graduates are going to have an increasingly tough time paying that debt off. The median wage for those with a bachelor’s degree is down from a decade ago, according to the Associated Press.
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Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/herman-cain-minimum-wage_n_1035157.html">criticized the commerce clause</a> for creating minimum wage laws in his book "Fed Up! Our Fight To America From Washington."
Though Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain never outright advocated abolishing the minimum wage, he did argue that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/herman-cain-minimum-wage_n_1035157.html">minimum wage laws prevent workers</a> at the margins from getting their first jobs. Cain was an executive in the restaurant industry, which is one of the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/19/low-wage-workers-_n_1687271.html">largest employers of low-wage workers.</a>
Alaska Tea Party Senate Candidate Joe Miller
When he was running for Senate in 2010, Joe Miller, a Republican Senate candidate, <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/story?id=11790828">told ABC News</a> that "there should not be" a federal minimum wage.
Famed libertarian and former Republican Congressman and presidential candidate said during a presidential debate in 2011 that the country <a href="http://www.rawstory.com/rawreplay/2011/09/ron-paul-abolish-minimum-wage-to-help-poor-people/">would "absolutely" be better off</a> if the minimum wage was abolished because "it would help the poor people."
Frequent Fox guest Peter Schiff claimed in September 2011 that the minimum wage was "one of the most anti-poor people" rules in the country, <a href="http://mediamatters.org/research/2011/09/22/fox-hosts-peter-schiff-to-attack-minimum-wage/183198">according to Media Matters</a>.
Republican West Virginia Senate Candidate John Raese
When he was running for Senate in 2008, West Virginia Republican John Raese called the federally mandated minimum wage "an archaic system that has never worked," <a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1010/43474.html">according to Politico</a>.
Minnesota Congresswoman and one-time Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann said in June 2011 that <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/michele-bachmanns-radical-position-on-minimum-wage/2011/03/03/AGyzgXpH_blog.html">she supports abolishing the minimum wage</a>.
Las Vegas Chamber Of Commerce
A spokesperson for the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce argued in favor of a 2011 proposal to repeal Nevada's minimum wage, saying that a minimum wage doesn't have to be locked into the Constitution, <a href="http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/feb/16/bill-seeks-repeal-nevadas-825-minimum-wage/">according to the Las Vegas Sun</a>.
Republican Kentucky Senator Rand Paul said in 2010 that while Congress has the right to mandate a minimum wage, he's not sure it's such a good idea. "I think the question you have to ask is whether or not when you set the minimum wage it may cause unemployment, the son of Libertarian <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2010/10/other-gop-candidates-leery-of-minimum-wage/">Ron Paul said, according to ABC News</a>.
The former Federal Reserve Chairman said at a congressional hearing in 2001 that he would get rid of the minimum wage if he had the power, <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB995487254182218412.html">according to a Wall Street Journal report</a> at the time. "I'm not in favor of cutting anybody's earnings or preventing them from rising, but I am against them losing their jobs because of artificial government intervention, which is essentially what the minimum wage is," he said.
The New York Times In 1987
In <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/15/new-york-times-minimum-wage_n_2696194.html?utm_hp_ref=business">a 1987 editorial</a>, the New York Times argued for eliminating the minimum wage saying that it's "an idea whose time has passed."