The Wage Gap

09/10/2013 05:10 pm ET | Updated Nov 10, 2013

Recently, fast food workers have taken to the streets to express their dissent against the minimum wage contrasted with the rising cost of living due to inflation. They are appalled that the legislative body is slow to act upon this matter. Regardless of obstacles, some legislators sympathize with the workers and hope to take matters into their own hands (e.g. Rep. John Delaney D-MD).

For many multinational corporations, the debate of minimum wage should have a clear answer. They argue that not only does a higher stipend cut into corporate profits, but it also forces local managers to lay off more people than they may want to. For example, if a store has 50 employees at one time making 7.25 an hour, the store would have to spend $362.5/hr. on wages alone. However, if the minimum wage rose to the $15/hr. workers are looking for, the store would have to spend $750/hr. on wages. The $400 difference may not seem like much for multinational corporations but it adds up regardless. And sometimes, it's the unwritten line between what small business owners and entrepreneurs can and cannot afford.

To the millions of workers working on the subsistence salary of $7.25/hour, it is quite discouraging to hear that many of these people have a college education. After the stock market crash of 07-08, the millions who were left jobless still had to pay the bill. So, forgoing their pride and thinking about their cash-strapped family, they take whatever job they can.

In several surveys, it has been shown that the increase from $7.25/hr. to even $10/hr. can mean only a few billion dollars for the giant of a company, McDonald's. They reaped in a bit more than $27 billion just last year! These wage increases are not punishments for McDonald's prosperity. Rather, they help hard working human beings to get by. It may only be a few dollars to the rich, but it makes all the difference.

I am a 21st century teenager who went out searching for a minimum wage summer job as a source of supplemental income and gas money. Only after being turned down for two years was I accepted to my local fast food franchise. Working there, undoubtedly, is hard and strenuous labor. Often I jokingly explain to my friends that although this job pays less and requires much more physical exertion than my tutoring job, this job is nevertheless a blessing I sought out for several years before I received it.

This "blue-collar" job is in no way a gimmick to "get-rich-quick." And like the employees of decades earlier, I am only minimally compensated. And I understand that this amount is not nearly enough to get by on, no matter what McDonald's tries to tell you in their "$0 heating" scenario. The past may have allowed people to buy a sandwich for a dime. But you can be assured that nobody sells a sandwich for a dime nowadays. The low salary is out of touch with societal standards and will continue to if legislators do not act.

The income of the working class is directly proportional to economic prosperity for the nation. If there is a salary increase, you can be sure that more spending would occur in even the lowest sector. You want a more prosperous economy? Stop hoping the money will trickle down because companies want more and more profits. Start stimulating the economy from the bottom up. What I hope is that legislators will walk a mile in the torn-down shoes of minimum wage workers to the capitol building and pass a bill for the president to sign.

What do you think about the minimum wage? Please comment your thoughts or tweet at me! @thetli8