Column: Workers’ income should be tied to individual productivity


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t has been almost 30 years since I started my first paid job flipping burgers at Burger King. I started out making minimum wage and was happy to have the opportunity. Despite working on-and-off at that Burger King for almost three years, one thing I did not plan to do was make a career out of it.

One of the more bizarre arguments for raising the minimum wage is that people can and should make a career of it. Encouraging large segments of our workforce to spend their careers as fast-food workers is a disservice to both them and our economy. Instead, policymakers should be focused on increasing the productivity of workers, which is what ultimately drives wage increases.

Let’s first clear up some myths about who exactly works at the minimum wage. According to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over half of minimum wage workers are under the age of 25. In fact, only 3 percent of workers over 25 earn at or below the minimum wage. Two-thirds of minimum wage workers only work part-time.

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