Pro: $15 per hour: Fair or un-fairy tale?

Denise White

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Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law this month raising California’s mandatory minimum wage to $15 by 2022.

“Economically, (raising) minimum wages may not make sense,” he said at the signing. “Morally and socially and politically, (minimum wages) make every sense because it binds the community together and makes sure that parents can take care of their kids in a much more satisfactory way.”

The new law is seen as an effort to head off a ballot measure that would have asked voters to raise wages if the Legislature had not acted. The measure, led by a labor coalition called Lift Up California, gathered the 400,000 signatures neeeded to qualify for the November ballot. It would have raised wages to $15 by 2021.

Instead, the new law will raise the statewide minimum to $10.50 on Jan. 1 for businesses with 26 or more workers, the first of several gradual increases to $15 by 2022, with future raises tied to inflation. The new law gives smaller businesses a break. They will have an extra year to phase in each increase.

When fully implemented, a full-time minimum-wage worker would see annual earnings increase to $30,000 from $20,000 today.

As a college student who currently lives at home and works 30-plus hours, I believe that this raise is necessary.

Some may argue that many of these jobs, especially at fast-food places, are start-up jobs and those who rely on them shouldn’t be entitled to such a high minimum wage. But what about those who happen to have kids at a young age? Or what about those who are trying to pay for school?

As a 24-year-old community college student who recently got accepted to San Diego State University, and also coaches on the side, I am not able to work a 9-to-5 job. Currently, I work at Jersey Mike’s Subs because they are super flexible with my schedule.

I am not alone. Some 50 percent of students at City College work less than 40 hours and 16 percent work more than 40. We’re all trying to make ends meet by working and trying to get an education that will help us get ahead.

Moving to another state or city where it’s cheaper isn’t necessarily a better solution for those who don’t even have enough money to support their family. I believe everyone should be given the opportunity to make enough to live on and the government should be the one making sure that Americans don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck.

The people who were fighting for the $15 minimum wage weren’t 17-year-old kids who feel entitled to more money. They are families fighting to survive. The reason that people still work at starter jobs is because they are most likely uneducated or don’t have the right experience to move up and find better jobs.

No one is feeling entitled here or settling for less. America was created on opportunities and we should be given those minimum opportunities for those struggling.

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