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The Cruel Myth of the ‘Gateway Job’

Discussion in 'American Politics' started by stamperben, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. stamperben

    stamperben It's an old family tradition

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    The Cruel Myth of the ‘Gateway Job’
    For conservatives, one of the central arguments against a minimum income or even a minimum wage is the notion that employment is a value in and of itself. Taking a low-paying job, no matter how menial or “dead-end” is supposed to be an exercise in character that builds self-worth and places a person on the ladder toward upward mobility. Therefore, anything that prevents someone from working is contributing to sloth and moral decay.

    Perhaps it was true once. There really was a time in America when an unskilled, menial job could be a gateway to a rewarding career. One of the reasons CEO’s now earn 100’s of times more than their entry-level employees is that menial jobs have become a gateway to nowhere. In a knowledge economy, the on-ramp to post-middle class affluence is located in a place fewer and fewer people can reach.

    Research is starting to demonstrate the nature of the problem. People who take low-wage, menial labor in service industries or fast food at any point in their careers tend to have depressed incomes throughout their lifetimes. If you ever work at Wendy’s, you have roughly a 5% chance of ever earning $70,000 a year. Working at Ford, by contrast, suggests a 50% chance of eventually earning a median income. Lousy jobs are a gateway to lousy jobs.
     
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  2. NightHawkeye

    NightHawkeye Work-in-progress Supporter

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    False dichotomy.

    Is it your belief that having no job is better than a low-paying job? :confused:
     
  3. iluvatar5150

    iluvatar5150 Well-Known Member

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    I don't know why people think this claim is true. It's as if they've either never actually worked at McDonald's (or similar positions) in the last 20 years or if they have, they've never actually made it anywhere in life. I've done both and aside from getting me some spending money in college, the menial jobs didn't teach me anything or offer me any sort of advancement.
     
  4. iluvatar5150

    iluvatar5150 Well-Known Member

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    What false dichotomy? The article is attacking the (bogus) claim that minimum wage jobs are stepping stones to better employment.
     
  5. MachZer0

    MachZer0 Caught Between Barack and a Hard Place

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    And do you now have a better job?
     
  6. morningstar2651

    morningstar2651 Senior Veteran

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    Yes, but only when we consider time as a factor. After a point, it becomes worse. Job hunting is a full-time job that pays well if done well.

    I couldn't afford my monthly expenses on a minimum wage part-time job. I'd also be spending the majority of my day doing the job instead of looking for a better job.

    If I were unemployed, it would be better for me to hold out for a full-time salaried job in 1 month rather than to take a part-time minimum wage job now. I could focus all my efforts to getting a job that could pay my bills.
     
  7. technofox

    technofox Newbie

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    I strongly disagree with that study based upon my wife and my own experience. We both worked minimum wage jobs and are in the upper middle class via our combined income. Both are jobs pay well despite the heavy burden of student debt to get where we Re at today. I think this study is pretty baseless and full of bias or also know as bull excrement.

    On top of that, I learned that I would never want to work in a minimum wage job for the rest of my life. I think I have learned more from dead end jobs than college could have ever taught in regards to work ethic and how hardier can be if you are working poor. It was those kind of jobs that made me realize that we need to help the poor and do more to help those who can't work their way out of poverty due to needing to support a family and meet basic needs. I think people who do not work minimum wage jobs are more often than not, out of touch with reality of the working poor (aka some of those who are born rich, most politicians of our time, and those who were lucky enough not to have to work while going to college).
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014
  8. stamperben

    stamperben It's an old family tradition

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    Sounds like you are in that 5%. Congratulations.
     
  9. morningstar2651

    morningstar2651 Senior Veteran

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    Um...the study doesn't say that's impossible. Have you read the study?
     
  10. iluvatar5150

    iluvatar5150 Well-Known Member

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    Depends on how you define "better." In terms of prestige within an industry, yes. In terms of pay, marginally. Straight pay is about enough to pay my rent; overtime is what pays for anything extra, like going out to eat.

    But even if you consider my current job "better," the menial jobs had nothing to do with me getting it, and in hindsight, I think that if instead of bagging groceries, I'd spent more time in college working on extra projects and socializing/networking with other people working on similar projects, I'd be in a better place now.
     
  11. morningstar2651

    morningstar2651 Senior Veteran

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    Your time is valuable. If you think your time is only worth $7.25 an hour, then by all means get a minimum wage job. If your time is more valuable, then you should spend it wisely.
     
  12. technofox

    technofox Newbie

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    I know it's not impossible, but I question it's methodology and sampling bias. I know several people who worked crap jobs, gone to college, and are now middle class or higher. Their sampling is obviously biased in some way, especially when, according to the US census, 17% of the adult population have advanced degrees in the private sector, more so in the public sector since government jobs require a lot of education. I seriously believe this study is flawed.
     
  13. Ishraqiyun

    Ishraqiyun Fanning the Divine Spark

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    Minimum wage jobs tend to be subsidized by the state. They take up the extra slack allowing the low wage person to survive and feed their family. If conservatives want to cut back on safety net programs to eliminate debt the most obvious way to do that is to phase in a minimum wage increase over time with goal of eventually making such workers self supporting. It's true if you instantly put in place a massive increase it might harm the economy but it has been shown time and time again that moderate increases really don't cause significant harm at all. I even witnessed many of the conservative "experts" admit to this when such discussions come up on TV and radio.

    If the minimum wage was a living wage the fact that they often tend to be dead end jobs in terms of advancement also wouldn't be as big of a deal. The workers can get by and therefore don't need to find some hard to obtain advancement.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014
  14. MachZer0

    MachZer0 Caught Between Barack and a Hard Place

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    The menial job isn't meant to get you a better job. It's meant to give you experience working and in many cases to tide you over while getting an education or while looking for a better job.
     
  15. technofox

    technofox Newbie

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    Bingo. If a fry guy just wants to be a fry guy, then let him do that for the rest of his life, why should we care what career he wants? All I care about is that he can support himself doing his job full time. Not everyone wants a career or college education, some people just want to work and make a living and that's it. They don't desire all of the luxuries of the middle class and just want to live a simple life.
     
  16. MachZer0

    MachZer0 Caught Between Barack and a Hard Place

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    The problem with that is that the government, especially the current regime, is so willing to pay those people who find their time too valuable for $7.25/hour, and pay them for not working.
     
  17. Ishraqiyun

    Ishraqiyun Fanning the Divine Spark

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    The only thing "menial" in some of the minimum wage jobs is the pittance they get in exchange for their hard work. Many minimum wage jobs involve food prep / service and grocery store work. The food industry is a central function of society and the people that provide it are doing an important job. I've worked harder at a Coney Island then I did at the job I obtained a few years later making 18.50 an hour. Had roughly the same amount of training required and stuff to memorize too. At the grocery store I did as well. Had shipping and receiving and all sorts of stuff to learn.
     
  18. technofox

    technofox Newbie

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    But what if those people cannot afford to make a living off of those wages, because they were in formerly higher paying jobs that did pay the bills?

    A living wage is much more likely to get these people back to work then minimum wage. The caveat is that living wage doesn't mean you get to keep your mini-Mcmasion, but allows for you to put a roof over your head, food on the table, clothes on your back, and healthcare.
     
  19. Ishraqiyun

    Ishraqiyun Fanning the Divine Spark

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    Often the state pays people who are working because their employer wont provide a living wage and they haven't been able to find anything better. Many of the people on assistance are actually working. The state subsidizes the cheap skate employers.
     
  20. cow451

    cow451 The Most Interesting Poster in the Forum Supporter

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    Corporate Welfare.
     
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