The problem is that not enough people are willing to work minimum wage jobs. But the illegals are willing, so they get hired. A guest worker program ensures a continued supply of them, and lets us tax them as well.
I think the problem is more complex than that. Who can afford to have a place to live and transportation to/from work (even public transportation) on minimum wage? My public transportation pass would cost a minimum wage worker almost a full week’s pay (if they worked 40hrs/wk) ignoring taxes. Agreeably, my pass takes me further than they would really need to go but how close can someone who works at the McDonalds around the corner from you, live without some sort of transportation? A bus pass in the District of Columbia is $15/wk with no train available.
I think the problem is more complex than that.
You’re looking at the problem through biased eyes. If you’re on your own (or are the primary earner) earning minimum wage, you probably live within walking distance of your place of employment—worst case is you have to spring less than an hour’s wages each day for bus/subway transportation. $15/week is two hour’s wages, certainly reachable. So, transportation isn’t really an issue.
You probably share a domicile with several wage earners, so rent is only a few hundred a month. Your taxable income is nil, so there’s no withholding.
It’s doable—that’s supposed of the point to minimum wage laws. Maybe the minimum should be a higher, but that’s a separate argument.
It ain’t the American Dream, but it just might be the Nicaraguan Dream—given their alternatives.
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