Wage Wars

At the age of fourteen my first real job was that of doorman at a small theatre in South Texas. I remember I had to wear a suit and tie, show up half an hour before the first feature and, above all, treat the customer with respect and a smile. In return I was paid $2.25 for a six hour shift (plus all the soda and popcorn I could eat, so I was actually netting about $5 an hour) and off duty, I could watch the movies free.

More important than the perks and the pay, I received an education. I learned how to handle customers and how to hold a job. I learned punctuality and grooming. How to be assertive but polite. Eventually I learned not to drink Pepsi from a cardboard popcorn box.

I was proud of my job, and my parents were proud of me. I had the respect of my peers. I had some pocket cash. I had Pepsi stains on my shoes. It never once occurred to me I was being exploited because I was not making a 'living' wage.

Sadly, we don't see Ushers or Doormen in the theatres today. No attendants at the self service pumps. It seems some DC do-gooders decided it was better not to work at all than work for less than it takes to support a family. The minimum wage laws have relegated to extinction these and other jobs along with the learning experience and other non-wage opportunities they represented. Our government is foolishly trying to repeal the forces of nature - market forces. No employer can pay his employee more than a job is worth. And each time the artificial wage is hiked, more menial jobs fall prey to the liberal do-gooders in Congress.

Please be sure to remember them in November.

Jack McNally

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