This. I hate the argument that, because unskilled labor doesn't require specialized education, that it's worthless and you can basically pay slave wages for it. If it's so worthless, and anyone can do it, why don't the company CEOs or managers go out and do all the labor? Why pay someone at all?
arakor has a small point here in that unskilled labor is paid thus. However, raising minimum wage wouldn't cause unskilled labor to be paid the same as skilled; it would just increase the minimum.
Oh, right, because somebody has to do it. They can whine about how "worthless" the labor is all they want, but it's extremely valuable to the company, because without a menial labor force, they wouldn't be able to make any money at all. The menial workers and salespeople are the face of the company that the public sees. The labor itself may be unskilled, but that's not all you're paying them for --- you're paying them for doing work that you can't do because you have other jobs to attend to, like running the company. If it weren't for those workers, your company would only exist on paper and you wouldn't have a workable business model.
There you go making assumptions again. Let me break it down for you: if I buy ONLY food, shelter, and enough gas to travel straight to and from work and nowhere else, I will spend $700/month on rent, $40-50 a week on gas = $160-200/month, and between $50-100/week on groceries, depending on whether I'm buying just for myself or for the whole family. And that's if I buy shit food, like canned meat and Totino's pizzas and Kraft easy-mac. That's not even the cost of eating food that's actually good for you (with the possible exception of fruit, which is fairly cheap, and rice, which is *really* cheap and easy to make).
Basic necessities meaning what? Most people feel this means a 1500 sq' apartment, cel phones, a land line, internet, 50" flat screen, video games, dvd's, netflix, a new car, going out whenever they want etc. These have become bullshit necessities in the minds of insane people. So unless they have them, they feel slighted.
That means that, if I calculate the conservative estimate of the cost of my OWN living, it's around 700 + 160 + 50 = $910/month. That's the bare minimum; I have no children, and I'm not married. Assuming I were to sever all ties to my family and neither help them nor receive help from them financially, that's how much it would cost to live with the bare essentials. And do you know how much I made, working 35-40 hours a week at a local cafe for 5 years at above minimum wage? I made around $800 a month. I got two raises while I worked there, but because I had to pick up the cost of insurance, my actual take-home pay per month was closer to $760 on average by the time I left.
tl;dr = the barest essential cost of living, was more than what I made. And I made more than minimum wage. If I had made minimum wage, there wouldn't even be a question of whether or not I could be self-sufficient. You keep going on about how fast food jobs are for kids, but that's oversimplifying the economy --- fast-food jobs are generally last-resort jobs that people can take during desperate times, where more lucrative jobs are not available. Most people only work fast food jobs for a year or two tops, usually to make a stepping stone between better jobs. But they still have to survive off of that income for the duration of their employment there.
With that said, I'm also not aware of any evidence that fast food jobs were created with the sole intent of hiring young people to work there; far as I know, that's just an excuse that people use to justify paying slavery wages. Fast food companies are there to make money, and they will hire anyone who will take the job and do a halfway decent job of it. Go into any McDonald's or Burger King, and you're bound to see at least one or two employees (more, depending on where you go) who are not teenagers. There's no rule that you have to be a cheeky young kid to get a job in fast-food.
For all the things that I never did
For all the places I never was
For all the people I never stopped
But there was nothing I could do..."