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  • Writer's pictureJay Hall

Minimum Wage Should NOT Be $15/Hour in Winnipeg in 2019

I often say I'm neither Liberal (L) or Conservative (C) and people always ask me which of my beliefs land on the C-side. Well, I'm pro-gun (with certain safe guards, and by that I mean every gun should require a thumbprint scanner), pro-smaller Government, and personal responsibility.

That last one may not seem like a C-value but in recent years it has become a cornerstone of C-debate. While Bernie Sanders promises to find magical money in the States, Justin Trudeau found a pot of gold in Canada. L-types complain that previous generations ruined the world for them, and to a point that's true, but the argument can be made that every generation before the last ruined it for the next. Millennials just have a lot more data to go off of than their ancestors so there is a great deal of responsibility felt.

Think about it:

  • My parent's generation created a dead, cubicle lifestyle with 2 weeks vacation. Many work till they die and don't really enjoy life.

  • My grandparent's generation was kinda gross. The men openly cheated, the women were just starting to realize their rights under oppressive thumbs, and many of those that made it took advantage of people and the environment.

  • The generation before that were known for animal abuses, slavery, and causing great harm to their loved one's.

  • The generation before them brought us World Wars.

  • The generation before them gave birth to scams and stealing at a mass level, and really founded the root of hate based on colour, sexual orientation, and religious views.

So, why talk about all of this in a blog about minimum wage? I mention it because we live in a world of L-types wanting to skip steps in the process of evolution in the workplace while placing blame on so many others for their situation. To be clear, I'm not saying that the others are blameless. I'm just saying that we would be better off if we learned from the past then moved on. But, at the root of the issue for millennials is entitlement.

Case in point, this story:

I find the subject of $15 minimum wage interesting. It’s kinda like the ride sharing debate. 

Here's a note for the activists; there is zero chance this government gives $15 minimum wage to anyone. It just won’t happen. The Province is broke, essential services are being cut, and just like every other political party for some reason despite all of this, they just dropped the PST by 1%. Oh right, I remember why ... because it buys them votes. Maybe it was this decision that gave the activists in the above story some hope.

That's a side note though. The real crux of this story is if you have no dependents, it is still quite easy to live in Manitoba on the current minimum wage of $11.35/hour. You have to sacrifice the latest iPhone, having a really nice place, a big TV, and shopping every weekend, but you can still live with some comforts while you work your way up the ladder of education or experience. 

So here you go: my Conservative side is showing for all of those that say I'm too Liberal on my podcast. Grant $15 today, then it’ll just be a request for $20 tomorrow. Humans use escalation as a tool, and this is just fact.

There's proof in the numbers that you can live on $11.35/hour with no dependents in Winnipeg, too:

  • $11.35/hour = $454/week. That gives you about $325/week or $1300/month to spend.

  • Living in Manitoba Housing, you give up 20% to rent, which is $260/month. You can also find roommates in a house and live for that in many neighbourhoods.

  • If you keep groceries to $100/week, you'll have $660 to live off of.

  • $100 for a bus pass brings you to $550 remaining per month.

  • Let's set aside $100/month for incidentals, bringing you to $500.

  • Internet costs on average about $50, a phone plan about $60, and you can get an old model of phone for free. So you have $390 left.

  • Use that $390 for work clothes, online courses, and other NEEDS. There's actually an entire education system built around piece courses. Sure, it's not as impressive on a resume, but here's a nice life hack for you. List the education you've received by skill. In the interview you'll be asked about it and this is your chance to shine with knowledge. The school you went to will matter less.

I know, you're thinking to yourself, "that's a shitty life". Well, it's not. That's what life is supposed to look like on minimum wage. A shitty life is not having any of that and living on the streets.

Misunderstandings Caused by Entitlement

People bitched about ride sharing drivers not making enough money on the job to support themselves, however it was never meant to be a primary source of income. Ride sharing is meant to be supplemental income. You add that for 4 or 5 hours on the weekend with a very professional, fun, and unique hook to your car and suddenly you have more money to add to that $390 pot.

Minimum wage is just as misunderstood. The figure is in place as a reminder to both the employer and the employee. The employer knows that there are risks in hiring someone for minimum wage. At minimum wage (generally speaking) an employee has no to very little experience and/or education in the field. That employee requires nurturing, training, and in many cases makes costly mistakes. The employer is paying more than minimum wage in that they are investing time in this person in hopes they will blossom as an employee. The risk for the employee is in trusting the employer will reward them when they excel and eventually minimum wage will be a distant memory on the road to success—however that is defined by the individual.

I know, the scenario I'm spelling out feels quite underwhelming. That's because it is, and that's by design. Use that Manitoba Housing home, that bus pass, and that small grocery bill to motivate you out of minimum wage and into a lifestyle that you are proud of. Many have done it before you, and many will do it after. What's your excuse?

Now, of course there are exceptions to this rule, and that's where the government needs to step up. Mental health issues need to be addressed through free counselling. Fair workplace practices need civic administrators. Since we can't force people to have babies when they are financially ready, then we need to provide some help to those that do and can't afford it, but even in many of those cases you have 2 incomes since we humans love to pair up. Logically, women just rolled their eyes because of the many dead beat dads out there. That's where the community needs to step up and shame the sack of shit that won't own up to his responsibilities. You have a kid? Under the law you should have to contribute 50% of the expenses. Be a man, you fucking Jabroni.

Look, I get it. Life sucks when you're struggling, but raising the minimum wage isn't the magic bullet to solve life's problems. Support programs will help, and drive to be better are the only real solutions. The current system of minimum reward works for the motivated amongst us.

You can't skip a step and proceed directly to Go with $200! If you don't come from a family with money, yes it sucks that you start behind those that do, but bitching about it won't get you anywhere. Suddenly 10 years will go by in a flash and you'll still be stuck. Roll up those sleeves on your $15 Walmart shirts and put in the work. Wanna know how I'm sure this works?

  • I worked at Subway and Safeway on graveyard shifts for minimum wage.

  • I lived in Manitoba Housing.

  • I had the bus pass.

  • I went hungry some nights.

  • I once lived in my car until I could get enough money to get a place.

  • I had that shitty flip phone.

  • I even sat in cafes for as much as 10 hours straight using free internet on the months I spent too much money on DJ gear and couldn't afford my internet.

Now, I run a successful company and employ several people. I live in the exact place that I want, I vacation, I invest, I drive a nice car, I eat whatever I want, and I save. This after getting kicked in the teeth by life many times. We're talking losing it all, a broken back, character assassination, and other gross hardships. I'm not completely where I want to be but that's just a matter of hard work.

You don't need $15/hour ... you need a plan to rise above $11.35/hour! Look for resources to make that happen. Look today! Starting tomorrow isn't going to get you anywhere. Suddenly, 10 years later you'll be living the life you know you deserve if you just put in the work and follow your natural aptitudes. I believe in you ... now go make your mark!


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