The End of an Era

By: Kaycie Adams

Photo credits to

With minimum wage rising, the question is raised on how the economy is being changed in California.

    Imagine a world where sugar cost four cents a pound, eggs were fourteen cents a pound, and coffee was fifteen cents a pound.

   These weird, low prices you never see, (not even for a single piece of Party City candy) were the reality 100 years ago.

    Imagining these prices today seems impossible, right? The average box of sugar now costs $1.69 per pound.

    Minimum wage is rising, and its due to the economic situation surrounding California. The cost of living has increased dramatically recently, and as the minimum wage continues to rise towards fifteen dollars an hour, this weird utopia seems more and more likely.

    On January 1st, 2019, a company with 25 workers or less increases from $10.50 to $11. Companies with over twenty five workers now pay employees a minimum of $12 per hour.

    One might see this as an incredible thing, to have a higher minimum wage. However, if you look at the statistics over the years, the bigger picture of a rising wage is a scary thought.

    1n 1919, a cook earned only 60 dollars a month. Based on inflation rates, that would be about $870.89 a month today.

    As high schoolers, that seems like a great amount of money. But in the real world, this number is nowhere near enough to be able to afford anything.

    A studio apartment in Los Angeles costs a minimum of $1,600 a month. Between food, transportation expenses, bills, and other living expenses, that is over $2,000 a month. This $870.89 is nowhere near close enough.

    Many years ago, two adults could put their savings together and buy a house and pay the mortgage on it before the kids went to college and could pay for said college.

    But this isn’t the 80’s anymore. Raising minimum wage is a necessary evil that comes with a rising inflation rate on goods and services.

    Being able to afford basic necessities is something we all deserve. There is no one wage to give everyone, when an apartment’s rent in Los Angeles is the same as a monthly mortgage on a 4 bedroom house in Texas.

    Understandably, as California high school students, buying a 4 bedroom in Texas isn’t high on our list of priorities right now. But something that is a priority to us is college.

    The raising of minimum wage affects us in all parts of daily life, including outside of work. One seen example of this is how despite wages rising, business must raises their prices in order to keep up with the increase in paychecks.

    Senior at Mission Viejo High School Emily Robinson comments that “I’m kinda in the middle, I’m happy I get paid more but prices go up. So technically we aren’t getting paid more”.

    So even though you make an extra few dollars every paycheck, this money isn’t yours to invest, save, or even use on a rainy day. It slowly goes back into your everyday purchases.

    Yes, minimum raise rising sounds like a good thing. A great thing almost. But in the end, it doesn’t affect us as greatly as we would hope.


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