By: Floyd Rideau Jr., Aria Eliacin, And Unique Edwards
The minimum wage for working Floridians is $8.46. This is simply not enough for high school students who have to pay bills to help their households. This bare minimum wage won’t even make a slight dent in the bills they have to pay, nor will it help them take care of themselves. The amount needs to be raised to make these students’ lives easier. A real, living wage would encourage young students to get jobs and develop life skills like discipline and financial responsibility.
Discipline and a sense of responsibility are traits a high school student must cultivate before going out into the world. This is a must for college and especially for an entry-level job. But the measly wages offered to teenagers anxious to enter adulthood becomes an excuse for students not to get jobs.
“I need a new job. This is not enough!”, said Aria Eliacin, an 11th grader at Boyd Anderson High School. Eliacin explained that the current rates are not sufficient enough for young people like her to become independent adults.
If, at the working age of 16, we’d be able to start a job for even $10 an hour, that would benefit society as a whole. It would encourage students to learn financial literacy at a young age, including skills like how to budget for expenses.
Ms. Eliacin added, “Other states have a way higher minimum wage rate and I wish Florida would do the same, so I could actually start saving up and finally buy my own car.” Examples include New York ($10.40), Washington D.C. ($13.25) and California ($11.00). In Florida, the low minimum wage rate is affecting students’ home lives – burdening hard-working parents and guardians who need their working-age children to start taking the load off a bit, pay for their own cell phones, require less chauffering, etc.. If the rate were a tad bit higher, soon-to-be adults like Eliacin would be able to own a car and truly start being independent.
A pathetic $8.46 an hour is simply not enough for the state’s upcoming generation of adults to become even slightly self-sufficient and learn what their guardians deal with on an everyday basis pertaining income. Raising the rate would allow Florida’s working-age youth to take responsibility for earning and saving the money to buy the things they want and need, and help their families. If Florida does not raise minimum wage, then it is effectively hampering the social and economic development of the new generation, thus adversely affecting the future of the state.
An increase in the minimum wage raises the standard of living for distressed workers. Rising minimum wage lifts up the lowest earning among us and gives them more resources to build a better life. Nobody should live in poverty, especially someone who works hard for their money. For young people, $8.46/hr won’t even cover expenses related to school activities our guardians need help paying for. If Gov. Ron De Santis wants Florida to be the state where young people can climb up the economic ladder, he needs to do better.