In 1973, I started working construction for $2.60 an hour. Journeymen were making $5. In 2000 when I was 48 years old, I started a new career. The minimum wage was $5.15. With two years of training my starting salary was $9.60.

There is a ballpark pattern where the unskilled make half of someone with training. My sister, who retired from the same profession in 1983, was envious of my salary. My 2015 salary was five times her 1983 salary, but the monetary buying power was only 35 cents higher.

A minimum wage job is where many learn to hate everything related to menial labor. It can be the greatest motivator for something better. Should someone maintain the status of a low-skilled worker, in time you will be replaced by something or someone that works more cheaply.

The job losses with the computer era will be nothing compared to the low-end job losses in the future. Walmart already has one clerk overseeing eight self-checkout stations. Fast-food restaurants will soon follow with a picture kiosk to place and to pay for your order.

Using past wage patterns, if the minimum wage goes up to $15, newly trained employees will be paid $30 an hour.

The $15 an hour minimum wage is a short-term, political, feel-good appeasement that will only drive prices up until the currency is devalued to the current minimum wage of $7.25.

Donald Winburn

Elk Street