Meet Claudine McKenzi, a woman who has been working at Walmart for 17 years. McKenzi started her work at the company as a part-time sales clerk trying to provide a good living for her son, she was pregnant at the time she was hired. Now, McKenzi is a store manager, has another child, a bachelors degree and is working on her master's degree, all thanks to the opportunities Walmart has provided her as a reward for her hard work.
In a video recently released by the National Retail Federation McKenzi details her journey and expresses her gratitude to the company for its support of not just her work, but of her family and personal education goals.
During President Obama's State of the Union Address tonight we will no doubt hear a whole lot about how we need to increase the federal minimum wage from 7.25 to $10.10. The President will argue an increase is necessary to help workers earn a better living and to pull them out of poverty. The reality is, this policy change will have the opposite effect.
People like McKenzi are a perfect example of who would be hurt the most by the President’s misguided policies. A higher minimum wage will lead to fewer new jobs and in return, fewer success stories like McKenzi's. Hard work, determination and employers who offer rewards in return for dedication and perseverance allow people like McKenzi to turn a part-time clerk job into a lifelong career, rather than keeping people stuck in dead end jobs, not to mention in poverty. The best and most efficient way to earn a "living wage" is through economic opportunity, not through federal regulations that limit the job opportunities for the people who need them most.