I thought we wanted teenagers for low skill, transient jobs instead of having to pay a "lifer" adult $15/hr. Which is it? An adult who will take it seriously, but who in turn has higher expenses and will demand higher wages, or a teenager who won't take it seriously and will be happy with whatever wages?Supply and demand. Why would I hire a teenager who's going to go back to school and may not have the professionalism to do a good job when I can get an adult who will take it seriously?
I'll make one...
I always had a summer job, and so did most of my friends (mid to late 80's). Nowadays I'm on a scholarship committee. The applications we get show an almost crazy amount of activities among high school kids aiming for college. If I had done all the things these kids do, I probably wouldn't have had time for a job, either. Sports, school government, tutoring younger kids, church activities, volunteer projects in the community, charity work...these kids can spend hundreds of hours a year on that stuff. It's way, way beyond what anyone I knew did back when I was in school. At least where I live, getting into a good college is harder than ever, so I guess this is what it takes.
I'm sure this means students graduate with even more debt, because no one is saving $$ for college at this rate. The world keeps changing, and not necessarily for the better. I'm glad I grew up when I did, because from my perspective, kids have it way worse now.