Saturday, May 9, 2015
A (too long) cranky opinion for
Cranky Opinion Saturday
The following is the opinion of a cranky old man with little expertise on the subject opined. Opposing opinions are welcome, but please, no name calling…that means you, you big stupid head!
Several states are looking to raise the minimum wage, the latest being New York State. Currently minimum wage is around 7-9 dollars an hour depending on the State. The popular number bandied about is to raise the wage to $15 an hour.
The proponents for increasing the minimum wage claim no family can live on today’s minimum wage. That is difficult to dispute. In the northeast, I don’t think $15 an hour would translate into a living wage.
There are several arguments against raising the minimum wage. It will cause inflation wiping out any gains for low wage earners. It will raise unemployment. Finally, minimum wage entry level jobs historically were never expected to be a living wage for a family of four; they are positions for teens and secondary income.
All of the above con arguments are easily trumped by interviews with hard working people struggling to make ends meet. Images of hungry children make any warnings of raising the minimum wage seem (a favorite liberal term) Draconian.
I recently had a discussion with a restaurant worker who started working at minimum wage several years ago. He has worked his butt off, earned several promotions and raises, and now earns almost $15 an hour.
I asked him how he would feel if the minimum wage was suddenly raised to $15 an hour. How would he feel if after working hard for several years to double his salary he now was earning minimum wage, the same as the pimply faced kid who was just hired to mop the floor? He thought a while and then declared,
“I wouldn’t like it! I think I would demand a raise.”
I wonder, though, would he get that raise? It would not be mandated. Does raising the minimum wage raise every ones wage? If it does, it accomplishes nothing but higher prices and probably unemployment. If it doesn’t, there will be hard feelings among workers. Supervisors making the same salary as new hires will not be happy!
How is a family to survive on a minimum wage? Years ago, my ex-mother-in-law raised her family by working two low wage jobs. She worked seventy hours a week to make ends meet. So that is one answer, work harder, and work longer. Of course those long hours killed my ex-mil. She scrimped on health care and did not make it to her expected life span. We should be able to do better than that.
One goal we should have in this country is for everyone to have a job. No one should live in poverty. Everyone should have access to healthcare. No child should go to bed hungry. I do not believe anyone would not want this for all our citizens.
The question is how do we get there, or as close to there as possible? The simple answer, the easy answer, is just mandate it. Make it the law. Mandate health care, raise minimum wages to whatever it takes, hand out food stamps; just make poverty illegal.
Unfortunately the simple answer is seldom the correct answer. If it was it would be implemented.
So back to minimum wage, should we raise it? How high? Is raising it going to cause inflation? Inflation will cripple our older citizens trying to get by on Social Security. Social Security is indexed to inflation, but the Social Security fund is near bankruptcy.
Hell, I don’t have an answer, but I do know it is not as simple as many would have you believe.
Personally I think wages should be set primarily by supply and demand. Government should do whatever it can to encourage a healthy economy which requires a greater supply of workers, and workers will be able to demand higher wages to fill new created jobs.
Government needs to make training for higher paying, in demand jobs available through incentives to business or subsidized schools, and workers need to see a light at the end of the tunnel that gives them the incentive to choose hard work over looking for a handout. Then we still need a safety net for those that just do not have the means to survive without a little help.
I’m not sure any of this is completely possible, but I’m sure we can do better than we do now.
Increasing government handouts does not seem to work, raising the minimum wage is not the answer, telling people to just pull themselves up by their bootstraps is not productive.
Maybe the answer is a combination of all of the above. Finding the right combination is the tricky part.
One goal we have in this country is for everyone to have a job. No one should live in poverty. Everyone should have access to healthcare. No child should go to bed hungry.
Liberals want this; conservatives want this; if only we would stop banging political heads and work together for the right combination we could maybe get closer to our common goal.
Oh, and as to minimum wage…go ahead and raise it, I don’t think it will accomplish much, but it might make people feel like we are doing something until we can work together for real change.
The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.