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Saturday, May 9, 2015

MINIMUM WAGE


MINIMUM WAGE
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.

19 comments:

  1. I'd like to see minimum wage higher--but maybe not to $15 yet. I think there is something to be said about working harder and longer to earn that money. On the other hand, NO ONE can make a living off the current wages.There has to be some sort of compromise, but how the government will reach it, I have no clue…..

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  2. It's hard to know what does work, but handouts don't -- they make people dependent, not independent, which is the goal.

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  3. until we can work together for real change....
    And therein lies the rub. There will be no real change until we all realize the purpose of mankind cannot be to amass the wealth of the world in the pocket books of a small oligarchy.

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  4. i think $15 is too steep - as you said, many others working between the scale of current min. wage and $15 would be swept up into that. i don't know the answer to any of our troubles, most of all the politicians.

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  5. I agree the minimum wage is probably too low, but the trick is to find that right number that will help the most people (to support their families), yet cause the least harm (higher unemployment) to others. It's tricky. Personally, I like your idea of training people on the new technologies that will lead to better paying jobs. The issue there is people working long hours to make up for skimpy wages and still care for their families don't have time to go to school. We need to make it possible for them to go full time, accelerated classes even, by giving them an adequate stipend for a while. Not permanently...we don't need any more professional students.

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  6. So, we're going to pay folks $15.00 and hour to folks that can't even make change. All this will do is automate their positions. It's already happening in Europe. We've become a welfare country. Those jobs we once had are now in other countries. Much of the service industry in our area are manned with illegals. This is a huge problem to tackle. I think it's too late for the most part in many parts of this country.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  7. I think you missed a critical component of the problem - taxes. "The government" only has as much money as people are willing to pay in taxes. People who can afford it, that is. See Joanne's comment above.

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  8. I live in Washington state near the border of god-forsaken Oregon and I will tell you the minimum wage nearly $10.00 here and in seattle some businesses pay nearly $15.00 per hour, plus benefits, but still one cannot buy a home built in the 40's on $15.00 an hour, there really isn't a middle class anymore and raise kids oh, my goodness sakes alive..We have running start here whereby a person can go to high school and junior college for nearly free, books cost and other student fees are assessed still it costs enormously to get thru the last two years at the universities..Idon't know how anyone can afford kids, our only child lucked out was in the second year of running start, got a huge scholarship for college and worked and made enormous $ working for the president of the university..she made it thru and misses that university every dadblasted day..she adored her university, mostly women was a women's teaching college and she did become a teacher, world class university with in my opinion world class fees and costs NOW, was not then, many cannot afford school and the jobs are really only in two places, seattle and Tacoma and also Spokane too..we don't live anywhere near those huge towns..Life is unfair..that is my opinion on the eve of Mother's day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  9. I meant to say she NOT BECOME A TEACHER, Buisness administration and finance and many minors to boot..

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  10. As a Liberal, I must admit that Democrats have done a poor job of managing the public's money. They've given away too much money to people who don't want to work and abuse the system. In my own family there are third generation Welfare recipients. I do believe that everyone should have a job and nothing should be handed out for free: this is a recipe for people feeling entitled to something without having to do anything and this erodes pride and dignity. I do think the minimum wage needs to be raised, and I believe this will help rather than hurt the economy.

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  11. I WOULD give you my solution but my head just exploded!!

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  12. POLYGAMY........ that is the answer. Let the rich men support the single mom's and the low-paying jobs can go back to high school kids.

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  13. I believe if someone works a full-time job, he or she should be able to live. I don't believe that it will hurt the economy if we raise minimum wage. It didn't seem to hurt the economy that CEO's pay skyrocketed over the last few decades. In 1978, CEOs took home 26.5 times more than the average worker. Now they make roughly 206 times more than workers.

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  14. Of course if there were more CEOs like Dan Price of Gravity Payments, there would be no problem. He just cut his own ridiculous salary by 90% and gave all his employees a huge raise.
    There is a lot of fat at the top.

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  15. I don't have the answer. Seems like people have a choice. Work yourself to the bone and have nothing, or lay around with your hand out and have nothing.

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  16. I try not to weigh in on political discussions because they often go south quickly. As one of three remaining liberals in Alabama (just joking, there are only two) I routinely get beaten up during election season, but I too believe we can put people to work, give them access to healthcare and help care for those who really need out help. But to compromise is viewed by the extremist on both sides of the aisle as a sign of weakness.
    I wish I had the answers.
    Though provoking post Joel.

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  17. San Diego is incremently raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, I think by 2017 it will be there. Lots of small businesses have already indicated they will move out of San Diego (just the city is raising it) and set up shop where minimum wage will remain the same as it is now. I fear it won't be a good thing; San Diego relies on tourists. You raise the minimum wage to $15, you are going to have to raise prices places. Will that prevent people from visiting or companies having conventions there?

    betty

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  18. In Australia the minimum wage was $15 and some cents, juniors starting work earned that and each birthday saw them getting a raise until adult wage was earned at 21 (about $20 an hour I believe) in most places. I don't know about fast food places. Waiters and waitresses here earn a decent wage, so there is no need for tipping, which we don't do. I'm not sure, but I think our minimum wage was recently raised by a dollar. We have all the usual problems, high inflation, high unemployment, people living in poverty. There was a newspaper article here some time ago which listed annual incomes and if you were below a certain income you were deemed to be living in poverty. I was surprised to find I'm one of the poverty-stricken masses.

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  19. Whoa, hold on there cowboy, you're making a lot of assumptions there bucko. There's your NorthEast and then there's the rest of us .... As many of us live where it's affordable as live where you folks do ;-)

    Youngest daughter graduated college and made $11 an hour with college loan and a car payment and was able to afford an apartment and keep up with expenses while also putting a few pennies away. She didn't have the latest cell phone or hottest new car but she got along quite well. had she not had the college loan she could have done as well at a buck over minimum. Things are a LOT cheaper here in Upstate New York.

    Anywhere within an hour of the coast and you would have trouble even at $15 but that's another story entirely. Minimum wage, even at the state level, makes absolutely no sense at all because an hour or two can make an astonishing difference in cost of living. There needs to be some way to better delineate minimum wage by COL for the area and a better way to tie it to inflation so that it keeps better pace without vote-mongers screwing it up.

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