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Do you think a lot would change if jobs paid a living wage?


Ottakee
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I am listening to a book right now and one thing the author said was that people need a job, self esteem, and a second chance.

 

Right now in Michigan there are jobs available but not many that pay a living wage. That was calculated for a family with 2 adults and 2 children to be just about $24/hour. Most jobs in our area start at $9-10/hour and top out at $15-18/hour....even skilled trades and jobs that require higher education.

 

I can only imagine the hope that local families would have if one working adult could make $24/hour.

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Yes, I think many people would experience less stress, which would lead to better mental and physical health, and a more functional, productive, and happier society.

 

I find it profoundly shameful that a nation with all the resources we have permits people to work for wages that cannot sustain them and their families. A day's worth of labor picking raspberries, building houses, serving food, or cleaning floors is just as deserving of a living wage as is a day's worth of designing engines, treating cancer, or managing investments. Not every job needs to pay the exact same amount, but a person should be able to provide for the basic needs of themself and their dependents by working full time.

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Yes, of course. Increased poverty leads to increased crime. Pay people properly and you'll have reduced poverty and reduced crime. And if you treat people as if they're worth something, then stuff like Flint, where a whole group of people were treated like they were nothing and poisoned, is less likely to be acceptable and therefore less likely to occur. 

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Yeah, I think you'd have half the amount of workers if the wage doubled. Money doesn't grow on trees, and if businesses have budgets to manage and the cost of labor goes up significantly there will simply be less people to do it.

 

And robots.

 

Those jobs would also be competed for much more strongly, with fewer of them in supply because of the cost to employ that person. So there goes employment for your low skilled, disabled, elderly, etc. It sounds like a great idea but the economic behavior of the owners of the companies, especially smaller ones, would adjust accordingly.

Edited by Arctic Mama
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Yeah, I think you'd have half the amount of workers if the wage doubled. Money doesn't grow on trees, and if businesses have budgets to manage and the cost of labor goes up significantly there will simply be less people to do it.

 

And robots.

 

Those jobs would also be competed for much more strongly, with fewer of them in supply because of the cost to employ that person. So there goes employment for your low skilled, disabled, elderly, etc. It sounds like a great idea but the economic behavior of the owners of the companies, especially smaller ones, would adjust accordingly.

There's no shortage of money in this country, the majority of it is just benefiting and being controlled by a tiny fraction of the population.

 

Free market economics are insufficient to regulate wages because people are driven to do anything to live. I've been down in mines in the Andes mountains where people were working long days in horrendous conditions for a ridiculously tiny wage because they would do anything to try to stay alive. Average life expectancy among those minors is something like 35 years.

 

It is sickening that we humans allow that to happen to other humans.

Edited by maize
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Yeah, I think you'd have half the amount of workers if the wage doubled. Money doesn't grow on trees, and if businesses have budgets to manage and the cost of labor goes up significantly there will simply be less people to do it.

 

And robots.

 

Those jobs would also be competed for much more strongly, with fewer of them in supply because of the cost to employ that person. So there goes employment for your low skilled, disabled, elderly, etc. It sounds like a great idea but the economic behavior of the owners of the companies, especially smaller ones, would adjust accordingly.

 

So the only way our economy can function is if a large segment of the population has to work at wages below what is needed to have a decent life?

 

Doesn't seem like we have a very efficient economy if that is true. Somehow I think we can do better when we have a GDP of 19 trillion.

Edited by ChocolateReignRemix
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What it would do is give people enough margin to be able to better their situations--to buy a modest home, to go to school, to read, to start side businesses.  And it would give them time together and to really raise their children.  That would be immensely valuable.

 

I will never forget an older engineer telling me that on a minimum wage fulltime he supported his wife and their first child in New York City while he also attended classes at the community college.  I couldn't even imagine minimum wage paying for all of that.  He's maybe 15 years older than I am.

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What it would do is give people enough margin to be able to better their situations--to buy a modest home, to go to school, to read, to start side businesses. And it would give them time together and to really raise their children. That would be immensely valuable.

 

I will never forget an older engineer telling me that on a minimum wage fulltime he supported his wife and their first child in New York City while he also attended classes at the community college. I couldn't even imagine minimum wage paying for all of that. He's maybe 15 years older than I am.

My parents told me their mortgage in PNW for a trilevel huge house in a nice area when they had me was $249 per month and their parents wondered how they would afford it. My dad worked at an automotive store and my mom quit her job at the bank to care for me. His job covered mortgage, utilities, car costs etc and they still took a vacation to California each year.

 

 

What would be nice is if they could control housing costs and the government picks up the tab for childcare and makes it free like public education. I probably wouldn't use it but it would sure help others. These two areas seem to eat up most people's pay checks. In Western Washington, if you rent, you are looking at almost 20-24000 per year for rent in an apartment. Someone working for 15 bucks an hour full time only brings home less than 29,000 per year before taxes. Housing is crazy expensive here. I have no idea how people do and still feed themselves, pay utilities, the exorbitant gas prices and so forth. Some of those people may even have to pay each day to park for their job or tolls to drive there.

 

Ok, rambling...but rent control is a hot button for me. People would have so much more comfort if they didn't spend 75% of their paycheck on rent and housing. Even with UBI housing can still be out of control and people in California, New York, Washington etc are all going to feel way less of that money. How should they account for those COL differences state to state?

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So, given the realities of our current economy (huge amounts of wealth tied up by a small minority at the top) I think my solution would be a uniform basic income supported by taxes on the wealthy + guaranteed health coverage supported by taxes in place of our current insurance premiums + a moderate minimum wage. Providing health coverage plus keeping the minimum wage moderate would allow small businesses to flourish, the basic income would allow families to get by even without huge wage increases.

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Money doesn't grow on trees because unlike tangible things that hang off flora, money is a complete fiction.

 

We can, in theory (in theory is where money exists), do whatever we collectively want with it, being, as it is, completely malleable.

 

Anyway yes. Anyone who has gone from destitute to not knows that access to the things of life, for which one currently needs money, makes a world of difference at every level.

Edited by OKBud
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No, the rent will just increase with the wages.  The landlord always charges what the market will bear.

 

 

Target announced its going to $15 an hour by 2020.  No one is planning to raise wages for skilled workers that currently start at $20/hr.  I see the value of training for skilled work going down, especially for women.

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Wages will rise when the demand for employees increases faster than the supply. How can we expect that long term when we have to compete with so many low wage workers in other countries via outsourcing service jobs, overseas factories, increasing automation, and the large supply of low skill workers coming from Mexico and Central America? I don't want to make this an immigration debate, but I do wonder how so many of the people who want much higher wages often seem to be the same people who don't acknowledge that millions of (illegal) immigrants can lower wages for lowered skilled workers already here.

Edited by HoppyTheToad
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It is such a complicated, tangled issue.  I look at what many jobs pay and I wonder how in the world families can live on it?  DH would quickly change careers if he could but he's stuck because we need a certain income to live.  A livable wage would be such a relief for families but I don't think they could increase other's wages accordingly and then what are you left with, a communistic sort of wage?  Where someone who puts in 12 years of school (and debt) to be a specialist doesn't make much more than someone with a 2 year degree?  Or my DH for instance, he works incredibly hard and is incredibly skilled.  He makes 3 times the wage of those around him, but they have no skills and, to be honest, little work ethic and no ability to push hard to get a job done.  

If it didn't pay much more to go into a field that required a lot of education (and subsequently debt), would people go into that field at all?

 

Where DH works, it was actually mentioned in a board meeting that a solution to adding a benefit to the owners was to cut all holiday pay for all employees.  The people on the top are incredibly wealthy and the benefit to them would be entertainment related.  Many of the employees there make $12-15 an hour or less.  Cut them for the wealthy to have a weekend of fun spending.  This, this is the sort of thing that pisses me off.  What we need is we need owners that care about employees like family, and that care if they make a living wage.  This is what we have lost.

 

Again, super complicated. 

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I don't see why one person's one job should necessarily be enough to support four people.  My son made just a little bit over minimum wage and supported himself- which is what minimum wage jobs should be doing- supporting one person minimally.  He now makes almost twice the minimum wage and still supports himself but in a better way. 

 

Most people who are not skilled and make fairly low wages who do have families end up either having one person work 2 jobs or both parents working.  Those people also often get government benefits of some kind like earned income credit. 

 

If we made minimum wage to be 24 dollars, then everyone else's wages would rise and prices would rise too.  At that point, the 24 dollars wouldn't give that family a great living.  You can't force social justice ways on to the economy and not expect repurcussions to happen.  As others said, robots would cost less than $24 an hour to operate.  Since it is approximately 3 times  minimum wage, you have to figure everyone would now get 3x current wage.  It would be really stupid and not get the results the people advocating for the change would want.

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If people working in fast food were to make $24/hour, the restaurant would raise prices to cover the difference.  It would become prohibitively expensive for many people and the restaurants would suffer financially.  Many people in fast food would therefore lose their jobs and be making $0/hour.

 

Some jobs are not meant to support a family.

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I think the unemployment rate in the USA would go up substantially.   Many businesses would need to shutdown, because they would not be able to raise their prices enough to pay for the additional cost of paying employees $24 an hour. The actual cost to an employer is much higher than that #24 per hour, when they add in Social Security, Workman's Compensation and other things they pay for each employee.  

 

There would probably be more outsourcing of Call Center jobs and jobs not related to National Security, to people in countries like India.  

 

OT:  I read this article this morning. They found that with a 10% increase in premiums, for the lowest cost ACA policy, in 47 of 50 cities, a family of 3 would need an income of almost USD $111K annually, for their Premium to be considered "Affordable" by the ACA  regulations. Someone making $24 an hour would make less than 50% of $111K.

 

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/09/29/in-47-50-cities-obamacare-coverage-will-be-unaffordable-in-2018-by-laws-definition.html

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We would have high unemployment, more jobs would be exported, and the underground economy would grow.  

 

There would also be some practical issues--would this wage be the same in New York City as it is in Small Town America?  Will this be adjusted for inflation?  If so, how often and using what formula?  

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What it would do is give people enough margin to be able to better their situations--to buy a modest home, to go to school, to read, to start side businesses.  And it would give them time together and to really raise their children.  That would be immensely valuable.

<snip>

Serious question, no snark intended~

 

Do you really think the majority of people who earn low wages are thinking that an increase in income will give them time to read or educate themselves? 

 

When I was teaching and had conversations with students about why they wanted to earn more money the majority responded with the desire for new cars, better clothes, ability to travel, more free time. I can only recall a handful of students who cited better education, reading, pursuing arts, or having time to volunteer as the reason for wanting to earn more money. Granted this was at a CC in a low income area so the answers may have been skewed by the population base but isn't that the population who would most benefit from an increased minimum wage?

 

As a pp stated, this is a complicated issue and one I don't think can be answered easily. People's goals, dreams, desires, abilities, motivations, etc are too varied.

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In our current system, I think the push for a living wage will move us closer to handing over jobs to robots (which we are already seeing). I fully support a living wage, and we patronize small businesses in our community that pay their workers a living wage, but I think for large corporations the bottom line is profit and having a robot do a human's job will be cheaper. 

 

It depresses me when I think about it. Maybe it is just because I am getting older, but a lot of issues feel pretty hopeless these days. 

Edited by AppleGreen
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I walked into a busy Mc Donalds the other day. The lady sweeping the floor looked up and said "Welcome to McDonalds, would you like me to show you how to use our new kiosk to order?" They had one register, and three order kiosks where the customer places their own order and pays.

 

Yes, that's the future. It's important for our young people to look to be the one designing, manufacturing, or servicing the automated machines/robots, because they're coming. I don't know that they will totally replace people, but they will definately reduce the number of people needed.

 

Going after the wealth through heavy taxation in order to provide everything for the lower economic classes is an out-dated, 20th century, communist dream. It doesn't work in this 21st century globalist economy, as the peole of Venezuela are finding out. Yes, some taxation for a safety net, but thinking that a government can confiscate its way into utopia is failed, marxist ideology.

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If people working in fast food were to make $24/hour, the restaurant would raise prices to cover the difference.  It would become prohibitively expensive for many people and the restaurants would suffer financially.  Many people in fast food would therefore lose their jobs and be making $0/hour.

 

Some jobs are not meant to support a family.

 

sea-tac was one of the first places to pass the $15 hour minimum. workers have come out and expressed regret because they are working fewer hours - and making less money.   UW did a study that backs that up. 

franchise owners are going to automation - which means there will be even fewer jobs for unskilled labor.

and those entry level *skilled* jobs that started at $15  will also go up, and employers will raise their prices so the $15 will buy less than it did previously.   it has happened every time the minimum wage goes up since it was enacted.

if you want to get normal people making a living wage - help them get skills that are marketable.  

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I worry if the minimum wage went to $24/hour, what would happen to those who make $25/hour. Especially for women in "traditionally female jobs" - clerks, secretaries, etc - where the gap between minimum wage and their wages have shrunk.

 

This is essentially the hole my mother has found herself in. She's been making between $30K-$35K in several different jobs for over 20 YEARS. What used to be a good job has now turned into a step down from a Domino's driver.

 

The minimum/low wages my brother and I earned as teens went up. The union salaries the (male) technicians in her companies earns went up. The (male) management salaries in her companies went up.

 

The (female) office support staff hourly wages... stagnated.

 

I think it's worth looking hard at the consequences on the gender pay gap.

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1.) Having a minimum wage that is below what is needed to live in most areas simply means that those workers often need to access public benefits to make ends meet.  We are in effect subsidizing the earnings of businesses by allowing a pass through of these costs to the public.

 

2.) Automation will occur whether the minimum wage is increased or not.

 

3.) Wages are only one component of pricing, and not all prices will increase due to a minimum wage increase.  If we only have cheap fast food because we are paying workers low wages and subsidizing them with other money, then a fair question to ask is why are we subsidizing an industry that apparently cannot survive on its own?

 

 

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The last two years of high school would have been a lot better for me if some people could have availed themselves of that option.

The thing is though that 16 year olds would not be getting those jobs at that point. Here already, Taco Bell is paying 15 bucks an hour and it is all adults. Teens get pushed out of jobs that really weren't meant to be living wage jobs. They have historically been for teens. That model is changing and fast food has become insanely expensive because of it. It will be less of an option for people to eat there (not a bad thing in my mind) but that just leads to less employees.

 

Gardenmom is correct. In my area the minimum wage increase has been great for a few and horrible for the many. What "scare mongers" said would happen is happening. There has to be a better way than continually upping wages which cause everything else to increase or taxing to death other people to pay for it. Although there is a part of me that would be fine with all of our pro athletes, Hollywood stars and so forth not getting paid as much. Their incomes are ridiculously exorbitant.

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if you want to get normal people making a living wage - help them get skills that are marketable.  

 

Except we have a job market of jobs where we have X total jobs, and Y number of jobs that pay a non-living wage. Our total available workforce is greater than X, which means that some jobs available to "normal" people will fall in the Y subgroup.  There is simply no way we can educate/train the "normal" people out of all those jobs as they make up a not insignificant % of available jobs.

 

Education/training works on a micro level in the current labor market but does not work at the macro level due to the actual basket of jobs available.

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On a personal level I would worry that my children wouldn't be able to get the skills they need to go on to big and better jobs if the min wage was $25 an hour. Would you hire a babysitter for that much? Would you hire someone to mow your yard at that price? What about the kid that sweeps the floor at the auto repair place of your choosing?

 

So we would have a whole segment of the population that goes for training (trade school or college) that would expect MORE then $25 an hour that would have NO idea of how to keep a job or work with others (superiors and such) or how jobs really work. 

 

It sucks that people get stuck in Min wage jobs, but there are ways out. They just need to find them. There are jobs out there RIGHT NOW that will hire people with low skills but are willing to show up to work everyday. Will they make $60 an hour today? Probably not. But tomorrow is looking promising. Ask Mike Rowe if you don't believe me. 

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Realistically I’m not optimistic. When my home country labor cost went up, they lost manufacturing jobs to neighboring countries. My brother lost his manufacturing job at a big multinational because his pay is too high so it was cheaper for his employer to automate and outsource. Now he works for a small company that has no capital to outsource or do massive automation. As long as this small family owned company doesn’t close down, my brother would have a job there at stagnant pay.

 

Some of my cousins has a few factories in neighboring countries to save cost. They also automate a lot of task. China is just still much cheaper for textile related manufacturing like shoes, bags, clothing. My cousins do pay a comfortable market rate wage for their engineers and treats them well, many long term employees. Only one paternal uncle is a scrooge and mean to everyone (relatives included and his wife is mean too) and runs a family business.

 

My home country is now relying heavily on “brain intensive†industries like finance because it cannot compete on “cheap†factory labor. The younger generation is feeling the uncertainty and trying to get a govt. job or relocate to other countries. My extended family is moving from engineering to finance sector, many has engineering degrees and switch to working in investment banking. My oldest is turn off from engineering as a career because of my husband’s jobs.

 

My husband’s current and former employers are big tech companies. His wages has gone up annually by a little to adjust for cost of living. The companies have also charge their customers much more.

 

I just don’t think living wage or a basic income would be a cure all given the global economy. When there are barriers to movement then yes it might work, because then businesses can’t source their labor elsewhere and have to rely on local sources.

 

I walked into a busy Mc Donalds the other day. The lady sweeping the floor looked up and said "Welcome to McDonalds, would you like me to show you how to use our new kiosk to order?" They had one register, and three order kiosks where the customer places their own order and pays.

I went to a nearby McDonalds which is next to a big mall. They have mobile ordering services where you order through the McDonalds app on your phone and pick up your order curbside, drive-through or on the counter.

 

“Competitors such as Domino’s Pizza and Starbucks have benefited tremendously via mobile ordering. Digitally derived sales comprise about 50% of Domino’s U.S. business and Starbucks processes nearly 6 million mobile- order – ahead transactions in a month.

...

Fast food companies have found that that app ordering is leading to larger orders. People who use Taco Bell’s app to place an order spend as much as 20% more than people who take the traditional route to order.“

https://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2016/03/30/now-testing-mobile-ordering-on-the-mcdonalds-app/

 

We have the McDonalds order kiosks for quite some time and I used those in Canada as well. It is very convenient and you can pay when collecting the order so people can still pay with cash.

Edited by Arcadia
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The thing is though that 16 year olds would not be getting those jobs at that point. Here already, Taco Bell is paying 15 bucks an hour and it is all adults. Teens get pushed out of jobs that really weren't meant to be living wage jobs. They have historically been for teens. That model is changing and fast food has become insanely expensive because of it. It will be less of an option for people to eat there (not a bad thing in my mind) but that just leads to less employees.

 

Gardenmom is correct. In my area the minimum wage increase has been great for a few and horrible for the many. What "scare mongers" said would happen is happening. There has to be a better way than continually upping wages which cause everything else to increase or taxing to death other people to pay for it. Although there is a part of me that would be fine with all of our pro athletes, Hollywood stars and so forth not getting paid as much. Their incomes are ridiculously exorbitant.

 

Our minimum wage is still low - it's $8.25. The problem of teen unemployment isn't because of a high minimum wage here. McD's and the like are mainly adult workers. ChikFilA and Panda Express seem to be the exceptions. It's because there aren't enough jobs for adults, and companies will hire adults any day over hour-restricted, untrained teens. Teens work for the park district and a few grocery stores. Older teens get in at Walmart, Kohl's and Target and restaurants like Chili's and Applebees. I honestly don't see too many 16 year olds with jobs around here. 

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Serious question, no snark intended~

 

Do you really think the majority of people who earn low wages are thinking that an increase in income will give them time to read or educate themselves? 

 

 

No, but in context that engineer as I knew him had certainly done so.  He was a senior engineer at a big older tech firm, very well to do.  

 

And I did that kind of thing, too--had coop engineering jobs (more than minimum wage but not super high at the time) for 6 months and then went back to school, using the money I saved to pay for my education.

 

I was just answering the question as posed--not with all the implications of it.  However, that guy's story is pertinent to the intent of the original minimum wage, which was to provide a modest living wage for a small family.  

 

In terms of implications--consider what changed our economy the most in the last 50 years.  I would contend that it was the GI bill, which meant that anyone who had served in the armed forces (which was a very large proportion of our population) could get a college education essentially for free.  Others might say that it was the veterans' home loans, which meant that people could get out of rental housing if they had served in the armed forces.  In both cases there was a government support with ample justification that uplifted a large proportion of an already somewhat seasoned and mature workforce.  Generally these made for a better educated and more stable workforce that was quite productive.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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I have lived in an economy where a bare minimum amount of work gave people an income similar to that of hard working highly trained professionals and where, in some cases, the supervisor made less than the workers (who then made fun of their supervisor for being so dumb as to get more education).

What happened was completely predictable: enough people chose not to work hard because there was no incentive to do so, productivity decreased, the economy was dysfunctional. This ultimately led to a collapse of the system.

Anybody who proposes a universal basic income or a high minimum wage needs to study thoroughly the economic system in the former socialist countries and explain how their measures would not cause the same dysfunctional trends.

 

Plus, with today's technology, a high minimum wage will make it more economical to have tasks done by machines - especially menial tasks that require no advanced training. It will make precisely those jobs go away who are now paid minimum wage.

Edited by regentrude
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What changed in the last 50 years? Here's a few ideas that haven't been mentioned.

 

-Europe was finally rebuilt after WWII and we were no longer the only country with the ability to make things on a large scale.

-China also started making and exporting massive amounts of goods.

-With more competition from other countries and the ability to outsource, unions and workeds could no longer demand such good wages. The idea of one worker working 40 hours to support a family has been an aberration in history. I don't know how easy it will be to go back to.

-People demand much bigger houses than they used to in the 50s. This may be related to their ability to borrow much more for houses. Since the government backs most mortgages, the banks have little incentive to require large down payments. All this extra borrowing ability just pushes up housing prices.

-Somehow the good jobs seem to have consolidated more in expensive coastal cities. We need to find ways to encourage these companies to choose lower COL locations or allow more telecommuting so housing prices don't stay insane.

 

ETA:

-Explosion of single moms trying to support a family and pay daycare on one income.

-All this just in time scheduling making it very difficult for low income people to have two jobs. I really think the battle that needs to be fought first is not for higher wages but for a consistent schedule so people have the ability to work extra jobs or take classes to improve their situation.

Edited by HoppyTheToad
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Except we have a job market of jobs where we have X total jobs, and Y number of jobs that pay a non-living wage. Our total available workforce is greater than X, which means that some jobs available to "normal" people will fall in the Y subgroup.  There is simply no way we can educate/train the "normal" people out of all those jobs as they make up a not insignificant % of available jobs.

 

Education/training works on a micro level in the current labor market but does not work at the macro level due to the actual basket of jobs available.

 

I do not understand this. There is no fixed "basket of jobs" available - it is constantly evolving what jobs exist and need to be done, how many people are required to achieve a certain result, and which jobs can economically be performed by people rather than machines.

 

The fact that in the past fast food was served or groceries were sold to customers by humans does not mean it will stay like this. We don't spin by hand anymore, and those jobs went away. In turn, there are jobs in existence nowadays that did not exist and could not even be imagined when I was a child.

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What changed in the last 50 years? Here's a few ideas that haven't been mentioned.

 

-Europe was finally rebuilt after WWII and we were no longer the only country with the ability to make things on a large scale.

 

???

There was large scale manufacturing in Europe before the war.

 

ETA: The items manufactured in Europe do not compete with minimum wage jobs in the US. Cheap plastic crap comes from China. German manufacturing exports high quality items produced by highly trained workers who earn pretty good salaries.

Edited by regentrude
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I mean that it took a while for all the factories in Europe to be rebuilt. There was more demand from us in the mean time.

 

It actually took a very short time. In West Germany, industrial productivity doubled between 1950 and 1957, and the GDP increased by 10% each year.

All that rebuilding and getting up to speed had been finished by 1970

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First off - living wage is a very subjective term.  And even if we could define that - there would have to be all kinds of parameters and criteria that would make it very complicated.

 

Second - if jobs that are paying $10-$15/hr increased to paying $24/hr, what would happen to wages that are currently paying $24/hr? 

 

Third - we have such differences between COL in various parts of the country, and not only in terms of housing - that coming up with any kind of numbers can be difficult.

 

And of course, all the reasons that were already mentioned.

 

I don't think that it's the wages that should be adjusted, but other things like healthcare costs, access to certain types of education and family resources, etc.

 

 

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1.) Having a minimum wage that is below what is needed to live in most areas simply means that those workers often need to access public benefits to make ends meet.  We are in effect subsidizing the earnings of businesses by allowing a pass through of these costs to the public.

 

2.) Automation will occur whether the minimum wage is increased or not.

 

3.) Wages are only one component of pricing, and not all prices will increase due to a minimum wage increase.  If we only have cheap fast food because we are paying workers low wages and subsidizing them with other money, then a fair question to ask is why are we subsidizing an industry that apparently cannot survive on its own?

 

If I can successfully run a cupcake store, by working myself and hiring some high school students for several hours per week, paying them $9 per hour, so they have spending money, gain experience, learn a trade, etc. (but they can't support themselves, a spouse and two children on the wage), would society be better off by forcing me to pay $24 per hour?  If it leads to my closing the business (and access public benefits because I now have no income) and to the high school workers not having a part-time job (which is a loss of spending money and some training they would have received, is that desirable?

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It actually took a very short time. In West Germany, industrial productivity doubled between 1950 and 1957, and the GDP increased by 10% each year.

All that rebuilding and getting up to speed had been finished by 1970

 

1945-1970 is a pretty long time, actually.  25 years, a generation.

And that was an extremely prosperous and economically upwardly mobile period in the US, which was significantly contributed to by the spending to rebuild quite a few countries that had lose their industrial base during WWII.

 

Also, significantly, most government economists and policy wonks here knew that nothing really stopped the Great Depression until WWII started.  There was tremendous fear that it would start again as soon as the war was over, and not without justification.  That would have been the reasonable expectation under the circumstances.  So not only did that not happen, but an extended time of great economic uplift occurred.

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If I can successfully run a cupcake store, by working myself and hiring some high school students for several hours per week, paying them $9 per hour, so they have spending money, gain experience, learn a trade, etc. (but they can't support themselves, a spouse and two children on the wage), would society be better off by forcing me to pay $24 per hour?  If it leads to my closing the business (and access public benefits because I now have no income) and to the high school workers not having a part-time job (which is a loss of spending money and some training they would have received, is that desirable?

 

Some people would answer yes. I remember reading a story about a bookstore owner who had to close after a minimum wage hike in his city, and multiple people were fine with that because "If he can't provide a living wage to all employees, he shouldn't even be in business." 

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Some people would answer yes. I remember reading a story about a bookstore owner who had to close after a minimum wage hike in his city, and multiple people were fine with that because "If he can't provide a living wage to all employees, he shouldn't even be in business."

Where would apprenticeships fall then? My late grandfather was a blacksmith with his own family business and have taught neighbors kids who wanted to learn a trade as apprentice. My grandfather has enough kids to help in the family business. The apprentices were more of his way to pay it forward to his neighborhood.

My late granduncle owned a cafe at a street corner and paid a small wage to neighborhood youngsters who were working after school to get out of gang trouble. It was actually more of charity endeavor because he didn’t need those extra workers but he didn’t want them bullied into gang activity.

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What about local tax-supported employment, like the library and police? Our library pays $7.75/hour with no benefits, and they've had to layoff workers plus not fill positions in the last couple years. A tax hike barely kept them open. I made $10.50/hour as a 911 dispatcher in a somewhat rural area, and only ~$13/hour at a huge metro area police department.

 

Either these jobs would have to be exempt, or consolidate and move the jobs away from smaller, more rural areas (centralized 911, imagine calling to describe where you are to someone 200+ miles away while panicking - or being put on hold), or metro areas with larger tax bases would have to subsidize smaller ones even more than they already do.

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Where would apprenticeships fall then? My late grandfather was a blacksmith with his own family business and have taught neighbors kids who wanted to learn a trade as apprentice. My grandfather has enough kids to help in the family business. The apprentices were more of his way to pay it forward to his neighborhood.

 

A business taking on apprentices is providing them with an education. The business should not be required to pay minimum wage, because the apprentice is not yet a useful employee.  

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