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Topic: Living Wage, What say you?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2012, 2:55 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We've been hearing of a possible minimum wage increase. But should we be discussing a LIVING wage?

A theoretical wage level that allows the earner to afford adequate shelter, food and the other necessities of life. The living wage should be substantial enough to ensure that no more than 30% of it needs to be spent on housing. The goal of the living wage is to allow employees to earn enough income for a satisfactory standard of living.

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/l/living_wage.asp#axzz2Cn9Bgqbi

.......................................

Some of my personal thoughts:

One issue would be determining who is covered (part-time employees, summer jobs for high schoolers, etc.). Also, if the rate is set to provide for a family of four, then those without kids would be living better while those with larger famililes might still struggle. Perhaps this could be off-set by adjustments to income tax.

Since those with higher incomes won't be affected, a living wage would tend to decrease the gap between rich and poor.

It would reduce government-funded assistance programs. This in turn could lower taxes for those in the middle and upper classes.

It could result in a higher incentive to get a job. However, I could see it both increasing and decreasing productivity. Increasing productivity due to increased job satisfaction, but decreasing the incentive to be promoted (additional responsibility not equal to relative increase in pay).

With more disposable income, the "47%" can buy more goods, which will stimulate the economy. Then there's the uncalculable metric of human dignity.

At least in the short term, it could increase the unemployment rate... as employers manage with fewer higher-paid employees. It would also take a greater investment to add an employee. However, it could also help increase employment since there would be less need to hold a second/third job. Without needing those additional jobs, perhaps lower-class parents could take a more active role in their kid's education.

......................

As much as I like the theoritical idea of a living wage, I think we'll eventually end up right where we started... higher wages result in more disposable income and higher production costs, both of which support higher product costs. Eventually, the lower classes are right back where they started... their wages can't pay for the increased costs of goods/services... and we're raising the living wage again.

What are your opinions?


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2012, 3:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(WalksWithBlackflies @ Nov. 20 2012, 2:55 pm)
QUOTE
......................

As much as I like the theoritical idea of a living wage, I think we'll eventually end up right where we started... higher wages result in more disposable income and higher production costs, both of which support higher product costs. Eventually, the lower classes are right back where they started... their wages can't pay for the increased costs of goods/services... and we're raising the living wage again.

What are your opinions?

I HAVE NEVER TAKEN AN ECONOMICS CLASS, so this is just my opinion.  My opinion is that you're probably correct.  It would make sense that higher wages would mean higher production costs which would lead to higher product costs.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2012, 4:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(WalksWithBlackflies @ Nov. 20 2012, 11:55 am)
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We've been hearing of a possible minimum wage increase. But should we be discussing a LIVING wage?

Two ways to get your "living wage":

1.  Educate / train yourself to land (and keep) jobs that companies are willing to pay 'a lot' for.

2.  Don't educate or train yourself -- then whine and bitch and vote in politicians who say they will protect your low-skilled job and force your employer to pay.


In the long run, the Option 1 gives you a winning chance.  Option 2 saps the people's determination to "sink or swim" -- and thus erodes the entire nation's competitiveness.  Yes, countries in Africa, Asia and South America have all tried it and failed miserably.  But I have a feel that many care less about the long-term wellness of their own country than having their jobs "protected" now.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2012, 4:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Henry Ford said you have to make a quality product, and pay your own employees enough so that they can afford to buy the product.

Car makers have bought into this, by and large.  Home builders, not as much.

While owning your own home is the American Dream, too many folks cannot qualify to do so.  I think we need to begin to build denser living arrangements and place more green spaces around the high rise living quarters.  How that affects income would look like this, in my mind.

Rent would be X, and income would need to be 3.5 X.  Each building would need some low income housing, or standard housing offset by housekeeping or maintenance work done in exchange for lower rent.  Some of the building would need upper income housing on the upper floors, retail shops and restaurants on the first couple of floors, and maybe some grocery stores as well.  

OK, my vision of science fiction is over for now.  


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2012, 4:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(ol-zeke @ Nov. 20 2012, 1:15 pm)
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[color=maroon]Henry Ford said you have to make a quality product, and pay your own employees enough so that they can afford to buy the product.

True -- that was a good thing -- and America's industrial productivity back then could well support the added production cost.

But notice how neither Henry Ford -- nor anybody else -- espoused paying cotton pickers or house cleaners the same high wages so that they too could buy cars?

Methinks much depends on the workers' productivity, skill set, etc.  I am ALL for appropriate legislation to ensure some acceptable level of work safety, etc., etc. -- but not legislation that mandates even the most unskilled, lowest-paying jobs be pegged to ensure enjoyment of the highest standard of living in the world (or just about)!


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2012, 4:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Living wages sound great but they need to be tied to productivity as well as safety.  That said, I do not want to share the road with (for example) a marginal bus or truck driver putting my life at risk to keep his/her pay with bennies.  A modern society should have some sort of early retirement to live well in Podunk or find some work one can do to stay in the 'burbs or big city.

Plus I keep hearing how Americans should accept flexible wages but the flip side is that owners need to accept flexible prices in return as McDee's found out last quarter (plus a lot of homeowners* who had to sell since 2006).

*Note: Your local tax assessor will keep the higher price on your home if you are feeling nostalgic.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2012, 4:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Nov. 20 2012, 3:14 pm)
QUOTE

(WalksWithBlackflies @ Nov. 20 2012, 11:55 am)
QUOTE
We've been hearing of a possible minimum wage increase. But should we be discussing a LIVING wage?

Two ways to get your "living wage":

1.  Educate / train yourself to land (and keep) jobs that companies are willing to pay 'a lot' for.

2.  Don't educate or train yourself -- then whine and bitch and vote in politicians who say they will protect your low-skilled job and force your employer to pay.


In the long run, the Option 1 gives you a winning chance.  Option 2 saps the people's determination to "sink or swim" -- and thus erodes the entire nation's competitiveness.  Yes, countries in Africa, Asia and South America have all tried it and failed miserably.  But I have a feel that many care less about the long-term wellness of their own country than having their jobs "protected" now.

In YOUR world, Ben2, if everyone takes advantage of their educational opportunities and applies themselves to the best of their abilities, will there no longer be low-paying jobs that need to be performed (and can't be filled by students & people who don't need a living wage)?

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2012, 4:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Conceptually living wage makes sense. From a practical standpoint it would fly in the face of equal pay. That's because living wage is tied to the number of people the wage earner is supporting. http://livingwage.mit.edu
Should we pay a single parent twice what we pay a single person?

Also how do you calculate the living wage for the poor, rich college kid who's only expenses are beer and pot?


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2012, 4:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

All I know is I want paid more for the job I do. Ain't going to happen, but I still would like for it to.
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(Drift Woody @ Nov. 20 2012, 1:42 pm)
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In YOUR world, Ben2...

Not everyone will be "the best they can be" in any world, Drifty, and we know that.  That's why we should keep our current capitalist system (appropriately modified) -- so most who choose to move ahead can do so -- but at the same time, we also face the consequences  of not moving ahead...

As well, capitalism addresses the issue of supplying and demand -- and jobs will be priced accordingly and dynamically.


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(bill g @ Nov. 20 2012, 1:44 pm)
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Conceptually living wage makes sense. From a practical standpoint it would fly in the face of equal pay. That's because living wage is tied to the number of people the wage earner is supporting. http://livingwage.mit.edu
Should we pay a single parent twice what we pay a single person?

Also how do you calculate the living wage for the poor, rich college kid who's only expenses are beer and pot?

Very good points.  And does "living wage" cover the mortgage payments on my 15,000 sq. ft. home and my four car lease payments?  Yes, facetious, but guaranteeing "living wages" is in essence guaranteeing most everyone from the pain of failure.

Ain't gonna work.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2012, 6:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

No such thing as a living wage

Clearest sign that someone does not understand economics

Or basic human nature


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2012, 6:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Actually, it is something economists discuss
Wikipedia


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2012, 6:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Perhaps we need to adjust our goals as a nation. Should economic growth be our all-consuming goal.

Reality is that it likely always will be.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2012, 7:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(BillBab @ Nov. 20 2012, 6:03 pm)
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No such thing as a living wage

???

In the United States, the state of Maryland and several municipalities and local governments have enacted ordinances which set a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum that requires all jobs to meet the living wage for that region. This usually works out to be $3 to $7 above the federal minimum wage. However, San Francisco, California and Santa Fe, New Mexico have notably passed very wide-reaching living wage ordinances. U.S. cities with living wage laws include Santa Fe and Albuquerque in New Mexico; San Francisco, California; and Washington D.C. The city of Chicago, Illinois also passed a living wage ordinance in 2006, but it was vetoed by Mayor Richard M. Daley. Living wage laws typically cover only businesses that receive state assistance or have contracts with the government.

This effort began in 1994 when an alliance between a labor union and religious leaders in Baltimore launched a successful campaign requiring city service contractors to pay a living wage. Subsequent to this effort, community advocates have won similar ordinances in cities such as Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and St. Louis. In 2007, there were at least 140 living wage ordinances in cities throughout the United States and more than 100 living wage campaigns underway in cities, counties, states, and college campuses.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_wage#United_States


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(bill g @ Nov. 20 2012, 4:44 pm)
QUOTE
Conceptually living wage makes sense. From a practical standpoint it would fly in the face of equal pay. That's because living wage is tied to the number of people the wage earner is supporting. http://livingwage.mit.edu
Should we pay a single parent twice what we pay a single person?

Also how do you calculate the living wage for the poor, rich college kid who's only expenses are beer and pot?

I agree that wages couldn't be based on individual circumstances. Employers would never hire anyone building a family.

I've always thought of a living wage as a type of minimum wage, based on a certain criteria (ex - family of 4 with two wage earners). Income taxes could be implemented to account for overpayment of single individuals, and a safety net for would still be implemented for families falling through the cracks. However, the number of individuals receiving assistance would be drastically reduced compared to our current system.


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(Ben2World @ Nov. 20 2012, 4:51 pm)
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Not everyone will be "the best they can be" in any world, Drifty, and we know that.  That's why we should keep our current capitalist system (appropriately modified) -- so most who choose to move ahead can do so -- but at the same time, we also face the consequences  of not moving ahead...

As well, capitalism addresses the issue of supplying and demand -- and jobs will be priced accordingly and dynamically.

What are the appropriate modifications?

QUOTE
Yes, facetious, but guaranteeing "living wages" is in essence guaranteeing most everyone from the pain of failure.

What is the pain of failure with our current system Ben? Unemployment, welfare, subsidized housing, food stamps, etc...

Couldn't a living wage be implemented in lieu of these programs?


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2012, 8:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

From the same Wikipedia page I referenced...

In Australia, the 1907 Harvester Judgment ruled that an employer was obliged to pay his employees a wage that guaranteed them a standard of living which was reasonable for "a human being in a civilised community" to live in "frugal comfort estimated by current... standards," regardless of the employer's capacity to pay.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_wage#Australia

How does THAT work?


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2012, 10:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ben2World @ Nov. 20 2012, 3:51 pm)
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(Drift Woody @ Nov. 20 2012, 1:42 pm)
QUOTE
In YOUR world, Ben2...

Not everyone will be "the best they can be" in any world, Drifty, and we know that.  That's why we should keep our current capitalist system (appropriately modified) -- so most who choose to move ahead can do so -- but at the same time, we also face the consequences  of not moving ahead...

As well, capitalism addresses the issue of supplying and demand -- and jobs will be priced accordingly and dynamically.

Jobs are being priced downwards.

Blue collar workers with a high school education and a good work ethic used to comprise a wide swath of the American middle class, but those jobs are increasingly hard to find. Many career professionals downsized in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse (like some good friends of mine in their 50's) now can't find anything appoaching their previous incomes. College graduates (trying to make the most of their educational opportunities) are competing for fewer employment opportunities, and taking comparitively menial jobs.

And yet, great wealth is generated in our economy. The gap between the ownership class and the working class is growing to a chasm not seen since the Gilded Age. Money that compounds itself is taxed at a lower rate than earned income. Vast sums are stashed in offshore tax havens -- money taken out of circulation, which does more to starve economic activity than to stimulate creation of jobs.

Is this how capitalism is defined, and supposed to work?

What about capitalism in the 1950's when tax on the top bracket was 90%, labor unions were strong, government made huge investments in education, infrastructure, and science -- was that part of a capitalistic economy too?

I submit that a living wage floats all boats much more effectively than wages "dynamically" priced downwards according to labor outsripping demand in an economy wherein the rules of the game have been steadily changed to favor the few with pockets deep enough to finance K-Street lobbyists and the election campaigns of politicians.

When a shrinking percentage "who choose to move ahead" can actually do so, substantive change is very much needed.

I'm a firm believer in an economy where hard work, innovation, and enterpreneurship is rewarded. The fundamental basis of capitalism is basic human nature and a much better model for economic growth & opportunity than the "command economy" of the failed Soviet Union.

I'm not suggesting we abandon capitalism. Far from it.

Nor am I suggesting that Congress, at this time, pass legislation mandating a "living wage." Without other substantive changes, that could hurt more than help the economy.

What I am suggesting is changing the rules of the game that reward financial schemers, enable the hoarding of fortunes, and encourage the offshoring of jobs. I am also suggesting that government (of, by, and for the people) investment in education, infrastructure, science, and sustainable energy is necessary, good, and not incompatable with capitalism.

An economy in which the fruits of labor are concentrated in fewer hands while the standard of living declines for the majority is a system in decline and heading for ruin.

A legitimate "living wage" is a legitimate and necessary goal, but it is not a first step mechanism for achieving that goal.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 20 2012, 10:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It won't work.  What's the incentive to improve one's skills and become a more valuable, more productive member of society?  A well-regulated free-enterprise system will always be best.  We're just a little lacking in the regulation arena right now.

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(Drift Woody @ Nov. 20 2012, 7:02 pm)
QUOTE
I'm not suggesting we abandon capitalism. Far from it.

Nor am I suggesting that Congress, at this time, pass legislation mandating a "living wage." Without other substantive changes, that could hurt more than help the economy.

What I am suggesting is changing the rules of the game that reward financial schemers, enable the hoarding of fortunes, and encourage the offshoring of jobs. I am also suggesting that government (of, by, and for the people) investment in education, infrastructure, science, and sustainable energy is necessary, good, and not incompatable with capitalism.

An economy in which the fruits of labor are concentrated in fewer hands while the standard of living declines for the majority is a system in decline and heading for ruin.

A legitimate "living wage" is a legitimate and necessary goal, but it is not a first step mechanism for achieving that goal.


I agree with what you wrote -- except for offshoring.  Offshoring isn't just necessary -- it is even 'natural' if we truly mean what we preach (to the rest of the world) about capitalism and free markets!

We Americans should feel free to work wherever good jobs abound.  Indeed, many Americans are now working abroad.  Just take a stroll in Shanghai, for example.  We simply can't just limit our horizon to "US labor market" anymore.

We need not fear competition.  We should, however, fear unpreparedness.  And worse than unpreparedness is the cry for "living wages" (or similar) legislation -- which will hurt our country even more.  But on this last point, I believe we are in agreement.


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(Ben2World @ Nov. 20 2012, 10:28 pm)
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I agree with what you wrote -- except for offshoring.  Offshoring isn't just necessary -- it is even 'natural' if we truly mean what we preach (to the rest of the world) about capitalism and free markets!

There is a difference between "free" markets and fair  markets. Competetion is not fair  when other countries do not have our standards of law to protect workers and the environment.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 7:20 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Paying an individual based on need is just as insidious as paying someone based on race or gender. Pay should be based on merit.

Given my limited knowledge, I think that a tax mechanisms based on corporate profits vs median pay across all employees would be more effective in increasing pay, and reducing pay disparity. That is, a corporate tax mechanism that “encourages” corporations to distribute a larger percentage of their profits across all of their employees (not just those at the top). Greed is the driving force, and if it is more profitable to pay employees than the government, I think that corporations will opt to pay the employees.

But, even more importantly, we need jobs!
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 11:09 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

ol-zeke
QUOTE
Henry Ford said you have to make a quality product, and pay your own employees enough so that they can afford to buy the product.

Car makers have bought into this, by and large.  Home builders, not as much.


Car manufacturing is skilled labor, construction work is skilled labor. You can make a fine living if you have skills and work ethic. My father owned a construction business and he always struggled to find people who were willing to work and show up on time.

Entry level jobs at fast food or a coffee shop is not skilled labor. It is an entry level job not designed to support a family. Raising the cost of these jobs will cause a spike in pricing or a reduction in those jobs.


Drift Woody
QUOTE
The gap between the ownership class and the working class is growing to a chasm not seen since the Gilded Age.

The gap will always grow, we've shifted to a global market.  If I own a regional retail company, my income will reflect that. If my company goes national, my income will greatly increase. If my company goes global, it will greatly increase.
However, that first store I opened, the job of the cashier hasn't changed oen bit.

In all likelyhood, their benifits and pay has increased because I have the capital to attract better employees, but it will be reflective of the job and limitied to their responsiblities.


The thing people forget is minimum wage jobs are not careers. If you start at McDonalds making the minimum and you work there and work hard for any length of time, you will be promoted. You will make more money, you will get better benifits. That job is still minimum wage, but you've promoted past it. You are a manager, maybe a store owner, etc.


QUOTE
encourage the offshoring of jobs

This cannot be avoided, we are losing jobs because we are becoming a richer nation. Jobs that are being offshored are jobs that would pay too little or people simply don't want to do. We need to focus on education and skill based jobs. Not simple manufacturing or menial jobs. They are not coming back and they shouldn't.


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TehipiteTom Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 11:37 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm not sure a living wage as such is workable, but we definitely need an increase in the minimum wage.

We do know with 100% certainty what isn't workable as policy: fatuous platitudes about personal responsibility and hard work and all that.  What's good advice (as far as it goes) for individuals has only the barest tangential relevance to governing.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 11:46 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yeah, government shouldn't be responsible nor efficient.

Good call.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 12:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Drift Woody @ Nov. 21 2012, 3:19 am)
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(Ben2World @ Nov. 20 2012, 10:28 pm)
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I agree with what you wrote -- except for offshoring.  Offshoring isn't just necessary -- it is even 'natural' if we truly mean what we preach (to the rest of the world) about capitalism and free markets!

There is a difference between "free" markets and fair  markets. Competetion is not fair  when other countries do not have our standards of law to protect workers and the environment.

Or perhaps it isn't fair because we don't have their standards?  ???

Surely most all of us would not want to emulate the labor standards of developing countries (e.g. China) -- but last I check, no third world country is forcing their employees to report to work on the most important family-oriented holiday of the year -- just so shoppers can bust down doors...

As well, we don't have the standards of many European countries -- which tend to tax more but also provide more worker benefits.  Is that somehow 'unfair' as well?


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 12:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TehipiteTom @ Nov. 21 2012, 8:37 am)
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I'm not sure a living wage as such is workable, but we definitely need an increase in the minimum wage.

We do know with 100% certainty what isn't workable as policy: fatuous platitudes about personal responsibility and hard work and all that.  What's good advice (as far as it goes) for individuals has only the barest tangential relevance to governing.


We can call it whatever we want.  But 'artificially' mandating wages that are higher than productivity will mostly be counter productive.  Sure, it's obvious that many workers will benefit directly -- but many others will end up losing their jobs entirely due to accelerated off shoring -- or find it that much harder to get a job...

So, maybe you prefer 'policy' -- and policy certainly has its place -- but take care that we don't artificially force one part of our society to 'overpay' to another.  And how do we determine that?  Hate to say the obvious, but up to now, the messy pricing mechanism known as capitalism has proven to be the best method we've got.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 12:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

In my opinion a high minimum wage will lead to fewer jobs with more responsibilities for those lucky enough to have jobs.  The increase in retail prices will negate the increase in wages.  It will also make it harder on those displaced by the job cuts.  But then we can siphon off more of the workers pay through taxes to fund the entitlement programs to “assist” the poor and helpless whom can’t find jobs.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2012, 1:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Your tired views have been spouted since minimum wage was first proposed, and none of that has taken place.  Jobs do not dry up because of a rise of the minimum wage.  Prices go up because of inflation, regardless of the minimum wage.  Other people get raises, so those on minimum wage should also.  

Siphoning money from workers to pay for programs to assist the poor seems to just be code for too much gov't and lazy impoverished people.  Tea Bagger?


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