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Thread: What are your thoughts on a possible minimum wage increase?

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    What are your thoughts on a possible minimum wage increase?

    I know that this might get heated, but I would like to know what are your thoughts on a possible minimum wage increase? Both candidates are suggesting it, so it is not a sided issue.

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    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    How do proponents get around regional factors? $8.00 per hour in Boston is different than $8.00 in Alabama. If you go on a state by state basis, firms might just move across the state line to pay their workers less.

    People argue that pure supply and demand should set the tone, but I wonder if that's the case with the minimum wage. The lowest rung of jobs is the last resort for people with no other work options. They would work for $2.00 an hour if they had to. Unlike someone with a skill or degree they can't easily look elsewhere for a better paying job.

    There should be a maximum wage limiting CEO's and celebrities to 100 million a year. The candidate who pledges to take money out of Tom Cruise's pockets and into mine gets my vote. (I'm not a communist, but I would like to see celebrities cry.)

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    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    In the short run, minimum wages increase real income for low income earners. However, it doesn't take long for the market and profit margins to adjust through price increases to reflect the higher costs of providing good and services. Thus, it's an artifical inflationary stimulant.

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    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    We have just such an amendment on our ballot for Tuesday.

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    Cyburbian Trail Nazi's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess
    We have just such an amendment on our ballot for Tuesday.
    I like the idea of changing the min wage for regional reasons because of the cost of living, but I disagree with it being a constitutional amendment. Why is Florida turning into California as my boss put it? A state that must have everything voted on as a constitutional amendment. There are much better mechanisms for addressing those "issues".

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Seabishop
    How do proponents get around regional factors? $8.00 per hour in Boston is different than $8.00 in Alabama. If you go on a state by state basis, firms might just move across the state line to pay their workers less.

    People argue that pure supply and demand should set the tone, but I wonder if that's the case with the minimum wage. The lowest rung of jobs is the last resort for people with no other work options. They would work for $2.00 an hour if they had to. Unlike someone with a skill or degree they can't easily look elsewhere for a better paying job.

    There should be a maximum wage limiting CEO's and celebrities to 100 million a year. The candidate who pledges to take money out of Tom Cruise's pockets and into mine gets my vote. (I'm not a communist, but I would like to see celebrities cry.)
    I agree completely. This is going to sound mean but if a person wants to make more than minimum wage, they should be able to find something. I have never made minimum wage, even when I was in Jr. High I was making more mowing lawns, shoveling snow, and selling trees at a greenhouse.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian PlannerByDay's avatar
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    What about a LIVING WAGE

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    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    I agree completely. This is going to sound mean but if a person wants to make more than minimum wage, they should be able to find something. I have never made minimum wage, even when I was in Jr. High I was making more mowing lawns, shoveling snow, and selling trees at a greenhouse.
    I was saying the opposite in the second paragraph, actually - that maybe there should be a definite minimum because people with no real skills could be taken advantage of. I'm unsure about the affects of raising the minimum wage so my posts are probably confusing and flip-flopping.

    On the con side we always think of the minimum wage in terms of large corporations like McDonalds but I'd like to see more info on what its affect would be on small businesses - family owned restaurants, factories etc. What about agriculture? How would it affect immigration? Would it just lead to more outsourcing of manufacturing jobs?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Seabishop
    I was saying the opposite in the second paragraph, actually - that maybe there should be a definite minimum because people with no real skills could be taken advantage of. I'm unsure about the affects of raising the minimum wage so my posts are probably confusing and flip-flopping.

    On the con side we always think of the minimum wage in terms of large corporations like McDonalds but I'd like to see more info on what its affect would be on small businesses - family owned restaurants, factories etc. What about agriculture? How would it affect immigration? Would it just lead to more outsourcing of manufacturing jobs?
    How many people make minimum wage doing manufacturing jobs? Places that do pay people minimum wage will raise the cost of their product because their costs will go up, and they are not about to cut executive pay. That will mean that the cost for that one product will be more, in return all that use that product to produce other things will increase the cost of their product as well, in return causing the cost of living to increase more than the amount of minimum wage.

    In essence the people who get the raise will be able to purchase less with more money, and all of us will be able to purchase even less with the same about as before.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian MD Planner's avatar
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    It would make sense to me if minimum wage equated to more than welfare per year. I don't know if it does right now, but I doubt it.
    He's a planner, he's a dreamer, he's a sordid little schemer,
    Seems to think that money grows on trees . . .

  11. #11
    Cyburbian PlannerByDay's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by MD Planner
    It would make sense to me if minimum wage equated to more than welfare per year. I don't know if it does right now, but I doubt it.
    That is what a living wage is. I thing

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    I don't like minimum wage increases. I was in Alaska last time they increased the minimum wage. I'd been out at odd hours, so I was in the grocery store at 3:30 AM on the morning it went into effect. In my smallish-town grocery store were no less than about 10 people going through the store and systematically raising the price of everything in the store. I went to a restauraunt for lunch. The price had gone up. The real wages, in short, hadn't changed in the slightest. Those on fixed incomes, however, lost a significant portion of their buying power literally overnight.

    That afternoon, I got a frustrated call from my stepbrother. He does social work with assisted care. One of his clients had a job at a local fast food restauraunt; while he didn't technically need the money, it improved his standard of living and let him feel useful. Said client came to work that morning to find that he, and a number of others, had been fired; only the "high performers" were kept on. That is, cute/attractive by middle-class-white-american standards, well educated, with good work habits, all things that correlate strongly with the buzzword "Rich white male" though many were also "rich young white large-chested college-educated female".

    That evening, I saw "Going out of business signs" appear on the doors of a number of small local businesses that had been in the community for years. Seems that small businesses are usually the ones who can't weather the shock of such an increase in expenses. Big chains can handle it, on account of scale and decentralized resources.

    Minimum wages tend to hit the youth hardest. It requires people entering the market to have better work skills and experience in order to be worth the amount to their employer. If you're in the dominant group, you get these from your affluent family upbringing. If your upbringing wasn't so great, you need to learn these on th job - but you aren't woth $8/hour until you have them, so you just sit around unemployed. And then you have a family, and your kids don't get those skills either.

    When I bring these things up, the response is usually something like "But if they didn't increase it suddenly like that those things wouldn't happen!" However, this is simply not the case in the case of a government minimum wage increase.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    We're already in the minimum wage game. At this point we should either raise it to an acceptable standard (every year) or do away with it all together. The worst scenario might be what we have now - a minimum that is out of date but is still the "standard" because the govt. says so. The status quo is that neither the government nor private industry are thinking about fair entry level pay anymore.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Seabishop
    We're already in the minimum wage game. At this point we should either raise it to an acceptable standard (every year) or do away with it all together.
    Do away with it! If a person does not want to be paid what is offered, then they should be able to find something more. Let the market determine a good base amount.

    Waitresses make less than that, plus tips. Some make more in the end and some make less.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    The origin of the minimum wage is that The Deep South paid the lowest wages in the nation and was regionally very distinct from the rest of the nation, in part due to the degree of poverty there AND part of that was due to the practice of paying blacks about half what they paid whites. When the minimum wage was instituted, it was, in part, an attempt to address racism in a more sophisticated manner than is typically used and that made it a fairly good policy. Except it was failing miserably ..until WWII began. WWII made it a successful policy. Nonetheless, many in the deep south still would not pay a black man "a white man's wage" and this led to high unemployment among blacks in that region and contributed to the exodus of blacks out of the rural south and into the inner city of northern manufacturing centers.

    I am not sure that minimum wage is really something we should keep. However, since I do not have a brilliant alternative, I have no intention of taking any particular position on the subject at this time.

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    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    well.....

    I've made my point in another post on this issue....but....I agree that a hike during poor economic times would further hurt the small business' already so marginal (due to current economic problems) that they may go under at an accelerated rate .....
    It is a better idea to raise the minimum wage during good economic times...that way any business that closes because of the raise can be looked at as being so marginal anyway that it was inevitable that they would go under the very moment the economy went soft for more than a few months......

    Having said that, we should have raised the minimum wage in 1999 or 2000 when things were good.....now we get Kerry and wait two years for a better economy then do it....
    Skilled Adoxographer

  17. #17
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    WARNING NERVE HIT

    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    I agree completely. This is going to sound mean but if a person wants to make more than minimum wage, they should be able to find something. I have never made minimum wage, even when I was in Jr. High I was making more mowing lawns, shoveling snow, and selling trees at a greenhouse.

    ********************

    Do away with it! If a person does not want to be paid what is offered, then they should be able to find something more. Let the market determine a good base amount.

    You were very lucky then. Some people have no choice and even end up working for less than minimum wage even though there is one.

    Having just moved from a very depressed region of the continent(Canada and US only) I can truthfully say that there is a need for a minimum wage and that wage should be livable.

    Would you gut fish for 10 hours a day for $5.50 CDN an hour and consider that this work is only for 8-12 weeks a year, then you go on unemployment and make 50% of what you made at the plant? There are entire villages that do it. Would you cut tree boughs for 3 cents a lb or make wreaths for a few dollars a unit? There are lots of people who work hard and have very little choice and suggesting that they can find something better or move on, is insulting to them.

    As a person who grew up in similar conditions and had a mother who worked multiple crap jobs so we could live, this type of response annoys me to no end. Things ended up ok for me, but that is because of family support and expectations. Imagine entire communities that don't know any better.

    Now for suggestions and comments for all to consider on the impact of minimum wage

    My curent jurisdiction had four levels of minimum wage when I was a kid.

    Student (ie under 18), Regular, Wait Staff, and Farm. At 15 I was doing awesome making $4 an hour as minimum wage was $3.85. As I got older and stayed at the same job I got raises each year until when I turned 18. At 18 I was actually making adult minimum wage, and that ended up being less than peple who just started working there.

    Don't forget that when arguing the merits of minimum wage to take a look at what you are wearing, where the food you eat is grown and your other consumables, they all tend to be made by people who make minimum wage, or less. Not including currency conversions. How much more are you willing to pay(taxes, prices, charity etc) to ensure a decent quality of life for all?
    Last edited by donk; 28 Oct 2004 at 5:25 PM.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  18. #18
    Cyburbian ludes98's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by PlannerByDay
    What about a LIVING WAGE
    Some people can live in a trailer and be happy on $250 a week, others...can't. People always live up to their means. I have not made minimum wage since I entered the workforce at 15. Thank God. Would living wage be a percentage of the median income for a given area then? Wages are so different across regions I can't see a national average being equitable.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian ludes98's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by donk
    Don't forget that when arguing the merits of minimum wage to take a look at what you are wearing, where the food you eat is grown and your other consumables, they all tend to be made by people who make minimum wage, or less. Not including currency conversions. How much more are you willing to pay(taxes, prices, charity etc) to ensure a decent quality of life for all?
    I think the answer for most folks is...not that much. I know I try to buy quality products from USA or Europe, but sometimes there isn't an option. Work clothing is probably the only item I do really well on though because I like the nice stuff. (Closet clothes snob)

  20. #20
    Cyburbian
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    It's not just how much people make, it's how much they can purchase with it. I think others have addressed this here, probably more cogently than I could, but there needs to be a parity between what you make and what you can buy. Holding two or three entry-level jobs that pay whatever the minimum wage is dictated to be, just so you can share a 2-bedroom apartment with other people, thus leaving little time for further education, not to mention free time, is not a quality of life. I'm not saying that everyone should be able to make enough to be comfortably middle-class and buy their beige vinyl front-loader on .50 acre in the 'burbs--not everyone wants that. But people should be able to eat decently, not processed crap which always seems to be cheaper, they should be able to have space to themselves and not have to live in a motel or crammed into an apartment with other people, and they should have enough time to themselves to improve their lives however they choose. Right now, there are few places in the US that are affordable enough to do that. So not only does there need to be a realistic minimum wage, there has to be affordable, safe housing, there needs to be affordable, healthy food, etc, in decent neighborhoods with decent schools. Obviously, the problem goes far, far beyond what in terms of dollars or cents people should be paid.
    And there's the end of my rant.
    I don't dream. I plan.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    I remember getting a raise at M"a"c Donald's a month before the minimum wage went up. Then everybody was making the same as me again . I got them in the end though.

    Like Donk said, not everbody is lucky.

    But then again if it goes up again then the corporations will just raise their prices to justify the increase in wages.

    The only time I really made good money was when I was working 3 jobs off the record so to speak.
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


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  22. #22
    A minumum wage increase is long overdue. The minumum wage has lost value due to inflation, so it should be set to about $6.50 or so to get back to the levels of the mid-1990s.

  23. #23

    The 90s? Try the 60s. The mimimum wage has been falling since. Remember the 60s, that time of nostalgic American prosperity? The minimum wage was almost EIGHT DOLLARS in 2000 terms!

  24. #24
         
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    Quote Originally posted by Budgie
    In the short run, minimum wages increase real income for low income earners. However, it doesn't take long for the market and profit margins to adjust through price increases to reflect the higher costs of providing good and services. Thus, it's an artifical inflationary stimulant.
    Very well put. I work with a few fairly young people (18-20) who talk all day about a min wage increase and how much better it would be (even though they make well over min wage). I have explained this very concept many times but they just don't get it. There is a large portion of society that see's an increase in wage as simply "more money in the pocket" without considering any of the effects on price increases and the job market. Slight increases in minimum wage might be ok, but increasing min wage by dollars at a time can really hurt something like a small retail business. What's better, a small shop owner paying $6.00/ hr to a teenage employee, or not being able to afford to keep the same kid around at all when he's forced to pay $7.50/ hr?

  25. #25
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    Without some artificial "bottom" for wages, Malthusian economics apply. It is wierd for the richest nation in the world to be considering a wage that is satisfactory to pay expenses only if you work two jobs and have a couple of family members also working.

    On the subject of small businesses - why not strengthen and enforce antitrust laws. Huge businesses engage in a raft of uncompetitive practices. So small business cannot be a source of good new jobs - as they used to be. Now they struggle, and a part of that struggle is to cut pay to subsistence levels.

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