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Minimum wage - should there be any / how high should it be?

 
 
nimh
 
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 07:31 pm
Answer the poll and explain/argue your answer?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 9 • Views: 6,126 • Replies: 57
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 07:38 pm
I didn't answer the poll. My main beef with minimum wage is that cost of living varies greatly from city to country and even from city to city. So, how can we have one set m.w. for eveyone? I think there should be a m.w., but I think it needs to be tailored to the area you're living in. For example, here in Cambridge, MA, the 'living wage' is thought to be 10-12 bucks an hour (I can't remember exactly).
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roverroad
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 07:41 pm
Re: Minimum wage - should there be any / how high should it
Absolutely there needs to be a minimum wage in America. Otherwise the Republicans would take advantage of the low income (more than they already do). You can't live on less than $7.00 per hour. Greedy business owners only care about their bottom line but it goes both ways, if you want good employees you have to pay them a livable wage.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 08:08 pm
Frankly, I don't see how someone could live on $7 per hour either. I voted none... not because I think people should earn less... because I think depressed areas stay that way for lack of competition. I don't believe the average wage would go down 1 cent without a minimum wage, and I suspect people would get accustomed to going after more instead of settling for the BS wage and their annual $1 an hour raises. On the flip side, if you really could get people to work for $3 an hour; you'd see a surge in small businesses like never before, resulting in more competition for employees, which of course would result in higher wages. I believe in a free market. A safety net should be constructed of food and shelter, not money. Money needs to be earned to be appreciated.
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GeneralTsao
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 08:15 pm
Re: Minimum wage - should there be any / how high should it
roverroad wrote:
Absolutely there needs to be a minimum wage in America. Otherwise the Republicans would take advantage of the low income (more than they already do). You can?t live on less than $7.00 per hour. Greedy business owners only care about their bottom line but it goes both ways, if you want good employees you have to pay them a livable wage.


Unwittingly, you're arguing against yourself. Successful businessowners know that "if you want good employees you have to pay them a livable wage." Businessowners are not stupid, as you imply.

If they were stupid or selfish, they would not be businessowners.

In fact, most employers I know pay their employees more per hour than they themselves make. This is also true for myself.

Not to mention the fact that a businessowner lives with his business. It is always on his mind. Always in his thought processes. His employees welfare is constantly on his mind.

When an employee doesn't show up for work one day, the employer worries if he/she is OK--are they sick? Had an accident? Or just quit without notice?

Businessowners are not the bad people you seem to think they are. Our employees are like family to us. In fact, most employees receive better treatment than our own family members (the family has to work late, work without pay, often does not get vacation, etc.).

Walk in our shoes for one month. Your perspective will change from one of hate to admiration.

General Tsao
PS: Minimum wage is not necessary these days. Jobs are plentiful, and competition for employees is brisk.
PPS: By the way, how come the poll does not ask if minimum wage should be $8 per hour; $9 per hour; $10 per hour; $20 per hour?
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 08:25 pm
Re: Minimum wage - should there be any / how high should it
GeneralTsao wrote:
PPS: By the way, how come the poll does not ask if minimum wage should be $8 per hour; $9 per hour; $10 per hour; $20 per hour?


I sorted the options around the current minimum wage ($5.15) and the rise to $7 now proposed in the presidential race.
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roverroad
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 08:38 pm
Re: Minimum wage - should there be any / how high should it
GeneralTsao wrote:


Walk in our shoes for one month. Your perspective will change from one of hate to admiration.



I am in your shoes, I'm a subcontractor in construction and I never pay my people less than 8.00 per hour. But I'd have no problem getting the same quality people to work for less. There needs to be a law because there are a lot of people that are only making the minimum wage and if it were less, I'm sure those employers would still pay them less. The law protects the workers against the employers who take advantage. It's a good law!
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 08:42 pm
nimh

I don't know what level of payment should actually constitute a minimum wage. But it should be based on a realistic assessment of basic living expenses. My concern is the large number of people who now work in part-time/contract/short-term employment. How can these people be ensured a reasonable wage & standard of living, given the insecurity of their employment? To me the permanently employed & the short-term employed have quite different requirements. I believe those with less security of employment should be paid at a higher rate, as compensation for the insecure nature of their employment.
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roverroad
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 08:56 pm
Re: Minimum wage - should there be any / how high should it
GeneralTsao wrote:

PS: Minimum wage is not necessary these days. Jobs are plentiful, and competition for employees is brisk.


Where have you been for the last four years? Have you taken a look at the unemployment rates? In most cities there are hundreds of people applying for the same job, even the low paying ones. It's not competition for employees that is brisk, it's competition for available jobs that is high. It may be getting a little better, but it's still a long way off from where we were in the Clinton years, and there are a lot of people who aren't making near as much per hour now as they were during the clinton years.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 08:56 pm
Meant to vote 7 but it went to over seven. There's a whole raft of people out there who could be finding out about jobs, and even getting promoted - if it were worth their while. $5.15 doesn't work for most kids in high school.

By the way, most of the fast food places in town are paying well over minimun wage, and many states have their own minimum wage set higher than the federal level.
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GeneralTsao
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 09:40 pm
Re: Minimum wage - should there be any / how high should it
roverroad wrote:
GeneralTsao wrote:


Walk in our shoes for one month. Your perspective will change from one of hate to admiration.



I am in your shoes, I'm a subcontractor in construction and I never pay my people less than 8.00 per hour. But I'd have no problem getting the same quality people to work for less. There needs to be a law because there are a lot of people that are only making the minimum wage and if it were less, I'm sure those employers would still pay them less. The law protects the workers against the employers who take advantage. It's a good law!


Why don't you pay them more? No one can live on a lousy $16,000 a year. Even living tight, the rent or mortgage will be at least $6000; food will be $1200, utilities $2400, car payment $3600, insurance $2400, cable TV $600, a modest vacation $1000, going to a movie only once a month $180. Oops. Over budget already, and not a dime into savings or investments.

As a businessowner, you should know very well that there's a balance between your labor and other expenses, and what the market will bear as far as the price you charge.

If you let your expenses get too high, you must raise your prices. However, the public (or the general contractor) won't pay your prices if you're not competitive.

If you don't win any bids, you don't do any work and guess what--you have to lay off employees. Which I'm sure you would hate to do.

General Tsao
PS: thank-you for not hiring illegals, as I know is common in the construction industry (around here, anyway).
0 Replies
 
roverroad
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 11:42 pm
I do pay people with experience more, 13.00 per hour is about tops for this business. After everyone is paid my wages are practically peanuts. Sometimes I pay a flat percentage of the job and don't pay by the hour at all, then everybody works faster and we get more jobs done, they end up making more in the long run when I pay a percentage because the longer it takes them to finish a job the less they make. But I'd never pay less than 8.00 per hour if I go hourly. I can live on that. I personally choose to work an additional job at night to supliment my own wages.
0 Replies
 
Miller
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 05:17 am
Re: Minimum wage - should there be any / how high should it
GeneralTsao wrote:
roverroad wrote:
GeneralTsao wrote:


Walk in our shoes for one month. Your perspective will change from one of hate to admiration.



I am in your shoes, I'm a subcontractor in construction and I never pay my people less than 8.00 per hour. But I'd have no problem getting the same quality people to work for less. There needs to be a law because there are a lot of people that are only making the minimum wage and if it were less, I'm sure those employers would still pay them less. The law protects the workers against the employers who take advantage. It's a good law!


Why don't you pay them more? No one can live on a lousy $16,000 a year. Even living tight, the rent or mortgage will be at least $6000; food will be $1200, utilities $2400, car payment $3600, insurance $2400, cable TV $600, a modest vacation $1000, going to a movie only once a month $180. Oops. Over budget already, and not a dime into savings or investments.
As a businessowner, you should know very well that there's a balance between your labor and other expenses, and what the market will bear as far as the price you charge.

If you let your expenses get too high, you must raise your prices. However, the public (or the general contractor) won't pay your prices if you're not competitive.

If you don't win any bids, you don't do any work and guess what--you have to lay off employees. Which I'm sure you would hate to do.

General Tsao
PS: thank-you for not hiring illegals, as I know is common in the construction industry (around here, anyway).



Looking over the above budget, and reading that the poster didn't have a dime for investments, it's interesting to note the following:

1. My utility bill is $240/year, your's is $2400: difference = $2160

2. No car= savings of $3600

3. No car insurance = savings of $2400

4. No cable TV= savings of $600

5. No vacation= savings of $1000

6. No movies= savings of $180

Net savings= $9940

(Library cards and their useage is free )

If this money were to be invested into an interest generating account, with a return of at least 5%, in 10 years the accumulated amount would be
$16,191.

There is an art to overcoming poverty, and one method to be employed is use of a savings account or an investmnet device. The poor remain so, because of their inability to say, NO...No...NO to spending for things that don't need to be bought. Idea
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GeneralTsao
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 10:06 am
roverroad wrote:
I do pay people with experience more, 13.00 per hour is about tops for this business. After everyone is paid my wages are practically peanuts. Sometimes I pay a flat percentage of the job and don't pay by the hour at all, then everybody works faster and we get more jobs done, they end up making more in the long run when I pay a percentage because the longer it takes them to finish a job the less they make. But I'd never pay less than 8.00 per hour if I go hourly. I can live on that. I personally choose to work an additional job at night to supliment my own wages.


Thanks for the reply, Rover.
So, then, I'm wondering why $13 per hour is "tops" in your industry? $26K a year is not even median income. It's really difficult to raise a family of 4 on $26,000. I think perhaps the minimum should be something like $35-40,000 per year. That's a livable wage for most people.

As a sidebar, what happens when the minimum wage is increased to $7, 8, or even $10 per hour?All the employees who are making $8 now, see their $5 min. wagers get a $2 increase, then they will want one, too. So now the $8's make $10, the $13's make $15, etc.

So one little increase at the bottom will cause a large increase overall. Who pays for that? You and I are already making a pittance for all our work; are we supposed to then work for free, or raise our prices, or cut labor?

General Tsao
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 12:00 pm
IMO, $5.15/hour is fine. Can a family of 4 survive on that? Probably not. Is the minimum wage intended for that purpose? Nope!

Who gets paid minimum wage? There are a few adults but not many in the grand scheme of things. Most of the minimum wage earners are entry level people living in areas with a low cost of living. Is there a reason a 16 year old collecting carts from the parking lot at Walmart should have to be paid more than that?

As little k mentioned, the cost of living isn't the same everywhere. Since the Federal minium wage applies everywhere it should be set for the lowest cost of living area. Areas where the cost of living is higher are free to set their own minimum levels and their own markets will demand that employers pay more.

The local Home Depot has a sign out front advertising postions for shelf stockers and they are offering $18/hour. That's what the labor market demands in this area. They've had that sign up for at least 3 months now. It started out advertised at $9-$12/hour.
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 01:11 pm
I voted less than $5.15 but I do think there needs to be some kind of reasonable floor to prevent the rare unscrupulous employer from taking advantage of the ignorant and/or desperate. I don't think that floor needs to be very much to keep it from being exploitive. I wouldn't think it was exploitive to pay a kid three or four bucks to sweep out the store, for instance and thereby give him a taste of capitalism. It could be wrong to pay him 50 cents or a dollar for the same task.

The purpose of the minimum wage is to provide a means for persons to enter the work force, get some experience, learn a trade, develop a work ethic, etc. It was never intended to support anybody, much less a family. In my opinion, anyone making minimum wage needs to stay in school, learn a trade, etc. and equip himself/herself to support a family before even considering having one.
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danload
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 01:57 pm
Re: Minimum wage - should there be any / how high should it
Miller wrote:
There is an art to overcoming poverty, and one method to be employed is use of a savings account or an investmnet device. The poor remain so, because of their inability to say, NO...No...NO to spending for things that don't need to be bought. Idea


Market economy needs consumers to be healthy...
Less sales = Less healthy companies = less employment.
The best consumers are the poor because they need more things than rich people and ... there are far more poor people than rich ones...
So unless you want to switch to another type of economy, you'd better encourage poor people to spend (at least a part of) their money in "useless" things...
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 05:45 pm
I would rather poor people spent their money on necessary things and that they be encouraged to become better educated, better trained, more responsible etc. so that they could acquire the useless things involved by the rest of us.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jun, 2004 03:55 pm
Thanks for all your answers.

Here in Holland, the minimum wage is some 7-8 Euro an hour. That would be some 9$ with the current exchange rate (but of course a couple of years ago, when the dollar was still stronger, it translated into just 7$).

Living costs here are lower than in the US, or in American cities in any case - wages overall in any case are considerably lower here than in the US.

At the moment unemployment is rising again, but the existence of a 7$ minimum wage didnt stop unemployment from dropping to a low of 3% in the late 90s. (Its now something like 6%, and thats with a more inclusive definition than you use in the US).
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Jun, 2004 03:58 pm
Out of curiosity, what percentage of your income does the average middle-class citizen of the Netherlands pay in all taxes Nimh?
0 Replies
 
 

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