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View Diary: Why $17 an Hour Should be the Minimum Wage (95 comments)

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  •  you need skills to earn that much (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doc2, coffeetalk, Sparhawk, Utahrd, erush1345

    I own a small business and would not pay my shipping clerk $17 an hour because the job doesn't deserve that kind of salary. I pay my shipping guy about 25K a year and hep with health insurance and a 401K.
    I think I am a great boss and pay him above standard wage for the job. If people want to make $17/hr they need an education and skills to earn it.
    I agree $7.25 is way to low and would support $10 as reasonable for low skill min wage jobs.

    •  Doesn't Deserve ... What? (6+ / 0-)

      How do you determine that?

      "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

      by bink on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 03:08:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  By the skills required by the job (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, erush1345

        and the market for someone with those skills.  

        If I can get good employees to perform a certain type of job for $35,000 with benefits (say that's the upper end of the local market for that job) I would be foolish -- and pretty quickly out of business --  if I paid $50,000 plus benefits for that job, when my competition is paying, at the upper end, $35,000.  

        Anyone who hires employees is aware if those things, or he/she wouldn't stay in business long.  

    •  Supply and demand dictate (7+ / 0-)

      If you got no responses for your job at $12.50 per hour, you would have to raise the salary until it was worth it to somebody.

      If hospitals were allowed to  imported doctors from abroad who were willing to work for minimum wage, doctors salaries would fall to the minimum wage.

    •  You don't understand the concept of a minimum wage (6+ / 0-)
      you need skills to earn that much
      A minimum wage is the minimum needed to survive.

      "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

      by Horace Boothroyd III on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 04:41:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The problem is... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coffeetalk, VClib, Utahrd, erush1345

        ...that no one is guaranteed employment at minimum or any other wage. Setting the minimum too high is going to result in the biggest wave of automation this country has ever seen.

        It'll be a good time to be a programmer or IT solution purveyor, not a good time to be a worker with no skills (many such jobs will be automated away).

        Concentration of wealth will only increase, not decrease.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 06:19:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So in other words... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tardis10, worldlotus, NoMoreLies

          Someone has to have a skill to make a "living wage"?

          What if everybody went to college and became a doctor, who would shine your shoes? What happened to the days went "LABOR" was respected. Standing on your feet all day and doing labor intensive jobs should also be rewarded, just like a desk job.

          Pay a "living wage" for unskilled labor and than increase their pay as one's skills increase.

          •  Pretty much, yes, you need a skill to earn a (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib, nextstep, erush1345

            decent income.

            "A skill" doesn't mean college.  It means the ability to do something that other people will pay for.  And the more rare and specialized that skill, the more money you can earn.  

            It does not require very much in the way of specialized skills to take orders for burgers and fries.  What skill is necessary can be learned by most people in a short period of time.  In other words, because there are minimal skills needed, and the vast majority of able-bodied adults have that skill, the pay for an entry-level position is going to be minimal. Once you acquire some more specialized skills that are useful to the business owner (the person who is paying for your work) the more the business owner will be willing to pay you so as not to lose the more specialized skills you have.  

            On the other hand, my plumber has skills that a lot of people don't have.  When I need him, I pay A LOT more than minimum wage, because that is what it takes for me to get someone with his skills, and because that is what people like me are willing to pay for those skills.  

            In a capitalist economy, labor operates by the laws of supply and demand.  The more people are available with your skills, the less people have to pay -- and are willing to pay -- for your work.   A high school dropout without any specialized skills is not going to earn much.  A neurosurgeon with very specialized skills is going to earn a lot.  

            And in a capitalist society, the market (i.e., what those who are paying for those skills are willing to pay) determines what the gap is between the pay for the unskilled high school drop out and the neurosurgeon, within the outside parameters set by law.

            •  Your scenario (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lunachickie, NoMoreLies

              explains why countries have had buffers to blunt the effects of capitalism, such as the minimum wage and labor rights.

              The powerful control the 'markets' and do whatever they can to exploit others.

              We are becoming a fuedal system because of people like you, the fervently religious proponents of capitalism.

              The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

              by dfarrah on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 09:14:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Can you suggest a better economic (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                VClib, Sparhawk, erush1345

                system -- one that has proven to work better?  

                I'm a believer in regulated capitalism.  It's not perfect, but of course no economic system is.  It is, however, the best system that we have been able to devise.

                One of the facets of regulated capitalism is the minimum wage.  It ought to be set at a reasonable level, and a reasonable increase would not be problematic for business and hiring.  However, if you set it TOO far above what the market would pay, then given a choice, people won't hire unskilled workers.  They will (1) send those jobs overseas (since that makes overseas labor MUCH cheaper than U.S. labor); (2) automate wherever possible (since you've dramatically increased the economic incentive for doing so; and/or (3) hire fewer unskilled workers.  

                •  Capitalism with more regulations (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  NoMoreLies, ilex

                  would be fucking spiffy!!!

                  We now have capitalism with a lions' share of its' regulations stripped, which has in part allowed the conditions we currently see to flourish.


                  It is time to #Occupy Media.

                  by lunachickie on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 10:59:04 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You aren't going to... (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    coffeetalk, VClib

                    ...'regulate' employers away from installing machines in their businesses.

                    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                    by Sparhawk on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 12:42:58 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  And where did I say that? (0+ / 0-)

                      Of course, I didn't.  But why let that get in the way of a good sidebar troll?

                      It is time to #Occupy Media.

                      by lunachickie on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 12:47:04 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  This is a discussion about the minimum wage (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        coffeetalk, VClib

                        Automation is a critical thing to consider. You posted that you want more regulation, presumably to maintain or increase unskilled worker salaries. That strategy will have limited utility because any reforms to increase worker salaries (health care, sick time, whatever) is going to be met with increased attempts to automate away jobs.

                        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                        by Sparhawk on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 12:58:26 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  And of course, you presumed (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          what others posted would be something that dovetails nicely with whatever neoliberal crap you feel like pushing today. (smacks forehead) What was I thinking?


                          increased attempts to automate away jobs
                          Has it ever occurred to you that fixes to the tax code and banking regs might go a really long way? Of course not! That would interject reality into your opinions-masquerading-as-authoritative-talking-points.

                          It is time to #Occupy Media.

                          by lunachickie on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 01:39:21 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  How would tax fixes and banking regulations (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Sparhawk, nextstep, VClib

                            prevent people from replacing workers with automation?  

                            If workers become expensive enough, it makes sense to invest that money, instead, into automation.  There's generally a tipping point, when automation, with a higher front end investment but generally more reliability and accuracty and far cheaper operational costs, will be more financially advantageous than hiring workers.  

                          •  Of course, no one framed this discussion (0+ / 0-)

                            in this way. But you and your little friends just keep on flailing and vomiting up strawmen at every turn, ok? Maybe someday you'll get somewhere...

                            It is time to #Occupy Media.

                            by lunachickie on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 02:47:00 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

          •  yes, people need skills (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sparhawk, coffeetalk, Hirodog, nextstep, VClib

            I respect labor, but the goal shouldn't be paying a living wage for completely unskilled labor.  It should be in ensuring that all have an opportunity to learn skills that make them competitive in today's economy.

            Germany, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark are not where they are because of a high minimum wage, but because they use their social capital to educate and train their citizens to be valuable contributors in their economies.  

            Would love to see  public/private vocational programs like they have in Germany here in the US.  It would be great if a 16yo kid here in the states could find an program that would bring them on as an apprentice, teach them to be a machinist, and by the time they are 19 or 20 they have a skill that is valuable and worthy of $80k a year...instead of an $36k minimum wage job.

            •  Wish I could rec this 1000x (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sparhawk, VClib

              this is EXACTLY correct:

              It should be in ensuring that all have an opportunity to learn skills that make them competitive in today's economy.
              I remember 30 years ago some high schools in this area had vocational training for high school juniors and seniors -- they'd go in the afternoon and take a trade instead of electives.  They'd graduate with the ability to become a mechanic, or an electrician, or a welder, or a plumber, or an AC repair person, or a number of different skills that did not necessarily require a college degree, but could make them far more marketable at far better salaries than simply being an unskilled laborer.  

              I have a friend who graduated from high school  -- well, I don't want to say exactly how long ago.  He worked for another plumber for a while, started his own plumbing business, and now employs a bunch of other people as plumbers.  He and his wife (she manages his office and does his bookkeeping) are the "small business owners" that both sides talk about so much today.  

              That's exactly the kind of thing I meant when I said above that people who want to make a good living need to be encouraged to learn a marketable skill.  

        •  No one is guaranteed (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          because we haven't, as a matter of policy, wanted any guarantees.  And we decided to ignore a guarantee - the minimum wage - until it is effectively useless.

          Obviously, the 'market' can handle higher paying jobs, because once upon a time, it did.

          The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

          by dfarrah on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 09:08:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  you don't deserve workers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alexandra Lynch

      looking down on your employees like that.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 05:57:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Just wages I mention.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If you added healthcare and/or 401 k, that could be considered as part of their wage. Kudos to you, you sound like a fair and reasonable employer.

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