Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Minimum Wage

A real issue we face in this country is how much people ought to make. Discussion goes on on the Glynn County Democrats' webpage and over at A La Gauche.

I'll open the minimum wage discussion with this: I think hard workers are getting the shaft when it comes to wages. But I'm not so sure that a minimum wage hike would alleviate those woes. As a Southern Liberal, my political belief structure is grounded in the development small business, and I fear what a minimum wage hike would do to small business. I consider them our most endangered employers. But I also realize that, especially in the South, an honest day's work must reap the reward of an honest day's pay.


Internet Esquire said...

Quite surprisingly, libertarian economist Steve Landsburg argues quite convincingly that the minimum wage is not the big job killer that most economists believe it to be. Nonetheless, since over two thirds of minimum wage earned do not actually live in poverty, the Earned Income Tax Credit is a much more effective and equitable method of helping the working poor.

S.A.W.B. said...

quoth paT - an honest day's work must reap the reward of an honest day's pay. -

If you're putting in an honest day's work, you won't be making minimum wage, no matter what job you're doing. If you've been on a job more than 90 days, and are still bringing in the minimum, you're doing something drastically wrong, or you're just too lazy to be worth more.

Hiking the minimum wage is absolutely asinine, considering it only affects 250,000 or so workers out of the 150-200 million employed individuals in this country.

RightOnPeachtree said...

I don't think the minimum wage should be recklessly or even frequently raised, but once every 8 or 10 or 15 years is just not often enough. There are people who live their lives working jobs at or around that level. As inflation goes up or as the dollar devalues, those folks are losing ground.

I think that businesses are lobbying to keep it low so that they can have the lowest possible floor when/if Congress legalizes tens of millions of illegals. Manipulation of the labor pool and the market effects of that labor glut will keep those working at that level from ever seeing any real wage increase.

Patrick Armstrong said...

One of the reasons a minimum wage hike gets any traction at all comes from the fact that, although people who start at or just above minimum wage might work hard and honestly, they remain, years later, at the same level or just above.

There may only be 250-500K workers (I've heard both quoted, but it never goes higher) currently pulling down the minimum wage, I'd wager that there are millions making between $5.75 and $6.50 after years of hard work with the same employer, who have little access to benefits.

Yes, if you work at a job hard & honest, you will not stay at the minimum for long. It is entirely feasable, however long and hard you work, and however competent you are, that a worker gets locked into a wage that only raises $.25 every six months. That means you work hard for two years, and you start pulling down $6.15.

That is not an honest day's pay, and I've seen that happen with my own eyes.

S.A.W.B. said...

As the demotivational poster says, "Not everyone gets to grow up to be an astronaut". Or, if you prefer, "Someone has to cook the french fries."

Hardworking and honest will get you far in life. However, if you're hardworking and honest, and not making much above the minimum, you need to take a step back, and see where the problem lies.

It could be you have the cheapest employer on the planet.

It could be that you have 'topped out' your earning potential at your current place of employment.

Or, it could be that you're as dumb as a sack of doorknobs, and $6.75/hour is the best you're going to do without getting into the medical testing field.

In case you haven't figured it out, I'm completely against the minimum wage, but then, I'm a 'market dictates' kind of guy...