Paying a "living wage" for menial jobs

Demosthenes wrote:
Duoae wrote:

How can it be fixed when the people who control the ability to fix it are part of the problem? What options are left?

I think we need to go to Wall Street... and... take it over. Everyone chill out there until something changes.

The last time people tried that the police came and harassed them... then beat them and kicked them out - and they weren't even trying to "take it over"...

[edit] English is hard!!

Duoae wrote:
Demosthenes wrote:
Duoae wrote:

How can it be fixed when the people who control the ability to fix it are part of the problem? What options are left?

I think we need to go to Wall Street... and... take it over. Everyone chill out there until something changes.

The last time people tried that the police came and harassed them... then beat them and kicked them out - and they weren't even trying to "take it over"...

[edit] English is hard!!

Thaaaat was the joke... you're killing me with your too many vowels!

Demosthenes wrote:
Duoae wrote:
Demosthenes wrote:
Duoae wrote:

How can it be fixed when the people who control the ability to fix it are part of the problem? What options are left?

I think we need to go to Wall Street... and... take it over. Everyone chill out there until something changes.

The last time people tried that the police came and harassed them... then beat them and kicked them out - and they weren't even trying to "take it over"...

[edit] English is hard!!

Thaaaat was the joke... you're killing me with your too many vowels! :lol:

Ah, sorry! Waaay too subtle for me at 8am!

So I've talked with my wife and realized maybe I was being a bit harsh to minimum wage workers. Lately I've had some horrible retail experiences (including one where the clerk was so incompetent and passive aggressive I just needed to walk out), and the breaking point came last week when I was listening to a GW 2 guild mate (not the GWJ guild let me be clear) bitch about his Taco Bell job and talk about how proud he was to have taken part in the Seattle strike. It took all of my effort not to unleash on him, given that he flunked out of college because he pours all his energies into chasing useless online achievements like getting legendary weapons. If you're not a GW 2 player, that's something that takes hundreds of hours to complete.

I wasn't trying to say all minimum wage workers are like this, and if it came off that way, I apologize.

Now that that's off my chest, I'll be back later today to discuss how not just rising wages but also the new costs of healthcare are making it that much tougher to hire entry-level workers.

Edwin wrote:

forest

jdzappa wrote:

I'll be back later today to discuss trees.

I think we ought to be more fair to jdzappa and acknowledge his graceful concessions, twice now in this thread; before piling back on. You do like us piling on you, right jdzappa? Finger -----> ... and all that.

FWIW, I will also concede that while my concern is with minimum wage workers who find themselves unable to advance whatever they do, there are workers who squander what chances they receive and then complain about being minimum wage workers. Regardless of the morality of their situation and outlook, our concerns do not include them directly.

LarryC wrote:

I think we ought to be more fair to jdzappa and acknowledge his graceful concessions, twice now in this thread; before piling back on.

Yup. It's actually pretty refreshing to see.

I think we ought to be more fair to jdzappa and acknowledge his graceful concessions, twice now in this thread; before piling back on. You do like us piling on you, right jdzappa? Finger -----> ... and all that.

*gasp* A GWJ appropriate and referenced inside joke from Larryc? By Joe I think he's got it!

OMG wow! We finally rubbed off on LarryC! Mark your calendars! The end is nigh! Will someone think of the children!

I should have praised jdzappa's openness in acknowledging where some of his thinking came from. You made a good point, Larry.

fangblackbone wrote:
I think we ought to be more fair to jdzappa and acknowledge his graceful concessions, twice now in this thread; before piling back on. You do like us piling on you, right jdzappa? Finger -----> ... and all that.

*gasp* A GWJ appropriate and referenced inside joke from Larryc? By Joe I think he's got it!

OMG wow! We finally rubbed off on LarryC! Mark your calendars! The end is nigh! Will someone think of the children!

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/lsZ3Kdsl.jpg)

Is that the same cat as the "you know nothing Jon Snow" cat?

fangblackbone wrote:

Is that the same cat as the "you know nothing Jon Snow" cat?

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/grumpy...

Yup, same cat:

IMAGE(http://i2.cdnds.net/13/15/618x411/odd_you_know_nothing_jon_snow.jpg)

I am definitely for raising the minimum wage in America but it does seem like using a bandaid to cover a gaping wound caused by user pays healthcare, education, dentistry, etc

DanB wrote:

It's not at all clear to me why businesses should foot the bill for employee health care, except in those circumstances where the nature of the work may have clear health impacts on workers.

Blame the wage and price controls that were in effect during WWII. Businesses couldn't increase people's salaries, so they began offering health insurance as a way to get around the wage controls. Then the IRS made a ruling that said workers didn't have to pay income tax on health benefits and that employers could write off the cost of the health benefits as a business expense and the rest is history.

You do like us piling on you, right jdzappa? Finger -----> ... and all that.

Well, it depends. If you're talking about debate, I know my ideas aren't very popular here, so sometimes I totally expect the pile-on. If you're talking about something else, this is the 80s and Zappa's only down with the ladies... Err, maybe I need to post over in the '80s come-back thread.

For the record, my rant was why I decided to post this. If that was my only experience, you would be right to call me out for being the worst kind of yuppy filth. My true experience comes from working my way up from just 2 generations removed from share-cropping, having dealt with plenty of crappy jobs for low pay, and seeing plenty of people make it. And for that matter also seeing plenty of people who had multiple chances keep shooting themselves in the foot.

There have been some good points here about needing to foster an economy that offers good jobs for the non-PhD brainiacs. I am not completely against the government helping out in that area, or at the very least not working against the efforts of ordinary Americans by giving special tax breaks and concessions for outsourcing jobs. I just find efforts to make entry level jobs the new "blue chip" standard for supporting a family misguided and ultimately doomed to failure.

As an update on the WalMart in DC debate, WalMart has pretty much stated the decision by city council is too high and they just won't build stores in DC at this time. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

http://www.businessinsider.com/wal-m...

WalMart complaining about an uneven playing field seems pretty damn funny to me.

SixteenBlue wrote:

WalMart complaining about an uneven playing field seems pretty damn funny to me.

Yeah, behold the instrument on which I shall compose my song of mourning for Walmart:

IMAGE(http://ken_ashford.typepad.com/.a/6a00d834515b2069e201053605c23c970c-800wi)

SixteenBlue wrote:

WalMart complaining about an uneven playing field seems pretty damn funny to me.

The funniest part. A living wage would probaby benefit them and companies like them, because where else would people spend that extra money? The extra fluidity in the low end of the market would have wide economic benefits.

MrDeVil909 wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

WalMart complaining about an uneven playing field seems pretty damn funny to me.

The funniest part. A living wage would probaby benefit them and companies like them, because where else would people spend that extra money? The extra fluidity in the low end of the market would have wide economic benefits.

As an economic indicator, the simple fact that the companies truly growing at a fast clip are discount stores like 99 cent stores, Wal-Marts, Discount Grocers like Aldi should be a wake up call. This gets a good bit beyond lipstick economics.

Charle Koch, a man worth $43 billion, thinks that the problem is that there's such a thing as a minimum wage (and, well, any government regulation or restriction placed on him).

Charles Koch wrote:

We want to do a better job of raising up the disadvantaged and the poorest in this country, rather than saying ‘Oh, we’re just fine now.’ We’re not saying that at all. What we’re saying is, we need to analyze all these additional policies, these subsidies, this cronyism, this avalanche of regulations, all these things that are creating a culture of dependency. And like permitting, to start a business, in many cities, to drive a taxicab, to become a hairdresser. Anything that people with limited capital can do to raise themselves up, they keep throwing obstacles in their way. And so we’ve got to clear those out. Or the minimum wage. Or anything that reduces the mobility of labor.

He believes it so much that he's kicking off a $200,000 media campaign to promote his Orwellian-named concept of "economic freedom."

The primary argument against the minimum wage in general, and "living wage" rules specifically, is that it cuts off the bottom rungs of the economic ladder. There seems to be this assumption that the market will simply "adjust" the price of labor to the whims of legislators and absorb the additional cost with no effect on hiring rates, but the reality is that there is demand for workers at all levels of skill and wages. If you institute a price floor, that doesn't change the curve - it just forces people under the floor into unemployment or, more insidiously, "disappears" jobs that would be offered at the lower pay rates but are now illegal. And of course, the people it does this to are the poorest and least skilled, since they were the ones working the low-wage jobs in the first place. Removing these jobs prevents them from gaining experience and moving up. Evidence of this is pretty obvious, in that unemployment amongst teenagers is over three times the headline U-3 rate.

My first job was making sure the beer cooler stayed full at a convenience store on a military base in Italy. I was 13 years old, and I made $2.90 an hour. (This was in the 80's, so I was making around $6 an hour in 2013 dollars.) It was not a great job, but I learned a lot doing it, and learned still more in the jobs that came after it. Those kinds of jobs don't exist any more, largely due to the minimum wage - mine only existed because military bases on foreign soil were in a kind of legal bubble that somehow permitted sub-minimum wages. People like my teenage son, who is a marginal worker at best and didn't complete high school, simply never get hired and thus never get a chance to "shape up", get experience, and develop the basic skills necessary to get and keep a job. When you advocate for minimum wages or "living wages", you are condemning marginal people and young people to unemployment, precisely at the moment when they need to be getting their feet wet and gaining experience. And all jobs should not provide a "living wage", because not all workers need one - especially beginners.

I'm also irritated by the subtext of this thread that people are "worth" what they are paid, and that somehow low pay makes a person worth less or have less dignity. It's the price they are trading their labor for at the moment, nothing more and nothing less. There's a hell of a lot more dignity in the act of working an honest job. Don't take that away from people.

Aetius wrote:

If you institute a price floor, that doesn't change the curve - it just forces people under the floor into unemployment or, more insidiously, "disappears" jobs that would be offered at the lower pay rates but are now illegal.

"Son, sorry but you don't have the skills needed to place items on a shelf and angrily glower at people here at Walmart, but if I can offer you a job scraping my warts. How does 50¢ a wart sound, son? Well, some day you can work up to that, the job starts at 5¢."

Aetius wrote:

I'm also irritated by the subtext of this thread that people are "worth" what they are paid, and that somehow low pay makes a person worth less or have less dignity. It's the price they are trading their labor for at the moment, nothing more and nothing less. There's a hell of a lot more dignity in the act of working an honest job. Don't take that away from people.

Well, you are going to have to reconcile your economic concerns with democracy in action as several states have held referendums where the people have voted to raise the minimum wage to a level higher than the federal minimum.

Even in conservative Arizona, and despite all the doom and gloom reports that the end was nigh if the law passed, Arizona voters several years ago passed a minimum wage law by a 2-to-1 margin that was higher than the federal minimum and indexed for inflation. The current minimum wage is $7.80.

Despite the anemic economy and conservative circles talking about repealing the law (which would only drop the rate to the federal minimum of $7.25), polling shows the current Arizona minimum wage law has broad support.

OG_slinger wrote:

Charle Koch, a man worth $43 billion, thinks that the problem is that there's such a thing as a minimum wage (and, well, any government regulation or restriction placed on him).

Charles Koch wrote:

We want to do a better job of raising up the disadvantaged and the poorest in this country, rather than saying ‘Oh, we’re just fine now.’ We’re not saying that at all. What we’re saying is, we need to analyze all these additional policies, these subsidies, this cronyism, this avalanche of regulations, all these things that are creating a culture of dependency. And like permitting, to start a business, in many cities, to drive a taxicab, to become a hairdresser. Anything that people with limited capital can do to raise themselves up, they keep throwing obstacles in their way. And so we’ve got to clear those out. Or the minimum wage. Or anything that reduces the mobility of labor.

He believes it so much that he's kicking off a $200,000 media campaign to promote his Orwellian-named concept of "economic freedom."

He's a very wise man:

“Gridlock is bad if there are positive solutions,” he said. “… But if the proposals are to take us in a worse direction, then gridlock is good. So it depends.”
Phoenix Rev wrote:
Aetius wrote:

I'm also irritated by the subtext of this thread that people are "worth" what they are paid, and that somehow low pay makes a person worth less or have less dignity. It's the price they are trading their labor for at the moment, nothing more and nothing less. There's a hell of a lot more dignity in the act of working an honest job. Don't take that away from people.

Well, you are going to have to reconcile your economic concerns with democracy in action as several states have held referendums where the people have voted to raise the minimum wage to a level higher than the federal minimum.

Even in conservative Arizona, and despite all the doom and gloom reports that the end was nigh if the law passed, Arizona voters several years ago passed a minimum wage law by a 2-to-1 margin that was higher than the federal minimum and indexed for inflation. The current minimum wage is $7.80.

Despite the anemic economy and conservative circles talking about repealing the law (which would only drop the rate to the federal minimum of $7.25), polling shows the current Arizona minimum wage law has broad support.

I'm not necessarily against that Phoenix, but there's a fine balance. What DC is trying to do is singling out big box stores like WalMart and forcing them to pay a wage that is nearly 30 percent higher than prevailing wages for similar jobs. When WalMart says that's way too high and we can't afford to do business in DC, then the council still won't back down. Is it really such a victory to lose hundreds of those jobs instead of trying to find a middle ground?

jdzappa wrote:

I'm not necessarily against that Phoenix, but there's a fine balance. What DC is trying to do is singling out big box stores like WalMart and forcing them to pay a wage that is nearly 30 percent higher than prevailing wages for similar jobs. When WalMart says that's way too high and we can't afford to do business in DC, then the council still won't back down. Is it really such a victory to lose hundreds of those jobs instead of trying to find a middle ground?

I was responding more to Aetius' general pooh-poohing of minimum wage laws at all. The notion that the market will just make everything A-OK and we don't need laws like the minimum wage because no one will take a $2.00/hr job. Except, of course, there are those who will because they are desperate and $80.00 a week is better than starvation. And, isn't that a grand America? Where people have to choose between death and profound poverty?

As to WalMart and DC, what sort of victory is it when you have meager jobs that amount to little. Let's not kid ourselves here. WalMart is not a good corporate actor. In fact, they are one of the worst corporate actors on the stage. How many times have they been caught making employees work off the clock, not paying overtime, cutting hours in order to cut benefits, not promoting women, and on and on? It is no secret that a sizable number of WalMart employees are also on public assistance.

Perhaps there is a middle ground, but WalMart's history is that if they don't get what they want when they want it, they will simply leave. The DC Council may have, in fact, overreacted, but considering that WalMart is more than happy to break the law to maximize profits, I seriously doubt they would entertain any middle ground.

Phoenix Rev wrote:
jdzappa wrote:

I'm not necessarily against that Phoenix, but there's a fine balance. What DC is trying to do is singling out big box stores like WalMart and forcing them to pay a wage that is nearly 30 percent higher than prevailing wages for similar jobs. When WalMart says that's way too high and we can't afford to do business in DC, then the council still won't back down. Is it really such a victory to lose hundreds of those jobs instead of trying to find a middle ground?

I was responding more to Aetius' general pooh-poohing of minimum wage laws at all. The notion that the market will just make everything A-OK and we don't need laws like the minimum wage because no one will take a $2.00/hr job. Except, of course, there are those who will because they are desperate and $80.00 a week is better than starvation. And, isn't that a grand America? Where people have to choose between death and profound poverty?

As to WalMart and DC, what sort of victory is it when you have meager jobs that amount to little. Let's not kid ourselves here. WalMart is not a good corporate actor. In fact, they are one of the worst corporate actors on the stage. How many times have they been caught making employees work off the clock, not paying overtime, cutting hours in order to cut benefits, not promoting women, and on and on? It is no secret that a sizable number of WalMart employees are also on public assistance.

Perhaps there is a middle ground, but WalMart's history is that if they don't get what they want when they want it, they will simply leave. The DC Council may have, in fact, overreacted, but considering that WalMart is more than happy to break the law to maximize profits, I seriously doubt they would entertain any middle ground.

This a million times over. How Wal-mart stays in business with all the sh*t they do I will never understand. The company treats everyone with contempt... paying their employees under minimum wage with those cheats... trying to force their suppliers to to sell the, things below cost while not letting themselves take a hit in profits... there is no middle ground for them... and I would say good on DC as I would be willing to bet their competition is more than happy to sweep in and pick up their market share.

Just as a follow up to the practices of WalMart, in 2008, the Walton family company settled 63 cases in 42 states regarding the company forcing employees to work off the clock (as in working through lunches, through breaks, in overtime, post shift, etc.) without any compensation.

I'm a bit confused with aetius' post. The crux seems to be that allowing any range of wage earning will allow more people to work. However, I always see the argument put forward that without a price floor in place any market currently in the world will tend to lower prices for all entities within that market (it's one of the arguments against low games pricing on mobiles and tablets). Wouldn't such a situation result in practically all job positions being devalued? The way I see it is that companies peg their compensation on competition's offerings and the minimum wage. Without the second one we might just see an increasing downward pressure on the job market as a whole while the cost of living increases to provide shareholders with ever-increasing profit margins.