Paying a "living wage" for menial jobs

The problem wasn't the fully legal practice of paying a reduced wage to people who are expected to make up the difference in tips, the problem was not doing it in the way that is required by law:

Primarily the problem was the employer taking part of the tips. The second part, about illegally paying the reduced wage, appears to be because it's illegal to do that if you are interfering with tips.

The third part is separate: in New York if the time between when a worker first works and when they last work for a given employer during the day (their "spread-of-hours") is ten hours or more, the employer is legally required to pay them for an extra hour at minimum wage. (That's at minimum wage, even if their normal wage is different.)

Laws, shmaws. They should revel in the honor of working for Signore Batali!

Something I am noticing in Michigan, and likely elsewhere. Factory jobs in particular are paying minimum wage, or damn close. But skilled and educated people are being paid well below average as well. Teachers start off at 28,000 a year, first year attorneys at 33,000. What I am noticing is proof to the inverse of the raised floor theory-IE that when a society raises up its lowest workers, then everyone is raised up. When we lower it, everyone is brought down.

slight necro for link Welfare benefits higher than minimum wage in 35 states, study says

I suppose the response from some will be to lower the welfare benefits in said states.

eta: oh cato is a libertarian think tank, so yeah they're probably pushing for cutting said welfare.

krev82 wrote:

slight necro for link Welfare benefits higher than minimum wage in 35 states, study says

I suppose the response from some will be to lower the welfare benefits in said states.

Heh--buried on page 35:

This study does not examine whether it is better to both work and receive welfare; however, theory indicates that would almost certainly be the case at any income level. Rather, this study simply asks whether an individual would be better off if he or she were self-supporting through work or dependent on the state through welfare.

Hmm, if we're already shelling out $15 hour for those on assistance, maybe it does make sense to raise the minimum wage and offset what businesses can afford with govt subsidies. As much as Im convinced that price controls and mandated wages don't work, we've already got a broken welfare system.

Also, several Washington state towns including Seattle are considering putting the $15/hr minimum wage up as a public initiative. I personally like that approach - don't leave it to the politicians who are going to be swayed by special interests but rather let everyone vote directly on it. I personally think it will be a disaster, but maybe I'll be wrong.

I am not sure if it was mentioned here, or not, but the low wage industry like Wal-mart or McDonalds is majorly subsidized in the way you are describing jd. Some of that is changing with the Affordable Care Act with regard to one specific aspect. But medicare, food stamps, school lunch programs are off setting the bad wages people working at retail, in food service get to support themselves and families. We are paying for Wal-mart's low prices in a very roundabout way, which is something even more insidious than just low wages, they are being subsidized and most people do not even know it.

At least we know that oil drills and wheat farmers get a piece, openly.

krev82 wrote:

slight necro for link Welfare benefits higher than minimum wage in 35 states, study says

I suppose the response from some will be to lower the welfare benefits in said states.

eta: oh cato is a libertarian think tank, so yeah they're probably pushing for cutting said welfare.

Part of the problem with that study is that midway through, it shows that they're assuming that the "profile case" is receiving TANF, SNAP, and Medicaid together.

A quick study shows that the cross section of such beneficiaries is not insignificant, but is much smaller than someone receiving any one of the given programs. So, unsurprisingly, I find I have a problem with their methodology - in this case, trying to make a research sleight-of-hand welfare queen argument.

edit: Wording that a little better.

Bloo Driver wrote:
krev82 wrote:

slight necro for link Welfare benefits higher than minimum wage in 35 states, study says

I suppose the response from some will be to lower the welfare benefits in said states.

eta: oh cato is a libertarian think tank, so yeah they're probably pushing for cutting said welfare.

Part of the problem with that study is that midway through, it shows that they're assuming that the "profile case" is receiving TANF, SNAP, and Medicaid together.

A quick study shows that the cross section of such beneficiaries is not insignificant, but is much smaller than someone receiving any one of the given programs. So, unsurprisingly, I find I have a problem with their methodology - in this case, trying to make a research sleight-of-hand welfare queen argument.

edit: Wording that a little better.

Actually, the study assumed that each profile case received TANF; SNAP; Medicaid; housing assistance; utilities assistance; Women, Infants, and Children Program (grants that cover healthcare and nutrition costs for infants to five years old); and, the Emergency Food Assistance Programs.

Cato is like many conservative groups in that they like to lump any government program that targets poverty or is means-tested into the bucket of "welfare," but the only program that technically considered is welfare is TANF.

And buried *way* in the back of the report, Cato acknowledges that if it only calculated the benefits that most families were likely to receive--TANF, SNAP, and Medicaid--then the number of states that provide benefits greater than a minimum wage job drops from 30 to just eight (Alaska, Vermont, Hawaii, New York, Rhode Island, Wyoming, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire).

Here's another spin on that Cato article - using urban farming as a means of reducing dependency on State assistance.

A community effort to produce food is the first major step to reducing state dependency. A community coming together to grow their own food generates the opposite incentive that the current welfare system creates. Instead of stoking dependency, people are empowered. Tending to a productive garden has been shown to increase the sense of wellbeing, confidence, and overall health

Let me be clear, real farmacy is not a source I enjoy using, I have little patience for their anti-food and anti vaccine agenda - but in this case I found the analysis interesting.

How in the world are short-term welfare programs generating "state dependency"? Geez. TANF requires the recipient find a job within two years, and is limited to five years total in a lifetime. We've gone from about 13 million Aid to Families with Dependent Children recipients in 1996 to about 4.4 million TANF recipients in 2012. In any other world, this would be the biggest Republican policy win in decades. For the current Party, it's something to kill dead, even if we have to add to the time and work burden of the poorest people, rather than, I dunno, encourage companies to sell actual groceries in "food deserts".

Unreal.

Seth wrote:

Here's another spin on that Cato article - using urban farming as a means of reducing dependency on State assistance.

A community effort to produce food is the first major step to reducing state dependency. A community coming together to grow their own food generates the opposite incentive that the current welfare system creates. Instead of stoking dependency, people are empowered. Tending to a productive garden has been shown to increase the sense of wellbeing, confidence, and overall health

Let me be clear, real farmacy is not a source I enjoy using, I have little patience for their anti-food and anti vaccine agenda - but in this case I found the analysis interesting.

I've seen the TED Talk about the guy mentioned in the article. His program almost got shut down because he was growing food on city-owned property and his neighbors complained. And I remember hearing about other urban gardening initiatives when I lived in LA that ended poorly when the community garden was on an empty, city-owned plot that the city finally decided to sell.

And that's kind of the problem. Farming requires land and land tends to both be expensive and used for other purposes than farming in cities.

Not to mention, heavy metals and other pollution from decades of poor air controls are still present in many city soils, I believe.

Oh, speaking of, the EPA has finally gotten to helping people living along the Rouge River the grants needed to clean up decades of industrial wash away waste. 5 cities each awarded 5 million in subsidized loans to help with the clean up effort.

Robear wrote:

Not to mention, heavy metals and other pollution from decades of poor air controls are still present in many city soils, I believe.

I would bet that the soil in Detroit neighborhoods is loaded down with lead. They would have seen the worst of leaded gasoline autos for the longest period of time.

KingGorilla wrote:

Oh, speaking of, the EPA has finally gotten to helping people living along the Rouge River the grants needed to clean up decades of industrial wash away waste. 5 cities each awarded 5 million in subsidized loans to help with the clean up effort.

Wasn't the price tag for the partial cleanup plan they put together in the late 80s something like $2 billion?

OG_slinger wrote:
KingGorilla wrote:

Oh, speaking of, the EPA has finally gotten to helping people living along the Rouge River the grants needed to clean up decades of industrial wash away waste. 5 cities each awarded 5 million in subsidized loans to help with the clean up effort.

Wasn't the price tag for the partial cleanup plan they put together in the late 80s something like $2 billion?

Yep, but local interests like the Sierra Club and Friends of the Rouge have done a good job getting the businesses and property owners up to the task. DTE energy and Michelin have been footing a ton of the bill in the Metro Area.

I've been listening to the media interview fast food strikers in downtown Seattle, and while some of the strikers have very sympathetic stories, there's a good number who to me are just infuriating. Especially those who complain about not "getting ahead" in their early 20s. Newsflash - you're supposed to be relatively poor in your early 20s.

At any rate, I keep wondering if the employers have legal grounds to fire some of these people since they're not participating in an official union strike.

jdzappa wrote:

Hmm, if we're already shelling out $15 hour for those on assistance, maybe it does make sense to raise the minimum wage and offset what businesses can afford with govt subsidies. As much as Im convinced that price controls and mandated wages don't work, we've already got a broken welfare system.

Cato has a follow-up post that explains why that's really bad idea. The short answer is that raising the price floor triggers job losses on the margin, which increases pressure on welfare systems and makes it harder for people to transition out of them.

Robear wrote:

How in the world are short-term welfare programs generating "state dependency"? Geez.

The study explains this in detail. Leaving aside ideological concerns, no one wants a system that encourages people to stay on it: that maximizes both the direct cost to taxpayers and the personal cost to the recipients. A system where people collect TANF for a few months while they are down on their luck is very different from one where, once on the program, recipients are incentivized to remain for as long as possible. Worse, the longer someone is on welfare, the more likely they are to tap into additional programs - they learn to work the system.

Robear wrote:

TANF requires the recipient find a job within two years, and is limited to five years total in a lifetime.

The first part of this is incorrect.

HHS wrote:

With few exceptions, recipients must work as soon as they are job-ready or no later than two years after coming on assistance.

Note the "or" clause. The details of TANF requirements vary by state, but what they generally require is participation in "work activities", which is a broadly defined category that includes various job search activities, job training programs, subsidized jobs, community service, and numerous other programs. From the Cato study:

Cato wrote:

However, actual work participation under this requirement varies widely by state. Some jurisdictions, such as California and the District of Columbia, use their own funds to continue benefits for recipients who do not meet federal work requirements. States are also able to exempt up to 20 percent of their recipients under “hardship” exemptions. Indeed, many of the states with the highest levels of welfare benefits, such as Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia, have relatively few recipients participating in work activities.

OG_Slinger wrote:

Actually, the study assumed that each profile case received TANF; SNAP; Medicaid; housing assistance; utilities assistance; Women, Infants, and Children Program (grants that cover healthcare and nutrition costs for infants to five years old); and, the Emergency Food Assistance Programs.

Partially incorrect. Starting on page 14, the rules for inclusion are clearly explained. For example:

As a result, we have chosen not to include housing assistance in the benefits package for our hypothetical family in any state where fewer than 10 percent of the welfare population received such benefits.
While not all eligible low-income households receive WIC benefits, approximately 61 percent of eligible families participate in the program nationwide, which justifies including WIC in the hypothetical benefits package.
Still, with the exception of housing in states with less than a 10 percent participation rate, we believe it is proper to include the full package of benefits in our calculations because at least some recipients in every state do receive them. Moreover, the likelihood of receiving those additional benefits is primarily a function of the length of a family’s stay on welfare. That means that hard-core welfare recipients, who spend long periods on welfare, are likely to be receiving those benefits.
It is, of course, possible to over-generalize from the above statistics. Not every welfare recipient fits the profile used in this study, and many who do fit it do not receive every
benefit listed. Many welfare recipients, even those receiving the highest level of benefits, are doing everything they can to find employment and leave the welfare system. Still, it is undeniable that for many recipients—especially long-term dependents—welfare pays more than the type of entry level job that a typical welfare recipient can expect to find. As long as this is true, many recipients are likely to choose welfare over work.
OG_Slinger wrote:

Cato is like many conservative groups in that they like to lump any government program that targets poverty or is means-tested into the bucket of "welfare," but the only program that technically considered is welfare is TANF.

Are you seriously going to argue that programs like SNAP, WIC, housing subsidies, and Medicaid aren't welfare?

From Wikipedia:

Welfare is the provision of a minimal level of well-being and social support for all citizens, sometimes referred to as public aid. ... Welfare can take a variety of forms, such as monetary payments, subsidies and vouchers, or housing assistance.
krev82 wrote:

I suppose the response from some will be to lower the welfare benefits in said states.

eta: oh cato is a libertarian think tank, so yeah they're probably pushing for cutting said welfare.

Of course. If the programs actually make things worse instead of better, or encourage higher costs instead of discouraging them, shouldn't they argue for reducing or eliminating them? The entire point of the study is to outline the problems with the current system that increase costs and incentivize people to remain on welfare.

jdzappa wrote:

Newsflash - you're supposed to be relatively poor in your early 20s.

Why? What is the reasoning in allowing it? Sure it happens in a system where most of our collective resources go to the top but why should we allow such to happen? Do we really need to have a huge percentage of our wealth go to so very few people?

Also, most of the people I see in fast food should be retiring instead of working at that age.

plavonica wrote:
jdzappa wrote:

Newsflash - you're supposed to be relatively poor in your early 20s.

Why? What is the reasoning in allowing it? Sure it happens in a system where most of our collective resources go to the top but why should we allow such to happen? Do we really need to have a huge percentage of our wealth go to so very few people?

Also, most of the people I see in fast food should be retiring instead of working at that age.

I have a lot less concern about income inequality as I am about income mobility. What I mean by that is you need a system where people work their way up. Most young workers lack all the things that raise their value in a capitalist society: namely experience, competitive skills, and maturity. Low paying entry level jobs teach valuable lessons including basic things like showing up on time, putting a fair day's work for a day's pay, etc. Raising wages too much may help the older fast food worker but will freeze out the newbies with little to no work experience.

Couple more things. The min wage in Seattle is already $9 hour and many retail/fast food workers are earning $10+ dollars an hour after a short time on the job. This puts their compensation well within the limits of minimum wages in even the most generous European states like France, Luxemburg, Netherlands and Sweden: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/0...

Secondly, this article from the Washington Post outlines how the $15/hr demand would mean America is paying higher min wages than any other OECD country. It would also be the largest jump of wages in history and would have a completely unpredictable effect on the economy. Several economists predict either runaway inflation or a very fast move to automation.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...

A lot of people are getting huffy about the actual number 15. That feels "too high" for most people. Including me, if I'm being honest. We can get into a discussion about how maybe making the campaign shoot for 10 or 12 / hour might have given this movement more traction, but I feel like that misses the larger point.

jdzappa wrote:

Several economists predict either runaway inflation or a very fast move to automation.

When did a future in which robots do our work for us and give us more leisure time become a *bad* thing?

CheezePavilion wrote:
jdzappa wrote:

Several economists predict either runaway inflation or a very fast move to automation.

When did a future in which robots do our work for us and give us more leisure time become a *bad* thing?

I for one welcome our robotic overlords that will pull us up by our bootstraps.

Tanglebones wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
jdzappa wrote:

Several economists predict either runaway inflation or a very fast move to automation.

When did a future in which robots do our work for us and give us more leisure time become a *bad* thing?

I for one welcome our robotic overlords that will pull us up by our bootstraps.

You won't when you discover there was a glitch in the programming and "hanging" turns out to be the robot overlords' preferred method of pulling us up.

Stengah wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
jdzappa wrote:

Several economists predict either runaway inflation or a very fast move to automation.

When did a future in which robots do our work for us and give us more leisure time become a *bad* thing?

I for one welcome our robotic overlords that will pull us up by our bootstraps.

You won't when you discover there was a glitch in the programming and "hanging" turns out to be the robot overlords' preferred method of pulling us up.

Thanks, Robama!

In this case I'm more talking about self-service screens that eliminate cashier positions vs say friendly robots that do all the work for you. Everything I've read puts the point where robots will be able to take over a lot of tasks as no earlier than 2040 and probably closer to 2060. in other words, most goodjers will be nearly ready to retire or already in the nursing home.

So yeah it's not going to help the already marginal worker today that 30-50 years from now the robots will make their lives better.

CheezePavilion wrote:
jdzappa wrote:

Several economists predict either runaway inflation or a very fast move to automation.

When did a future in which robots do our work for us and give us more leisure time become a *bad* thing?

When robots do most of the work we will have to come up with a new system other than capitalism to enable us to live. Those in charge/on top of the heap will probably not like that, and we already know that they are more than willing to kill and enslave as many as needed to keep their way of life.

Edit:
This article could perhaps be put here. It reminds me about Maslow's hierarchy of needs and how you don't really have the time/energy resources to dwell on higher higher needs when you are having a hard time tending to the lower ones.

In robot future everyone is English Major...

Robear wrote:

Not to mention, heavy metals and other pollution from decades of poor air controls are still present in many city soils, I believe.

well the local government needs to leach those metals out of the soil somehow. .... why not "feed the poor" whole you are at it (not my suggestion of what to do, but a statement of my trust of most of those in power)