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Raising minimum wage

  1. Oct 2, 2005 #1
    There is an election coming up, and one of the issues is raising the minimum wage, and I am curious about how raising the minimum wage affects the consumer. Naturally, I think that this hurts the consumer as the companies that hire minimum wage employees will have to increase prices in order to compensate for the extra money they will have to pay their workers, but I am sure there is more to it.

    So what do you all think about the issue from a consumer standpoint?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 2, 2005 #2

    loseyourname

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    It depends on how high they raise it. Most state minimum wages are already well above the federal minimum wage, so an increase that doesn't go up to these state levels won't even effect the minimum wage in these states.
     
  4. Oct 3, 2005 #3
    minimum wage causes unemployment...
     
  5. Oct 3, 2005 #4

    Pengwuino

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    Minimum wage doesn't cause unemployment. Couple it with high taxes, mandatory benefits and fees, and other such things and then you have unemployment.

    IRT OP:

    Most people see (possibly not noticable) higher prices but a few people will see higher wages and be able to buy more. It's a very complicated issue however and there isn't a real concrete answer to it.
     
  6. Oct 4, 2005 #5
    Unless there is a problem in your area with people not being able to support themselves on minimum wage, don't raise it.

    That's my position.
     
  7. Oct 5, 2005 #6

    selfAdjoint

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    There has been no evidence that raising the minimum wage has caused layoffs even at the burger flipping level. And who said an individual could live on the minimum wage? That's what, $1000 - $1200 a month? Can't house, clothe, and feed yourself on that in most parts of the USA.
     
  8. Oct 5, 2005 #7

    Moonbear

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    Minimum wage is there so that when some 14 year-old kid gets their first after-school job flipping burgers or sweeping floors with zero experience and is a bit naive about the working world, or someone who is mentally disabled with only minimum working skills gets a job picking up trays and taking out trash because they can only do the most simple tasks unsupervised, their employer can't take advantage of them and only pay them 50 cents per hour. They aren't supposed to live off it or support themselves.

    When an employer is hiring experienced employees for skilled jobs, that should not be a minimum wage job, and it rarely is. That's not to say that some employers don't try to get away with it, but that is not the job of federal government to raise the minimum wage even for the unskilled workers just because adults don't know how to stand up for themselves and demand a fair wage for the work they are doing. Minimum wage and fair wage are not the same thing.

    On the other hand, when the minimum wage hasn't really changed much in over a decade, in all reality, employers are probably already paying more just because you hit a point where kids aren't going to work for minimum wage if they can't even go out to dinner and a movie for their Saturday night dates on that wage. When the majority of employers are already paying more than minimum wage anyway, it's a very easy time for a politician to come in and make themselves look good to raise the minimum wage up to match the actual wages being paid.
     
  9. Oct 5, 2005 #8

    loseyourname

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    That's a good point, Moonbear. Even when I was a teenager, the first job I ever held paid $12 an hour, and the next one paid $14. I've rarely even heard of any jobs outside of fast food service that actually paid minimum wage.
     
  10. Oct 5, 2005 #9

    selfAdjoint

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    My son, when he was in his early twenties ten years ago spent several years doing warehouse work, lifting 50 pound boxes, essentailly, for $6 - $8 an hour. He lived on us and later with a girl friend, and got his microcircuit education at night at the local community college. He would have found your high paying jobs a wonder.
     
  11. Oct 5, 2005 #10

    loseyourname

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    I don't see why. I've had those jobs that didn't pay too well, too, especially when I was living with my parents and going to a community college. In fact, it was better that I made less money once I went back to school, because it allowed me to receive more financial aid.

    If you're wondering, the two jobs were moving office furniture and being a Census Enumerator. They weren't that hard to get. The other two jobs I held that have paid that much were being an instructional aide at a community college math department and performing at Disneyland. Those two actually required a talent/skill of some sort. I've also cleaned toilets for $7/hr. I didn't mind, as it wasn't a particularly difficult job.
     
  12. Oct 6, 2005 #11
    Then it should be raised.
     
  13. Oct 6, 2005 #12

    loseyourname

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    I currently receive about $1400 a month in addition to the money I receive that goes directly to paying my tuition, and I live comfortably on that. I live modestly (don't even own any furniture and rarely go out) and don't support a family, but it's not like it's impossible to do.
     
  14. Oct 10, 2005 #13

    russ_watters

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    Common liberal position. The general conservative position is that the minimum wage is not/should not be meant to be a "living wage".

    Adults who are able-bodied and not otherwise encumbered by a circumstance out of their control are not worthy of making more than minimum wage and the government should not be subsidizing their mediocrity. And people who are disabled or otherwise encumbered by a circumstance beyond their control should already be getting government assistance.
     
  15. Oct 10, 2005 #14

    arildno

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    Yes we are quite familiar of your celebration of the perpetuation and infliction of human misery.
     
  16. Oct 10, 2005 #15
    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

    Okay, seriously though:
    So the conservative position is that:
    1. Minimum wage shouldn't be enough to live on
    2. We recognize some people won't be worthy of making more than minimum wage
    Thus,
    3. Those people are not worthy of making enough to live on.

    Can you please explain to me why someone would support this?

    And I don't see the connection with "subsidizing mediocrity", why have a minimum wage at all?
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2005
  17. Oct 11, 2005 #16

    russ_watters

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    Why? Because not subsidising mediocrity encourages people to choose NOT to be mediocre. It's the basic economics of supply and demand in a labor market. Motivation=demand. All people's motivation levels are different and if the government steps in and gives people (or forces others to give - same diff) money they didn't earn, that reduces the motivation to earn it for themselves.

    People make life-choices based on available wages all the time. The closest I ever got to minimum wage was when I was enlisted in the Navy and the military is a perfect example of where motivation pays off. It was sad - pathetic even - the number of people who simply made no effort whatsoever to get promoted. For the lower ranks, all you have to do is get some training worksheets signed off and pass a test.

    It applies to all levels, though: I have a friend who quit a job in advertising 3 years ago to work at the Camden Aquarium for 25% less money and no chance for upward mobility. He's turning 31 next week and has little chance of moving out of his parents' house in the near future. He's dissatisfied with his life, but too comfortable in his job to change.

    Heck, I'm a good example of lack of motivation. I have $24k from the GI bill that I can use to pay for a master's degree, but I haven't done it yet because I'm comfortable with my current life situation.
    In many parts of the country, it is utterly pointless to have a minimum wage. As others noted, not even 16 year old burger-flippers make minimum wage in many parts of the country. My first job (food service at a nursing home) paid $6.50 about 13 years ago and before I left high school, I was working as a temp for $9-13 an hour (job dependent).

    Near as I can tell, the only economic basis of having a minimum wage in a market economy is just to cut off the bottom of the supply/demand curve, where things get a little chaotic. But the real reason we have it has nothing to do with economics: it's just something that politicians can make sound nice in a 30 second tv commercial.

    Democratic candidates constantly proclaiming "raise the minimum wage!" in reality makes as much (little) sense as Republican ones who always proclaim "lower taxes!" Neither issue is anywhere near as straightforward as the soundbytes would lead you to believe.

    Quite the contrary, arildno. The basis of my position is the acceptance of the reality that market economics is responsible for the economic growth in the world. I find it ironic and disturbing that so many people believe exactly the opposite about the conservative viewpoint from what it actually means: What I am celebrating is the vast reduction in "human misery" caused by the successful implimentation of market economics.

    The liberal viewpoint appears to me to be based primarily on oversimplification/shortsightedness. The logic is simply: raise the minimum wage and people will make more money. When is anything ever that simple?

    This is starting to seem political, but I wan to emphasize: the conservative position is based on market economics. If ever there is a "correct" or "incorrect" position in politics (caveat: the evolution debate), this is it.

    Wik has a nice article on it. The way economists describe it, it's a price floor - the same as if the government artificially inflated the price of, say, produce (which it does). The difference is that an apple isn't capable of making itself bigger, redder, and shinier to improve it's value. But the bottom line is this:
    My opinion differs slightly from the economists only in that mine is more focused on the detrimental effects it has on society and individuals in it. Overall, the economics of it has very little impact on our society as a whole because so few earn minimum wage, but the social impact for those in that situation is much larger. I simply hate to see people not live up to their potential and hate more seeing them rewarded for it. Its just bad parenting and everyone knows that spoiling your children makes them greedy and unmotivated. Right now, minimum wage increases have been so close to inflation that there hasn't been any data to show negative effects of increasing it too much. However, if we were to, as some imply we should, make the minimum wage a "living wage", that'd mean raising it above the poverty line. If we went on a sliding scale, the minimum wage for a single person would be about $4.50, while the minimum wage for a head of household in a family of four would be $9.20.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2005
  18. Oct 12, 2005 #17
    Do you think we shouldn't have a minimum wage at all then Russ?
     
  19. Oct 22, 2005 #18
    Any economist worth their salt can comprehend the fact that if you raise the minimum wage, then there will be increased consumer demand. The working class spend their money, the rich hoard it.
     
  20. Oct 22, 2005 #19

    arildno

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    The "conservative position" is belied by every single statistics relevant to the measurement of "misery".
    The simplest is the crime&poverty statistics.
    There are no Western European countries with even approaching levels of crime&poverty than that of US. This proves, in my opinion, that US society is a vastly inferior society to live in.
     
  21. Oct 22, 2005 #20
    I don't know, some would consider South Africa a developed, "western" society. That would beat the USA.
     
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