Thanks to Wilderness and Greensleeves Hubs for sparking a topic.
Relative to British and European countries thoughts on governmental support of its citizen's needs and American's thoughts on those same needs, an interesting exchange caught my attention.
Greensleeves Hubs referred to what I view as socialistic nanny state support programs as those of an "organized society." Wilderness countered that Greensleeves' organized society was essentially a nanny state.
I think a government is obligated to help its citizens in need, and I support our, (U.S.), government's welfare safty net programs. But I also think Greensleeves' perspective illustrates a philosophy that absolutely erodes personal initiative and ambition.
In the U.S. I will help you get on your feet. In Europe they will help you live a comfortable life.
Who do you think is right?
I was taught to preserver and get a backbone, so I would naturally be inclined to pick myself up to get on my feet. I have always lived comfortably but than I am grateful for what I have, and I don't need to keep up with the Jones. GA, I really did live in a Teepee for about a year, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. No kidding!
Your response did not surprise me. It also is in line with my thoughts.
But... to Greensleeves' perspective, I do believe we must be more than a collective state of individuals. I just don't believe that perspective includes a lifetime semi-free ride.
Right collectivism is opposed to individualism. I would feel different about that living on a farming commune where everyone has to pull their own weight to survive. If not, they would need to leave unless they are disabled or something.
Added: Everyone needs days off at times.
I agree with you, GA, overall. Personally I would like to see some of our safety net expanded and some shrunk, but one is necessary for the good of the country.
But too large a welfare program absolutely erodes incentive and ambition, with a resulting loss of living standard for everyone. We also have a problem with extremely large fortunes concentrated in the hands of a few but the answer isn't to simply confiscate it and give it to others to improve their lives. As long as we glorify wealth (and as a culture we most certainly do) that difference in wealth will continue to grow. It requires a change in how we perceive wealth and what it brings the wealthy.
"But too large a welfare program absolutely erodes incentive and ambition, with a resulting loss of living standard for everyone."
And that is the nut we have to crack. I absolutely agree with your perspective. Including the point about the concentration of wealth.
If I have to work a hard 50 or 60 hours a week to make almost the same as I could receive from our welfare support system then the only thing that would make me work is self-respect. And I think that concept is going the way of the dinosaurs for too many Americans.
Human nature is real. Everyone isn't a winner. Some folks are downright slackards. Idealists hate it, but sometimes some folks just need to be left behind.
When we were in Scotland we met up with a couple my wife met on FB. She works 7-12's as the equivalent of an RN, he not quite so many hours but in a roughly (salary) equivalent job. Yet they are not rich, just maybe upper middle class by our standards.
Such work should deserve far more than that, IMO, and demonstrates why excessive taxation to provide charity doesn't work. Not many people will work like that for so little.
I am going to have a stroke! What aspects of the safety net do YOU think needs to be expanded upon?
I just saw your new forum post my friend, so I thought I ought to comment. But I must do so by correcting a couple of points you make in your opening statement.
1) It was not wilderness responding to me - it was actually my response to wilderness who had already referred to a 'nanny state'. I was merely making clear after that term was used, that there was more than one way of looking at a situation and that by using the term 'nanny state' he was using the most perjorative term possible. I was simply pointing out that what he described as a 'nanny state' could also be described as an 'organised society for the benefit of all including the disadvantaged' or more simply as a 'caring society'.
I was wrong in one respect - he could have used a more perjorative term! He could have used your description of a state adopting a 'socialistic support programme'. I don't think that's at all accurate, given that pretty much everybody in the UK believes in institutions such as a free national health service and certain basic levels of help for those in need. Very few of us would describe ourselves as socialistic! But I do appreciate that conservative American ideas on what is 'socialist' or 'socialistic' are very different to those of most of the rest of the democratic world.
2) Certainly I do NOT support philosophies which 'erode personal initiative and ambition'. Nothing could be further from the truth. I believe in free enterprise and capitalism. I actually believe as I mentioned in one of my posts that I think we've gone a little too far in some respects including some specific benefit support programmes, but the overall philosophy of a caring society is right.
I believe in a society which incentivises and encourages free enterprise and betterment of oneself, but which also helps those who are disadvantaged, often through no fault of their own, to have a basic standard of living - not, as you say, a comfortable life.
I understand your clarification, but it was not necessary because I took your comments exactly as you have clarified them. I am sorry if my remarks made you think otherwise.
I agree with both of you, and I thought a conversation about the different perspectives would be interesting and beneficial. When you become part of a society I believe your identity becomes part of that society. You don't lose it, it just becomes one part of the many. Folks that decide to live in a city don't usually complain that they have to pay municipal taxes, or pay for municipal services, (water, trash, sewer, etc.), just because the folks living in the rural country don't have to pay those same costs.
It is the same with paying to help, (social safety net programs), folks that need a hand. As part of a national society, I don't have a problem paying for those programs. I don't think the majority of Conservatives do either. That is the basic concept we are discussing.
Also, I exclude the helpless, incapacitated and infirm from the discussion. Helping those that cannot help themselves is a different matter.
The issue that causes such stark differences between Liberals and Conservatives is a matter of degrees. What is a helping hand and what is a lifetime crutch? What is enough to help someone up, and what is too much and robs someone of there initiative to rise in life? I am only vaguely informed about Britain's Social program structure, but what I have read leaves me with a definite perception that you folks are much more lifetime support-minded vs. helping-hand-up minded.
Perhaps our food assistance programs might be a good example. In a nutshell, certain income levels and family structures, (infants and children), qualify for food assistance monies. The key word is "assistance," the programs are supposed to help a person, not entirely support them. Yet, it is one of the most indignant laments of too many recipients and too many liberal-minded folks that no one can live off the amount of money the program provides. Of course not, that is not the purpose of the program. It is to help, not support.
This same perspective can be followed through most of our, (U.S.), welfare social safety nets. Too many folks burn through their Unemployment Insurance benefits, without very actively seeking work, because the difference in that and a minimum wage paycheck just doesn't seem worth the effort. If you can get almost as much money for sitting on the couch as you can get for a 40-hour work week, where is the incentive to work, (for too many folks)? You would be hard-put to convince me that that isn't an incentive-robbing situation.
If I can count on someone giving me the basics of what I need, where is the incentive to get them myself? My answer would be ambition and self-respect, but once again, those seem to be insufficient reasons for way too many folks.
So the conversation of organized societies vs. nanny states boils down to perspective. Of course I will help my fellow man, but I will not support him if he is unwilling to help himself. I will give you the shirt off my back if you need it, but I will not give you my complete wardrobe.
This concept of incentive is one that concerns conservatives, I think, for you are absolutely correct - if free food is given, free housing (or subsidized in all cases), free medical care, free this and free that for life, where is the incentive to earn it yourself?
When I grew up if a man had to shovel horse manure at next to nothing in order to feed his family then that's what he did. With the advent of ever increasing entitlements that attitude is gone - we saw thousands and thousands of people on "unemployment" for years because they wouldn't take jobs "beneath them". No incentive, no responsibility and no reason to take a job they found demeaning. Instead live off the charity of others - something that is no longer demeaning at all! That the very attitude towards that charity, the "entitlement philosophy", has changed is a telling point IMO.
This is actually a good forum G.A, and most of what I've read from both sides sounds thoughtful and constructive. And even though I am obviously more inclined to agree with Credence's contributions, I have certainly seen far more extreme comments from U.S conservatives than yours or Wilderness's. So thanks for an intelligent debate.
I can't contribute too much, because just as you say you are 'only vaguely informed about Britain's Social program structure', so I do not know sufficient of American social welfare programmes etc, to know the precise levels of support given or the terms under which it is given. I cannot comment further on those except to state the perception, real or imagined, that there are many many people living in America who live in conditions that would not be tolerated in the UK - unless it is the conditions in which they freely choose to live, regardless of available support.
But I do think you overplay the level of support given in the UK and elsewhere - I don't think it is ever intended to provide a lifetime of support.
As you say, it is all a matter of degrees and perspective - and how one interprets terms such as 'a comfortable life'. People aren't so different in either country, even though we seem to reach radically different conclusions. For my part, as a right of centre Brit (left of centre by American standards) I can point out where I would agree with you and with Wilderness. Nothing irritates me more in the UK than seeing someone complain about their inability to cope on the benefits they receive when in the background there's a 42" television, a state of the art computer, games systems, a surround sound hi-fi system, and half a dozen kids playing on the floor! And they haven't worked for years! But that really isn't the norm in the UK. There is still a huge encouragement to get a good education, to work hard and to improve one's life.
Quite apart from the debate over the economic and self-reliance case for incentivisation versus the humanitarian case for social care, which seems to be the main argument here, the extreme divisiveness of hugely different living standards between the 'haves' and 'have-nots' has other detrimental effects on society - a feeling of disenfranchisement, a 'them and us' attitude, increased social disorder, descent into crime / drug abuse etc and this perhaps contributes to the extreme levels of intolerance which I have seen in American presidential debates in recent months. If nothing else - and regardless of the rights or wrongs of supporting people to live 'comfortably' - a reasonable support system does reduce the tendency towards some of these more negative consequences for our societies.
I think I agree totally with much of what PrettyPanther says. And in summary of the general position of both sides I can only echo her words: 'a healthy mix of free market capitalism, government regulation, and taxpayer-funded social programs is ideal. The challenge is in finding the right mix.'
(I did end up contributing quite a bit didn't I?)
I am going to have to find the wherewithal to return to England one of these days. Your commentary is spot on, I would sure like to have more imput from others on your side of the pond about some of these things that are so perplexing for the American public.
Yes, yours were good contributions, thanks.
Interesting subject. I think it's almost certain there will come a time in the not so distant future, when jobs involving manual labor (as an example) will not be available, because of technology. We should be thinking about that reality and what it means for how society is organized.
Society is currently organized around a simple transaction: people sell their labor for financial reward to those who produce products and services. So people are producer-consumers, in that the financial reward they receive for participating in production, enables them to consume the products and services produced, in turn creating demand for further production. This economic system has been the strongest, most successful the world has ever seen, but it's now vulnerable to disruption in a way it has never been before at any point in history.
The system depends on people being the main source of labor. When machines (both computers and physical hardware, like robots) overtake people as the main source of labor, it's going to massively disrupt the above transaction. It's easy to think some people will transition into technical roles, because robots and computers still need to be programmed and repaired by people. That's true, until the creation of machines that can programme/maintain other machines. In the future we can expect a situation where there is simply not enough jobs for the number of people who need jobs.
The "help you get on your feet" approach to society will be woefully inadequate for dealing with these future challenges. Human beings will simply not have the opportunity to sell their labor in return for financial reward. In a society where large quantities of people literally cannot work for a living, we'll need to re-examine ideas and assumptions about what it means to be a civilized society. The time for discussing and thinking about these things is now.
To some extent it's already happening. Ideas like unconditional basic income are seriously being discussed in some places for the first time. I can see why such approaches could be an important part of an "organized society" in the future. The fact is that human technological advancement is progressing at such a pace that working for a living, in the traditional sense, may become a choice, rather than a matter of survival.
Yes, you are describing the reality of our changing society. I didn't want to go there in this thread because....you will see. Lol
"...The fact is that human technological advancement is progressing at such a pace that working for a living, in the traditional sense, may become a choice, rather than a matter of survival."
We had an interesting thread on this quite awhile back. The point was the same as you noted. We are reaching a point where even traditional service industry jobs are in danger of a robot invasion. So what will be left for unskilled, and even semi-skilled workers?
Individual responsibility is a bell curve.
Have you ever seen someone so intellectually disabled that they are confined to a wheelchair, can't speak and can't even lift their head?
A person is responsible for their own care. If they can't do it, the family takes that responsibilty. If not the family, then the community, and if not the community, then government.
If they can do it and don't because they are lazy, then they should face the consequences alone.
I prefer the "help you get on your feet" philosophy, but I also think that a person who works full time should make enough money to live comfortably. Pure, unchecked capitalism eventually results in a huge gap between the rich and the poor, which is unsustainable. I believe a healthy mix of free market capitalism, government regulation, and taxpayer-funded social programs is ideal. The challenge is in finding the right mix.
Out of curiosity, do you think the value being produced by a worker, vs the value of the person doing the work (which is infinite), should determine the pay, or should everyone earn the same regardless of what they do or produce?
For instance, consider a single surgeon with a "landscaper" (lawn cutter) with a family of 6 to feed. Will you pay the surgeon the value of his work or will you cut it in half in order to pay the landscaper triple the value of his work?
(But yes, in the end some mix is needed and the challenge is finding the right one. Socialists and conservatives just disagree on how much is desirable to give, and what the long term results of charity will be.)
I believe that the value should be placed on the work, not the person. However, I also believe that the lowliest of jobs should have a minimum value. Most people believe that. The argument is usually about what that minimum value should be.
I am a pragmatist, a realist. I believe in doing what works. I don't adhere to one ideology, regardless of the pigeonholing everyone around here likes to do.
You're right in that there is little agreement as to what that minimum value should be. Some of us think it should be what the product of the labor can be sold for, less a profit to the business. If 10 widgets per day are made then the value of the labor is the value of the widgets, less profit and other costs (materials, tools, etc.). The value added, in other words, to whatever a business sells in very general terms.
Others pick an arbitrary figure, calling it a "living wage", and declare that should be the minimum paid without regard to market value that was added with the labor sold to the business. If the value of the widget (product, service, whatever) isn't high enough to pay that wage then raise the price of the widget and start another round of inflation - whatever it takes to come up with the money required for the "living wage". Or stop making widgets and fire the worker.
Which camp seems more reasonable? I'd guess that most conservatives fall into the first category, with liberals primarily choosing the second.
I apologize, but I have been in these types of discussions with you before and don't feel like getting deep into it with you again. I am not an expert, but I do know your explanation of the value of labor is overly simplistic, as you admit. That is as far as I want to go with this. Maybe someone else will want to join in.
Oh no! Say it ain't so! You really believe a full-time job should be a ticket to comfortable living?
A full-time job as a Walmart greeter might work for a single person, but would you also expect that same full-time job to support a family of six?
And what is "comfortable" to you? Food and a roof over your head, or food, transportation, healthcare, TV, internet, cell phone, a car, and maybe a night-out with dinner, drinks and a movie per week?
I believe someone who spends 40 hours a week working for someone else should, at a minimum, be able to support himself. I said nothing about one person supporting a family on a minimum wage.
To me personally, "comfortable" means having a roof over your head, enough food that you're not hungry, the ability to pay your basic utilities (that does not include internet and cable), and the minimum transportation needed to survive where you live, with a little left over to treat yourself to some fun once in awhile. But, it doesn't matter what I think personally. Minimum wage should be based on a consensus of the people who live in a particular organized society.
Well, umm... we seem to be pretty much in agreement.
GA agrees, but I don't. I take exception to that roof over your head and basic utilities; I find no reason that a person so unskilled as to be unable to afford better not live with roomies. I did, most people I know started out that way and I see no reason an entry level worker can't nowdays.
I also have a little trouble with the "a little fun now and then" and with the "basic transportation". The first is wide open, from a $300 drinking binge once a week to a walk around the park and the second can be done with either feet or a bicycle. I've used both and most of the people I know started with those same transportation tools.
But either way I see minimum wage as suitable only for very entry level positions for kids just starting their adult life and for seniors picking up a little on the side. I don't think you do, though, which means it must pay for a reasonable life, for a lifetime.
Yes, I am aware that we have this very basic, but important, disagreement.
Would you grant that able-bodied men and women are expected to move beyond that low pay? Leaving the disabled for lifetime help through other means?
I would expect that those who are able to, mentally annd physically, might move beyond that low pay, but that has nothing to do with whether or not a full-time worker should receive a minimum wage that enables him to live comfortably, as determined by the organized society.
Then you are paying for a person, NOT the results of his labor. Back to square one, trying to value a human being.
Plus, I fear that our ideas on "comfortable" are widely divergent. I see it as living a life of necessity, not luxury, which is just fine (IMO) for someone expecting to learn to do better in the near future. Of course that might move on is something I don't accept at all.
No, a minum wage pays for labor. An organized society benefits if it's poorest working members not only have a roof over their head and enough food to eat, but a little left over to spend on nonessentials. A working person contributes to the organized society we all benefit from.
I don't believe housing, basic utilities, food, and transportation to be luxuries. Nor do I consider a little extra to treat yourself now an then a "luxury." We simply disagree on that.
Edited to add: I forgot to respond to this. "Of course that might move on is something I don't accept at all." You might as well accept it because you can't force a person to move up to a higher paying job,
And if the product of that labor isn't worth minimum wage? What then? It doesn't work to simply say that ALL labor produces something worth a minimum amount, you know. Or you trying to say that everything in the world - a marble, maybe - is worth $10?
How does society benefit by paying more for anything, labor or not, than it's value? Particularly when the extra is simply used to buy luxuries for someone?
Sigh, this is why I didn't want to get into it with you. All wages are arbitrary to some extent, believe it or not. A minimum wage is an amount agreed upon by an organized society. It is what the society believes productive labor should be valued at, at a minimum. Yes, it DOES work to say all labor produces something worth a minimum amount. We've been saying that ever since we instituted a minimum wage, and the economy didn't collapse now, did it?
When I purchase a "luxury," let's say a birthday cake for my mother, the bakery I buy it from benefits, the employees who work there benefit, the makers of the ingredients that go into the cake benefit, and on and on.
No, PP, it doesn't mean that at all. For decades, pretty much since it was instituted, society has said that a minimum wage is the minimum "living wage" a person (and sometimes his family) requires to live. Not live a minimum, subsistence, lifestyle, but live whatever the speaker thinks is nice but fairly cheap.
It has never had anything to do with the value of what is being produced, it has never had anything to do with market forces or anything else connected to "value". Just what society has determined to be a cheap life.
Did you pay a reasonable amount for the cake? Then you didn't over pay, and society (from baker to janitor to owner) has benefited appropriately. But the question was how society benefits from over paying for a product. Paying more, by force of law, than the product is worth. For your cake, had you paid double the price for the same thing, how does society benefit? Society, that is, beyond the recipient of the money you paid?
Remember, any wage, including a minimum wage, is payment for labor. Society sets the value for the most minimally skilled labor. That value, by definition, must be tied to market forces, or it would be completely random.
That said, a minimum wage is implemented to protect people from abuses that naturally would occur in a purely capitalist society, which is inevitably unsustainable.. So, yes, we implement such a policy because we value our fellow man, as well as his labor. That does not mean the value is not tied at all to what is sustainable in the free market.
No, society does not set the price for labor, even minimum labor. It sets a price that the lowest paid workers must be paid regardless of value. It isn't paying for labor at all, although it is of course presented that way.
" So, yes, we implement such a policy because we value our fellow man, as well as his labor."
And there you said it. We are forcing business to pay for the person as well as the fruits of his labor.
Don't misunderstand here, though - I have no problems with a minimum wage, and for the very reasons you list. I just have a problem when that minimum, intended for unskilled newbies to the labor market, requires other individuals to pay far more than the value received. We saw the results of that oh-so-well-intentioned giant increase in Seattle when it forced people to leave their livelihood, both as workers and as business owners. It always sounds so simple - just pay a "living wage" of far more than required to live! Business has unlimited money after all, and doesn't deserve any but a tiny portion of the profits!
I won't pay a car mechanic double what the next one is asking and don't expect a business owner to, either. Tempered with the knowledge that sweat shops will happen if we take no steps at all. It is a fine line, and one that liberals very often cross, all with good intentions but intentions that destroy incentive and virtually chain the person to a lifetime of poverty. It's wonderful to give money away (particularly when it isn't yours anyway), but the negatives of a lifetime of that far outweigh any immediate good. Far better, IMO, to require minimal pay to live on if one lives very carefully and thus virtually force that person to increase their skills and abilities in the business world.
"No, society does not set the price for labor, even minimum labor. It sets a price that the lowest paid workers must be paid regardless of value. It isn't paying for labor at all, although it is of course presented that way." Well, I suppose if you believe it is possible for labor to have no value at all, then you might believe this. Because, as I keep reminding you, people who don't have a job do not receive a wage at all, much less a minimum wage. The minimum wage is payment for labor.
"And there you said it. We are forcing business to pay for the person as well as the fruits of his labor." No, we are telling a business that we, as an organized society, believe all labor has a minimum value, because if we didn't, as we have seen in the past, some business owners will abuse their position. Yes, we take this position because we value our fellow human beings, but that is not the same as saying we are forcing a business to pay for a person. That person must produce labor to get paid.
"Don't misunderstand here, though - I have no problems with a minimum wage, and for the very reasons you list. I just have a problem when that minimum, intended for unskilled newbies to the labor market, requires other individuals to pay far more than the value received." We saw the results of that oh-so-well-intentioned giant increase in Seattle when it forced people to leave their livelihood, both as workers and as business owners. It always sounds so simple - just pay a "living wage" of far more than required to live! Business has unlimited money after all, and doesn't deserve any but a tiny portion of the profits!" Well, okay, of course there will always be disagreement about what the minimum should be, and it is certainly not an exact science. As far as Seattle goes, it's only been about a year, so it is too early to know the full ramifications of the increase, but scientists are tracking and studying outcomes. So far, nothing horrible or dramatic has occurred, but again, it's really too early to know the full effects.
"I won't pay a car mechanic double what the next one is asking and don't expect a business owner to, either. Tempered with the knowledge that sweat shops will happen if we take no steps at all. It is a fine line, and one that liberals very often cross, all with good intentions but intentions that destroy incentive and virtually chain the person to a lifetime of poverty. It's wonderful to give money away (particularly when it isn't yours anyway), but the negatives of a lifetime of that far outweigh any immediate good. Far better, IMO, to require minimal pay to live on if one lives very carefully and thus virtually force that person to increase their skills and abilities in the business world. Eh, a difference in philosophy. I feel if a person is working full time and contributing something to our organized society, they should at least have shelter, warmth, food, basic transportation, and a little but of money to treat themselves now and then.
There really is no point in continuing this. We have a basic philosophical disagreement about the worth of the most minimally skilled labor that will not be resolved here. I value the points you make, and I understand where you are coming from, but I disagree that a full-time worker should not make enough money to have the basic things I listed above.
I'm sorry, PP, but when you explain that if the fruit of a workers labor cannot be sold for more than the cost of his labor it is still worth more (valued more than) than that labor a red flag goes up. This is not a difference in philosophy; it is a demand that we pay the worker more that his labor is worth, pure and simple. Pretending that is worth more (can be sold for more) that the cost of labor simply means that you're trying to bury very basic economics facts in order to pay for a person rather than their labor.
"So far, nothing horrible or dramatic has occurred, but again, it's really too early to know the full effects."
You might explain that to the small business owner driven out of their business and losing their livelihood. And the employees they used to employ. And you can do it again in a few years when the inevitable inflation catches up once more and they aren't earning the easy life from a resume with no skills.
But you're right - there isn't any point in continuing. You wish to force business to pay more for some products than it can be sold for, I don't. I find it detrimental, long term, to the country; you don't care as you see a need now and hang the future cost (beyond the monetary, that is). It is, to me, almost they stereotypical difference between liberal and conservative thinking - one will apply a bandaid to a problem (believing there is an unlimited supply of bandaids) the other recognizes that a long term fix is preferable although there will be some pain.
A few days ago, I read an extensive article about the Seattle wage increase and I don't recall any data on businesses that shut down because of the increase. Do you have info on that?
Businesses, especially new businesses, fail for a multitude of reasons, so researchers must meticulously track the overall effects of the wage increase.
As far as I know there were only a handful (I don't know and have no knowledge except reports from the owners). A statistically insignificant figure...except of course it is a persons life. It is very likely their entire "fortune" and future in that business.
And of course there is the matter of getting accurate reports that a liberal policy failed in a liberal city. Like getting homicide statistics after the Australian gun buy back - the pertinent parts are somehow left out.
I'm sure there will be plenty of conservative think tanks collecting and evaluating data. The University of Washington has instituted an ongoing, multi-year study.
A business doesn't have to "shut down " to suffer these new laws . If a business employs thirty people and the state raises minimum wage 30 % -that business will lay off twenty-thirty percent of it's labor force . THAT is the stupidity of the salary averaging of MINIMUM wage .
THANK YOU, +1,000,000,000,000,000,000! A minimum wage job is a stepping stone, a training job at most. Minimum wage jobs aren't permanent careers.
I am with you, Panther. I would say that a person working full time should not find themselves in poverty, even though it may not be 'comfortable'. Our conservatives friends really can't tell me the difference in their current philosophy and that of those running the sweat shops at the turn of the last century. In todays economy, there is no such thing as a 'free market', it is up there with the 'great pumpkin'.
The thought that anyone working full-time should be able to live comfortably* seems to demand that the value of labor be changed from the value of production to the value of a human being. Does that mean that a surgeon's work has the same human value as that of a landscaper? A surgeon can save your life, a landscaper can make your yard pretty. Equal values? Or, do you then set a minimum human value?
*of course someone will have to write the rules and regulations that determine a standard of comfortable. One cell phone per family, one for each adult, or one for each member? A typical diet of steak a couple meals a month, or steak every day? Hmm... One man's comfortable might be another man's luxury, or deprivation. Who decides?
And as a conservative-minded fellow I can certainly tell you the difference between labor values by production and sweatshop labor. The former is based on benefit provided by your labor, (production), and the latter is an abuse of circumstances. Simple.
Just picking a number, let's say $25,000 per year is needed for a single person to live comfortably. So every full-time job must pay a minimum of $25k. Do we then restrict that job to only single folks, because a bread winner for a family of four certainly would not live comfortably on that same $25k.
Or do you base what is paid for a job on the number of folks living off that paycheck? A single guy gets $25k and a fellow with a wife gets $50k - for the same job?
What about a slacking worker vs. a good worker... the fellow that produces 5 widgets per day gets the same pay as the guy that produces 50 widgets per day? Once again it seems the only way to compensate is to place a value on a human.
Realistic and not emotional consideration demands that labor be valued by production. How can you justify any other valuation beyond the shrug that it just ain't right?
GA, funny though when I ask conservatives why they opposed the minimum wage as a mechanism of the state to prevent exploitation of labor, they can never tell me why virtually all industrial nations have it. All these other economies are not going to let everything go under the concept of 'free market'. I wonder why?
I say maintain the minimum wage, keep it relevant in respect to rising costs of living. That is how I address the problem.
I don't deny that the value of labor is differentiated for any number of reasons. But I am not going to trust the raw capitalists and their self-interest to set the standard, as the sole consideration.
From the standpoint of your crimson buddies, the same tools or lack of same should be applied today. There is no difference between the world of exploitation of labor in the early 20th century and conservative philosophies today. If the conservatives had their way, we would still be in the world of Carnegies, Mellons, Morgans and Rockefellers. Nothing emotional about that, it is a fact. What changes since 1910 on behalf of labor do the conservatives support that would have made the sweatshop scenario, so prevalent at that time, not the case today? I wonder....
"That is how I address the problem."
But you're not addressing the problem at all! You don't respond at all to what "minimum wage" should buy, just saying that it should support the person, and their family regardless of size or needs, that earns it and that isn't addressing anything but how to get the money to do it. And that's always obvious - to take it from someone else.
If you DID address the problem then the answer is immediately obvious; a person, by being frugal, live on minimum wage outside of the extremely high priced areas in the country. Not easily and not luxuriously, but they can live. What they can't do is support additional mouths and it is there that you simply ignore and gloss over the fact that minimum wage was never intended to support a family and should not be required to now.
Ok, the wage is not designed to feed large families. I agree. So that person would have to apply for food stamps or some other social entitlement. Understood. I remember reading that many of our lower ranking miliary serviceman qualified for these benefits. I guess that both parents, if there are two, would have to work to maintain their families at subsistence levels.
Mimimum wage is determined by formulas derived from the Dept of Labor stats and are not just giveaways, as the right is so found of saying.
The days of shoveling horse manure for 25 cents an hour went out with the nickel coke. Your Horatio Alger world no longer exists.
You missed the entire point of the horse manure; it was intended to be an example that a person did whatever they had to do to support themselves instead of relying on faceless politicians taking money from a third party to give away to those finding hard work demeaning.
As for minimum wage, it is NOT determined from stats, it is determined by the political ability to shove a new limit through. And from your own statement that it should support one person (regardless of the value of their labor), well, it already does that. So no raise is indicated, but is surely a hot topic anyway.
Did I miss where credence said minimum wage should support a family? To my knowledge, he hasn't, and I have specifically stated minimum wage should support one person.
Then there is no reason to raise it as it will do that right now. At least if you don't live in Manhattan or other high cost location.
+++++ Go back and look at why minimum wage laws were enacted , liberals , It wasn't to breed riches or to encourage entrepanurial standards ? It was to be a minimal safety net !
I would support higher minimum wage in urban areas and lower in rural areas, although I could quibble with you that one can live on $7.25 an hour in a rural area, due to the necessity of a car, which requires insurance and maintenance, to get to work and the much longer driving distances requiring much more gas. Not to mention, food prices are often higher in rural areas due to the distribution costs, and energy costs are rarely lower and oftentimes higher. The main difference in cost between urban and rural areas is housing. The rest pretty much evens out.
I see you are wearing your tap shoes today, so let me start with what seems to be the crux of your comment;
"... I say maintain the minimum wage, keep it relevant in respect to rising costs of living. That is how I address the problem. "
My perception is that it is only the most extreme of the Conservatives, a very tiny minority, that do not support a minimum wage. I have even heard your most frequently labeled hard Conservative, Wilderness, support it. What we, (the majority of Conservatives), don't support is turning the minimum wage into a guaranteed living wage. Or forcing a minimum wage that is more than the value of the work performed.
So the point becomes what is a "relevant" minimum wage. Us Conservatives say it is a floor to prevent the tendencies of human nature, (your sweatshops). Folks of your way of thinking say it should be a life-style supporting wage.
Do you disagree that every job has a worth? How much is it worth to cut your grass? How much is it worth to fix a broken pipe? How much is it worth to produce a product? If it is worth $20 bucks for the neighbor's kid to cut your grass, how do you justify demanding $40 for the man with a family to cut it?
If it is worth $9 p/hr to flip burgers, how do you justify demanding $15 p/hr without admitting that you want to change the way work is valued? You use the term minimum wage, and bandy the sweatshop tarnish of the past, when the nut of your perspective is that a job's value must be the cost of a person's living standard, not the value of the work performed.
Would you pay your plumber an extra $100 for the same job as before just because he had a new baby? Did the cashier's job become more valuable just because his rent went up?
Relative to your declaration that there is no difference in today's labor environment than that of 1910 - that's just a bunch of rhetoric that is too easily discredited when illuminated by facts instead of emotion. And I am pretty sure you would admit such when the details of proof are pulled from the emotional camouflage of such statements.
So, I am tap dancing? You are becoming a purveyor of only the finest cuts of red meat, but rather than throw it about, I will buy some as the 4th is coming up.
We seem to be talking around one another.
My perception about conservatives are different, where today, extreme is the new moderate.
Conservatives have always been against this simple provision (minimum wage) since its inception and always cry a river about the sky falling whenever time comes to have the wage increased. My impression from Wilderness is that he opposes the concept of minimum wage, period. That is one of the protections labor enjoys that we have now and did not have in 1910.
I never said I supported the idea of 'feather beds' for life. I simply don't trust the invisible hand of the free market and the industrialists to make the determination solely of what is a reasonable bottom floor wage. And, when I look around the world, it appears that no one else does either.
I quote this from the 'Panther' which is where I stand as well
"Pure, unchecked capitalism eventually results in a huge gap between the rich and the poor, which is unsustainable. I believe a healthy mix of free market capitalism, government regulation, and taxpayer-funded social programs is ideal. The challenge is in finding the right mix."
With that attitude, in most field of labor, there is competition. So, a $20.00 lawn cut remains a $20.00 lawn cut regardless of the customer or the laborer. But regulation require a floor to prevent exploitation of labor and an inordinate contribution of tax-payers to subsidize corporate stinginess.
If you live in New York City or Los Angeles, I guess the hamburger will cost more. If you want to save on the cost of a hamburger you can always go to Albany or Barstow and get them cheaper. Is that not the way of everything?
That little cottage that I want to buy in Central Florida would cost 250K, the same cottage in Miami goes for 420K, is there any added value there? How do you explain the difference in those prices. Is it supply and demand? How much of that explains why things cost more in New York City, or San Francisco? So, you are going to pay more for that hamburger, too.
Another example is that within the General Schedule pay scale used by the Federal government there was provision known as 'locality pay'. That means that for the same rank and grade their was a salary differential where the employee working in San Francisco made more than the same job description and grade working in Bozeman MT. If the Feds wanted to keep people employed in San Francisco such an accomodation is required.
You always say something is "emotional' when it does not line up with arguments and points of view, and it is quite telling. There are plenty of people on the left that have no problem with what you call 'emotional' arguments. I say their points are just as valid as you believe that yours are.
You guys could learn a thing or two from what Greensleeves is sharing with you.
Cred, nicely, but bluntly, I have to say we are not talking around each other. You are dancing around my rebuttal points because your comments are not supported by facts or reality.
You say you stand with PrettyPanther's statement, well so do I. I think it is the most reasonable and realistic perspective to have. Our challenge is just as she stated - finding the right mix.
I really don't want to seem to be picking on you, but there is a real difference between emotional validation and factual confirmation. Your declaration that a full-time job should support a minimum living standard has been shown to be an emotional position. One that you have admitted isn't really feasible without changing how work is valued.
You speak of distrusting the capitalist system to set a reasonable wage floor, when just a post above you described how it is set by the Dept. of Labor. That sure sounds like an emotional response coming from a distrust of our capitalist system to me.
Your city hamburger and Florida cottage examples have me wary of a trap. I said as much concerning higher city cost, validated by the fact that living in the city is a choice. And the cottage example really has me confused. What is your point? Of course location and supply and demand are the reasons for the price difference. Compare that Central Florida cottage with a similar one in Hawaii and the price difference is explained by the same reasons - location and supply and demand. But I am sure you know this. So is your point of the example just an emotional lament that something should not cost more for any reason? Doesn't your own city burger example refute this?
I think you do me wrong with your accusation about applying the "emotional" label whenever a perspective doesn't align with mine. I strongly disagree. If a point can't be supported by facts, or the reality of the world we live in, then yes, it is an emotional response. Whether held by a Liberal or Conservative.
ps. I think your view that "extreme" is the new moderate is misguided, but it is your opinion, and we are all allowed those. You hear the loudest sqawking from the Extreme Right and you think that is the view of all Conservatives. Would you also believe that all Christians are as those of The Westborro Church portray? All Muslims are as the Extremists and Radicals portray? I don't think you would agree with any of those, so why are you so ready to believe it of Conservatives?
So we are all standing with the Panther's comments as you say. So why, in your opinion, am I so far off from the mark?
You conservatives are always saying liberals are emotional and the conservatives are pragmatic realists, I see no evidence of that. The conservatives' standard bearer and political party of your crimson friends bear thats up. It is just an excuse so lame that it needs crutches.
Here again is my take on this:
I am for a minimum wage as a floor based on individual workers not families
I want the determination for where that wage is set based on the imput of more than just the free market.
Yes, I distrust the capitalist system to have sole determination as to where wages are set. I distrust the Capitalism system in many ways. But, I did not say get rid of it, but be sure that proper regulatory and oversight is part of how capitalism operates here. I believe that the Dept. of Labor has something to do with gathering economic data to support where the wage currently is and what it needs to be change to, if any. That is a Government agency, not the private sector. What am I wrong about, here?
I am confused with what you are driving at me with in your 5th paragraph?
Your reality as to the nature of the world we live in differs from mine. I'll bring as many hard facts supporting my position as you are prepared to bring to support yours. I will be the first to 'eat crow' when evidence you provide proves me wrong, will you be willing to do the same?
Trump is hardly a moderate, but the conservatives are hitching to his star in a big way. Where are the, once considered, moderate conservative candidates for the party? I don't see ALL Muslims advocating jihad.
"I want the determination for where that wage is set based on the imput of more than just the free market. "
Who will make the determination, then, and on what basis? If not the value of the work performed (from the free market, not a cobbled figure designed simply to require business to pay more than the actual value), what basis will be used to determine the value of the labor?
Seems this is a very pertinent question, for the answer always comes back that it isn't a "living wage" (as defined by the speaker) rather than centering on value received. Socialism, in other words, where government determines what a person is valued at rather than the fruits of their labor.
I suppose using the same technique used to determine whether I get a COLA on my annuity for a specific year or what justifies and increase in SS payouts.
How do all of the world's economies make that determination? Just because these determinations are made outside the purview of the 'free market' does not make them any less valid.
Your question is pertinent. It is like Bill Maher says, socialism is already here. And, I am not going to trust JP Morgan to determine the value of the fruits of one's labor
You all try to make it much more complicated than it is. Every civilized country has a minimum wage. A minimum wage is simply a minimum value placed upon the least valued work, not the least valued human being. The market determines the rest.
Once again we are in agreement. I think you will see that my comment was addressed to Credence2's response. Which does not seem to be aligned with yours.
I do not think a minimum wage can ever be more than as you described. But the cries we hear for a "living" wage and a $15 p/hr burger flipper or trash hauler seem to have another perspective.
Well, I'm sure if we keep talking, we'll find where we disagree. I don't agree with Bernie Sanders that the nationwide minimum wage should be $15/hour. I do think, however, that there are probably areas in the U.S. where $15/hour would actually help the local economy. Here in Oregon, the legislature recently passed a graduated minimum wage increase that varies between rural and urban areas. In other words, the minimum wage will be higher in Portland than it is in, say, Klamath Falls.
I haven't researched the rationale and supporting evidence behind it, but on the surface it makes better sense than a nationwide increase to $15/hour which, of course, will never happen anyway.
Not that I necessarily disagree with the Oregon change, but how is it determined? By the cost of living, so that if one wishes to live in a high cost area their labor is automatically worth more as a matter of law? Joe makes more flipping burgers than Jill because Joe has chosen to live in the city rather than a rural town?
Should the cost of, say, housing be a matter of law as well, with city houses being required to be more expensive? Or should free enterprise set that price but not labor? Why?
Again, you are making it too complicated. Minimum wage should be the minimum required to live comfortably, which is defined by the organized society. You need burger flippers, janitors, and Walmart greeters everywhere. I believe a different minimum wage for different areas makes sense. But it's not just up to me.
I realize I didn't fully answer your question with my reply. I believe the free market should set pricing for goods, services, and labor. However, sensible regulations are needed to keep capitalism in check. One sensible regulation is a minimum wage.
As far as the rest you mentioned, my general position is that regulations are only needed to keep the wealthy and powerful from abusing their position. In the case of rent, we have tons of regulations to protect people from landlord abuse. Some major cities do have rent control laws. As I have previously stated, I am a pragmatist and support what works.
We all don't have the resources to just pick up and move. In Aspen, Colorado there was a crisis as the workers there could not afford housing on the wages that they were paid. Aspen needed cooks, janitors, etc. Where are these people going to come from?
A socialist solution was offered to deal with the housing crisis, from what I hear the county ponied up to build low cost housing to accomodate these workers, as no one is going to drive from Denver for a minimum wage job. If you want people to work and live there, you have to pay more.
Yes, my comments are aligned with hers, how are they different?
who wants a nanny for ever? what is the benefit of growing up?
And what is the true value of wealth ill-got?
A decade or so ago I read where Russian immigrants to the US had an unusually high rate of failure, going back to Russia. Unable to handle the stress and strain of making their own decisions for themselves, unable to handle taking responsibility for all facets of their lives, they went back to the ultimate nanny state. By our lights they never grew to adulthood, forever remaining children under the father government running their lives for them.
Who wants a nanny for ever?
Scardy-cats / Sissies / Those who have never known independence.
For liberals , the new wave agenda is about a "Minimum Guaranteed Income " from America's economy . Its not even called minimum wage anymore . How telling is that about the dream of entitlements !
Voted down in (Sweden? Switzerland? European country, anyway). Biggest reason was that it would turn the country into a magnet, drawing those that don't work to an easy life.
At least some of us recognize problems with unlimited charity and freebies.
Tell me which liberal politicians supports this, because I have heard nothing about it. None of my liberal friends has ever mentioned it in any of our discussions.
Liberals never attain the maturity to know the difference between minimum social and family security standards , like minimum wage , SSI , welfare services , from those of this new age entitlement dream, one where everyone has a guaranteed base pay for whatever job they do that pays well above "normal "standards . " Why can't I make say forty dollars an hour for burger flipping , or fifty for collecting recyclables on the curb . After all my child deserves as least as god as ....say a rich guys children !"
I have seen some incredible posts from totally immature "intellectuals " ! I wonder just how little is actually being taught in schools today ,besides entitlement 101 , that is ?
If Minimum wages Have to rise , its because Obama's economic improvements have fed only the top five percent of Americans .
Obama Care - for instance .
The CEO's ,Those who OWN the healthcare systems , hospital associations , insurance companies , Pharmaceuticals, research and development corporations . Boy ........do they owe him !
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