What do you think is a fair and realistic minimum wage?
There's been a lot of talk recently about raising the minimum wage. Fast food workers, especially, are wanting double the wage. What do you think is reasonable and fair? Keeping in mind of course that your food will cost more so that you can give them more money.
As an example: Chipotle workers want $15 an hour, which some estimate will put the cost of a burrito at almost $10.
I'm really happy to see all of the points of view. I, too, am willing to pay more to give low-wage workers a better life. But, unfortunately, I think I'm in the minority as most people wouldn't.
@ celebassistant - It's not about paying more to help. Most of us would in a heartbeat. It's about the fact that the sysystem is rigged so the more you pay them the more they have to spend. It's like a rat running around a wheet.
The system isn't "rigged". Companies have to make more to pay more or they lose money. Otherwise its bad business. Company's have the same goal you and I do financially. They want to make more each year of break even.
I contend there can be no such thing as a fair and realistic minimum wage in the current market. When the same super small power player elitist group that controls who makes law, how the media projects it, manipulates world markets and basically is pushing the globe the way they want it, numbers become irrelevant.
Through manipulation of events they ensure they get an ever increasing percentage of whatever number is the flavor of the current political term. It matters not for the workers as they see prices go up much higher than the value of the dollars they slave for.
Interesting question that would take volumes, if even possible. However, I personally would start with closing all tax saving loop holes for large corporations and getting rid of regulation that hinders small business start up and growth.
I think we need to look at other options other then raising the minimum wage. Minimum wage is not the only solution and it may not be a good way to go.
$9 would be fair in my state and would keep it low enough that most business owners could afford it, but supply a boost to workers who are stuck in minimum wage positions because they are unable to find anything better. Right now $7.25 is insane for any working adult who has to take these jobs. Ideally the low minimum wage should be kept for anyone still school age and anyone hired over that age should have a different minimum wage.
It is difficult for me to understand the concept of a minimum wage, as this seems to contradict several 'truths' that I grew up with, but then I started that process in 1942. Perhaps, truths change.
At 13 my first hourly wage was .35 an hour and I was told, by all, that it was good money and I was expected to earn it. This process continued all of my life.
One is not entitled to a wage, it must be earned. When it becomes an entitlement, as it has now become, business comes under the control of government and free enterprise no longer exists. If free enterprise no longer exists, I believe it is called socialism.
There are only two people who can determine a fair wage; one is the employer, the other, the prospective employee, who is not compelled to work for this employer.
Value is in performance. Having owned my own business for many years and employing people I was forced to hire based upon a government mandate and to set a wage according to a government mandate. This reduced the number of people hired.and simultaneously created a sense of entitlement among many employees. Tensions developed between valued employees and those that were there simply there to pick up a paycheck or as it would turn out to collect unemployment or some claim of harassment. The result was a higher turn over of employees and legal fees, reduced production, diminished profit and expansion and lowered moral.
It would seem that, to a great extent, the minimum wage has destroyed the will to succeed, the drive to do better, to feel a sense of satisfaction in money earned and a job well done. I wonder how many people today feel, as I did, when I received my first raise of a nickle an hour. I knew that I had earned it and it was a sense of great pride. Now, I knew I wanted more and I knew how to get, I either worked harder, faster or smarter. I chose a bit of all three. Today, however, I would be owed a living and a future controlled by a government. And I would never start a business that employed others. That is unacceptable and I cringe when I see people marching for more money, who misspell the words on their signs, cannot speak English or simply utter profanities. We have come so far and have made so much progress. Sometimes I am overwhelmed.
CJHunsinger, I love your comment. It is so true. I could not have said it better myself but that is the point I have been trying to make. I love your comments. Cannot wait to read your Hubs!
Agreed on many points. Especially as an employee who experienced the "Tensions developed between "valued employees" . . . working 27 years for one employer. At times there is the proliferation of skills & better technology overwhelming experience
The notion that we are operating in a free market is ridiculous and so a minimum wage should be understood, not as a thing all individuals deserve, but rather a collective action of the common person waging war against the King.
I don't know if it is the best way to assault the King. I think there are better and more direct ways, but I do think such an assault is necessary. People don't get the same compensation they used to get for the same work once done and that needs to change. Once upon a time a single parent could work a relatively low-skilled job such as stocking shelves at a grocery store and provide for their family. That isn't even close to true today.
As for what is fair it depends. If the wage increase isn't for everyone, then those companies seeing the wage increase are likely going to have difficulties, especially if it is a significant increase, and so any increase really should be universal (perhaps with some weighting).
What ultimately matters isn't the specific increase, but what is the increase relative to common goods and services. In your example if a $7/hr worker paying $7 for a burrito goes to a $15/hr worker paying $10 for a burrito then they have gone from paying an hour wage for a burrito to paying a 40 min wage. That would be good, but a full analysis for the price changes of goods and services if such a raise were to happen is exceedingly complex.
Personally, I'd say to triple it, at least. Whatever is necessary to annihilate the kings and burn their castles to ash (metaphorically of course).
I think the economy sets itself better without arbitrary standards imposed by people. The problem with hiking minimum wage is that it ends up leading to loss of jobs/less job growth, fewer full-time jobs, and inflation that makes bottom wage earners broke again-- like water sinking its level.
Min. wage hikes artificially inflate the economy temporarily, but only with air. When it deflates again we end up back to the same problems. I think people need to aspire to getting beyond minimum wage jobs to begin with; I can understand them as entry-level, for teens/college students, or for part-time extra income, or even for temporarily being stuck, but any functioning adult can do better if they make the effort.
I look at Washington state seeing there economic upturn attributed to raising the minimum wage. I can grasp the idea if the workers have no capital / excess cash flow then consumption will be limited to the products of sustenance - maintaining life. Luxuries align themselves with excess cash flow. Today, our economic growth is based on luxuries, not sustenance, and the populous. We as a nation demand luxuries and supply is there asking a pretty penny.
As pointed out that burrito at Chipotle may cost $10. Today that burrito is a luxury now ($6.25) compared to one from Taco Bell or Del Taco at about $1 - $4. That is a luxury (100% increase in price). Meal requirements for carbs is about 60 or slightly higher. A PJ sandwich at probably $0.50 fulfills that. The PJ sandwich provides that plus protein - sustenance. Add an apple (generally 1/2 pound) at $1 you still have a luxury, but a total cost of $1.50. And, the health conscious advocate their line offering difference with luxury in food pricing to be healthy. The PJ sandwich is now probably 25%+ higher. Good or not I know not. hmmm . . . I am tying knots
US minimum wage is $7.25 To receive that there are social duties owed to the feds amounting to 20+%. Those today are taxes, soc sec, medicare, and today health care. And, more duties to a State amounting to another 3 - 5%. Total is say 24%. Now that minimum wage is netted at $5.51.
Next, there are social responsibilities that protect the worker with family and too, the business. Those are insurances - vehicle, vision, dental, home or renters and life. Some of those are mandated by states and some by business. Plus, if affordable there is catastrophe (EX: Aflac cancer policy), long term care, and supplemental. That amounts for bare bones basics to be near 3 - 5%. That brings it to $5.22 net. Good or not I am not sure. How many pay those I do not know.
Now, comes social acceptance, which seems to be a greater demand than life sustenance. Cell phones - $40 / mth. Cable / internet - $100 /mth Clothing who knows. Average new vehicle is $30,000+ or about $500 - $600 / mth. Over 5 years annual maintenance costs - $800. Again, look at the choice of burritos for lunch.
The middle class is the former source for luxury & its supply. It has and is shrinking rapidly "Today". The demands of the upper class for luxury production items are far, far less than is needed. What is left? A circle of course. Look to History for answers. Add the numbers.
Minimum wage should probably be tied to inflation. People like to say that if you pay employees more money, then the cost of goods and services will go up. Except the cost of goods and services never stopped going up. It's been climbing steadily for as long as we've had them, and it will continue to do so whether we raise the minimum wage or not. There is nothing in the constitution that says people are entitled to a fair wage, but from a moral perspective, no one should make less money for doing the same amount of work (or more) as someone in the past doing the same job. It has nothing to do with what a fast food worker 'deserves' and everything to do with the company making more profits by undercutting it's employees.
Instead of increasing the minimum wage we should increase the value of money instead.
I'm ok with higher priced food items. It's hard to know on a national level but 12.00 an hour does not seem over the top.
Maybe one day we will abandon the current monetary system and exchange skills for products and services.
Personally I see $9.00/hr as a realistic minimum wage. Many people seem to think that it needs to be much higher than this but think this is the MINIMUM wage our government is enforcing on employers. I still am a firm believer in working hard and getting an education to get the higher paying jobs. I don't think these fast food workers should get anything near the $15/hr they are asking for. If you can't afford higher monthly payments for bills, kids, cars, then don't have those things. There are too many people looking for employers to pay for their personal mistakes. I know for myself when things got tough I picked up a second job and worked the extra hours to make things happen.
The problem with setting a minimum, is that economies are not the same across the areas under those laws. I live in upstate NY. The NY minimum wage is the same across all of NY, but the economy in NYC is nothing like the economy here. Prices in NYC are FAR higher for everything than here. The cost of living is higher, and so the wages should be different.
I saw fast food workers in NYC protesting in the streets about their wage, wanting it to be $15. That's over $30K a year. Here in upstate NY, jobs with a college degree may start at that.
To me a fair and realistic minimum wage would be one that allows a person to have a decent place and enough for today's essentials, based on average costs (i.e. rent, transportation, food, clothing). And to be honest, the minimum wage should increase every year, since costs do.
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