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Capitalism, the Never Ending Saga: The Minimum Wage Provision

Updated on December 17, 2011

The inspiration for this article comes from a friend and fellow hubber, Old Poolman. I call him OP for short. We, in our discourse, are working through the issues of the day to find these common sense solutions outside of traditional ideological and political battle fronts. He, in one of the comments from another well written article from another prolific writer, American View, questions the value of the minimum wage as it is current applied. He graciously asked for my point of view.

We all have learned in school that Capitalism (aka) the free-enterprise system is the predominant one in the American economy. It is responsible for creating more wealth for more people in the shortest period of time than any other. It has made the American economic model the envy of the planet. But as with any system (dynamo), there are cracks and fissures at the boilers where tweaks and adjustments need to be made in the interests of the larger society.

Step, if you please, into my ‘wayback machine and let’s have a look at the world before the minimum wage law was in place. Most of us have seen plenty of pictures of life at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. We had a robust leader in the person of Theodore Roosevelt, who was talking to us all about a “Square Deal” Do you remember the crusaders, known as “Progressives” who spoke of the squalid living conditions of so many people on the margins. These were the filthy slums and tenement houses. People would work for whatever the market would bear and whatever the employer wanted to pay. What we end up with were the pictures of children working in factories. Without a living wage, entire families, including children had to work in order to survive. In the underground economy today, I am sure that is the case for many migrant workers that pick the nation’s harvests. Well some of the do-gooders realized that too often child labor was child exploitation and that children should be in school. Capitalism by its very nature is a constant push for the ever more efficient. The owner is only profitable when he cuts labor costs and prices the product at the highest levels the market will allow with the goal of ever greater profits for him and shareholders. With today’s migrant worker you can see what happens.

Capitalism has booms and busts, “panics’ as they were known during the 19th and early 20th century. The Great Depression showed us all that going along with the market’s boom and bust cycles without mechanisms in place to ameliorate the extremes was not a viable approach. Government had to intervene to prevent the entire society from coming undone. Thus, a part of FDR’s New Deal reforms was the introduction of the Minimum Wage Law in 1938. You can no longer use market forces as an excuse to exploit labor.

If the market makes it possible for you to hire cheap labor at $3.00/hr, why not? If we did not have mechanisms in place to prevent it we could revert back to the early Twentieth Century economic model. That would be inconsistent with citizenship in a responsible society that has needs that go beyond the bottom line of American business owners. If corporate America won’t provide a living wage, then it is we the taxpayers that must bear the burden. We pay with higher crime rates, delinquency of the young, etc. There is the Dickensian vision of homeless waifs in the street. It only follows that the costs of welfare and entitlements to supplement inadequate wages are going to increase. When I was asked one time about paying more for my vegetables and produce in exchange for ridding ourselves of the underground economy and paying agricultural workers the standard minimum wage, I said ‘yes’.

In regards to the corporations, I have to ask that out of their great profitability in recent times, that they recognize that paying a fair wage is the part of the cost of doing business, so as the burden of that shortfall is not passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher taxes. The minimum wage is part of the rules of play for industry. In recognition of those small business owners, I do not have much sympathy for corporations in regards to this issue. It is not unreasonable to negotiate with workers over wages and salaries taking into consideration the economic climate. As for where that minimum wage should be is something that should be taken up with economists, people far more qualified than I to find this happy median. I just say that some reasonable floor will always be necessary. The corporation is much like the Arnold Swartzenegger character,” The Terminator”, an amoral entity with a single minded focus. In the case of the corporation, it is profit and everything else amounts to a mere distraction. I am not saying that the corporations are ogres; we just need to understand their motivation and make legislative and fiscal policy decisions that reflect that reality.

As President Obama said in a recent address, we are not here just to fend for ourselves. A successful society has to take more into account than the profitability of its business people. Wasn’t that the appeal of Walmart, all the low prices? What were the Chinese laborers being paid to produce the products that we are so quick to take from the shelves? What is to keep this pattern from happening planet wide? There has to be clear rules and balance between the desires of labor and that of capital. When I look at the profitability of the upper economic groups relative to working and middle class, it is evident that the vast majority of us do not share in the bounty. This is to be expected, but it so extreme today; that we have to ask how much buying power is being taken away so that it shows up on the profit line of big business balance sheets. Resentment with a lack of economic parity as perceived by the many can sink entire civilizations. The moral of not killing the goose that lays the golden eggs is a good analogy. That golden goose is the American laborer and if you get too greedy you could well end up with nothing. Without government intervention there is nothing to prevent us from revisiting the concepts of lords and serfs, slaves and masters. The middle class, its ability to buy goods and services based on a fair wage, not exclusively determined by buffeting market forces, will be the key to their survival and subsequently that of every other American, as well.

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    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 8 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      And here in America, we can't even put together an expert committee to figure out whether Putin really did get Trump elected. I guess it isn't important enough.

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 8 months ago from England

      Thanks My Esoteric, that’s quite shocking. British Governments take accurate, meaningful and up-to-date data and statistics very seriously; as I know too well from when I was a government employee before I took early retirement.

      Often ‘Select Committees’ will frequently review things like how data is calculated and interpreted, and if they feel change in the system or methodology is required to bring it up to date with changing circumstances and trends then they’ll report their findings, conclusions and recommendations to the Government. Of course what the Government does with the report is their prerogative.

      For example, inflation is calculated by comparing specific goods and services that typifies an average family. Overtime buying habits change, and what was once commonly found in the weekly shop may no longer be so popular e.g. fewer people drink cola and more people drink coffee. Therefore the content of the shopping basket used to monitor inflation is tweaked from time to time to reflect buying trends. Of course a lot of the ground work for this type of task is done by the civil service who give regular (often monthly) reports to their Government Minister, who (as part of the Cabinet) then reports anything of significance to the Prime Minister.

      However, when a ‘Select Committee’ looks into something specific and reports on it to the Government, their ‘Reports’ can at times be quite influential in forming Government Policy.

      A Select Committee is made up of a cross section of MPs (Members of Parliament) from the different political parties in proportion to how the country voted in the last General Election; and may also include members from the House of Lords. So for example a Select Committee of 12 might typical be made up of 6 Conservative MPs, 5 Labour MPs and one SNP (Scottish National Party).

      Although ‘Select Committees’ are set up by the Government, when the Government wants to look into something specifically in detail, they are independent of the Government. It’s a method that helps to reduce the risk of a Government being told what it wants to hear. When a Government is keener in trying to get the answer it wants (rather than a more independent answer from a ‘Select Committee’) the Government is then more likely to set up an ‘Inquiry’ instead e.g. the Government chooses who heads the inquiry; albeit they don’t always get the answer they’re looking for, in which case the inquiry report usually then just gets shelved.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 8 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I'm glad to hear that the UK at least takes into account what the people think they need to calculate standard of living. Our poverty thresholds are based on the original calculations by Mollie Orshansky of the Social Security Administration. ... Orshansky in 1964. She calculated the average family spent a third of their after tax income on food. Consequiently she multiplied the 1955 Dept of Agricultures "economy food plan", the minimum to keep someone alive and the cheapest of four food plans by three to arrive at her threshold. I don't think they have changed it much since then other than adjusting for inflation every so often.

      https://aspe.hhs.gov/history-poverty-thresholds

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 8 months ago from England

      Thanks Credence2 for your earlier reply. As you said, there doesn’t seem to be such a big chasm between the USA and the UK as first might appear; and spouted about by conservatives (because of their fear of the dreaded word ‘socialism’). And as you said (which is the impression we get in the UK) there are (right wing) forces trying to undo all the good work of the Democrats over the last century to promote a more socially equitable society.

      We do have a similar problem in the UK, but to a much lesser degree. The Conservative Government do not like the Welfare State in Britain because they see it as a form of Socialism. However, a large proportion of conservative voters do like the welfare state so they find it difficult to dismantle it without upsetting their voters; although they have tried from time to time. But in practice they do end up enhancing parts of it to meet their manifesto promises in the elections.

      I guess one major difference between the UK and the USA is that although a lot of the benefits are means tested (specifically for the poor), there’s also a lot of benefits that are not means tested (so everyone benefits) e.g. PIP (for the disabled), child benefit, and benefits for the 18s and over 60s etc. For example, all education for anyone under 19 is free, and people over 60 are entitled to free public transport.

      The classic example, in recent times, of where the Conservative Government tried to make an attack on the Welfare State was a statement in their 2015 Election Manifesto that stated they would slash the Welfare State by £12 billion ($15 billion); which would have made a huge dent in the Welfare State and hit the poorest the hardest. Few conservative voters noticed this in the Manifesto until it was too late e.g. not until after the Conservatives had won the General Election; and when they put together a package six months later to make the cuts there was a public outcry that fell on deaf ears.

      However, when their bill was passed to the House of Lords for approval; which they are obliged to pass because under the British Constitution the House of Lords cannot refuse a ‘Financial Bill’, the House of Lords consistently refused to pass it. Therefore, rather than cause a constitutional crisis the Conservatives back down and abandoned their plans to cut the welfare state.

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 8 months ago from England

      Thanks My Esoteric. I made a silly typing error in the last sentence of the third paragraph in my last comment e.g. I quoted the tax threshold (the point at which people start to pay tax) but mistakenly said it was the Minimum Living Wage.

      The National Living Wage in the UK from April is actually £7.50 ($9.32), which is comparable to the $10 that you and Credence2 refer to above. In think the only real difference between the UK and the USA is that rather than leave it to politicians to debate what the figures should be for the National Minimum Wage (for under 25 years of age) and the National Living Wage (for over 25 years old) the Government base their figure on the Minimum Income Standard, which is compiled and published by the universities mentioned above e.g. it removes the matter away from the political arena and allows the Government to concentrate on other matters.

      In fact annual increases in most state benefits are automated in some way, which governments can and do tinker with from time to time in accordance with their current political policies; but most of the time it gives the pubic a certain level of confidence. For example a lot of the benefits are indexed linked, so they automatically rise each year in line with inflation. Although the Government usually decide by how much to increase the tax threshold as part of the balancing act between what the Government needs to collect in taxes and its popularity with the voting public. The tax threshold as it affects everyone, most particularly the lower paid e.g. by raising the tax threshold above the rate of inflation (which the Conservative Government has done for the past five years) takes a lot of the lower paid out of the tax bracket, (so they don’t pay tax (which raises their standard of living) while at the same time ensures everybody (including the super-rich) pays a little less tax; which is always a vote winner.

      With an ageing population in the UK an increasing number of voters are now of pension age, so to keep pensioners happy the Conservative’s current policy for increasing the state pension (which has been operating for the last five years) is to increase it by either the rate of inflation, increase in average earning or 2.5%, whichever is the greater of the three.

      Interestingly, My Esoteric, your method of asking readers what they think they need (although not very scientific) is very similar to how the Minimum Income Standard is calculated by the Loughborough and York universities in the UK. Rather than do some fancy calculation from data or statistics they just ask the people who matter (the general public) e.g. get an opinion first hand from source of what the people themselves feel is a socially acceptable living standard; and it’s this figure the Government then uses to calculate by how much to raise the National Living Wage each year.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 8 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      That is an interesting comparison, Arthor. My estimates, which are about double the "official" poverty threshold, come from a hub I wrote about the subject. https://hubpages.com/politics/Poverty-What-Does-It...

      If you look at it you will see I took two approaches (which adds some validation from an admittedly unscientific survey). One is first, after setting up the scenario, asking the reader what they think the total needed is, which is the $32K figure (although I see I need to update the numbers) and the other is asking them to estimate the needs by cost category. That produced the $36K estimate.

    • Credence2 profile image
      Author

      Credence2 8 months ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      I hear you, My Esoteric,

      But even Hillary Clinton in her campaign could not work with $15.00/hr, as she was more for $10.00-$12.00. In the current GOP dominated universe, we will be lucky if we can get even $10.00 as a national standard. The minimum wage verses a living wage can be very subjective. Being paid under it may not always be comfortable, but compared with current rate of $7.25, we have to be moving in the right direction.

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 8 months ago from England

      My Esoteric, the information you give in your comment (quoted below) is quite enlightening for me:-

      “A mother with two kids needs to NET between $32,000 and $36,000 per year just too barely make ends meet.”

      In Britain the Minimum Income Standard (MIS), a research method jointly developed in the UK in 2006 by the Loughborough and York universities is a methodology used to identify what incomes different types of households require to have a socially acceptable living standard; the figures which are updated annually by the universities are now used by the Government to set the level of the ‘Minimum Living Wage’ each year in the UK, which is currently £11,500 ($14,284).

      The Minimum Income Standard ensures a comfortable life style, whereas the Minimum Living Wage helps to ensure you have enough income to pay all your household bills and basic living expenses.

      According to the Minimum Income Standard a single parent with two children would need an income of between £35,072 ($43,545) and £37,688 ($46.795) dependent on the age of the children to have a socially acceptable living standard; which would seem to be comparable with the figures you gave for a mother with kids to just barely make ends meet.

      The way the benefit and welfare system is constructed in the UK, the benefits a single parent with two children would get, to largely meet his or her requirements for a basic but respectable living standard would be made up as follows:-

      • £1.800 ($2,236) ‘child benefit’ per year for the two children. Child benefit is not means tested and not taxable; so every mother (including middle class families) gets child benefit (except for the super-rich).

      • £3,011 ($3,740) ‘income support’ (dole money) per year.

      • £3,021 basic ‘universal credits’ per year (supplement to dole money), plus £2,780 per child, plus extra money towards housing costs; so the total minimum for him/her would be £8,581 ($10,658)

      • Housing benefit (rent paid for you, capped at a realistic level to prevent abuse of the system), or Council tax discount; dependent on whether you rent or own your own property. This might typical be worth anything up to £7,200 ($8,943) dependent on what rent you pay or the value of your house if you own it.

      • Healthy Start Vouchers (only for women with children under 4 years old), £161 ($200) per voucher per year to pay for milk and fresh veg e.g. vouchers so that the mother can only spend the money to buy milk and fresh veg (and not use it on anything else).

      • If the single parent is widowed and his or her partner was in regular full time employment before he or she died then the mother or father would also get a ‘widowed parent’s allowance’ of up to £5,853 ($7,270) per year.

      So with full state benefit the single father or mother with two children could get benefits worth anything up to about £26,606 ($33,047); which although not enough to meet the ‘Minimum Income standard’, is nevertheless enough to help ensure the single parent has a liveable income. And if that person had a part time job or was actively seeking work then his or her total income would be even higher.

      When our son was growing up three of our friends were single mothers with children of the same age group. They were all totally dependent on state benefit, and although they couldn’t afford the best technology they could at least afford to buy the cheap Models of TV, video players etc., and afford a car, and their kids didn’t were well fed and clothed.

      When all her kids were old enough to go to secondary school (age 11 to 15) one of the single mums took a three year degree course in ‘Business Administration’ at university (at a time when university education was still free in the UK); and after she graduated she became a full time professional ‘Accountant’, and has since remarried.

      For reference e.g. regarding ‘disposable income’; although petrol (gasoline) and fuel bills are a lot more expensive in the UK than America; house prices and technical gadgets are comparable and food prices is significantly less; plus we don’t have any medical expenses or medical insurance to pay because it’s all paid for out of taxes and is free to all at the point of use.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 8 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Credence, to put the $15.00 minimum wage in perspective, a mother with two kids needs to NET between $32,000 and $36,000/yr just to barely make ends meet.

    • Credence2 profile image
      Author

      Credence2 8 months ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Thanks, Arthur

      Most welfare systems of developed economies are more generous. This is true. We have problems with welfare fraud and particularely as of late, fraudulent use of Social Security Disability

      Status. But the problems here are overwhelming and I really do not think that the powers that be really have a handle on it.

      In reference to your PIP, my wife was on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) before she married me. She has had spinal meningitis, asthma, and extensive arthritis. She was getting about $700 US dollars a month. Just like your wife, mine gets around with great difficulty. This program, unlike the standard Social Security did not require your participation through deductions taken out of your paycheck. She has simply been sick and unable to work for too long to qualify for any benefits. So, it can be considered a form of welfare, not so much unlike your PIP.

      However, the SSDI payments are means tested and the recipient is not supposed to be employed or have assets over a certain dollar amount, home and car excluded. She had to drop it when she married me as I have am ample Federal pension that would disqualify her from taking advantage of the program. And I still get a small monthly amount from Social Security, as I recently reached the age of eligibility.

      It is not much because Government would not allow me to "double dip" acquiring the full benefits of the pension and Social Security at the same time.

      But when we look at are differing systems, it is not the big chasm conservatives speak of with the mention the dreaded word "socialism". In the ways that are important, we are already there, as any responsible society has to be. The danger here are that there are forces that insist on moving away from the civility that we on the left have been trying to promote within our society over the last century or so.

    • Credence2 profile image
      Author

      Credence2 8 months ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Greetings Brad, nice to hear from you. But I have to ask this question, are you opposed to the minimum wage in principle or is it just the proposed $15.00/hour that you have problems with?

      I can have issue with the amount of $15.00 as a bit much, but the concept for me remains as sound as a dollar. I offer the following points (1) Even though the US started the practice in 1933,

      almost every nation (see link at chart below), from Albania to Zaire, developed or developing, Sweden to India, seem to see this provision as necessary. What is it that all of these know

      that we have unlearned? These varied societies are not satified to allow compensation rates for labor set exclusively by the market, why not?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_minimum_wage...

      I have heard the fear of rising prices and stress on business since the policy was implemented (1930's) and yet the sky has not fallen. If the minimum is not maintained,

      workers with not enough to provide basic living at a subsistance level will ultimately require the tax payer to pick up the difference. That level is subject to inflation and what was

      adequate during 2001-02 is hardly the case today, no more than the 1938 standard would be.

      The problem, as I believe you are aware, is that it is not just teenagers that are paid under the minimum wage anymore. The "entry level" training aspect that this wage level once represented is simply not the case.

      As for parity for women verses men, the issue is not equal pay for its own sake. It is when men and women have comparable levels of experience, education and training, they should be

      treated equally. Of course, you are right, the performance, experience and ROI are legitimate factors in determining why one employee is compensated better than the other. But one

      of those factors cannot be merely the fact that the employee is female, solely, when her qualifications otherwise are the same as her male counterpart. That is my take on this.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image

      bradmasterOCcal 8 months ago from Orange County California

      Credence

      The concept of the minimum wage is only viable as a threshold. It has its importance in jobs that require little experience, and many are menial tasks. The min wage is good to start a job experience, but it was or shouldn't meant to support a family.

      The problem with the minimum wage is when it tries to become the living family wage. Talks about raising the min to $15 hr just raises the threshold, and at the same time takes any meaningful performance involved in a job as superfluous.

      This also rules out having women and men having equal pay. The performance, experience and ROI to the company should be the factors that rule the difference in pay for two individuals doing the same job for the same company.

      When you raise the min wage to $15 hr, the company will not hire a lot from the existing pool of min wage workers because they need to get best return on their investment.

      So raising the min wage to $15 hr could increase the number of people that are unemployed.

      There are also tax consequences from raising the min wage. This will be more beneficial to the government than the workers. In addition, the employers to keep their bottom line will have to raise prices, and these min wage workers will have more money, but it will have less buying power.

      It might also put more people on welfare and food stamps.

      Sorry, I don't see your point as being able to be applied in the current marker.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 8 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      America has a unique problem when it comes to public assistance, we are a naturally conservative nation. That means that a significant (say 30%) portion take the view that anyone getting public assistance is, by definition, abusing the system. Unfortunately, they are in charge today and will remain so until the D voters decide the Rs represent enough of a threat to their well-being to actually get off their butts and go vote.

      Credence, the problem with thinking infrastructure works will have a beneficial effect on unemployed workers is even construction needs skilled workers, except for jobs like traffic monitors and the like. Also, construction always have higher than normal unemployment rates, 8%, since 2000. Today it is about 9%.

      The issue is of course, if their is a significant increase in construction jobs available, are there enough qualified construction workers available, in the short-term, to fill the new jobs?

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 8 months ago from England

      Hi Credence2, in answer to your other points. I agree with you, as most people would:-

      “People who wilfully choose not to work that otherwise can are abusing the system”

      I think the difference is that Britain takes a different approach on how to tackle that problem while at the same time trying to ensure people don’t live in deprivation. Although compared to America, the British welfare system is perhaps generous; the British Government takes a very dim view on people who abuse the system.

      The British Government puts a lot of resources into detecting benefit fraud, and they are good at their job; very much like the 1984 film. Anyone caught defrauding the system faces tough penalties (including prison); but if you play by the rules then you get treated fairly.

      The approach the British Government uses is the ‘Carrot and Stick’. If you are able to work but refuse to then you only get the absolute minimum of benefit; which is a struggle to live on. However, the concept of the ‘Job Seekers Allowance’ is an added incentive to encourage people to look for work, and it also compensates for the added expense of phone calls and travel costs incurred when looking for employment.

      Likewise, not paying taxes when you’re on a low wage and being given tax credit payments on a sliding scale to boost low income helps to ensure that when you do find a job you are better off than being on the dole; as an added incentive for people to find work.

      For clarity, the PIP (Personal Independence Payment) which I also mentioned is a separate benefit, which anyone with mobility difficulty is entitled to regardless to whether they are on government benefit or not. For example, my wife who works part time in an Admin job, although she doesn’t earn enough to pay any taxes, she doesn’t get any welfare benefits because of my income and because we own our own house. However, she gets PIP because she has a medically diagnosed back condition which makes it difficult for her to walk any great distance without sitting down and resting. The PIP she gets is £2,886 ($3,571) per year, which is not means tested and is not taxable. Because she gets PIP and as I earn less than £11,500 ($14,229) per year; because I’m retired (pensions don’t count) and I’m her househusband who looks after her for more than 35 hours per week, it entitles me to the Carer's Allowance which is £3,260 ($4,034) per year. However (unlike PIP) the Carer’s Allowance is taxable, and as my pension is above the $14,229 limit then I do pay the full 20% income tax on it.

      I guess from an American’s perspective this does sound a little too much like Socialism, but then it’s part of the British culture which people have become accustomed to since Labours landslide victory back in 1945. And considering Britain, like Germany and America, is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, it’s an indication that Britain has thrived on being a Socialist Society within a mixed economy; even when we have Conservative (Capitalist) Governments in power.

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 8 months ago from England

      Thanks for you feedback Credence2, which is enlightening as always; answering your first point first. Yes I got the impression that Americans are not great users of public transport from conversations I’ve had with Americans in the past and from what friends have told me who’ve visited America. I also did a lot of research on the subject earlier in the year for an article I wrote on Hubpages on the subject; but for various reasons it was difficult to make direct comparisons. Although the article I published does show some interesting differences. The problems I had in trying to gather comparable data is that not only do different countries gather and compile data differently but also I found it more difficult to find the data from reliable American sources.

      In reply to this, I’ve just checked our ‘National Archives’ for their compilation of data on this subject from the 2011 Census. The National Archives is a government department that’s the guardian of some of the most important British documentation (some dating back to over a 1000 years); which Governments use as an invaluable source of historic information when formulating policy.

      According to their analysis, for local daily travel to and from work in the UK people use the different modes of transport as follows:-

      • Car 62.6%

      • Public transport 16.4% (7.3% by bus and 9.1% by rail)

      • Walk 10.7%

      • 2.9% cycle

      • (5.4% work from home)

      I think the two main differences between Britain and America, which reflects why British people are far more willing to use public transport, is that:-

      • Petrol (gasoline) is a lot more expensive in Europe, and

      • Public transport in Europe is good

      In Britain and across Europe petrol (gasoline) has always been heavily taxed specifically to discourage private road use e.g. if you want to use it you have to pay for it. The tax is about 80% which makes a gallon of petrol about $6.68.

      The British Government stopped building new motorways (Freeways) in 1992 as a policy decision based on the concept that the more roads you build the more people will use them. Whereas France has continued to build motorways but their approach is to make them all ‘toll roads’; which works out very expensive if you want to travel around France by car. However, the French also build free motorways that run parallel to their toll motorways, but the free ones are not marked on the road signs, so only the locals know where they are. The difference between their free motorways and the toll roads is that the free motorways travel through the towns rather than around them. Although when we drive to France on our annual two weeks holiday we use our satnav that tells us where the entrances and exits are for the free motorways so we can travel the full length of France without paying any of the tolls.

      In contrast Public Transport in Britain (and across Europe) is very good, and also ‘integrated’; although it can be a bit expensive except for in London where Public Transport is very cheap. The British Government policy is for ‘Integrated Transport’, so you can travel from anywhere within Britain to any other part of Britain by Public Transport (without needing to use air) within a matter of hours; even to and from remote locations e.g. small villages.

      Land’s End to John o’ Groats is the longest journey you can take in the UK, and it’s the most challenging route because it’s two remote locations at opposite ends of the country (about 850 miles by road), so there is no direct route. By Public Transport (using buses and trains) the timetabled route takes 22 hours and 45 minutes. This video shows the route by road from one end of Britain to the other: - https://youtu.be/2ariEJlr2ts

      However, to go from Bristol, England (where I live) to Paris, France (410 miles) by car takes 6 hours 45 minutes, and by train less than 5 hours.

    • Credence2 profile image
      Author

      Credence2 8 months ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Thanks for your feedback Credence2; one point which caught my attention was your comment:-

      'It is very much a ‘Capitalist’ attitude; so I was surprised (but delighted) when our Conservative Government (following the world recession of 2009), while implementing austerity measures (as just about every country did at the time) also embarked on a major infrastructure program in our railway network; which did undoubtedly contribute towards boosting the economy and creating more employment'.

      --------------

      Hi, Arthur, yes, I just want to get people back to work and there is plenty of work that needs to be done on crumbling infrastructure across America. It is the prosperity of the middle that will lift more boats for more people. For the American Right, that sounds like Socialism, much what they said in the 1930's when FDR introduced such a program for the first time to get at Depression level unemployment.

      ------------

      "Although Britain only has 21,000 miles of railroad track compared to 233,000 in the USA (which is comparable considering how much smaller Britain is), the railway network is far more important in the UK e.g. 10% of passenger travel is by rail in the UK compared to less than 1% in the USA. In the UK there’s 1.69 billion passenger journeys travelling over 40 billion passenger miles each year; compared to just 30.8 million passenger journeys travelling over 6.4 billion passenger miles in the USA."

      -----------

      In America, we are not great users of public transportation. Within the last few years inroads have been made to make the idea more palatable, but to get people out of their cars is more than a herculean task. The cost of gasoline is considerably lower here, which encourages POV. People want the independence of getting around on their own terms. Congestion and such make public transport more viable in New York City, but I lived in LA for a time and public transportation there was always a joke. If you don't have a car there, you are not going to get from here to there. But, even they are working with light rail concepts. Relative to UK and Europe, there is room for improvement in this area. But, for us in North America, Canada included, and attitude adjustment is necessary.

      ----------------------------------------

      “It is far more complicated that it would appear at first glance. I'm thinking the whole system needs a good review and overhaul.”

      Ever since the Labour’s (Socialist) landslide victory in the 1945 General Elections, when they introduced the Welfare System that we have in Britain today, each successive Government (especially the Conservatives) that’s come to power have all stated that it’s far too complex and the whole system needs a good review and overhaul.

      However, in practice, once they’ve done their review, any changes have generally been little more than tweaks, and it ends up just as complex as before.

      Part of the problem that makes it complex (at least in Britain) is that it Part of the problem that makes it complex (at least in Britain) is that it has to cope with a wide range of variables (within a finite budget) while at the same time trying to ensure no one slips through the safety net e.g. end up destitute because the system failed them.

      The various factors such a system has to cope with include:-

      • Easing people back to work while avoiding a sudden cut off of benefits, so that you are better off if you are working; even in a part time job on low income e.g. if you’re on unemployment benefit you are allowed to earn up to $25 a week without any loss of benefit.

      • Also ensuring that those who are on the doll have enough support to live, but make it less easy for those who do not want to work while at the same time not disadvantaging those who can’t work or find it difficult to find work e.g. the disabled and older people.

      One element of the system that plays it part in aiming to achieve these goals in the UK is the ‘Job Seekers Allowance’ e.g. if you can prove that you are actively looking for work (and there are strict guidelines where you have to continually provide proof), then the government will pay you $91 per week on top of your normal benefits for as long as you genuinely continue to look for work.

      Another system, which is designed to give the disabled additional help, is PIP (Personal Independence Payment); although it’s one of a number of benefits that’s not means tested e.g. it's on top of any other benefits you get, and if you are working you can still claim it no matter what your income is, and it’s not taxable. The basic rate of PIP is $69 per week.

      -------------------------------

      This is very interesting Arthur, but, my English friend, there is where we may have a parting of the ways:

      Imagine, paying people to take the effort to find a job! There is a presumption that I pick up that people deserve to have an income floor even when they do nothing at all. That is a little hard for me. Here, people who willfully choose not to work that otherwise can are abusing the system and the American taxpayer. It wouldn't be fair to those who have to work, as many would choose to do nothing in return for sustenance, taking the path of least resistance? Please note, I do not speak about the elderly and physically or mentally infirm, they are deserving of the compassion of larger society.

      How I differ from the conservatives in this matter of American politics is that I am in favor of low cost or free education willing to give everybody a chance to get on their feet. Conservatives see these people as a waste of flesh somehow deserving of the circumstances they find themselves in. Having a attitude about the poor generally as a problem rooted in their own character, they are to be left to their own devices, with all support and subsidies from tax payer eliminated or reduced to the greatest extent.

      I believe that everybody makes mistakes and it is wiser to invest in people in the short term to; put them in a position of paying taxes rather than living from others, being gainfully employed and making a meaningful contribution can change the nature of ones attitude from despair to one of accomplishment and it is infectious, it get passed down to their children. With a little tax break or two for those businesses willing to give them a chance, ghettos and inner cities economic problems can be broken down from the inside out.

      Instead of having people sit around, they can choose to educate themselves in a trade, some on welfare could assist in child care so others are free to work. Just because people have made mistakes and are consequently poor does not mean that it has to be their fate forever. I say that the vast majority on welfare would grab an opportunity if it were presented and viable. But there will always be those few that are aggressively lazy. Even for them to earn their daily bread, they could pick up litter on the freeways and save the taxpayer from having duplication of effort for these maintenance tasks. But, at the end of the day, after every possible assistance and opportunity has been provided, you have to be doing something....

    • Credence2 profile image
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      Credence2 8 months ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      thanks for the input My Esoteric. I am trying to get up to speed on the advantages of the EITC. I just wonder if those that are eligible have to wait for the standard tax refund to get the credits? I hooked up to this site to help with an understanding of the concept.

      http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/what-...

      I can see where the advantage is for providing relief more directly to those that most need it. I just wonder that without a minimum wage can those that are workers and childless, not able to take advantage of the EITC to the same extent, be able to survive as it is currently?

      As for the adults left to starve. I believe that those that simply will not work and are otherwise not elderly, physically nor mentally infirm are not entitled to a lot of sympathy. That attitude does constitute a form of 'child abuse', as every able bodied adult is aware of the fact that sustenance for him or herself and his or her child does not come at no cost. I can have more sympathy for alcoholics or narcotics abusers as at least these people are in a situation that they are not easily able to control. If the children are taken, the adults will be in a position to either start working or do without, and minor children do not have to suffer because of the irresponsibility of the parent(s). It is not too hard for most to decide what has to be done.

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 8 months ago from England

      Thanks for your feedback Credence2; one point which caught my attention was your comment:-

      “The idea of economic stimulus to just rebuild fragmented infrastructure that could produce more jobs for the middle and working classes and boost the general economy having more people working than on the dole.”

      It is very much a ‘Capitalist’ attitude; so I was surprised (but delighted) when our Conservative Government (following the world recession of 2009), while implementing austerity measures (as just about every country did at the time) also embarked on a major infrastructure program in our railway network; which did undoubtedly contribute towards boosting the economy and creating more employment.

      Although Britain only has 21,000 miles of railroad track compared to 233,000 in the USA (which is comparable considering how much smaller Britain is), the railway network is far more important in the UK e.g. 10% of passenger travel is by rail in the UK compared to less than 1% in the USA. In the UK there’s 1.69 billion passenger journeys travelling over 40 billion passenger miles each year; compared to just 30.8 million passenger journeys travelling over 6.4 billion passenger miles in the USA.

      Currently, our intercity passenger trains travel at 125mph, which lags behind mainland Europe where its 200mph, but from what I understand is faster than trains in the USA which typically travel at 80mph. Part of the current infrastructure investment by the British Government is to build new high speed rail links across England that will allow trains to travel up to 200mph.

      I also noted Mike’s last comment that:-

      “It is far more complicated that it would appear at first glance. I'm thinking the whole system needs a good review and overhaul.”

      Ever since the Labour’s (Socialist) landslide victory in the 1945 General Elections, when they introduced the Welfare System that we have in Britain today, each successive Government (especially the Conservatives) that’s come to power have all stated that it’s far too complex and the whole system needs a good review and overhaul.

      However, in practice, once they’ve done their review, any changes have generally been little more than tweaks, and it ends up just as complex as before.

      Part of the problem that makes it complex (at least in Britain) is that it has to cope with a wide range of variables (within a finite budget) while at the same time trying to ensure no one slips through the safety net e.g. end up destitute because the system failed them.

      The various factors such a system has to cope with include:-

      • Easing people back to work while avoiding a sudden cut off of benefits, so that you are better off if you are working; even in a part time job on low income e.g. if you’re on unemployment benefit you are allowed to earn up to $25 a week without any loss of benefit.

      • Also ensuring that those who are on the doll have enough support to live, but make it less easy for those who do not want to work while at the same time not disadvantaging those who can’t work or find it difficult to find work e.g. the disabled and older people.

      One element of the system that plays it part in aiming to achieve these goals in the UK is the ‘Job Seekers Allowance’ e.g. if you can prove that you are actively looking for work (and there are strict guidelines where you have to continually provide proof), then the government will pay you $91 per week on top of your normal benefits for as long as you genuinely continue to look for work.

      Another system, which is designed to give the disabled additional help, is PIP (Personal Independence Payment); although it’s one of a number of benefits that’s not means tested e.g. it's on top of any other benefits you get, and if you are working you can still claim it no matter what your income is, and it’s not taxable. The basic rate of PIP is $69 per week.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 8 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      SNAP - if a family qualifies, then benefits reduce as income rises. It doesn't appear to be one-for-one but maybe 70 cents for each extra dollar earned.

      WIC - has pretty high income threshold to start with: Gross Income: $21,000 for a single qualifying woman to $75,000 for a woman with 7 qualifying children. I didn't see a variable benefit, however.

      Section 8 is a program that needs a bit of fixing.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 8 months ago

      My Esoteric, no I doubt they are all like that, but I know some are. I guess what we used to call "welfare" is now called "entitlements." I am familiar with some of the such as SNAP, WIC, and Section 8 housing, but I know there are others. I'm fairly confident that the three I named would all be in jeopardy when the recipient started working. I saw a list of what would happen to some individuals when the $15 per hour minimum wage kicks in. They would lose their food stamps and have to start paying income tax on their wages when that happens. There were other negatives but I can't recall all of them. I believe some would also lose their free healthcare.

      It is far more complicated that it would appear at first glance. I'm thinking the whole system needs a good review and overhaul.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 8 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Mike, are saying 100% of public assistance programs are of the type you describe?

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 8 months ago

      My Esoteric, what we have now is the equivalent to a parent cutting off his young sons weekly allowance because the boy is mowing lawns and getting paid. Nobody I know agrees with the system as it works now. What the parent could do is reduce the allowance slightly based on his sons lawn mowing income so the boy still ends up with more money than before he started mowing lawns.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 8 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      As a rule, very few people, less than 1 or 2 percent probably, want to stay on the dole. Instead, they want work that pays enough for them to scratch by with a roof over their head and not want for food and other life essentials.

      As to cutting of able-body workers refusing to work so that they can live in squalor ... that is problematic. It is problematic because most of those people probably minors dependent on them. Of course, our society can take the course of removing those children and putting the in state facilities so that their parents can starve. Some how I don't think that is what America is all about.

      It is true that at one time in the distant pass, all forms of public assistance was of the type Mike describes ... ending in a worse position if you take a job. That is no longer the case in many (but unfortunately not all) cases. Recipients can actually work their way off assistance without taking a step back in standard of living.

      That is why I am in favor of a much expanded Earned Income Tax Credits in place of minimum wage.

      Originally, almost all

    • Credence2 profile image
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      Credence2 8 months ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Hi, OP, yes I want to help out, we can do more to make a way for those that are willing to work and encourage self-sufficiency. But there is a point that if after that a person without disability and healthy of wind and limb choose not to work, then I will have to cut them off.

      I may not be so keen for allowing people to stay on the dole just because they want to be there rather than not having a viable path to changing their circumstances. I will always say that people in principle should support themselves. We need to make it possible for those that are behind this to succeed rather than have counterproductive policies that discourage this end.

      Nice to hear from you again....

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 8 months ago

      Credence2 - Hello my friend, it has been a long time and I hope all is well in Florida.

      At last, and topic where we are in 100% agreement. I have been preaching for years that our welfare system is broken because it really becomes a trap for those unfortunate enough to need help.

      For the system to work properly there must be a phase out means to really help people who are trying to get back on their feet. It would be different if they could leave the welfare system behind and step into a $20 per hour job, but that rarely happens. To leave the system and go to a minimum wage job is nearly impossible when you factor in the costs for day care, transportation, clothing, and other things necessary for work.

      I have to wonder why nobody in our government can see how our present system actually holds people back rather than giving them a leg up? I would fully support the sliding scale system you describe.

    • Credence2 profile image
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      Credence2 8 months ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      The British Government has successfully implemented the minimum wage for years, which helps to ensure people don’t live in poverty; it doesn’t overburden the tax system and neither does it cripple the economy.

      Thank you, Arthur for reading the article and for the opportunity to engage with you in the comparison of our systems. While hardly an expert, I can touch on a thing or two.

      There has been criticism of the welfare program here for inherent inefficiency. The (sliding scale ) approach of weaning people from government subsidies is the better one. As opposed to the idea of cutting people off from social services, once they find a job, assuming that the job can replace the benefits that they had been receiving. The better way is to reduce benefits proportionate to the employment income received. You encourage people to get off the dole, rather than remain in poverty as a part time job is a step in the right direction but hardly replaces social services benefits. So, most say that you are better off staying on the dole.

      There is the fundamental difference that in the U.K. citizens have a financial floor to prevent their falling into poverty. Here, such a concept is the nine letter expletive in the American culture, 'Socialism'. But, it is sort of silly because the very nature of our society must include aspects of socialism to function. Just like 'Communist China' is much more capitalistic then they themselves would like to admit.

      As for housing, there is the 'Section 8' designation. Where rents are subsidized by the Government. We have food stamps to assist.

      There remains a lot of resentment toward welfare recipients here, this ties in to race and immigrant based resentment. It says that they are living in the lap of luxury at the expense of hardworking taxpayers. Obama proposed during his tenure, which was shot down by the conservatives, the idea of economic stimulus to just rebuild fragmented infrastructure that could produce more jobs for the middle and working classes and boost the general economy having more people working than on the dole. But we have our equivalent of the bourgeoisie here that speak of people 'pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps' while they have no shoes. Their power and influence allow them to often nullify the concept of one man, one vote. That adverse crowd really believe that the Rich, in gutting social programs taking the money for themselves in the form of tax cuts and a tax code weighted heavily in their favor are really going to invest in the economy over just lining their pockets?

      It is interesting to note that even the more conservative sides of British politics see the benefits of the sliding scale principles. While here, conservatives advocate a Dickensian existence for those unfortunate to be found in wanting.

    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 8 months ago from England

      The British Government has successfully implemented the minimum wage for years, which helps to ensure people don’t live in poverty; it doesn’t overburden the tax system and neither does it cripple the economy.

      I don’t know the American welfare system so I can’t make comparisons; all I can do is to give an overview for Britain and look forward to how you think it compares with the USA.

      The British tax and welfare system is complex so I shall only generalise (for simplicity):-

      The minimum wage in the UK for anyone over 25 (known as the National Living Wage) is £7.50 ($9.37) per hour e.g. £300 ($375) for a typical 40 hour week; however coupled with this are the tax threshold and working tax credits.

      • The tax threshold is the point at which people start to pay taxes on their wages; which is currently £11,500 ($14,375) per year.

      • Working Tax Credits is the reverse of tax e.g. the government pays you (on a sliding scale), so the more you earn the less the government pays you; until your earnings are above the tax threshold; at which point you then start to pay taxes on your earnings.

      However, if you look at the figures carefully you might notice that anyone on the minimum wage working full time will earn above the tax threshold and be paying some (modest) taxes anyway. The system most benefits those in part-time work (working more than 16 hours per week); 16 hours a week being the minimum for which you qualify to receive the Working Tax Credit Payments from the Government.

      The other factors to help the unemployed and the low paid is all the other welfare benefits you may be entitled to e.g. housing benefit. Housing benefit is where if you’re on benefits (either because you’re unemployed or on low income) and you rent your accommodation, then the local government will pay your rent for you; capped at a realistic level to prevent people from renting luxury accommodation.

      The combination of all these e.g. minimum wage, tax credits and other welfare benefits, all help to give the low paid a reasonable standard of living, and ‘disposable’ income which enables them to go out and buy their 50 inch plasma TV, the latest mobile phone technology and a descent car. All of which creates extra demand for manufacturers to produce more and retailers to sell more; which in turn creates more employment opportunities.

      I’m sure a lot of Americans will baulk at this and call it ‘Socialism’, but (although perhaps more begrudgingly) the British welfare system is supported by the current British Conservative (Capitalist) Government (who’s now been in power for the last seven years). And during their time in ‘Office’ the Conservative Government have increased these benefits annually by a minimum of the rate of inflation; with some of the benefits being increased above the rate of inflation.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 20 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Sorry to say that this myth "... most people who traditionally earn minimum wage are students or people who don't depend on that wage to support existence" died starting in the 1980s and has been accelerating ever since. The truth is, Most people who earn minimum wage must support themselves or their families on it.

      It's worse today, but in 2014, 52% of workers earning minimum wage or less are 25 years old or Older. Breaking that down a bit, 49% of men earning less than or equal MW are 25 or older while 54% of women are as well.

      As I said, most people earning less than or equal to MW support themselves or families. BTW, $15/hour is the minimum a family of three (1 working spouse) just barely provides enough money not to go wanting for one necessity or another. See - https://hubpages.com/politics/Poverty-What-Does-It...

      http://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/minimum-wage/archi...

    • RJ Schwartz profile image

      Ralph Schwartz 20 months ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

      Yes, I'm saying the minimum wage is not a good idea - it hurts full employment and drives up prices. Raising EITC targets low earners and serves to better reduce poverty where raising the minimum wage impacts the entire class - most people who traditionally earn minimum wage are students or people who don't depend on that wage to support existance. Raising EITC also encourages work force participation.

    • Credence2 profile image
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      Credence2 20 months ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Educate me gentlemen, are you both saying that minimum wage is not a good idea? Earned Income Tax Credit still is taking money out of public coffers when I believe that companies that hire its labor should be compelled to operate from a minimum floor and provide wages through its operations as part of the costs of doing business, thus a minimum wage

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 20 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I know I am drawn toward the same conclusions from similar observation of our youth. But I think it is an illusion for the most part. The majority of my company (about 40) are below 35 - 40 years old; many in their late 20s. While I am surprised at their general lack of tech savviness, almost all are all hard workers and dedicated. You have a good mix of self-motivators and those who just want to do a good job and a couple of "I don't care" types.

      It gives me hope.

    • RJ Schwartz profile image

      Ralph Schwartz 20 months ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

      I read an article on Forbes with a similar conclusion of raising EITC as a viable alternative. Not disputing the lack of any study just an observation at the overall poor work ethic of our youth. It would be a worthy project to examine the post millennial segment to determine their stats and opinions. I guess I'm guilty of comparing my work ethic with others and it biases my commentary.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 20 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      RJ, definitely have to disagree with you there. There is simply no data supporting your thesis, few American prefer permanent leisure over an 8-hour work day. While I disagree with the minimum wage and favor expanded EITC as a better alternative, low wages are less a function of people without the full monte of education and more because 1) no labor competition and 2) because employers only concern is to deliver the worst product at the cheapest cost and at the highest price the market will bear.

      I don't think you would disagree that in the late-1800s, Americans did not have a leisure work ethic. Yet, because the law, as well as supply and demand, allowed it, labor was paid starvation wages and there was nothing they could do about it. Employers violently opposed unionization and even our own government (mainly through the Supreme Court), who is supposed to protect its citizens, sided with the employers, sometimes supply troops when needed.

      No, I don't think it is that most Americans have "changed to a leisure ethic".

    • Credence2 profile image
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      Credence2 20 months ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      I covet praise from a scholar, thanks RJ..

    • RJ Schwartz profile image

      Ralph Schwartz 20 months ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

      Nice piece and a very enjoyable read, I like the style you've approached it with. I find it so amazing that in today's society with all of the education and opportunity available that we'd even need a minimum wage, but sadly realize our work ethic has changed to a leisure ethic

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 21 months ago

      You are correct my friend, and this will continue until those we elect to represent us start doing the job they were hired to do. Unfortunately, many of those representatives have found a way to share in this wealth and don't want it to stop. Both parties are equally guilty.

    • Credence2 profile image
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      Credence2 21 months ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      It is the American story, short term profits over long term investment. The capitalists=industrialists are not interested in investing in the American worker. That is the problem with a capitalist system that is driven from the 'top'. These guys are not thinking about what benefits us as society, but only the 'bottom line'. It is cheaper to import from abroad than to invest and train at home. To keep people on the dole and relatively powerless politically, economically and socially.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 21 months ago

      There you go. Food Stamps are necessary in today's world but are really a band-aide that hides the real problem and does nothing but keep people from starving to death. Teaching job skills while providing supplemental income in lieu of food stamps would make the person feel better about themselves, their future, and would help the economy.

      I view food stamps as just a temporary patch job that never fixes the real problem. But this would take effort on the part of business and government to make it happen. Now business is asking for approval to import skilled workers from other countries on a Visa basis. This is just wrong because we have done nothing to transform our own citizens into the needed skilled workers.

      I sound like a broken record but wonder why this need to import skilled workers doesn't wave a red flag to anyone who could do something about this problem? We have people living in poverty on food stamps while trying to import workers? It would take time but this problem could be fixed.

    • Credence2 profile image
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      Credence2 21 months ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      If the Government changed its MO, it does not have to a be 'problem', but instead be an essential partner.

      It is as you say, a win-win

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 21 months ago

      The govenment is the problem due to the way the programs are structured. They tend to support the way things are now with assistance programs but do little or nothing to make it better for the person for the future.

      Job skills training using government subsides would help everyone and make a better future for the person and the country as a whole.

    • Credence2 profile image
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      Credence2 21 months ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      It does sort of reflect on the inadequate nature of the current minimum wage. Every dollar that corporations not pay employees has to come out of the public coffers in someway. So, they are ripping us off.

      I just don't believe that the vast majority of unemployed or underemployed would pass of an opportunity to make a decent living through a subsidized training program.

      For it to happen in this country, we have to get away from the attitude that 'the government is the problem'.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 21 months ago

      Credence2 - The big problem I see with many of our current assistance programs are that people are punished financially for even accepting a minimum wage job. If you add on the expenses of gas, clothing, childcare, and other job related costs it is financially impossible for them to take that job.

      I took a lot of heat one time when I wrote a hub about entitlements being a trap that would hold people back. But I still believe that to be true.

      There are industries who are desperate for skilled employees who I believe would gladly take part in a government sponsored training program. As with any training program it would most likely start with minimum wage with regularly scheduled raises as job knowledge increases. It would not cost the government anymore to use that food stamp money for wages than it does to just hand it out as assistance.

      I believe it was you who mentioned that Germany has had trade schools available for those who did not wish to go to college for many years. I know that was in effect when I was in Germany over 50 years ago.

      It would be a real win/win situation for business and the employee.

      But will it ever happen in this country? I rather doubt it with those who are currently running the show.

    • Credence2 profile image
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      Credence2 21 months ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      M.E, I too, look forward to reading your article, thanks.

    • Credence2 profile image
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      Credence2 21 months ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Hi, OP, thanks for visiting again and contributing great comments.

      I liked your idea of the government working with industry to train people to move into the newer labor markets, rather than just giving people money to stay on the dole. But, conservatives would consider this to be 'socialism'.

      This effort, part of which you touched upon, will require massive cooperation between government and industry, much like NASA and the moon landing. We need to look at changing much of the curriculum with an eye toward preparing high school students to be aware of opportunities out there and in what fields, polishing the image of trade schools for those that decide not to go to college.

      The laborer of 50 years ago in the auto plants have given way to a few guys behind computer screens using program software to control robots to built and assemble what was once done by people. The well paid jobs in the future are going to require skill sets that we are not preparing our young people to acquire. We are going to have to start thinking along this line or have a handful of privileged, affluent people verses everyone else employed by Walmart. This will lower our national standard of living, empower the plutocrat in its destruction of the middle class. A vibrant and prosperous middle class is the foundation of the successful American economy.

    • Credence2 profile image
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      Credence2 21 months ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Thanks for reading this article and providing your comment.

      Yes, the so called 'invisible hand' of the free market has slapped many across the face in recent times.

      As Robert Reich says, the concept of a 'free market' today is just an illusion. While I consider capitalism as a necessary evil, it must be heavily regulated to keep it from becoming in fact just as you say, 'a criminal enterprise' shrouded in the illusion of legitimacy.

      With the plutocrats and their tentacles ensnarled among the corrupt politicians, it is difficult to dislodge the current system. Reich said in a recent article that 50 years ago GM was the nations single largest employer, compensating their employees at roughly $50.00/hour including retirement and medical benefits.

      Now the largest employer is Walmart, with almost half of the workers not working full time, working without benefits for approximately $9.00/hour.

      These 'captains of industry' ; work harder to push for more deregulation, destroy collecting bargaining rights, oppose the very concept of minimum wage, use their malignant influence in Washington to skew everything to their advantage, fair or not.

      I might be an alarmist but without major reorientation within this society, I see a new form of feudalism on the horizon. A system where your economic livelihood and very existence is determined by a benevolent sponsor. Yes, trust the 'trickle down' people, as they know best.

      Yes, we are in trouble.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 21 months ago

      That is an awesome piece of writing.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 21 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Thanks. It is already started at https://hubpages.com/business/American-Justice-The...

      This one only deals with the Koch Industries, another will look at all of those who belong to the Koch network of political donors.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 21 months ago

      My Esoteric - Looking forward to reading that hub.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 21 months ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Old Poolman - I am writing on hub on this, examples are:

      - Betchel Engineering pd $352M in fines for shoddy work leading to injuries

      - Koch Industries pd over a $1B in fines for pollution and killing people

      - Cintas pd over $3M from safety violation involving death

      - Grace Company pd millions in fines for pollution and resulting cancer

      - Sands Corp pd over $34 M in fines for Foreign Corrupt Practices

      There are dozens more with many more dead people lying around and tens of thousands injured due to their single-minded, insatiable greed

      It is going to be a very long hub!

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 21 months ago

      I'm very confused on why there is so much hatred for Corporations. Before they were forced into leaving they provided millions of good paying jobs for the citizens of this country.

      Yes, they are able to buy tax breaks that benefit only them. But why are they able to do this? Because tax breaks are for sale by our Politicians.

      Yes, they often pay their CEO's way to much money. But Corporations are owned by the stock holders who bought this stock as an investment. If the company doesn't make a profit the Corporation can't pay dividends to their real owners, the stock holders. It takes a real good leader to keep any Corporation profitable and drawing the interest of the stock holders.

      Yes, they make millions off lucrative government contracts. But so do the Politicians who made it possible for them to get these contracts.

      So now we have millions of people accepting food stamps to keep food on the table for their families. What if we structured a job training program by working with large Corporations where the person would get skills training that would last them for years and the government paid the food stamp money to the Corporation to supplement higher wages. Lots of details I could include in this statement but it would work.

      Mel touched on the point where people will only pay up to a certain amount for most any product. With unskilled labor demanding $15 per hour does anyone think the cost of a burger and fries will go up accordingly.

      This problem could be fixed quite simply if government and business would sit down together and work it out. Another reason Corporations are leaving is because of the lack of skilled workers in this country. That we could fix.

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      Mel Carriere 21 months ago from San Diego California

      To me, Credence, there is a fine line between what we call capitalism and organized crime. Capitalism is not free enterprise, which is the system our founding fathers envisioned. There is nothing free market about capitalism at all; it is a system of price fixing and collusion among corporations to keep prices high for the consumer and wages low for the worker. This is not free competition.

      I say there is a fine line between capitalism and organized crime because to me it is absolutely criminal, not to mention unpatriotic, how manufacturers keep shipping jobs and financial resources out of this country. All they are doing, really, is cutting their own throats when people no longer have enough disposable cash to buy their products.

      It is unfortunate how we have forgotten the lessons of the tenement houses that ushered in the Square Deal era. I think with Bernie Sanders we see that we are learning it all over again, the hard way. The system will adjust, and there will eventually be some turmoil in the process. Great hub!

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      Rosy 2 years ago

      Great question. It won't. HIstory has shown cllraey: corporations are like sociopathic people. They always make decisions based on their own gain, that's it. The people making these decisions always act to expand and increase profits. The only rare exceptions are things where the people at the help active choose to consider humanitarian or ecological concerns but that's the exception. If outsourcing saves money they will do it; you can cut their taxes down to zero it won't change a thing. The only way to cause corporations to do anything, with regard to human rights, domestic job loss or the environment is to COMPEL them. That's it. Otherwise they will slash and burn and destroy for their own gain, always. The people making these decisions wouldn't be doing their jobs otherwise. It's just how it is. Thanks for this question.

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      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Dolores, I am delighted to have you drop by. I am glad that the article resonates with you and makes sense to you, I am vidicated. Yes, when it comes to the corporation, it can be considered war, and we all need to keep our powder dry....

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      Dolores02 5 years ago from earth

      This article is new to me, so please pardon my lateness. "The corporation is...an amoral entity with a single minded focus...." You nailed it.

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      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Michabelle, my point exactly, without a standard there would be rampant abuse, taking advantage of the desparate. Greed is the foundation of all of our problems and that is as old the pyramids. Yet,we cannot resign ourselves to just live with it, but to put forth resistance against the forces that can and will result in our undoing. It is a constant, endless battle with the very existence of a harmonious, peaceful society in the balance. The minimum wage is one of the tools in the box to keep the unscrupulous from running off with the store at the expense of all the rest of us.

      The whole den of vipers in Washington and Wall Street need a good scrubbing! Thanks again, Cred2

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      michabelle 5 years ago

      It's easy to forget that the consumer, upon whom all business and profit depends, is also the tax payer. When the consumer can no longer afford to purchase, business declines. When there are no jobs those who were once thriving, tax paying citizens are reduced to food stamp lists and the cycle continues to diminish the working classes.

      A minimum wage is necessary to set a ground rule because if there wasn't a rule, then there would be rampant abuse.

      More power to Old Poolman, who apparently cares more about people than profit. He's one of those who breaks the mold.

      We have a wonderful country. We should figure out how to pick up the pieces after the corporate exodus and rebuild our country back on American principles and quality.

      We've become a nation of king makers and we've given the extremely wealthy control of our government and election processes. Change has to happen.

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      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Hi, Mike, I guess Arizona is one of those states that implement new laws on January 1. Yes, you are right $7.75 an hour is not very much money and is far from comfortable. But is is not designed to be. However, without a floor all of the issues that make the minimum wage difficult to live on will be exacerbated, changed from the difficult to the impossible. The pressure of people not surviving are costs imposed upon society through greater theft/law enforcement, vagrants, homelessness and the basic unraveling of any vestige of civilized living. In effect the taxpayer pays part of the employees wage that they should be getting from the employer. Ultimately, society has to pay the costs for people that have no chance of supporting themselves at the subsistence level. Of course, that has to be balanced with the need for business people to keep personnel costs for unskilled labor within a range where they can afford to operate. Thus the minimum wage.

      Thanks again for the invitation.... Cred2

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      Old Poolman 5 years ago

      Cred2 - A "highwire act." I never thought of it in those words but that is an excellent description of what small business owners go through everyday. Arizona just passed a minimum wage increase to $7.75 per hour, which means nothing to me, but has many business people terrified.

      Since you have started this discussion,I have been giving more thought to the minimum wage issue. As always, there are two sides to any issue. Some employers view minimum wage laws as the minimum they must pay. Other employers view minimum wage laws as the maximum they have to pay. So this law may be viewed as a positive or a negative, depending on the employer. On one side, it eliminates employers paying only slave wages. However, with transportation costs and childcare costs, very few could work very long on minimum wage and survive. Yet her this very law, no employer is required to pay more than the minimum amount. A very mixed bag here.

      If you still plan to visit Arizona in the summer,the beer will be cold and the pool will be warm.

      Mike

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      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Hi, OP, I understand now. Geez, you have got a lot on your plate. Well at least you have some advantage, sole proprietors must also have to spend time seeking out and enhancing business opportunities, which they must not have because they have to do all the work.

      What you do is a highwire act everyday. I hope that you can retire at some point and give that balancing rod to someone else. Thanks for sharing a bit of your world, as I learn the most from the guy that is in actually in the trenches. Best regards, Cred2

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      Old Poolman 5 years ago

      Cred2, ME is 100% correct, and speaks with a great deal of wisdom. This is actually a two part answer. Part one is that I am just too darn old to do all the work by myself anymore. I could not keep up the pace in the 110 degree summer days, nor in the early morning cold in the winter. But I can use my knowledge and experience to keep the business operating efficiently with the help of my employees. Most of them have been with me so long they are more like family than employees. I know their wives and all of their children.

      The second part is in today's economy, where in the heck would they find another job that pays as well as this job. They couldn't. I earn enough to pay the expenses and take a small salary for myself. I can also focus my efforts on growing the business. When doing all of the work by yourself, there is little or no time to do that. It is a personal choice I guess, and I chose to do it with employees so I seldom complain about the costs, and I couldn't do it by myself anyhow. So my only choices are to keep it going with employees, sell it, or just close it.

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      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      OP and ME, OP gosh it sounds like you are just in business to keep you staff gainfully employed.If there are so many cost associated with having employees, there is no real advantage in not just doing it all yourself. Maybe instead of getting after the minimum wage so many of these other 'costs' associated with having and maintaining a small business could be looked with an eye to reduction. OP and ME, your explaining this shows that there is tremedous burden placed on anyone who wants to be an independent business person. Is there anything to be grateful about at the end of the day? Gosh, if you can't make more money with eight employees than you would working by yourself, that would be a point of great concern to me. Thank you both for the enlightenment.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      I do agree with OP in that a sole proprietorship has several benefits, but it has just as many downsides, the two biggest being liability and a limitation on growth before you start incuring all of those other costs you say you don't have to pay. A sole proprietor, if I am not mistaken, even has to pay a SE (self-employment) tax, equal to their personal social security plus Medicare rates, if their earnings exceed a certain amount.

      No question you can earn more profit doing it all yourself, but then, it would seem to me that is all you would be doing with your life, trying to earn the same net income you are currently earning from eight employees plus yourself.

      OP is also right about the 50% increase in pay, but that is made up of a lot of things. Probably about 20% of ny payroll goes toward my company's portion of various federal or state mandated taxes. The remaining 30% is comprised of my company's contributions toward our employee's medical and IRA benefits, plus sick, vacation, and holiday pay.

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      Old Poolman 5 years ago

      Hello Cred2. The answer to your question is no. The added cost of having employees makes competing far more difficult. Payroll taxes alone add approximately 50% to whatever wage the employee is being paid. The cost of workers compensation insurance has gone out of sight, yet no employer can operate without this insurance. The amount paid for workers comp is strictly payroll based. So the more you pay the employees, the more expensive the insurance. Every employer in Arizona was recently assessed a fee for money the State of Arizona had to borrow from the Federal Government to pay for extended unemployment benefits. My assessment was several hundred dollars even though none of my employees collected any unemployment benefits. The Sole Proprietor is exempt from workers compensation, payroll taxes, unemployment insurance, and many other costs involved with having employees. I could net far more profit by downsizing the business, doing the work myself, and this is how I started out. The Sole Proprietor can offer his or her services to the customers at a reduced rate because of the reduced operating expense.

      I now have eight employees and their families dependent on me for support of their families. We have to charge more than the Sole Proprietor, so we must provide the highest quality of service possible to keep the business operating. If I were to put my employees strictly on hourly wage, this business would fold quickly. They now feel like part owners, and take a great deal of pride in their work. I would not do it any other way.

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      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Hi, OP, you are a novel employer. Profit sharing makes it so that everybody has "some skin in the game". It is not us verses them, but we. The best employers that I read about inspire the best from their employees with this kind of attitude and approach to doing business.

      This article is not about people like you. If that spirit could be spread across America's workplaces, I would not need to write such an article.

      I have a question for you though, you said:

      The majority of my competition operate as "sole proprietors," meaning they have no employees. By having no employees they avoid payroll taxes, workers compensation insurance, unemployment insurance, etc. That makes it very difficult to compete with all these added expenses to my operation

      Can you not compete more successfully simply because you have more employees and can serve more customers than anyone with a sole proprietorship, doing it alone?

      Have a happy, Cred2

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      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Chris57, Thanks for coming by. Your gracious complement is appreciated. I don't know but it seems to me that work requiring little or no skill sets are to be the first to be automated. Education in a massive way is necessary in this society to raise the bar. America has fallen dangerously behind in this area and we will all pay for it later. Automation will make these poorly educated individuals irrelevant in the future and those working on the bottom may very well not have a place at all in the years to come. Best wishes, Cred2

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      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Michabelle, quite right human greed will always try to beat the system. Because we are aware of that, efforts have to be taken to counter this unfortunate tendency. If we let that human nature go without any restraint, slaves will be made of us all. But, I bet the MJ growers get a larger percent of this sale price, because without their efforts there is nothing to distribute, and the middle man has to pay something for the risks that the growers take. Otherwise, they just as well grow lima beans and tomatoes and get by.

      Such a breakdown as you propose for the cost of a something like a car verses it price would be interesting to evaluate. How is the profit distributed?

      Thanks again for dropping by and providing insight to this most interesting issue. Cred 2

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      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Hello, ME, you said: However, could they recruit in sufficient numbers if their wages were at starvation levels? I think supply and demand would take over and they couldn't recruit, so my closed model would still be appropriate in the company-store situation.

      Nah, you are right if people are getting a dollar an hour working for Carnegie, and the prevailing wages are higher on the outside supply and demand says Carnegie is going to have a hard time recruiting. In spite of a lack of mobility the pressure to leave would be in direct proportion with the difference between Carnegie's wage and the wages outside. If labor is boxed in logisticdally or otherwise there is no compelling reason to increase wages as the workers have no alternative and all parties are aware of that. A flood of available labor cheapens the wages for everybody and as we both agree without outside restraint, supply and demand operating without modification could drive those wages down far below subsistence levels. There are many areas of unskilled labor where this might be true as we speak.

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      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Hi,ME, "I am also a twice retired military and federal civil servant and worked with companies large and small; I have been around awhile and will probably die working."

      Think nothing of it, delighted to help

      As for the virtue of small business, I completely agree. But if you notice, the GOP has not been too keen on supporting this group of the actual'job creators' in order to bring down the current administration.

      My experiences as a contracting officer and with your background you are aware of Small Business Set Aside. If our agency purchased from other than small business, there had damn better be a good reason or there was hell to pay. It is just as you say for SB, the world is more competitive and you aren't going to do well treating customers like so many sacks of potatoes.

      Believe me when I say, I certainly know who is behind the current economic crisis and the role small business plays in helping us get out of it.

      Cred2

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      Old Poolman 5 years ago

      As a small business owner, I have always paid far over the minimum wage. You might question my sanity when I make that statement, so let me explain. I am in a service business, competing against many other local companies. The majority of my competition operate as "sole proprietors," meaning they have no employees. By having no employees they avoid payroll taxes, workers compensation insurance, unemployment insurance, etc. That makes it very difficult to compete with all these added expenses to my operation. I chose to go another direction and pay my employees on a profit sharing basis, and competing on a quality of service provided basis. I demand high quality and production from my employees and get it because I share the profits with them. Every one of my employees is also a salesman. For every new account they sign up I give them the first months fee the customer pays, if the customer stays with us for at least 3 months. Trust me, my employees make far over minimum wage, and most have been with me for 10 years and over. When we hire a new employee they are told it is a 90 day trial period. They are then trained by my existing employees who then get to vote on if this person stays or goes at the end of the trial. Some new employees don't make it past the second week per recommendation of my other employees.

      I have found over the years that when it comes to employees, most often you get what you pay for. All of my employees are proud of what they do, and love seeing the business grow to what it is today. Even with the slowing economy, they feel secure in their jobs.

      This concept will work with most any non-union business, and in my opinion is far better than holding them to a minimum wage. My employees feel like part owners in the company rather than employees.

      I know I could start a new business tomorrow under a profit sharing plan, and kick butt on most or all of the competition.

    • CHRIS57 profile image

      CHRIS57 5 years ago from Northern Germany

      Wow - i made my last comment almost 2 weeks ago and the discussion is still going on. My deep respect to you Credence2 and all fellow commenters. The topic is certainly worth it.

      During my professional life in senior management positions i found out it is much easier to lead people by showing them the goal to work for and not the stick to run away from. In other words: incentives are what make things move.

      With this explanation (off topic) i want to continue with the headword of my last comment: productivity. To me minimum wage is an incentive to improve productivity. In bookkeeping words it is a fight between recourring and non recourring cost. While non recourring stands for automation, capital investment, recourring cost stands for wages, for continuous labour cost. So with increasing the threshold on RC, you open the business case for NRC driven business operation.

      Because most low wage jobs don´t require much qualification or education, there will be put more pressure on education. Say minimum wage and hear the echo: education.

      Things are not that simple to be expressed in 2 or 3 sentences, but i am sure that the following topics are closely linked together: Minimum wage - Education - Incentive - Productivity.

      All this may sound quite academic, but please be assured i understand that this is related to the personal situation of millions of job seekers and low wage workers. Still - no analysis, no solution. My proposal would be to create adequate minimum wage standards, this fuelling spending and the additional revenues to be transfered to pushing education.

      BTW, i fully agree with ME´s evaluation of large and small business.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Michabelle, good question, although I am not quite sure where you are going with the last sentence seats and radios. The ratio you are asking about is a national embarrassment and between the CEOs and non-union workers, it is even worse; I will do some research and come up with some numbers unless Credence or others already have them.

      The US was in-line with most of the world with the distribution of earnings between labor and management until around the 1960s, or thereabouts. After that, executive pay took off and never looked back while everybody else's basically tread water; see my hub on the Occupy Wallstreet movement for a couple of graphs on it. Today, what CEOs and top executives earn in most big corporations bear zero relationship to their productive worth to the company they run; only to level of greed and ego they possess.

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      michabelle 5 years ago

      Hi Cred, "Man will always find a way to slave Man." It's one of those proverbs you read out here and can never forget. In this country $40 billion (underground) is generated by marijuana production. The profits from cannabis are greater than corn, wheat and other legal crops. And because the substance is illegal, we have a very powerful criminal organization of "middle men" underground who are handling the product. The growers have no minimum wage protection, but will surely lose their farms (or worse) if they should come under the "law," (and that sometimes happens by falling out of the graces of the criminal network.) And in some of these areas people would starve or suffer tremendously if they didn't have the crop to grow. (kind of like Colombia's narco republic) Minimum wage is necessary for those operating lawful businesses but in any situation whether legal or illegal, human greed will always find a way to beat the system.

      Wouldn't it be interesting to take a car, and cost out every penny of its production and follow the money? It's probably already been done out here on the internet. I'd like to compare the Union worker salaries for producing one automobile to the manufacturer's CEO and management involved. It would also be interesting to follow the trail to see which companies produced the seats or the radios and find out where that money went, as well.

      Just thoughts for your very interesting hub & commentators.

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      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Credence, in the era of the company-store, the workers didn't have the luxury of mobility. It was the advent of that ability in the 1920s that killed the company-store and freed labor from the chains that bound them in those situations; it also helped in the unionization movement.

      As to your "warm bodies" comment, yes you are correct, but you just reduced the scale in making it. My ultimate "closed" economic system is just theoretical. Even the Comapany-store example is a bit far-fetched because it is unlikely, but still possible, that Carnagie couldn't recruit from outside of McDonald, OH, if need be.

      However, could they recruit in sufficient numbers if their wages were at starvation levels? I think supply and demand would take over and they couldn't recruit, so my closed model would still be appropriate in the company-store situation.

      BTW, did you notice that Feenix didn't agree with my statement about the Founding Fathers and US Constitution, lol?

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      If you don't mind, I think I will veer off-topic slightly and go down another, but related. path; the difference between large and small business. I would argue that the mindsets of the owners are entirely different.

      First, in the interest of full-disclosure, I am CFO-Partner in a small business (if anybody needs drug or alcohol testing, drop me a line ... sorry Credence) of about 32 employees and a couple hundred independent contractors. I am also a twice retired military and federal civil servant and worked with companies large and small; I have been around awhile and will probably die working.

      It is my position that much of what Credence rails about is true of what is known as Corporate America; the Coca-Colas, Goldman Sachs, IBMs, United Health Cares, etc of the world. These kinds of companies care only about the bottomline and the senior corporate executives, period.

      As companies get smaller, it is my observation that they become more responsible and ethical, as a group; not all of them mind you, I am heading off to small claims court in NJ on Jan 4, to try to recover a couple of thousand dollars from a client who won't pay up.

      I don't know for sure why this is but I think it has to do with the owners being closer to the people who work for them and people they service. I know it is that way for my company; it is also simply part of the character of the three owners, sometimes to the detriment of good order of company discipline.

      In addition, we are extremely service oriented, not only because that is the way we are, but, and I think this is what drives many small companies, out of necessity.

      Small companies generally survive in a field of larger companies because they provide superb service, often at a slightly higher cost. We were fortunate to land part of the largest railroad in the country, via networking, from the outset. Because we provided service like they have never had seen before in our industry, we got their whole system; that was in 2001, we just signed another 5-year contract.

      Because we are small, however, it has been difficult picking up new, large clients, even with the success of our first big client, but, what clients we do get, we keep.

      Not so for big companies, there is no customer loyalty anymore; we are on our third wireless phone company, for example. There is no question in my mind that my company bank, Bank of America, will screw my company at the first opportunity it can find, if it will make them some money; I am pretty sure my small supplier of instant test kits won't do the same thing, they will notice the loss of our business.

      It boils down to incentive, big companies have no incentive to do well by their employees or their customers, except in the very largest sense, small companies do.

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      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Feenix, you have got to be reasonable. How am I going to ignore the Enclyopedia Britannica, Wikipedia, years of scholarly writings by noted contemporaries of the period in question in regards to the subject, but instead, believe you as gospel for a source, who never lived during the period discussed. How would that sound if I asked you to do that? Why are you so credible and all these other sources are wrong? Why don't you just check it out and see for yourself and convince yourself that this isn't all just leftwing hooey.

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      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Hi, ME, in regard to your model you said:

      The economy, however, on the largest of scales, is a closed system; it is by its very nature, a zero-sum game.

      But the employers can go through a whole lot of warm bodies before they exhaust the resource and are forced to raise wages because of scarcity of labor.

      you also said:If you take the company-store I just described in my comment to Feenix, that is a closed labor system to Carnigie Steel if you assume Carnagie is unable to recruit labor from outside McDonald, OH. If the economy is booming, that may not be an unreasonable assumption

      Could I presume that Carnegie's employees were free to provide their services elsewhere if they wished. If Carnegie could not recruit from the outside, that would put competitive and upward pressure on the wages the men received if Carnegie wanted to keep them on the job?

      I am looking forward to checking into your findings resulting in a pretty good model of what is going on around here today. Thanks, Cred2

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      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      ME, I had read the accounts regarding Andrew Canergie's steel empire. While he was quite the philantropist, he took advantage of labor and if I recall there were strikes that were put down to the benefit of Carnegie. That industrial paternalism was just another way of exploiting labor. It equivalent in the agricultural world was "Sharecropping"

      "after all, to prevent businesses to have the right to enslave its labor force is simply unAmerican and not what our Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, don't you see."

      Yes, so says the rightwinger. I am not anxious to be anybody's slave who is?

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      OK, @Feenix, let make sure I am not missing something here. This all started with Credence saying that:

      " ...the crusaders, known as “Progressives” who spoke of the squalid living conditions of so many people on the margins. These were the *filthy slums and tenement houses*. People would work for whatever the market would bear and whatever the employer wanted to pay. What we end up with were the pictures of children working in factories. Without a living wage, entire families, including children had to work in order to survive..."

      to which your responded:

      "...The installation of "minimum-wage regulations" is one of the worst things that ever happened to America.

      All of your talk about the "teeming slums" and so forth of the early 20th Century is nothing but a bunch of socialist and PBS propaganda.

      The truth is, there are presently far more "teeming" and dangerous slums in the U.S. than there were decades ago. And ..."

      Now, to be fair, Credence was slightly wrong on his dates, he should have said late Nineteenth Century since he was talking about President Teddy Roosevelt around 1901.

      Anyway, Credence replied:

      "... What objective evidence do you have to say that all of this is propaganda, it is not like you were there, now is it?

      If you knew anything about history you would know that conditions that were prevalent in America’s worse slums a century ago and far and away worse than anything today. What improvements we have seen are the direct result of that progressive movement, which of course, you say is just propaganda ..."

      Where I jumped in with:

      "BTW, apparently @Feenix has never studied his history or read Charles Dickens."

      To which you came back with:

      "Because you are nearly 10-years younger than I, much of what you know about the way things used to be is based on what you have read, seen on TV and been taught in school. However, much of what I know about the way things used to be is based on what I saw with my own eyes and personally experienced.

      All I know is that I grew up in a "teeming slum" during the 1950's. And compared to how terrible things are in that "slum" today, it was a paradise back in days when I was growing up there." (I had to reproduce this in toto, because it was all relevant.)

      Trying once again to draw you back to a time before you were born, which was what Credence was talking about, I replied:

      "@feenix, that may be true of your neighborhood in the 1950s, but about the "company" towns all over America, 2500 of them at their peak by 1920, and then there was the squalor Credence referred to in the 1850s, or 1750s, which made your neighborhood look like the Taj Mahal, or ..."

      From this string, it would appear that from a Myers-Briggs perspective, you are clearly a Sensor; you only believe what your five senses present to you and nothing more; not even what a history book tells you. Your repeted references to what you saw with your own eyes and the fact that you are ten years older than Credence, thereby nullifying all of Credence's education, is the only thing that matters.

      You seem to entirely miss the point that you were not alive in 1899 yourself, so by your standards you have no basis to make the claim that Credences is wrong since you were not alive to see that living conditions were better or worse that your neighborhood in the 1950s.

      As Judge Judy would say, do you see where I am going with this? Your logic doesn't hold. You can't apply one standard to Credence or me, for that matter, and then a different standard to yourself; either everybody MUST rely ONLY on what they see with their own two eyes and NOTHING else, or they can rely on written history as well.

      Which do you choose?

    • feenix profile image

      feenix 5 years ago

      Cred,

      With all due respect to your elders who are older than I, they are the tree that you fell from.

      Anyway, it is futile for you and I to have discussions and exchanges about social, economic and political issues. The gap between us is wider than the Grand Canyon.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Very true Credence, what I was talking about was a closed system, but, I can model an open system as well. The economy, however, on the largest of scales, is a closed system; it is by its very nature, a zero-sum game. It is only when you look at it from smaller scales does it become an open system with the boundaries of that scale.

      If you take the company-store I just described in my comment to Feenix, that is a closed labor system to Carnigie Steel if you assume Carnagie is unable to recruit labor from outside McDonald, OH. If the economy is booming, that may not be an unreasonable assumption.

      In any case, I am going to make all sorts of assumptions with my model to show various scanarios. Although I have never tried this, I think I can probably mimic most of the complexity of an economic system with just three commodities, two related and competing and one unrelated, but needed. With a couple of simple interdepency rules, I should be able to generate a random world. (It is this last item that Conservatives don't understand which throws a monkey-wrench into most of their theories.)

      I think the results will be surprising, but my greatest hope is that I can keep it understandable to the readers.

    • feenix profile image

      feenix 5 years ago

      Mr. Esoteric,

      You wrote, "Agreed feenix?"

      No, I do not agree with anything you wrote. Obviously, you do not know anything about contemporary "ghettos" and "barrios."

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      @feenix, that may be true of your neighborhood in the 1950s, but about the "company" towns all over America, 2500 of them at their peak by 1920, and then there was the squalor Credence referred to in the 1850s, or 1750s, which made your neighborhood look like the Taj Mahal, or however you spell it. In all of these cases, there were no contols on business vis-a-vis labor.

      The Company Town, for those who don't remember, is where a company, like the Carnagie Steel Company, created a company town, McDonald, OH, in this case, in order to house all of its workers. It provided for the workers needs via company-owned facilities in the town (this was called Corporate Welfare in America or Industrial Paternalism) and sometimes even paid the workers in script, rather than money, which could only be used at the company store; hence the basis for Tennessee Williams song, "Sixteen Tons", the chorus of which is:

      "You load sixteen tons, what do you get

      Another day older and deeper in debt

      Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go

      I owe my soul to the company store"

      All of this was to tie the worker to the company in a form of bondage and to avoid that hated term "Unionization". Companies could do this because there were no governmental controls on what businesses could do to its workers; after all, to prevent businesses to have the right to enslave its labor force is simply unAmerican and not what our Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, don't you see.

      Agreed feenix?

    • Credence2 profile image
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      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Hi,Feenix, thanks for the return visit. We are talking about an era that predates either one of us. 1900-1920. Your experience can't serve us here. Yes, I am younger than you, but I have relations that are older than you and none of them ever took your position on these things. I have to defer to the experts and the accounts of credible people who lived during the period and are in a position to know what happened. Cred2

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      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      phdast7, thanks for your participation and support!

    • feenix profile image

      feenix 5 years ago

      Cred,

      Because you are nearly 10-years younger than I, much of what you know about the way things used to be is based on what you have read, seen on TV and been taught in school. However, much of what I know about the way things used to be is based on what I saw with my own eyes and personally experienced.

      All I know is that I grew up in a "teeming slum" during the 1950's. And compared to how terrible things are in that "slum" today, it was a paradise back in days when I was growing up there.

    • feenix profile image

      feenix 5 years ago

      Hello, Old Poolman,

      I will be glad to express my views about all of the damage caused by minimum-wage regulations. What I will do is write a hub about it, in the near future. And when I do that, I will be sure to give you a heads up.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Credence-

      Great Hub sparking a great conversation. I agree with your concepts, philosophy, and presentation, but you express it all so much better than I could. My role is to support you and encourage you to continue this good fight (fight is a metaphor for "helpful and greatly needed debate.") :)

    • Credence2 profile image
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      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Hi, Michabelle, your example of the Coca growers was right on. Unfortunately, such is the nature of the human condition, one exploiting the labor of the other. It appears often in illicit trades and if some folks have their way it will appear in perfectly legal ones, as well.

    • Credence2 profile image
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      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      ME, even in the slavery system, the master had to provide a mininum of subsistence, a floor where he could not go below, as starving slaves produced little and the dead produced nothing at all.

      In a closed system your approach will work, but if the labor is interchangeable, much like chattel the owners could care less about their fate, or howthey would live on the wages. You just get more workers to replace the ones that are not productive for any reason. You have a whole pool to choose from, For people to survive they work as a family unit to produce enough at subsubsitance wages to function, sounds a lot like the 18th, 18th and early 20th century economic model scenario, doesn't it?

    • Credence2 profile image
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      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Hello, ME, it is a delight to see you. Please pull up a chair and share your thoughts with us. It does look like I have opened Pandora’s Box here, but again, that is what this is all about.

      I am most pleased that you and I see things from the same prospective regarding the topic. The most basic level of barter is human labor, my time is of inestimable value because it is finite. If someone is going to take some, I had better have something of value to show for it. I have to believe this for myself and for every other human being. When I watched the old technocolor biblical epic “The Ten Commandment” with Charleston Heston, I am reminded of how labor was exploited then. Thousands of these slaves were pulling on this stone likeness of Pharaoh’s “snozzola”. None of us want to revisit these kinds of things again. Modern Pharaohs seek to reduce the common man down to a similar status. They cannot stand openly and boldly in what we all like to think is a democratic society; they are much more clever and resourceful today. We used to call a slave that willingly promoted the interests of the master an “Uncle Tom”. Well there are a lot of Uncle Toms running around now mindless parroting the word and advocating the position of the Master in the hopes of gaining his favor and perhaps gathering a few of the choicest scraps from his table of bounty. They are being terribly used, for the first thing that I learned early is that there is no honor amongst thieves.

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      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Nice to have you return, GA. We all agree on the bottom line, but we must also agree that we must always continue to resist its spread and its full and more complete implementation or society, as we know, it will simply cease to exit. We cannot acquiesce and fold up like lawn chairs in the face of the trend that we all know is the driving force in our economy and that of the world and must ultimately lead to one thing. We just as all prepare to revert back to stone knives and bear skins. The richest guy will be the one with the most swords and clubs at his command. We must constantly resist and remove those from power who are not committed to maintaining the necessary balance between the haves and have-nots.

      Cred2

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      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Cred, thank you for the insightful topic. It really doesn't matter whether the issue is right or wrong, black or white–– when profit is the bottom line, everything is blended to a shade of gray and compromise. So while 1960 was a time when Communists were bad for America and everything she stood for, now corporate profit and money matters have changed the course and diluted that mode of thinking. Money rules. It's as simple as that.

      Michabelle, looks like we started something here. Right from the "Randy Newman", "Its the Money that Matters". There were telling us all who are boogie men were and while we stand there with on hands over our hearts singing the Star Spangled Banner, guess who has got their hands in your pockets? As GA Anderson said earlier, patriotism is just a front, as well. The media through the power brokers are telling us all what is 'good and bad", Most of the multinationals would just a soon wipe their rear end with the flag as salute it, if enough money were at stake. They are simply amoral people, having no more chutzpah than you would find in your toaster. Thanks for weighin in, Cred2

    • michabelle profile image

      michabelle 5 years ago

      I spoke with a Colombian once years ago in the 1970's and he said it was terrible there with the cocaine production. He said, "the peasants who work the coca fields are so poor and hungry they chew the leaves of the coca plants because the coca curbs their hunger pains." (So who was getting all of the cocaine profit? The criminal drug lords?) And is this just another example of what happens without honest government, laws, and minimum wage?

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      BTW, I am working on a little simulated world, using a piece of nifty simulation software I picked up sometime back in my analytical days to prove what I just said.

      It will have a Farm that produces Corn, a Factory to turn it in to Food, a Market to buy the food and Sell it to the Farm and Factory Owners and Laborers, as well as the Market Owners and assorted Wives. It is a dynamic model so it will figure out how much corn to produce and how many laborers to hire to produce the corn, etc; that part is done.

      Next, I need to set up the economy (did I mention I had a lot of fun as an analyst) of my little world and see how the price of a bushel of corn and of corn biscuits (the sole food item) will settle down as well as the profit the farmer, factory owner, and merchant make, as well as the laborer.

      I can do this by including a few simple forcing functions such as the survival instinct of the owners. You see if you don't pay the laborers enough, they will starve to death because they can't afford the food to eat, which means they can't plant or process enough corn to feed the owners and their family, which means they will have to increase wages to boost productivity back up; things like that. Fun, fun.,lol.

      Also, I am trying to use the same tool to model the cash flow of my business, that is what we INTPs do.

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      On MY! What a Hub and Comments, Credence, I am jealous. So much to comment on, I can ignore my own hubs for a month, lol. Let introduce one topic that I don't think has been mentioned yet regarding labor and business (btw, I am a fan of MW, just for the initial reasons you state), and what sets labor prices; that is supply and demand of labor.

      Without a minimum wage, most jobs in which there is a large over supply of labor would be paid a dollar an hour today, or some such absurd low amount, because business could get away with it. The only thing that would interefere with that and keep wages up is unemployment insurance for as long as the government kept that going, which, if the Conservatives were in power, probably wouldn't be too long. As soon as unemployment dried up, then wages would fall again.

      Even altruists like OP would drop his wages because his compition would. People are in business to make money, and has been said many times in the comments above, business owners will pay the lowest wages possible. So, in an ecomony like we have today where there are 10 people for every job opening, unconstrained, businesses will pay the lowest possible wage they can get away with, which, over time, will end up being a starvation wage; that is just how capitalism works.

      Even when the economy picks up and businesses start hiring and the supply of labor begins to dry up, it will be the skilled labor which will see the the shortages first. The economy will have to be really booming for all of labor to run short of supply and drive up the price of labor at all levels. Consequently, without outside forces acting on it, unskilled wages will remain, as they were in the 18th, 19th and early 20th century, at starvation levels.

      BTW, apparently @Feenix has never studied his history or read Charles Dickens.

    • GA Anderson profile image

      GA Anderson 5 years ago from USA

      @michabelle - Greetings - you nailed it with your closing statement.

      When all the conversations, tirades, rants, propaganda, and outright lies have exhausted themselves - the bottom line is still the same...

      "Money rules. It's as simple as that."

      It has been that way since the first caveman traded or bartered for a new club. And it is still that way now. And as long as we remain human it will always be that way.

      The real issue is our decision to accept that and work towards controlling its power - which means holding the people we elect to lead and represent us accountable. All the money in the world won't help influence buyers if there is nobody they can "buy" to rig the game in their favor.

      GA

    • michabelle profile image

      michabelle 5 years ago

      Cred, thank you for the insightful topic. It really doesn't matter whether the issue is right or wrong, black or white–– when profit is the bottom line, everything is blended to a shade of gray and compromise. So while 1960 was a time when Communists were bad for America and everything she stood for, now corporate profit and money matters have changed the course and diluted that mode of thinking. Money rules. It's as simple as that.

    • Credence2 profile image
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      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Hi, Michabelle

      Thanks for providing your insight on the article and it comments.

      What you have heard about GE is most probably more than rumor, as I have heard this, as well. I am going out on a limb here, but I believe that all of this is just another chapter of how one guy is going to get into the pocket of the other with the least resistance. The never ending challenge of our times: You sow, cultivate and harvest the grain, but I eat the bread. We have created boggie men to shroud the true nature of this basic conflict. How else do you get the masses to believe that they fight and struggle for a higher cause and distract them for the real culprit? Look how easily our alliances and associations change, most of it is economic not political. Who was once an enemy become as friend if enough money can change hands. Well, I am not confused anymore, it is an elaborate trick, in the never ending war between the haves verses the have nots. Your idea of the possibility of a one-world government is certainly one to consider. Political boundaries are insignificant in the world of the most powerful, when consolidating wealth and power is the real objective. The titles for political ideologies and such are just for our amusement. Thanks Cred2

    • michabelle profile image

      michabelle 5 years ago

      I haven't researched it but it was written in a forum that GE paid little or no taxes last year. One of my issues (being an old grandma) is years ago the media and our parents taught us to fear communism and that we were being threatened by Russia. Communism was our enemy. Now what we're seeing is that our corporations are moving American jobs overseas to communist countries to enhance communist economies while improving their own corporate bottom lines. Of course it's devastating to our own economy but do they care? Being a little confused by it all, and having a rather black/white mode of thinking, I'm wondering where the word "traitor" fits any of this and whether that word is extinct when it comes to corporations and profit. Or, are there plans the media has yet to inform us of that the world in fact under construction in becoming a one world government? If so, huge corporations would be the first to have knowledge of it––and make moves to capitalize on it.

    • Credence2 profile image
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      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Hello, feenix, thanks for providing comment. Of Course, I disagree with your view about the appropriateness of the minimum wage

      I don’t know why rightwingers will discount years of documented history and authoritative sources and always prefer to cling to those persistent delusions that take residence in between their ears? What objective evidence do you have to say that all of this is propaganda, it is not like you were there, now is it?

      If you knew anything about history you would know that conditions that were prevalent in America’s worse slums a century ago and far and away worse than anything today. What improvements we have seen are the direct result of that progressive movement, which of course, you say is just propaganda.

      As for the President, of course, you have your views, but I have mine!