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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Fighting for $15

I posed the following question on Facebook... but I feel like it deserves to be blogged?

Reading about the demand for $15 minimum wage. Wondering if they shouldn't do $15 for age 18 and up and $10 - 12 for under 18, and for training situations in starter type jobs.
Of course then they would also have to legislate percentages like 25-40% under age so they wouldn't just fire all the adults and hire kids.
Would that settle the argument of inexperienced kids? And also encourage jobs for teens again, which have been hard to come by?
Since I posed the question, I have only received one reply (4 by the time I was done typing this).  But I can see the direction it is going.  People think raising the minimum wage will raise prices, and so that won't change anything.  At face value, I can see that happening... it is simple math after all, but any company who just raises prices to raise wages, is perhaps being too simplistic about it.

Just this week, a Seattle Business workers raised all of his workers wages to a minimum of $70,000 a year.  That is the equivalent of over $30 an hour, if they work 40 hours a year... they will all surely work more... just because.  To make this work, he did not raise prices. He did not cut benefits.  He dropped his own salary from a million a year to $70,000.  Now, I am gathering that he has some serious money in the back... because that's just nuts.  I would however, consider cutting my million dollar salary to a half million, because, there's just only so much stuff I can buy in a year.  I can't wait to see how this experiment plays out.  I gather he will get bonus and profit share, but it is a smart move because my guess is that he will end up richer, and his company will do very well because he invested in his workers first.

What would happen if the Walton Family for instance took a billion or so out of the bank and split that among their workers?  That have at least 144 Billion, after all. How many billions would it take to give everyone a $5.00 and hour increase? I doubt it would slow down their personal shopping habits at all.  And if they were to just roll the cost over to the shoppers, here's an article that says it would cost shoppers 46 cents per trip to set their minimum wage at $12.00.

But this is not the direction I intended to go.

My concern is that I have two young adult children, who have yet to have a part time job. The problem is not that they are lazy. They have worked 20 hour days for the County Elections, and they have managed to make some money through entrepreneurship. The problem is timing.  During the time when most people get their first jobs, age 15-16, we were in the midst of a serious recession.  All the fast food and retail jobs in my area were taken by adults desperate for whatever wage they could get.  So why would an employer hire and train a kid, when an adult who NEEDED the job could hit the ground working?

That is my biggest concern in raising the minimum wage.  Is someone going to hire someone who has never, ever worked for $15 an hour when they could hire someone with experience?  This is where my question came from.  I wondered if lowering the minimum wage by age or for training periods would fix this issue.

At the end of the day, though, there is just not enough wages for people to live independent lives.  They can hardly pay rent, and buy food, never mind purchase clothing, purses, shoes, games, and go to the movies.  Has anyone noticed the rate at which malls are failing? I feel like raising the minimum wage, would allow people more expendable income, which will help them pay their bills and perhaps spend a few dollars on things they would enjoy.  That would bring back dying retail establishments, and more people would get hired, and more people would be spending, and so on and so forth!

Another thing that bothers me about how low wages are is how much college costs.  I went to college on student loans and retail paychecks.  Period.  The loans paid my tuition, and the my jobs paid my living expenses.  But, kids can't live on these teeny tiny paychecks since the cost of rent has easily tripped since I was a college student.  The cost of transportation has doubled.  And the cost of college... that has increase 1,120% in the last 30 years.  Corporate greed is preventing kids from going to college, because they can no longer work their way through when their parents can't afford to pay.

For me, that is reason enough to raise the minimum wage to $15.00 or to $10-$12 for kid under 18.

Do you agree?  Disagree?  Why?


2 comments:

usethebrains godgiveyou said...

I don't know what the answer is. I do know that Ford used to say he wanted his workers to be able to afford one of his cars, and that is why he paid his factory workers good wages. So many conservatives look back to the fifties as one of the best times in our country. People were paid a living wage then, from my understanding, and taxes were much higher on corporations. I think $12 is a living wage, just barely...I don't know how people do it. I thought what you said about Walmart giving their workers a living wage costing consumers $.46 a trip was very telling, however. It sounds like greed. There's a reason why it's called a deadly sin.

Anonymous said...

Shame on our government for not increasing wages. At best, minimum wage should at least be $12/hr. The current wages do not allow for complete independence. How can someone afford an apartment,car,insurance,food on $7/hr? That is poverty level wages. A person makes more money being unemployed and qualifying for government benefits! It's sad the state our government chooses to keep its citizens under their "control". If people could make more money in a legitimate job, imagine the decrease in crime? Currently our government allocates more money into the jail/prison system than into our educational system....hmmmm...