More on the $15 minimum wage

33 thoughts on “More on the $15 minimum wage”

  1. Hmm. Of course those who put profits before people will be displeased. If they can’t afford to pay their workers decently they should go out of business.

    1. That’s what these jobs are — unskilled. Folks with skills of some kind can generally aspire to something better. It’s relative, of course. The cost of living varies a lot from place to place.

  2. Doesn’t change my mind. I found an analysis of the impact of a $10 minimum wage and a $15 minimum wage by the web site Motley Fool. The conclusion:

    . . . prices would go up but a $10 minimum wage would cost consumers about a dime more per dollar spent and a $15 minimum wage, or more than doubling pay, would cost about $0.27 more per dollar. What’s interesting is that labor is only the second largest cost component and food costs should be watched more closely than the minimum wage debate.

    And don’t forget that the hike is programmed to be phased in over several years.

    1. That article is talking only about McDonalds (a national chain, not a small local business). Fast food jobs are only the tip of the iceberg when you’re talking about minimum wage. And I don’t know about you but I think a 10-27% increase in the cost of anything, not just fast food, is huge. It’s a cinch my income isn’t going up that fast. Maybe my SS will go up 10% over the next few years, but I’m not holding my breath. Meantime, I cut out fast food a long time ago. Once a month, maybe.

  3. I already know someone who will not take a pay increase ….because it takes them out of the pay range or pay scale for Section Eight Housing and Food Stamps. Talk about living off the Government!! “We ain’t dummies here people,we just want you to think we are”.

    1. And those forced out of jobs because employers can’t afford the higher minimum wage will just end up on unemployment or welfare … and/or possibly paying the higher prices that their former employers will have to charge.

  4. John the Cook does have a point – I’ve interviewed people for jobs in the past only to be told “sorry, it sounds good, but I’d lose my government benefits and everything added up, I do with them and not working.” People used to be embarrassed to have their kids on lunch programs and take a check from the government. Big change in attitudes.
    Fast food (like many part time low wage jobs) is supposed to be entry level – fill in the gap jobs and get you started – not careers. “Living wage” makes it too easy for people to stay in those jobs and not look around, gain skills, and move on to something better. Willing to settle for less. Then again, personal initiative required…not something being taught these days

    1. Not everybody has the brains and skills to do anything but menial work, should they be punished with poor wages and working conditions because of this?

      Are there not some people who get enjoyment/satisfaction from these jobs and is it reasonable to expect them to take low pay because they enjoy this work?

      A fair day’s pay for a fair days work; there’s nothing wrong in that is there?

      1. But they are unskilled, entry-level jobs, Beari. They do not and should not pay as much as jobs that require special training. It’s fine if someone likes the work, but they should take it for what it is, entry-level work with entry-level pay. If they don’t like the pay, they should prepare themselves with the education and/or training for another job they like. (And not everybody gets to work at a job they like.) Nothing wrong with a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, but some jobs pay more than others because they require more. The world doesn’t owe anybody a living.

      2. Yeah, teachers, cops and firefighters do deserve more….maybe the sports stars, music divas and performers, and movie industry stars would like to assist …I mean exactly a what is a “fair day’s work”considering the groups listed above?
        Nothing is wrong with menial work. I’ve done it. Not every one wants a mansion and a porsche.
        Choices. The average person makes choices that affects their lives. (Like choosing to learn during those 12 years of free school and learning skills that will support you in the future) You have to decide what you want.
        As far as safety, Different countries have regulatory agencies/regulations that monitor working conditions. Here, the feds have no problem checking out complaints. That has to exist. Also public assistance/healthcare must exist for those who need a safe sheltered work environment so they will not be taken advantage of or who are really unable to work.
        Joy of work and contentment with what is accomplished/produced is a type of pay many choose freely. Not everyone is materialistic – and success has differing measures for different people

      3. Lots of people opt for less pay just so they can stay in a job or field they enjoy. Others don’t care what the work involves as long as they can make a lot of money. The happeist, and luckiest, I think, are those who can earn a decent living doing something they love. I was among those, as is my son. And we know how fortunate we’ve been. I’d hate to be stuck for a lifetime in a job I really hated but had to stay with because I needed the income.

    2. You’re right, Phil. “Entry-level” is not intended to be a living wage; it’s the first step toward a living wage. Hence the name.

      I noted in a comment a year ago: “Doing a bit of math, $15 an hour is $31,200 a year! That’s more than double the federal poverty level of $11,770. $11,770 is about $5.66 per hour. So minimum wage, at its lowest, is still above the poverty rate.”

  5. You are sooooooooo right philosophermouseofthehedge. Personal initiative is required…and it is NOT being taught and reinforced at a level the youth of today can understand. Maybe it’s because children may close their ears to advise,but their eyes are always open for an example.

    1. That’s a big part of the problem, John. Parents set the example for their kids, intentionally or not. The first, best chance for kids is what they see in their parents. If they see a lack of initiative, a willingness to live off the state, etc., chances are very good they’ll turn out the same way.

      1. Yep…that’s about right.Kids do see what their parents do,and they like to copy to impress.

  6. Hmm. The fact is that fast food is crappy food and these jobs are crappy jobs but often all people can get. It’s all part of our great American crap culture.

  7. Although there are exceptions on both sides, it’s most common to get paid what you’re worth to the business. My first job (in 1952) paid $3.00 a week. My second was $0.25 an hour. I was a kid, no SS number, no 1099’s, no uniform, no union, no real financial obligations.

    Kids don’t need a “Living Wage.” Kids need to learn the responsibility that accompanies the concept of earning rather than lining up for a free lunch. There was a time when kids could mow lawns, pick up trash, do menial labor and get paid for their effort without making a federal case out of it. The government has pretty much ruined the work ethic.

    1. They aren’t all kids by any means. Half are young, but half are older. This got me wondering about the demographics of minimum wage workers, so I looked it up. It surprised me in that only 4.3% of hourly-paid workers are at the minimum. That’s pretty small compared to what I thought. 50.4% are ages 16 to 24, but of those, only 24% are teenagers (ages 16 to 19).

      1. So 50.4 percent of 4.3 percent (or 2.1672 percent) are in the sample.

        Of which about half (or something like 1 percent) are not teenagers.

        I see this as 99 percent being victimized by 1 percent.

        Perhaps “victimized” is too strong, but it’s close to the truth.

      2. Yes, I agree, you could look at it that way, the 99% being victimized by teenagers. On the other hand, you could look at it as contributing to new people personally trying to contribute to their own education with actual work. When my sons were of college age I asked them to earn money that way during their summers and they’ve told me it revealed a lot about life and other people.

      3. I think the crux of the problem lies in the fact that I can’t legally hire a neighbor teenager to mow my lawn for $20 cash. Just cash. No need for a Social Security number, no need for the IRS to know about it. Teens now days are treated like seasoned employees instead of worker apprentices. Which is all they really are.

      4. I do look at it as people trying to contribute to their own education with actual work — at whatever minimum wage (and probably part-time) jobs they can get with their lack of skills, training, or education. Are we supposed to reward them with higher pay when they aren’t bringing any more to the job? Double their pay overnight (figuratatively speaking) when they aren’t bringing any more to the table than they were yesterday?

        Or as my son once put it, sure, go ahead and double everyone’s minimum wage pay. But when you do, explain to them that it’s the only raise they’ll get from you for the next five to ten years.

    2. Exactly. That’s the way I see it anyway. Kids need part-time jobs that give them some pocket money and some experience in the job market. As you said, kids don’t need a living wage and there’s no reason to increase the pay of those jobs in order to meet some living wage standard, or whatever $15 an hour is. (As noted elsewhere, $15 an hour is a nice $31,000 a year.) I’ve yet to see an explanation/calculation of the $15 figure. Where did it come from? How was it calculated, and by whom? I might be more readily convinced if somebody could show me the math on this.

      1. Yes, teens are in a different category. One could argue, I suppose, that the minimum wage ought not apply to them. It would be rather awkward, though, with people in the same job making different wages for the same work. And there’s the other awkward thing about being old enough to die for your country but not otherwise qualify as an adult. I for one am willing to boost the 1% in the interest of the millions who are trying to survive on that kind of pay. Perfect fairness can no more be achieved by fiat than by a so-called “free market” in which management and shareholders get very rich at the expense of labor.

        At its core, I see the problem as adapting to a global economy in which human labor is a shrinking factor relative to automation. Things like a minimum wage are not a solution, it’s just easing the pain while the world totters toward a very uncertain future. Economic opportunity still exists, but it has been shrinking steadily and there’s no sign of any change to that.

      2. Anyone who wants to work one of those minimum wage jobs that teens work is welcome to do so, at the same wage the teen earns. If you’re no better qualified than those teens, you shouldn’t be paid more than they are. In other words, I don’t think age makes any difference. I can’t go into the local mom-and-pop that pays minimum wage to their delivery boy and ask them to employ me … but oh by the way I have a mortgage to pay and I’ll need more than you’re currently paying. The worker’s circumstances do not and should not dictate the pay scale.

        And what no one has mentioned/asked is what happens when a worker currently making $15 a hour (after several years of service and maybe a raise or two) suddenly finds himself working side by side with someone who’s new to the same job and has no skills or experience but is also making $15 an hour? That first employee is going to be none too happy, and rightly so. But if you give that employee a raise to compensate, then the next guy up the payscale will be unhappy for the same reason. Seems to me there’s going to be a nasty ripple effect upward.

      3. Good points. Plus they underline the fact that (as Jim says) you can’t dictate fairness by fiat. People are worth what they are paid as a rule. As a rule I said… not always, but most of the time.

... and that's my two cents