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View Diary: Why $17 an Hour Should be the Minimum Wage (95 comments)

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  •  So in other words... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, worldlotus, NoMoreLies

    Someone has to have a skill to make a "living wage"?

    What if everybody went to college and became a doctor, who would shine your shoes? What happened to the days went "LABOR" was respected. Standing on your feet all day and doing labor intensive jobs should also be rewarded, just like a desk job.

    Pay a "living wage" for unskilled labor and than increase their pay as one's skills increase.

    •  Pretty much, yes, you need a skill to earn a (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, nextstep, erush1345

      decent income.

      "A skill" doesn't mean college.  It means the ability to do something that other people will pay for.  And the more rare and specialized that skill, the more money you can earn.  

      It does not require very much in the way of specialized skills to take orders for burgers and fries.  What skill is necessary can be learned by most people in a short period of time.  In other words, because there are minimal skills needed, and the vast majority of able-bodied adults have that skill, the pay for an entry-level position is going to be minimal. Once you acquire some more specialized skills that are useful to the business owner (the person who is paying for your work) the more the business owner will be willing to pay you so as not to lose the more specialized skills you have.  

      On the other hand, my plumber has skills that a lot of people don't have.  When I need him, I pay A LOT more than minimum wage, because that is what it takes for me to get someone with his skills, and because that is what people like me are willing to pay for those skills.  

      In a capitalist economy, labor operates by the laws of supply and demand.  The more people are available with your skills, the less people have to pay -- and are willing to pay -- for your work.   A high school dropout without any specialized skills is not going to earn much.  A neurosurgeon with very specialized skills is going to earn a lot.  

      And in a capitalist society, the market (i.e., what those who are paying for those skills are willing to pay) determines what the gap is between the pay for the unskilled high school drop out and the neurosurgeon, within the outside parameters set by law.

      •  Your scenario (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lunachickie, NoMoreLies

        explains why countries have had buffers to blunt the effects of capitalism, such as the minimum wage and labor rights.

        The powerful control the 'markets' and do whatever they can to exploit others.

        We are becoming a fuedal system because of people like you, the fervently religious proponents of capitalism.

        The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

        by dfarrah on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 09:14:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Can you suggest a better economic (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib, Sparhawk, erush1345

          system -- one that has proven to work better?  

          I'm a believer in regulated capitalism.  It's not perfect, but of course no economic system is.  It is, however, the best system that we have been able to devise.

          One of the facets of regulated capitalism is the minimum wage.  It ought to be set at a reasonable level, and a reasonable increase would not be problematic for business and hiring.  However, if you set it TOO far above what the market would pay, then given a choice, people won't hire unskilled workers.  They will (1) send those jobs overseas (since that makes overseas labor MUCH cheaper than U.S. labor); (2) automate wherever possible (since you've dramatically increased the economic incentive for doing so; and/or (3) hire fewer unskilled workers.  

          •  Capitalism with more regulations (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NoMoreLies, ilex

            would be fucking spiffy!!!

            We now have capitalism with a lions' share of its' regulations stripped, which has in part allowed the conditions we currently see to flourish.


            It is time to #Occupy Media.

            by lunachickie on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 10:59:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You aren't going to... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              coffeetalk, VClib

              ...'regulate' employers away from installing machines in their businesses.

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 12:42:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And where did I say that? (0+ / 0-)

                Of course, I didn't.  But why let that get in the way of a good sidebar troll?

                It is time to #Occupy Media.

                by lunachickie on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 12:47:04 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  This is a discussion about the minimum wage (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  coffeetalk, VClib

                  Automation is a critical thing to consider. You posted that you want more regulation, presumably to maintain or increase unskilled worker salaries. That strategy will have limited utility because any reforms to increase worker salaries (health care, sick time, whatever) is going to be met with increased attempts to automate away jobs.

                  (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                  Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                  by Sparhawk on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 12:58:26 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  And of course, you presumed (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    what others posted would be something that dovetails nicely with whatever neoliberal crap you feel like pushing today. (smacks forehead) What was I thinking?


                    increased attempts to automate away jobs
                    Has it ever occurred to you that fixes to the tax code and banking regs might go a really long way? Of course not! That would interject reality into your opinions-masquerading-as-authoritative-talking-points.

                    It is time to #Occupy Media.

                    by lunachickie on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 01:39:21 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  How would tax fixes and banking regulations (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Sparhawk, nextstep, VClib

                      prevent people from replacing workers with automation?  

                      If workers become expensive enough, it makes sense to invest that money, instead, into automation.  There's generally a tipping point, when automation, with a higher front end investment but generally more reliability and accuracty and far cheaper operational costs, will be more financially advantageous than hiring workers.  

    •  yes, people need skills (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk, coffeetalk, Hirodog, nextstep, VClib

      I respect labor, but the goal shouldn't be paying a living wage for completely unskilled labor.  It should be in ensuring that all have an opportunity to learn skills that make them competitive in today's economy.

      Germany, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark are not where they are because of a high minimum wage, but because they use their social capital to educate and train their citizens to be valuable contributors in their economies.  

      Would love to see  public/private vocational programs like they have in Germany here in the US.  It would be great if a 16yo kid here in the states could find an program that would bring them on as an apprentice, teach them to be a machinist, and by the time they are 19 or 20 they have a skill that is valuable and worthy of $80k a year...instead of an $36k minimum wage job.

      •  Wish I could rec this 1000x (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk, VClib

        this is EXACTLY correct:

        It should be in ensuring that all have an opportunity to learn skills that make them competitive in today's economy.
        I remember 30 years ago some high schools in this area had vocational training for high school juniors and seniors -- they'd go in the afternoon and take a trade instead of electives.  They'd graduate with the ability to become a mechanic, or an electrician, or a welder, or a plumber, or an AC repair person, or a number of different skills that did not necessarily require a college degree, but could make them far more marketable at far better salaries than simply being an unskilled laborer.  

        I have a friend who graduated from high school  -- well, I don't want to say exactly how long ago.  He worked for another plumber for a while, started his own plumbing business, and now employs a bunch of other people as plumbers.  He and his wife (she manages his office and does his bookkeeping) are the "small business owners" that both sides talk about so much today.  

        That's exactly the kind of thing I meant when I said above that people who want to make a good living need to be encouraged to learn a marketable skill.  

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