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Paul Krugman's blog yesterday illustrates why living wages are the culprit not lack of skills (http://nyti.ms/...). The reality is even if people are trained for specific skills for manufacturers, the low wages are not enough to support a person more less a family. Normally, if a job is in high demand with few to supply, wages would increase to fill supposed shortage. But clearly that's not happening. Lots of these jobs are outsourced or being offered at unsustainable wages. Paul Krugman's post links to another great article by Adam Davidson (http://www.nytimes.com/...) who goes into further detail making the case that it's not a lack of skills. Six million manufacturing jobs have permenantly disappeared since 2000. It is estimated that there are 600,000 vacant manufacturing jobs to date. It takes time, effort, energy & money for a person to get specific training. Employers require these skills yet aren't willing to pay for a qualified employee to provide quality work. Some can earn more with unemployment compensation. Others can earn more as a manager at a fast food chain. Others choose medical or science as their career path, because you can't outsource those jobs. All of this contributes to our ability to compete in the global market. Consequently, it threatens our position in the global economy long term.

Living wages are critical in restoring our economy. When employers don't pay living wages, we, the taxpayers do indirectly.  We pay the difference via what I call living aid as the term entitlement is misleading & degrading. People need living aid because employers have refused to raise wages in accordance with the ever increasing cost of living despite CEO's & upper management earning astronomical amounts of income in comparison. Unions have been demonized because they fight to prevent unsustainable wages. So lobbyists & politicians have taken action to slowly eliminate unions over the years. Protecting workers rights is no longer a right, rather a burden. It's this very burden that has poverty on the rise & people needing additional living aid to survive. Ironically, the makers have created the takers in GOP rhetoric.  The government has to supplement the difference for more & more people. The makers cry outrage at the amount of money being spent on living aid. They demand spending cuts that will force takers to be self reliant. And this defies all logic unless you believe unicorns are real & money grows on trees.

It's a known fact that when employees feel valued, productivity & efficiency increase which increases the employer's bottom line. Quality work is dependent on quality compensation. Quality compensation decreases the need for government assistance. Spending & debt go down while increased wages directly stimulate the economy. It's simple economics. It's the safest, 100% returns investment we can make. It's a shared sacrifice & contribution to society for the greater good. I realize some states/cities have higher minimum wages already in place to some extent in comparison to others. But are they sustainable wages? Personally, I think $25,000 is a good starting point. I think the Government be it state or federal should encourage & support employers who invest in their employees by giving tax relief and/or subsidies. If employers are not paying living wages, they should not receive government aid, I mean entitlements, I mean tax reliefs & subsidies. It's time for employers to take responsibility and to stop blaming low wage earners they created. It is unrealistic & economically destructive to refuse to pay living wages & expect the government, the taxpayers to carry the labor costs. It is cruel & immoral to then denounce so called entitlements by demanding the government reform those entitlements to be cut. So tell me, who exactly are the takers?

Originally posted to Capecod72 on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 04:36 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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