Monday, March 10, 2014

Yet another Minimum Wage Post

Yeah, I am going to get back onto beating this dead horse.  It needs to be done.  While we have people who seem to feel minimum wage is acceptable in the United States because, well, mostly unskilled teenage labor works it.  This my friends is not entirely true.  They are cherry picking, again.  The fact is, the economy is not static across the nation.

Sure in some areas, the majority of minimum wage workers might be that exact segment of the population, but as the national trend dictates here are the numbers.  21% of people who make at or less than the current federal minimum wage are 19 years old or younger.  As of 2012, 3.6 million people worked for minimum wage or less than minimum wage, that is slightly more than 1% of the population.  Now at this point if you are of a conservative draconian mind, you are saying "Meh, around 1%, thats not so bad for unskilled, uneducated labor." 

This is where you are wrong, not all states are the same.  Places like Texas, Idaho, Oklahoma, and Louisiana have populations of around 7% making at or below the minimum wage.  Some states, such as, Alaska, Oregon, California, Montana, and Washington have something closer to the national level of employees being paid minimum wage.

You also assume that as people gain skills their pay might increase.  This is also in error.  I know several employers in my area who will tell you, I pay 7.25 an hour, that is the best you can hope for.  You will not get a pay raise until you are either promoted, which rarely happens, or the Federal Government or State increase give you a pay raise.  Since decent paying jobs are hard to come by, you have little choice, go on the government tit, or work a minimum wage paying job.

Speaking of which, you conservatives demand reforms to welfare, and social safety nets, yet you also rail against a minimum wage.  A raise in wages for people who are 18 and older, would certainly help keep people off the tit, should companies be willing to accept slightly less profit in the short term.  Better wages would also help with the conceived problems with the broken family unit, you guys keep tossing out there.  And we might actually have a chance to eliminate poverty.  But there is a problem in my usually flawless logic, a hitch in the plan.  You refuse to accept that for profits to be good, the majority of people in poverty need to be out of poverty.  That maximum profit actually cause people to be in poverty, and that life shouldn't be as good for everyone as we can make it.

Lets look at some of the myths you guys have.  Raising the minimum wage kills jobs.  Not necessarily true. Lets be honest about all those studies you love to quite, they aren't exactly honest.  They do not point out the other factors that can be to blame.  Newer studies also tend to show the opposite, and high enough increases to the minimum wage actually off set losses in hours.  Basically I took a part time job, working 20 hours a week at a different company doing the same thing, for nearly twice the money, and made the same amount as a 40 hour week.  Raising the minimum wage doesn't help the very working poor it targets.  See the above reason for not raising the minimum wage, same logic, it does not point out the reasons that it fails.  There is a reason that it shows little to no change in subjects.  It takes time to rebuild, even if I had a job tomorrow that paid 1000 dollars a week salary, it would still take me a month or two to dig out.  But here is the next thing, many people who work for minimum wage are on welfare, the more you make the less you get, so people back slide, giving the appearance that it isn't working.  Finally, greed.  Fear of short term losses  will cause companies to raise prices, negating the effect, and cuts in hours for the small increases show no benefit for the workers.  I already covered the minimum wage earners are mostly teens, unskilled/uneducated labor. 

So, to end this off we will look at the minimum wage across the globe, since the US isn't the only nation to have it.  Currently Australia has the highest ($16.88), with Sierra Leone being the lowest at ,03 an hour.  But among countries in which the standard of living is similar, not the same just similar, it is mostly higher.  France equates to around $12.09, New Zealand at $11.18, The United Kingdom at $9.83, Canada at $9.75 an hour, and Japan at $8.17. 

But here is a key difference about Japan, the minimum wage is set by industry rather than as a catch all.  It also varies by region, so I might be making 645 yen in one area, then move to another area and have a pay raise to 837 yen, doing the same exact job, just in a different area.  Both are the minimum wage for that industry, but I am in a different area.  Extra pay, what we call overtime, in which you work over a specific amount of hours, does not count towards that minimum wage.  Their extra pay covers working any holidays, at night, and other things, and bonuses also do not count towards that base pay.  Unlike here, and I will have to ask someone from Japan how often the bonuses and other issues happen, but here if you are working for minimum wage, you don't get too many bonuses or extra pay for working nights or holidays.

Oh, and the Swiss are fighting to raise their wage, if the people there get there way it will be around $17 an hour in USD.