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Minimum wage and other things we aren't entitled to
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Sam



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 2:26 pm    Post subject: hic Reply with quote

That's lesson two: Realities of rising socioeconomic class stratification.

The rungs on the bottom quintile of the ladder are few and far between; upward mobility is exceedingly difficult for the working poor, especially with wages not increasing to match the growing costs of objective living concerns. This is observation, not critique.

All factors, be they logistical, educational, health-related or otherwise, are stacking against the po' folk in modern American economic climes.

What's exceedingly difficult about the focus that you propose is that better paying jobs have to originate from a private sector that can and will provide better paying jobs. If class mobility stagnates, then you end up only being able to deal with (or ignore) the poverty that will occur as a result of it, since it's a systemic issue.

But, when you say you want to focus on it, is there a proposal attached?
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Agamemnon



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wish I did have an effective proposal. Right now, my ideas surround education. I think there are certain life skills that need to be taught in our highschools; basic living, house-hold budgeting, expected costs of utilities, wages earned without a HS diploma or GED vs. with diploma vs. with some college vs. college degrees. I think that we as a society have a responsibility to see our children educated to a point, and that point now exceeds High School. I'd like to see full govn't support for the undergrad portion of college or all of a trade school/2 year degree program.

There are two problems I recognize with this right away. First is cost, which I think can be accounted for elsewhere. I think we desprately need States to take on more responsibility from the federal govn't in an effort to reduce bureaucratic waste. That is an oversimplification of that particular point, but I think it suffices for now.

Second is what we do with the working poor right now. That's the trickier one because we're looking smack dab into a period of mass retirement and the costs involved in educating older people is quite a bit higher (my guess, not based on any study I've seen.) Perhaps there is a way to have federal subsidies for more loans to allow people to go back to college or a trade school. Perhaps there are ways of providing incentives to large corporations in an effort to get those corporations to support educating the low skilled in the hopes of allowing them to move up or on to better jobs.

I keep coming back to the idea of education. I think that's really the answer. I was talking to the president of my company the other week and made a comment about how I'm surprised that we've held on to our production people so long. He said he wasn't. He viewed the production line worker as something people could still do for their entire lives (our production workers have capped out at about $10.50 an hour...not a livable wage, in my opinion. Our company takes advantage of them because most of them are from Vietnam where working here for such a pittance is still far, far preferable to living in Vietnam. I am not proud of management here at all.) I told my president that I thought of production line jobs as being relative low skill and that it would be ideal as a high turnover type of position where young people can gain some job experience while waiting for a better job, one for which they have been educated, to arise. He thought I was nuts. I bring this up because I don't think education is limited to our children and those who are currently working low skill jobs. We need to educate everybody on the changing environment our workforce is facing. The days of working in a company for 30 plus years may be over. Oh, it still may happen, but I think we should all be comfortable with the idea that it's okay to move on.

I'm rambling. Does this make sense? I think that current minimum wage jobs serve a purpose and that purpose should never be to support someone fully for a long period of time.

[edit]One more thing that I have thought about that I forgot to include: I have considered the problem of job availability. In the very short term I think this is an issue. However, I forsee that in the next ten years we may be facing a remarkable shortage of labor in this country due to retirements.
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MsFrisby



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mass retirement? When? 20 years from now?

The Grey Ceiling
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Agamemnon



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MsFrisby wrote:
Mass retirement? When? 20 years from now?

The Grey Ceiling


Point taken, however, baby boomers are already starting to retire. They have created openings in my wife's school district, for instance. I'm guessing that they will start to retire in much larger quantities within the next ten years, but yes, the retirements won't all happen at once, and will probably take twenty years for them all to retire. It's not a BAM and all of them retire. It will be a ramp up which has already begun.
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Yorick



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

minimum WAYGE! hyah! *whipsnap*
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mouse



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ags: while i of course applaud the drive to increase education levels, you have overlooked the fact there is (and probably always will be) a need for people with jobs that either do not require a college education, or that someone with such an education is unlikely to want. from trustedfaith's earlier post:
Quote:
MYTH: Low-Wage jobs are the ones you see in your neighborhood McDonald’s.

FACT: Fast food jobs constitute less than 5% of all low-end jobs. Low-wage, low-reward jobs are all around us and include: security guards, nurse’s aides and home health-care aides, child-care workers and educational assistants, maids and porters, call-center workers, bank tellers, data-entry keyers, cooks, food preparation workers, waiters and waitresses, cashiers and pharmacy assistants, hair dressers and manicurists, parking-lot attendants, hotel receptionists and clerks, ambulance drivers, poultry, fish and meat processors, sewing-machine operators, laundry and dry-cleaning operators, and agricultural workers.


now, some of these may be first steps up the job ladder for some people - but not all of them. i think some should definitely be paid more than minimum wage - childcare workers and home and nursing home health-care aidee perform very important and often difficult jobs, and we literally trust them with people's lives (certainly their well-being). some of these are jobs that you particularly _want_ a lot of turnover in - you want a security guard who is around long enough to become familiar with the situation and the people who are supposed to be around, you don't want to replace health personnel on a regular basis, and in positions like meat processors, machine operators, call center workers - well, most things, really - experience helps. as do things like dependability - you want to be sure someone you hired is going to show up every day, and not suddenly call up and say "found another job".

i think if you could get everyone educated, you would probably have some highly educated and deeply unhappy maids - or you will be paying maids the same salary you would pay other positions requiring a college degree.

so - what are you going to do about that?
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Dro



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get some French maids.
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Agamemnon



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mouse wrote:
ags: while i of course applaud the drive to increase education levels, you have overlooked the fact there is (and probably always will be) a need for people with jobs that either do not require a college education, or that someone with such an education is unlikely to want. from trustedfaith's earlier post:
Quote:
MYTH: Low-Wage jobs are the ones you see in your neighborhood McDonald’s.

FACT: Fast food jobs constitute less than 5% of all low-end jobs. Low-wage, low-reward jobs are all around us and include: security guards, nurse’s aides and home health-care aides, child-care workers and educational assistants, maids and porters, call-center workers, bank tellers, data-entry keyers, cooks, food preparation workers, waiters and waitresses, cashiers and pharmacy assistants, hair dressers and manicurists, parking-lot attendants, hotel receptionists and clerks, ambulance drivers, poultry, fish and meat processors, sewing-machine operators, laundry and dry-cleaning operators, and agricultural workers.


now, some of these may be first steps up the job ladder for some people - but not all of them. i think some should definitely be paid more than minimum wage - childcare workers and home and nursing home health-care aidee perform very important and often difficult jobs, and we literally trust them with people's lives (certainly their well-being). some of these are jobs that you particularly _want_ a lot of turnover in - you want a security guard who is around long enough to become familiar with the situation and the people who are supposed to be around, you don't want to replace health personnel on a regular basis, and in positions like meat processors, machine operators, call center workers - well, most things, really - experience helps. as do things like dependability - you want to be sure someone you hired is going to show up every day, and not suddenly call up and say "found another job".

i think if you could get everyone educated, you would probably have some highly educated and deeply unhappy maids - or you will be paying maids the same salary you would pay other positions requiring a college degree.

so - what are you going to do about that?


Quite simle. A maid should be a stepping stone to a higher position, and not necessarily in the same field.

Yes, there will always be the need for low skill work. But, I do not agree with a position that says that these people have to stay in low paying positions.

I'm not sure I agree with your point on the security guard because most security guards I know are actually paid a pretty decent wage. It's one area where businesses don't want to skimp out.

How about a question for you, mouse. Where does the money come from to pay these people more? Let's say that a person runs a small business maid service. Now, let's say for the sake of argument that to make a living wage, the business owner is required to pay twice the salary. Now the business owner needs to fire about half to two thirds of his employees (due to having to pay for unemployment benefits etc.) now he has a much lesser work force to do the same amount of work which leads to either lost customers due to lack of service or increased fees. You see where this is going.

Wages need to be paid for from somewhere. We will not be getting all the money from rich people's pockets. Artificially increasing wages will lead to inflation or loss of jobs or both. Usagi and Sam have both said as much.

We need not expect that all shit jobs (maybe a better phrase is "low paying jobs" but for the sake of this argument, I'll leave it) be occupied by people for their entire lives. By the very definition of "low skill" jobs people should expect high turnover. I do not buy the argument, in any way, that low skill jobs need have people for longer durations.

Now, that said, I am once again going to point out that the focus is in the wrong area. We should not be worried about wages, but rather job availability, which I think is more what you were getting at, mouse, when you said, "i think if you could get everyone educated, you would probably have some highly educated and deeply unhappy maids". The problem here is having jobs available so that those unhappy, highly educated maids, can find a better job for which they are qualified.

Conversely, why should we make maid service so expensive through wages as to eliminate most of those jobs? Why can't people who are supported by a spouce (male or female, maybe a caretaker instead of maid in male cases?) but want to augment the family income be able to work as a maid for the cheap wages it offers? Why can't they work in retail? Why can't a college student work in construction during the summer when that student is not at school, and earn money for college as a grunt not making a ton of money (this is a bit of a bad argument as construction workers can actually make a lot of money, but for the sake of this argument let's say the student is just a grunt working for minimal wages) and is supported with that student's parents' benefits?

There are many, many examples of where low income wages serve a very good purpose. I'll say again, these types of wages should never be considered living wages and the people in them should never have to life for long on those wages.

And maybe this is a good place to ask this. Does anybody actually know of any jobs that only pay minimum wage at this time? Most entry level/low skill jobs I know of in the area I live in start about $7.50 to $8.00 an hour. It would seem to me that the market has taken care of this issue nicely. Perhaps in times of recession when labor is reddily available there should be a floor, but again this causes problems of it's own in not being able to employ people.

I'm rambling again. sorry.
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Snorri



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not everyone is smart enough or handy enough to get a better paying job, Ags. Education can only help for some people.
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Agamemnon



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Snorri wrote:
Not everyone is smart enough or handy enough to get a better paying job, Ags. Education can only help for some people.


I don't buy it.

If someone has a disability, fine. Otherwise...that's a pretty lame cop out, in my opinion. I find that it's not smarts people are lacking but opportunity.
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Snorri



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agamemnon wrote:
Snorri wrote:
Not everyone is smart enough or handy enough to get a better paying job, Ags. Education can only help for some people.


I don't buy it.

If someone has a disability, fine. Otherwise...that's a pretty lame cop out, in my opinion. I find that it's not smarts people are lacking but opportunity.


Are you seriously saying that you don't believe that some people are not as smart as other people????
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Agamemnon



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Snorri wrote:
Agamemnon wrote:
Snorri wrote:
Not everyone is smart enough or handy enough to get a better paying job, Ags. Education can only help for some people.


I don't buy it.

If someone has a disability, fine. Otherwise...that's a pretty lame cop out, in my opinion. I find that it's not smarts people are lacking but opportunity.


Are you seriously saying that you don't believe that some people are not as smart as other people????


Not at all. Not everybody can be a nuclear physis..phisys...uh...rocket scientist, but I do think everybody, if given the opportunity, can succeed in the workplace. I don't think there is anybody, outside of those with disibilities, that has to live their entire lives working minimum wage jobs.
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Zorbino



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agamemnon wrote:

Not at all. Not everybody can be a nuclear physis..phisys...uh...rocket scientist, but I do think everybody, if given the opportunity, can succeed in the workplace. I don't think there is anybody, outside of those with disibilities, that has to live their entire lives working minimum wage jobs.
If people educate themselves it will saturate the higher wage markets and reduce their wages. If we have more engineers they will have to compete. In order to compete they will have to reduce their costs. The easiest way to reduce costs is to pay people less. This will continue until their wages are down low enough that people can't justify the college education required. This is all of course assuming that people are able to complete the education. In theory if everyone persued this ad infinitum then we would all be getting the same pay for different jobs.
<sarcasm> And you aren't a communist. Are you?!?!?</sarcasm>
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Agamemnon



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are missing a couple of factors. Nothing is static. We have growth. We have people retiring (which is going to be a real issue in ten to twenty years.) I don't think this is an argument against pursuing this direction.
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Zorbino



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that growth and retirement do open up positions of higher wage in our system. I am saying that for our current system not everyone has room to upgrade, and if they do that the position they move up to would drop in pay. In the future when this major retirement becomes a factor I think you are correct. But at the moment the job market is too saturated for this kind of large scale upgrading of positions. Someone is going to get stuck at the bottom rung for a time. The more skilled, devoted, and brighter people will be able to succeed, but not everyone can always upgrade. Of course I am still leaving out factors like people that don't want to upgrade. For example, the people that enjoy their jobs, even at the pay, or are too lazy.
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