Opinion

The Great Debate

Thousands lose jobs due to higher federal minimum wage

May 14, 2009

 Diana Furchtgott-Roth– Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The views expressed are her own. —

As President Obama considers whether to fulfill his campaign promise to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.50 per hour by 2011, there’s no better illustration of the consequences of well-intentioned policy-making than recent events in American Samoa, a United States territory in the South Pacific that falls within the purview of Congress.

Chicken of the Sea, the tuna company, announced this month that it will close its canning plant in American Samoa in September. The culprit is 2007 legislation in Washington that gradually increased the islands’ minimum wage until it reaches $7.25 an hour in July 2009, almost double the 2007 levels.

In 2007, the hourly minimum wage in American Samoa for fish canning and processing was $3.76 and the minimum wage for government employees was $3.41. Shipping had the highest minimum wage, at $4.59. Garment manufacturers got the lowest, at $3.18 an hour. A $7.25 wage is a substantial increase for most residents.

Chicken of the Sea will lay off 2,041 employees—12 percent of total employment, almost half of all cannery workers. And the 2,700 workers at StarKist, the other American Samoa tuna canning company and Chicken of the Sea’s rival, are probably concerned that their jobs are the next to go.

American Samoa’s loss is Georgia’s gain. Chicken of the Sea will move to Lyons, Georgia, (2007 population 4,480) employing 200 people in a new $20 million plant on a more capital-intensive production line.

In January 2007 the legislation originally did not include American Samoa, perhaps because Del Monte, at the time the parent company of StarKist, was headquartered in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district.

Until then, the Labor Department had set wage rates in American Samoa every two years, following an extensive study on economic conditions on the island. But before final passage, Congress included American Samoa.

Back in 2007 American Samoa Governor Togiola Tulafono worried that increasing the minimum wage “would kill the economy” and Congressional Samoan Delegate Eni F.H. Faleomavaega forecast that it would devastate the local tuna industry.

They knew that industries would go elsewhere if they have to pay $7.25 an hour.

They were right. American Samoa will lose not only the 2,041 jobs at the Chicken of the Sea canning plant, but also secondary jobs from the ripple effect of loss of income—stores and eateries that cater to cannery workers, shops that mend fishing nets, shipyards, and buses that transport workers.

In a telephone conversation this week, Representative Vaito’a Hans A. Langkilde of the Ma’oputasi District #10, representing the villages of Leloaloa, Satala and Atu’u, described the prospective devastation of the community. His district is home to both StarKist and Chicken of the Sea.

Mr. Lankilde told me, “Over the past 50 years the industry provided massive job opportunities for unskilled labor. The 2007 law that increased the minimum wage was the beginning of the end for the tuna industry and the cause of massive job losses for our already fragile economy. The only way to resolve the trend towards total economic disaster is for Congress at its soonest opportunity to reverse its position.”

With the recent laying of fiber-optic cable linking American Samoa to the United States, Samoans could get jobs in call centers. Yet the higher minimum wage could discourage firms.

Raising the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour would drive even more jobs away from American Samoa. In the United States it would have the effect of shifting jobs from low-skill to high-skill workers, raising unemployment among those who are least equipped to handle it.

Rather than having to accept direction from a government thousands of miles away where they have no voting representation, residents of American Samoa should be given the power to decide on their own minimum wage. Congress should leave further minimum wage increases to individual states to choose as they see fit, because wage levels and the cost of living vary substantially between states such as Mississippi and New York.

The closure of the Chicken of the Sea cannery in American Samoa shows us that higher minimum wages cause low-skill workers to lose jobs. What’s true for American Samoa holds equally true for the United States.

Comments
169 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

I tend to agree with a previous comment. The wage hike is a government scam because it’s only the government that benefits from the hike (more taxes from a higher wage!)
Ok! So they got a bump in their hourly wage. What the hell do you think every business that pays minimum wage workers going to do to compensate for the increase in wages and taxes (remember, businesses have to match Social Security Taxes withdrawn from wages,higher wages – - higher taxes) associated with the hike???? INCREASE THE PRICES OF ITEMS SOLD. Now that bump is absorbed by those higher prices, however the Government still gets their higher taxes regardless! Truly a scam!

Posted by Business Owner | Report as abusive
 

Good 1 Dan! You are right on the money!

If you don’t want to sacrifice to enhance your hireability.. then don’t whine about what you get!!!!

Posted by Agrees with Dan | Report as abusive
 

What is the thinking re elimination of minimum wage?

Posted by rbsjr | Report as abusive
 

Looks like more and more of our food will be coming from China.

Posted by John the Econ | Report as abusive
 

I think both side of this argument are correct. Businesses have to compete, and people have to live. There are two sides to every story and the truth lies somewhere in-between.
The pains of globalization are great. Business can’t continue to use third world and developing nations labor rates as leverage, nor can labor demand high wages or they will drive away business. Labor unions in their current incarnations would destroy business. The pain will continue until the playing field becomes level.

Posted by Russ | Report as abusive
 

“I have read many comments here I am struck by the lack of logic and reason. Many here lack any understanding of business and economics. It is all about emotion and feeling. “Oh, these greedy companies! They don’t want to pay anyone!” A business is not a social service. They are in it for profit because the shareholders demand that a company be profitable in order to justify its investing in that company. A company is there only to increase shareholder value. That is business 101, folks.”

Your arguments support the need for government to regulate business so that they do not indulge in speculative frenzies that bankrupt the nation. Neither do the American people exist to provide slaves to finance capital.

Posted by Randolph Matamoros | Report as abusive
 

Let’s see…for the last half of the 20th century the peoples in American Samoa (and the rest of the Samoas too) had to deal with overbearing military presence of all kinds.
Their ancestral homes have been the playground of the superpowers: They’ve had to put up with nuclear and chemical weapons testing and have been displaced for generations to come all throughout the Pacific.

American Samoa is full of American Citizens who don’t have the right to vote in national elections because they’re unincorporated and yet they provide cannon fodder for the american military as their young see no other choice left to them. At least they should be provided with the means to make a decent living at home in exchange. Anybody who has lived in remote regions of the country, like some Alaskan small town, knows the costs of importing everything because, guess what, there is very limited production of basic necessity items and the ones available are expensive.

While the mentality of the likes of Mrs. Roth continues to determine what Samoans must earn, how they must live, who they must work for, nothing will ever change.

The Samoans and their representatives have bent over backwards over the years trying to please the companies that employ them and the foreign fishing companies that supply them but obviously it’s not enough. They must keep getting screwed over and over again. The situation of the Samoans is not unlike the situation of Native American Indians in the mainland in many respects, including being exposed to nuclear testing radiation and having to put up with nuclear waste garbage.

Posted by SG | Report as abusive
 

Bismarck in a can for you!

If you had said, capitalism’s too big to keep failing to pay workers enough to live, as well as too good in theory to keep destroying defenseless nations in practice – I might have agreed.

If you had said, the abysmal cesspit of what passes for capitalism in Modern America ought to be judged by the results of its concerted action instead of by the flimsiness of its excuses, I might have recommended you for a raise.

If you had said, sooner of later the corporate rapists of the sea are going to run out of ports of call to infest as well as tuna to extinguish, I’d have said, mind your language, but you go, Girl.

If you’d mentioned that Samoans whom God preserve etc. are very likely to want to get even with and possibly render extinct the corporate fish-heads responsible this escapade, I would defend to the death your right to say so.

But clearly, Milady, that’s not what you did.

You began by making excuses for the cavalier operations of an obviously fishy corporation in a faraway tuna republic. Then you went right on making a meal out of the same old excuses for a whole slew of other rather raw-tin corporations in this Great American kettle of fish, over paragraph after tendentious paragraph. The upshot appears to be that no excuse is too fetid for corporate managers to want to trot it out, rather than pay the people who slaved to make them rich, whatever their line of trade – one sordid little example of rampant feudalism in Samoa serving as the foundation of this whole card-house argument.

Its chief ingredient being a load of chowder long past its shelf life, the above article represents a recipe for disaster, gurgling under its screw-on cap one dreadful case of journalistic botulism. Hopefully it never gets into the hands of terrorists.

Google “chicken of the sea legal” for a lengthy list of reasons why this feudal corporation should never be taken as a shining example of anything – paying their workers decent wages never having been among their virtues, if any.

Ask yourself how truthful and impartial can possibly be a spokesperson for any corporation can be, whose very name begins with elementary deception.

And please ask yourself this before citing them or any of those in bed with them as authorities on the economics of human resource.

Minimum wage or no, that’s the sort of elementary diligence any reader is entitled to expect. Those who can’t provide their readers with it shouldn’t be tossing around red herrings. There’s a lesson for the fishy chook in there too.

Posted by The Bell | Report as abusive
 

As the U.S. ramped up production for war goods and equipment the federal government did some unusual things in 1941. Military contractors were required to pay wages that were three times or more than the prevailing wage. There was rationing and some products such as automobiles could not be purchased at all. The government also put in place wage and price controls. The net effect was workers had more income than they could spend. The American worker did two things with this extra income. They bought war bonds and saved.

War bonds accounted for more revenue for the war than taxes or capital raised on Wall Street. Most people thought that when the war was over that the economy would go back to the way it was through most of the 1930s. That didn’t happen. The demand for autos and other durable goods provided the incentive for manufacturing to produce peace time goods right when the demand for military hardware plummeting. Not only was all that money in savings burning a hole in the pockets of some, it was also the source of capital required by business for short term borrowing and capital investment.

High wages built a middle class in this nation out of the ashes of war. Now far be it for me to suggest that what we need is another war. On the contrary we need to employ similar if not the same tactics so as to achieve a high savings rate in this nation. We now rely on foreign depositors for this essential component of capitalism.

Next we must begin a drastic reduction in consuming oil and other fossil fuels that we import. We are no longer an oil exporter like we were in the 1930s. This type of dependency puts inflationary pressures on the dollar and drags us into the affairs of oil producers.

Thirdly, if we are to raise wages we should do so to move the work force into areas where they are needed the most. I would suggest geothermal energy plants, solar power cells, wind turbines, power grid upgrading and refurbishing people’s homes and business’ to generate power off the grid. Conservation maesures should also be developed.

Fourth, we need to develop rail and other forms of public transportation. This could be used to connect people through corridors that until now could only rely on air or highway travel. Both of which are very inefficient in the use of fossil fuels. Conservation baby.

And finally we must take a hard look at how we produce food. Our health care in this country is twice as expensive as other industrialized nations. We do not fair very well in life expectancy, morbidity and infant mortality as other nations who spend less. Perhaps it is not just that their health care system is so much better but that the foods they eat offer far better nutrition. This might well be the reason why so many nations have a healthier population than our own.

If we are going to print and borrow gazillions of dollars, let’s spend it on something that will pay dividends in the future for generations to come. It will take that long to pay back that debt. In the bargain we will clean the planet up somewhat. We will probably rebuild the middle class and just maybe become an independent nation once again.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive
 

Do people know that the minimum wage was started to keep minorities out of the work place. Low skilled workers the ex-slave had the ability to under cut the wages of the white folks. The white power people knew if you had to pay a minimum wage above the average black mans wage companies would higher the more skilled white workers. Without the price advantage blacks became much less of an option to companies.

Boortz had a great thing on the back of his book. Middle class people cannot afford a luxury boat on a middle class wage. Solution dont buy a boat until you make enough money. For poor people, dont have children until you can afford them! If you are earning minimum wage you have not earned the right to raise a family yet. If you cant afford it dont reach into others pockets to have what you cannot afford.

Posted by Frank Griffin | Report as abusive
 

Posted by joe

Ms Diana Furchtgott-Roth, take a year away from your cushy six-figure job and live, I mean live with those minimum wages. I bet you couldn’t make it a week. . .

I bet sometime in her life she has worked for minimum wage. So now we should fault her for moving up and bettering herself? I remember when people in American used to want to improve themselves, now they just wait for the government to “improve” their lives. And yes, i have worked for minimium wage, when I had minimum wage type skills. I guess I am evil to because I paid my way through college by working three jobs and put myself in a situation where I can make a lot better salary. Oh how evil I am. If your plan is for the government to take care of every aspect of your life, you have no plan.

Posted by dale | Report as abusive
 

I hear from republicans that people need to be “Responsible” for their actions and people need to be more civic minded towards their friends and neighbors in this tough economic time. I absolutely agree, but why do I not hear the same GOP demanding Business(who are only made up of American Citizens) be more civic minded towards the country in which they are able to make the most amount of money in and at the same time, the owners of these businesses enjoy more personal freedoms in America than any other country in the world. Where is the loyalty to country? Where is the loyalty to fellow Americans?

A minimum wage was introduced because Capital(businesses) have always, always tried to pay the least amount possible for all wages and services while trying to charge the most for products and services to maximize profits. Simply put they (ALL BUSINESSES) wish to lower overhead(Cost of doing business) and raise prices as high as the market will bare. Sound business strategy and to this end, Capital(business) will always, always try and use Labor(Poor and Middle Class) and squeeze as much productivity as they can while giving as little as possible back. Why do you think so many jobs were sent overseas? It’s good business for Capital, who don’t care who makes their products as long as they are made as cheaply as possible- notice the prices never fell, even though these companies were saving money on labor, the saving never came to the consumer because Capital pocketed the profits.

The cannery could have been built in Somoa and still be run for less overhead with the higher minimum wage. 2000 x 3.5 = 7000$ an hour; the new factory would employ 200 so 200 x 7.55 = 1450$ an hour. SAVING almost $5500 dollars an hour!! Where is the sense of Civic responsibility! Somoas have been working for this “Business” for decades and depend on it. The “Business” could have saved money by building the new factory next to the old, but they could save even more on shipping costs by moving the Cannery “Business” to Georgia. The move has absolutely nothing to do with “Minimum Wage” and every thing to do with making as much money as possible while paying as little as possible back to the people who do all the work.

 

Not surprising that the first comment is from someone bashing corporations for wanting to be successful. A corporation can be likened to a living creature, first and foremost it needs to be concerned about its own survival. A wolf caught in trap, will gnaw its leg off to survive, so must corporations be willing to gnaw off their own leg if caught in a government trap. A three legged wolf is not a healthy animal, but its chances of surviving are better than if it remains in place waiting for the hunter. Lunacy is waiting in place thinking the hunter will bring it table scraps. If you are trying to raise a family on minimum wages then you are allocating yourself to position of the later wolf hoping for table scraps. I have never worked a minimum wage job. I chose to take an Electronics Shop Elective in my freshman and sophomore years of High School. At the age of 16 I started working part time after school and full time in the summer as an electronics technician. While my friends made $1.65 selling movie tickets I was making $8.25 an hour.

The stupidity of thinking that raising minimum wages will some how miraculously improve a poor persons life is in complete denial that minimum wage dictates the cost of living. Couple of reasons that professional politicians keep driving the minimum wage upwards are:
1) it raises tax revenue by moving people into higher tax brackets
2) Most unions negotiate their contracts based on the cost of living. Union members make more money, their dues go up, the Union bosses who finance Democrat candidates and some Republican candidates give themselves nice big pay raises.
In the meantime small non-unionized non-subsides companies fail.

Posted by DerangedPenguin | Report as abusive
 

Businesses are in business to make money, not be civic minded, not pay a “living-wage”, not be green, not give people jobs, etc. No one is entitled to employment, we earn it every day that we show up and work hard.

I have a degree in engineering and I am paid well. I suggest all of the whiners out there shut-up and get a degree in a field that earns a decent living.

A maid should not be paid what an engineer makes. I’ve done both.

Posted by John, Huntsville, AL | Report as abusive
 

It seems so simple to me. Birth control. Planned families. Supply and demand, applied to labor. Don’t have more kids than there will be good jobs for. We’d all like to earn a lot of money, and I’d love to see human beings honored with skilled jobs in a more automated world, rather than doing what a stupid, simple robot will be doing in a decade anyway, but without reproductive continence, this means some people don’t get jobs.

Posted by Pete Cann | Report as abusive
 

As a reply to dale, post dated May 16th, 2009,

“I bet sometime in her life she has worked for minimum wage. So now we should fault her for moving up and bettering herself? I remember when people in American used to want to improve themselves, now they just wait for the government to “improve” their lives. And yes, i have worked for minimium wage, when I had minimum wage type skills. I guess I am evil to because I paid my way through college by working three jobs and put myself in a situation where I can make a lot better salary. Oh how evil I am. If your plan is for the government to take care of every aspect of your life, you have no plan.”

Not wishing to put you down but here is my take on what you said:
The people in American Samoa DON’T have the opportunity and luxury to hold 3 jobs because the job market there is highly limited. You had the chance to hold 3 minimum wage jobs because you were in an area where you could, there were that many jobs available to you.

What you say is to those people on an archipelago in the middle of the Pacific is to get a job, get skills, earn more – when the social reality is that you can’t get one job because THERE AREN’T ANY, let alone three. DOH!

To give you an idea, we’re talking about a bunch of islands many nautical miles away from the mainland USA, inhabited by about 60,000 people and only one community college. To commute many people take a boat. If the hurricane season allows.

Again, I’m not trying to put you down but how you are saying what you are saying is highly unrealistic. The fact that the author may or may have not taken a minimum wage job sometime in the distant past is irrelevant since it’s obvious she hasn’t gone through the same situation people in American Samoa are going through today. What gets me is the absolutely distasteful way in which she has twisted the words and the facts to outright lies.
It doesn’t take a genius to do a little search online and come across with the real facts, derived from the same people she used as sources for her “calumn”.

There is no English teacher that wouldn’t flunk her due to her poor skills in quoting her sources and lying to her readers.

Posted by SG | Report as abusive
 

A job held doesn’t necessarily reflect real skills since necessity will always take precedence over choice in the real world.

I see the author and the replies of some as a symptom of a disease that has nothing to do with minimum wage arguments: Generalization based on Prejudice. I mean, what holds true for Samoa holds true for the United States, right?

I don’t get it why is it such a game to bash a whole people online. Who is Mrs. Roth trying to get a reaction from?

Posted by SG | Report as abusive
 

In reply to May 15th, 2009 4:49 pm GMT – Posted by Russ

“I think both side of this argument are correct. Businesses have to compete, and people have to live. There are two sides to every story and the truth lies somewhere in-between.
The pains of globalization are great. Business can’t continue to use third world and developing nations labor rates as leverage, nor can labor demand high wages or they will drive away business. Labor unions in their current incarnations would destroy business. The pain will continue until the playing field becomes level.”

http://www.dol.gov/esa/minwage/americanS amoa/ASminwagePoster.pdf

What high wages? Labor unions were never allowed to set foot in American Samoa.

Posted by SG | Report as abusive
 

Thanks to the Friedman scheme of economics disasters, once again the shock of looseing the workers grip on a decent wage is frontally attacked. I am sure that chicken of the sea & many others of that ilk, will only be satisfied when the daily wage is reduced to the equivilant of 1 loaf of bread.

wild;)

Posted by wild | Report as abusive
 

What’s true for American Samoa holds equally true for the United States?
Bah. You say Samoa, I say Somalia. Not to mention Chechnya, Kosovo, Chiapas, Haiti, Guatemala, Indonesia, Tanzania, The Philippines, Bolivia…

It’s not labor unions holding entire countries to ransom, no matter how they may be portrayed in the corporate media. It’s not labor unions absconding with the working man’s pension funds, not that I wouldn’t have put it past some of them in the past.

And it’s not minimum wage that makes any corporation’s products, their excuses for products – and their excuses for the misery their products and business model(s) inflict – so utterly insufferable.

I mean, have any of you ever tasted Chicken[sic] Of The Sea? Anybody here likely to purchase another GM clunker? Anybody liable to shop at Wal*Mart?

Thanks to Ms Furchtgott I know I never will again.

Maybe workers can find other things to do, other countries to work in. Maybe they’ll find justice and maybe they won’t. But they can’t be faulted for looking for it wherever they are.

Judging by her pitiful excuse for an article here, it can’t get much worse for working people than where they are now, in the god-awful peonage system to which she among others evidently subscribes.

So wherever they may go, tell ‘em Ms Furchtgott sent them, to eat cake.

Posted by The Bell | Report as abusive
 

Jobs don’t get lost because of minimum wage. They are lost when companies try to hold on to their profit margins. That is to say, that rather than pay you more for the work you do, many companies would simply rather not hire you and take their “work” where someone who is desperate enough, will do it. In the Samoas people are loosing their jobs not because of the minimum wage, but because the canneries had become too comfortable with this level of exploitation. If they have to pay the Samoan worker more money, the owners won’t be able to afford as many of the luxuries they’ve become accustom to.

It’s all about the money. Working in a cannery can’t be easy or pleasant. And inflation has gone way past a $3+/hr standard of living. So in truth, these people have lost their jobs because government has said that companies must compensate all Americans at no less than an acceptable minimum level, and the canneries either don’t want to do it, or can’t survive if they do.

So here we see with glaring clarity, a financial arrangement that requires that certain Americans be forced to accept substandard compensation for the sake of profit. Profit mind you, that the factory worker does not directly, let alone equally, share in.

Is the government wrong for mandating a minimum acceptable level of income so that citizens can keep up with inflation?

Do companies have a right to give you less than you deserve in exchange for the best of your ability?

 

Q: Why does Chicken[sic] Of The Sea lick workers into total submission?

A: Because they can

Posted by The Bell | Report as abusive
 

“..May 16th, 2009 8:50 pm GMT – Posted by Benny Acosta

Jobs don’t get lost because of minimum wage. They are lost when companies try to hold on to their profit margins. That is to say, that rather than pay you more for the work you do, many companies would simply rather not hire you and take their “work” where someone who is desperate enough, will do it. In the Samoas people are loosing their jobs not because of the minimum wage, but because the canneries had become too comfortable with this level of exploitation. If they have to pay the Samoan worker more money, the owners won’t be able to afford as many of the luxuries they’ve become accustom to…”.

Yeah, just like you shop around for a car until you find the seller ‘who is desperate enough’ to sell it to you at the lowest price (profit margin)

Your statement is typical of one lacking in understanding business and economics, which generally equates to a starry eyed socialist.

It’s OK for ‘you’ to shop for the best deal in order for ‘you’ to keep as much money as you can, but when a business does it………bad capitalists.

Socialists are bad enough, but a socialist hypocrite……they’re the worst.

Posted by Joe3 | Report as abusive
 

This minimum wage issue brings back another issue that really frustrated my ability to understand. When the government gave out the consumer stimulus checks. Big business raised a stink because we weren’t spending the money. Instead most households paid down debt and put money in savings.

Some people made the argument that this would be a bad thing. So the government turned around and GAVE over 700 BILLION DOLLARS to the banks in order to “buy bad assets”, “monetize debt”, and such.

Now correct me if I’m just too dim to figure this one out. But if people were saving their stimulus checks and paying down debt, then doesn’t the increase in savings amount to a capital injection directly from the consumer base which is supposed to be the “back bone of the American economy”?. Doesn’t paying down consumer debt help clean a good amount of total debt off of bank balance sheets?

And no one has ever explained with any REAL CLARITY just how giving the banks all of that money while at the same time allowing all of that consumer debt remain on the books a good idea?

How is it a good idea that you get taxed to bail these wealthy, greedy, incompetents, out, while still holding the American consumer accountable for their debt regardless of the cause?

So as working people we are supposed to support the financial bailout of the wealthiest of the population, while the working/poor are held to account for their debt to the point of being evicted from their homes and having their community roots ripped out?

Is there some kind of trickle down benefit? With bankers and corporate insiders in such high positions of authority, I don’t think it’s “benefits” I feel trickling down.

 

In 2005 dollars, the Federal “real” minimum wage was at a high in 1968 and even then, it was 90% of poverty level for a family of four. In 2006, the real value was at the lowest level in 50 years amounting to $10,700 annually – nearly $6,000 less than the federal poverty line for a family of three.
Obviously, it hasn’t been the minimum wage that’s been responsible for the dying U.S. economy and we can reduce it to zero (that’s $0.00 per hour) and still not save the economy of this country. Meanwhile, the wealthy have been increasing their share of the total economy.
There’s a message here and it’s not to reduce or merely maintain the nearly worthless Federal minimum wage as a means of saving this country’s economy. To say otherwise is insane propaganda meant to make the wealth distribution skewed even more to the benefit of the few and the disaster of many.
We might as well open the borders to anyone in the world who wants to come here and work for nothing while Americans starve to death. As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what has been gradually happening except that those foreign workers don’t have to pony up transportation.

Posted by Ray | Report as abusive
 

Should we assume the author writes her columns for minimum wage, and is therefore an expert on the survivability of earning not enough to pay bills while being forced to compete with 3rd worlders who think $100 a month is big money?

Let’s toss in the “common wisdom” that folks in those countries are “frugal”…when you have no electricity, running water and eat rats bought at a local market, you don’t have money to spend. That’s not “frugal”…that’s destitute.

Let’s see somebody who only knows of hardship through 3rd parties try to survive under the conditions they’ve created. I give them odd of about a googleplex to one…against.

Posted by Brian Foulkro | Report as abusive
 

Hey Joe, You can call me what ever you want. That doesn’t change the fact that people can’t live on the money they earn. If calling me a “starry eyed socialist” and telling me I lack understanding is the best you’ve got, then it’s easy to see why we have so many homeless in the streets while so many homes go unoccupied

The problem I’ve identified is real. Your response provided nothing in the way of a solution or an explanation that makes the lot of the Samoan people any better.

Our financial system prioritizes money over people. This is a fatal systemic flaw that will ultimately result in massive human suffering (as it already has) and eventual failure.

Posted by Joe3
“It’s OK for ‘you’ to shop for the best deal in order for ‘you’ to keep as much money as you can, but when a business does it………bad capitalists.”

A shopper is not a business owner. When you shop you’re looking to make a purchase.

A business is supposed to provide a “valuable” service or commodity. These things cannot be produced by one individual and so requires the efforts of many. If as a business owner, you require the labor of many others, then by what logic do you consider it OK to rob American workers of their well deserved compensation and equate that to a person shopping for a good deal?

You shop for THINGS. People are not things to bought and sold. So what am I failing to understand that makes this “arrangement” so good?

 

The problem here is Government interefrence. The relationship between an employer and an employee is a private one that should be free of Gov’t intervention. It doesn’t matter if you feel I’m not making enough money at my job, it’s not up to you to determine how much money I make. It’s not up to you to elect officials to help me with my wages. You see the blighted, disadvantaged, less-fortunate Samoans and think “The Bad Companies are taking advantage of them! Something must be done!” Aren’t you insulting the Samoans by inferring they can’t take care of themselves? I’m sure before the tuna plants were even even built a wage structure that fit the local economy was put in place. If the Samoans accept their minimum wage, who are you to tell them they’re wrong? You sit thousands of miles away, across an ocean, and proclaim that YOU know best what these people need? You actually proclaim your own view of these free people: as backward savages, who, without your enlightened progressive policies to protect them, will be perpetually downtrodden by their own inability to deal with reality. Mr. Langkilde, who actually lives there, declares that the relation established between the people of Samoa and the tuna companies was a mutually beneficial one, until meddlers like yourself feel “something ought to be done.” Now look at the ruin you and those who think like you have brought upon the Samoans.

I’ll close with a quote:

“As soon as A observes something which seems to him to be wrong, from which X is suffering, A talks it over with B, and A and B then propose to get a law passed to remedy the evil and help X. Their law always proposes to determine….what A, B and C shall do for X.” But what about C? There was nothing wrong with A and B helping X. What was wrong was the law, and the indenturing of C to the cause. C was the forgotten man, the man who paid, “the man who never is thought of.” “He is the victim of the reformer, social speculator and philanthropist…” – William Graham Sumner as adapted by Amity Shlaes in her book, The Forgotten Man.

Posted by Alex P. | Report as abusive
 

So Alex,

It seems that you are saying, that if person X enters into an agreement to work for person Y, and person Y knowingly offers terms that benefit himself while at the same time exploiting person X, this is acceptable as long as person X doesn’t know there’s a better option. Is this correct?

It also seems that you’re saying that if one person sees another person suffering and attempts to help in some way, then they are wrong. And in the sense that passing blanket laws tend to cause more problems than they solve, I am in agreement with you.

The Samoans are entitled to a higher minimum wage by virtue of their American citizenship. We are by virtue of our constitution, created equal. And the Samoans are no less equal than you, me, or anyone else.

You make the argument that people who want to help the Samoans from here have no right to do so because we are insulting them.
That’s like saying that a woman being raped shouldn’t be saved from her attacker because you would be insulting her. If she can’t fight for herself then she deserves it.

The people of Samoa are being financially raped and all you’ve got to say is pretty much along the lines of “Mind your own business, if they can’t or won’t stand for themselves then who are you to speak up?”

God forbid the Samoans have the same level of financial freedom as any other hard working American group. And if one analyzes the arguments presented, it all goes back to the money.

How about the tuna company doing business in non-profit status? That would certainly solve the problem wouldn’t it? Give the Samoans ownership of the canneries, and allow them to keep the profits from the sales. Would that go over very well? Of course not!!

Business doesn’t want those people to control their own lives. They only want the Samoans to think they do. Paid slaves are still slaves. Only in this century, your masters don’t give you the lash. They simply deny you the cash. And leave you starve or fend for yourself as best you can. The fact that their thousands of miles away is the very reason they’re getting screwed. Out of sight, out of the collective mind.

 

So let me get this straight. In Samoa where the cost of living is considerably lower. Companies are exploiting people. While no one in the mainland of the US could live on only 4 bucks under the previously stated minimum wage, (Yes, I know it was less than $4. I rounded cause I can’t remember the exact change.) it doesn’t equate to exploitation. At my current salary of roughly 20 dollars an hour I am able to afford a fairly nice ranch house in the Atlanta metro area. Whereas, when I lived in Southern California that would barely have gotten me an apartment. Was I exploited while working in Southern Cali or is it just a difference in cost of living expenses? The same rule applies here with Samoa. Also if you only make minimum wage and have a family of 4. You are a loser! There is no reason in the world why one person who is the sole bread winner is working for minimum wage. Anyone with half a brain and even the slightest work ethic should be making well more than minimum wage after six months of combined work experiance in their lives. If they can’t then they obviously aren’t worth more than minimum wage. Go ahead, call me a hate monger, corporate puppet, or whatever you wish. You know I am right!

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive
 

Benny, I gotta tell you, you’ve obviously never run a business. You see, business don’t exist “to provide a service.” Businesses exist to “to provide a service FOR PROFIT.” It’s not easy to manage a business, and corporations don’t do it for charity. They do it in order to survive. You don’t work for free, do you? No, you work because you feel your time and effort are worth the paycheck that you receive. If you make $30,000 a year, you better bet that your efforts are worth more than $30,000 a year to your employer. If I can’t make a profit by hiring you, I WON’T HIRE YOU. Business leaders understand this, which is why 2,041 Samoans will now be out of a job. If you don’t think you’re getting paid enough, do more to earn more for your company. As you increase the price of labor, you make it more competitive to replace people with machines. The machines cost more upfront, but they don’t go on strike, or lobby for a higher minimum wage. Unfair? To you, maybe, but it’s reality, and it’s what’s fair to the business owner.
And by the way, PEOPLE are not things, but LABOR is. It’s a service you provide to your employer. And, in a free market, you are free to negotiate that price with your employer. Not making enough money? Convince your boss that you’re worth more, or quit. If that new car you want is too expensive, you can try to talk the dealer down, or walk away. He can’t force you to take delivery of the car at any arbitrary price he wants you to pay. Likewise, you can’t force an employer to pay his employees any arbitrary wage you want them to pay. Like the buyer at the car dealership, if the price is too high, they’ll walk away.
I don’t doubt your sincere interest in the welfare of your fellow man, but you must be able to understand second- and third-order effects of well-meant but poorly thought-out policies. Increasing the minimum wage simply drives low-skilled labor into unemployment.

And by the way, if you gave the cannery to the locals and let them keep “all the money” they made there, they’d probably be operating at a loss from day one and would bankrupt the cannery inside a year. If it was EASY to profitably run a business, more people would do it.

Posted by Ian | Report as abusive
 

The new cannery could have been built right next to the old one in American Somoa and could have been profitable – even at the mandated minimum wage. $3.5 x 200 = $7000 an hour in wages at the old. The new factory employees 200 so 200 x 7.55 = $1450 an hour, over $5500 in savings an hour. Government is needed to intervene on the peoples behalf, or else Capital(Business) would be allowed to turn the masses into serfs, commoners, and slaves – again! Businessmen are in business to make money, the most amount possible for the least amount paid out- they have to, it is the nature of businesses who are responsible to shareholders, stockholders, and board members. Of course Business is going to argue against any sort of Minimum wage – it cuts into their profits. If Business had more Patriotism, more loyalty to Nation and Citizens we wouldn’t be in this mess now would we? Why do we hold people to country loyalty,but then allow those same people (Who are citizens of America) to act so disloyal to our country and its constitution since the constitution starts with “We the people” not we busninessmen, lawyers, bankers, investors, lobbyists, or politicians. Wheres the loyalty to their fellow Americans?

 

Excellent post, Mr. Acosta!
Some conservatives should cut to the chase and announce that they prefer doing away with government entirely to revert to the “law of the jungle.” After all, if the most rapacious predators are good enough for nature and we’re a part of nature, then government insults nature. The ultimate libertarian philosophy!

Posted by Ray | Report as abusive
 

Ian,

Thank you for your post. This is exactly what I’m talking about. The central problem is that we think that earning your living revolves around money. We live in a society in which PROFIT is the ONLY ACCEPTABLE MOTIVATOR. This is the main issue I’m trying to bring to light.

Profit is the wrong motivator. Money is nothing more than a medium of exchange. However business and resource owners use money as a medium of control. People should not be forced to work for money.

And given the fact that the only value our money really has is the “good faith and credit of the United States Government”, it’s pretty easy to see that our money is actually worthless.

I have been advocating the automation of the US treasury and federal reserve. We have built wonderful tools specifically for the crunching of numbers.

The treasury and federal reserve have the job of producing our currency and then balancing the amount of it flowing in the system in order to maintain its value.

By nature money is supposed to be a limited resource which we used for the exchange of “stuff”. Profit is the act of accumulating this virtual resource. The idea being that the more you accumulate the more freedom you have to get what you want an need.

However, if money is supposed to be a limited resource and businesses are sucking this resource out of our collective system to the tune of billions every day, then how is the system supposed to be sustained? Simple, all of those that have accumulated the lions share of this virtual resource simply uses it as a medium of control. Then human beings stop being human beings and become nothing more than labor.

Profit as a motive is exactly what is wrong with the system. An automated treasury and reserve system that prioritizes all citizens as being equal, can distribute this resource equally while still maintaining the value of the dollar. (Free of political/personal financial concerns)

When all citizens have equal buying power, we are free as individuals to develop our own talents and abilities for the good of our communities and ourselves.

I’m not saying that we need to get rid of money. Only that the profit motive turns money into a means of control that can be exerted on other human beings. This is fine if you have the cash. But it’s unacceptable if you’re the one having to do all the crap work because you “need the money” meanwhile the business owner gets to do what they want. And why? Because they own.

What I am suggesting doesn’t devalue the dollar. All it does in decentralize human control and puts it in the hands of each citizen individually.

Human beings were not mean to live out their lives chasing money. You don’t have to run a business to know that human beings are not commodities. And it’s sad to see that there are people out there who still don’t get it. We have the ability to give every citizen a truly level playing field. With everyone sharing an income from our collective prosperity, YOU DON’T HAVE TO HIRE ME. Because I wouldn’t need your money. And you would have to pay me.

And now that this kind of thing is being talked about the “conditioned workers” and the money lovers try desperately to justify the subjugation of their fellows by saying that that’s just the way the system works. And somehow that statement is supposed to make it all OK.

 

And thank you Ray :-)

 

This author never ceases to amaze me. This mind set has really turned me back into a democrat … which is too bad because for a while there i was all about conservative values of self-reliance and responsibility. However, now that i know democrats aren’t oppose to those values … I kinda just see right-wing rhetoric as ‘if your not rich its your own damn fault’ and ‘God helps those who help themselves’.

So the real irony is that if you are poor and you want to be rich and you risk it all and make it big … conservatives love you. Welcome aboard! But, if you are poor and you just want to be not quite as poor … they hate you because they feel you are gaming the system at their expense. That 50 cent raise came out of their pockets. How dare you want more! If you want it then to pick yourself up by your own boot straps (like all of us did (they think they call came from poverty too)! More ironically, you asked for the raise so you might feed all those children from pregnancies you couldn’t afford but they made you carry anyway.

Well i recant some of my views on her. I actually agree with her in letting states determine minimum wage. Diana, we are in total agreement there. And we also share the common view that Mississippi and New York falling under the same minimum-wage standard is ridiculous.

But thats where are agreements stop? Because unlike you Diana, I don’t think exploitation is a win-win. How about an honest days wage for an honest days work? And that wage can be geo dependent … but it should put shoes on the kids feet no matter where it is. What about an economic system whose goal it is to serve humanity through innovation and incentives rather then serve its few oligarch masters through the creation and protection of astronomical wealth? What if the wealthiest most compensated people where those who created new companies and innovations rather then those who managed money.
What if the premium was on economic value and not on wealth but value?

Last point … Diana … when are you going to write an article about executive compensation? When all these big fortune 500 companies where in there hay-day, 50years ago for many of them, the average CEO compensation was between 20x and 40x that of the average worker. In 2008 (a bad year) according to Forbes the average CEO compensation of the S&P 500 was 10.8 million thats 250x the salary of the average American making (40k per year). I wonder if the maximum-wage also has an adverse economic effect?

Posted by Juls | Report as abusive
 

“This author never ceases to amaze me.”

And the ignorance of liberals never ceases to amaze me.

“the real irony is that if you are poor and you want to be rich and you risk it all and make it big … conservatives love you.”

And the liberal dems will hate you, because they just lost a voter. Why do you think they keep promoting policies that actually HURT the poor, such as the subject at hand- minimum wage? They do not want them to rise out of poverty. They want them to keep them poor so they can keep collecting their votes. See this link (esp. the video)- http://tinyurl.com/qml6l8

“More ironically, you asked for the raise so you might feed all those children from pregnancies you couldn’t afford but they made you carry anyway.”

While I am personally not in favor of criminalizing abortion (though I am morally against it), your argument has numerous flaws. 1st, no one “made” any one get pregnant to start with. 2nd, no one “made” anyone keep a child they can’t afford to care for. The waiting list of financially capable couples who can’t conceive & want to adopt is a mile long.

“I don’t think exploitation is a win-win.”

No one is putting a gun to any employee’s head to make them work. They WANT the jobs or they wouldn’t be working there.

“How about an honest days wage for an honest days work?”

That is exactly what they get in a free-market economy, you just don’t want to admit it because it doesn’t fit your ideals. If a group of people were TRULY underpaid, then a competitor could come in and steal them away by paying slightly higher wages & still make a good profit.

“when are you going to write an article about executive compensation”

Companies should be allowed to pay whatever they want in a free-market. If they really pay “too much”, then their competitors will eat their lunch by undercutting their profits and put them out of business. Free-market discipline is ruthlessly efficient.

Posted by Dale | Report as abusive
 

The problem with the profit motive is two-fold. First, it forces all companies to be as dishonest as the most dishonest in their area. If your tuna competitor is hiring cheap labor in a foreign country, then you, too, have to hire cheap labor in a foreign country, or they’ll sell their product for less than you and get more sales, and then their stock will go up higher, too, and more people will invest in them because they do better.

Second, it creates a positive feedback loop, where some profit can be used to exploit the government and manipulate legislation to favor certain companies by providing subsidies. Only the largest companies could possibly afford to buy these subsidies, raising the barrier to entry for your average business.

When an Honest Businessman can’t make a living without cheating someone, there must be something terribly wrong. Of course the Honest Businessman would like to pay his employees enough wages for them to buy a house, own a car, put their kids through college. Of course he wants to provide the best health insurance, company picnics, and the like. But he’s small business owner, and he doesn’t get corporate tax cuts and subsidies like his competitors. He can’t afford to offshore his labor costs. And so he is provided with a terrible choice – cheat and prosper, or struggle while maintaining your integrity.

Posted by DCX2 | Report as abusive
 

Dale,

You make the argument that no one is putting a gun to to the people of Samoa to make them work there. They are obviously working there because they want the jobs.

And on the surface that seems like a logical argument. But the Samoan islands don’t really have much in the way of resources, and unless those people wish to continue living in their traditional manner, they will need money in order to buy the modern conveniences in life.

The only way to get this money is (A). Go into business for yourself, and (B) Get a job. You can also turn to crime if you don’t have any moral problems with it.

Do the Samoans have an educational system that teaches the concepts of entrepreneurship and basic finance? If they have no access to the know how to open a businesses then that leaves getting a job or turning to crime.

Do the Samoans REALY have a choice when it comes to working in the canneries? Not really. Most Samoans have probably lost a lot of the skills needed for living in the old ways. Money is survival. Paying employees just enough to pay their bills and keep them coming back to work for more, is basically slavery.

In the mainland we have highly educated slaves to be sure. But as long as you HAVE TO go to work, you are a slave.

Think about it this way. How do you want your children to live? Do you want your sons and daughters to have to spend the best years of their lives chasing after money? Perhaps your child has the cure for AIDS, Cancer, or the secret to free energy locked in their little minds. But because they aren’t free from the domination of this financial system, those gifts, insights, skills, and advances will never be known. Think abortion is bad? How about watching the gifts and talents of your children wither and die before your eyes as educational institutions who need to produce good “workers” drug your children because their “over active imaginations” “disrupt the class”. Watch their potential be stomped out as they are processed in an “educational” system that teaches them the “reality” that getting a good job is the only way to make a “success” of themselves. Consider how an assembly line works and you will see many parallels in our public school systems.

Do you want the “success” of your children to be viewed simply in monetary terms. Or would you rather have your children recognized for the gifts and talents they naturally have and were assisted in cultivating to such high levels?

Government and businesses downplay arts and humanities in education while emphasizing math and science. The arts and humanities produce thinkers. Governments and businesses both HATE thinkers. Thinkers are the ones that ask questions like “even though we can do something, does it mean we should?” And while such voices do exist in this place, there are not nearly enough of us.

So far pro-business arguments have been angry in their tone, but have not answered the question of human exploitation. They have argued that this is a complex issue but have not answered the question of why such complexity should result in human suffering when the system in trouble involves an asset which has no real value.

They can’t answer the question of why the only thing in this system that actually has value (the citizen), is the one being tossed aside at the expense of paper that has no worth in and of itself? Pro-business and pro-money arguments are unable to answer these questions meaningfully because they place no real value on the human being. You are just a means. You are to be enslaved for the sake of achieving and end. And the end is money for the sake of money.

 

And I hope that there are young readers reading these posts. This is mostly for your generation. Take a good look at the system you are about to enter into. Yours are the next generation of butts the politicians will start kissing and business is sucking up to.

If you’re in your early to mid 20′s. Seriously consider the preceding posts. They speak to your future. Think about it carefully before you get too enmeshed in this financial system. Consider what direction you want YOUR country to move in. And make your voices known. Or those of mine and my parents generation will keep doing the same dumb crap.

 

Here’s a writer who regards Venezuela as our enemy. This isn’t an objective article, it’s slanted around an ideology. Where is the comparison to other island nations in the Pacific? How are they doing with exploitation?

I don’t think this issue is quite as simple as this writer would have you believe. If industries paid workers their true worth, instead of exploiting them for maximum profit and indefensible administrative salaries, there probably wouldn’t be a need for minimum wage laws. Neither do large, disproportionate income disparities make for strong economies and societies.

What holds true for Samoa doesn’t automatically apply to the U.S., which has a much broader economy, so the author’s statement is verifiably false. Nor does this example ipso facto condemn minimum wage laws, but it does suggest we need to be careful how they are applied.

Posted by wilywascal | Report as abusive
 

Replying to May 18th, 2009 10:56 pm GMT – Posted by Dale
There are no saints on either side of employer-employee relations. However, there are inumerable examples of employer exploitation in the american past that need to be constantly reminded to the present generation like the infamous scrip or the Ludlow massacre of April 20th, 1914. Given half a chance, many US companies will fall back to the times when it was possible for them to pay their workers with credit-only for use at the company store. It is really hard to leave the place you work for when debt will be haunting you everywhere you go, whether it’s in the mainland USA or the far away islands of the Pacific.
Being paid between $2.75/hour and $4.50/hour when living in US territory should be unnacceptable anyway: the islands are of extreme strategic importance – both commercially and militarily – and have been highly profitable any way you see it. The islanders who speak English have kept a good degree of american culture-style living and with it help assert American proprietoryship over the territory. They’re in far better shape than their Western Samoa’s counterpart and they know it. But still, it needs A LOT of improvement. One can argue that the chronic mismanagement has sunk many millions of dollars into the islands, and perhaps it’s a good thing for American Samoa that the canneries leave the island, after all: they’ve lobbied to maintain a cheap workforce for a long time. Those companies get tremendous tax breaks as it is and that’s why one of them settled in Georgia. They’re given money to be there by government, so in the end, the paltry salaries are paid, not by the canneries, but by the government, in my opinion. If companies have grown accustomed to tax breaks and other government perks to keep their operations in the state, then I think their business model is flawed to begin with and deserves to fail. Private entrepreneurship shouldn’t be asking for government handouts to make a profit. Either way, the number of people dependent on state and government assistance will not have diminished: very low wages still keep employees dependent on assistance.
I’m of the opinion that the commercial viability of the islands is very dependent on the laws governing sea and air shipping. If those laws have changed to benefit imports from abroad, it may very well have dented the ability for A. Samoa to make a profit out of traditional industries such as fishing and canning. It’s going to be interesting digging through some of it, out of curiosity. That is one positive thing brought about Roth-Furchtgott’s opinions, and I thank the author for it.
The Times.com has some very interesting articles about American Samoa that range from the early 20th century to today.

Posted by SG | Report as abusive
 

Translating the bs into English:

Corporations were shipping jobs from the mainland US to Samoa to avoid paying minimum wage. When Congress stopped them from doing that, they stopped shipping some of those jobs there.

Posted by Disgusted and Appalled | Report as abusive
 

http://americansamoa.gov/news08/Letter-t o-US-Senator-Inouye.pdf

Another interesting reading and no talk of minimum wage here.

Posted by SG | Report as abusive
 

First to CD Walker,

Check your math. 3.5 x 200 = 700 not 7000. Being such the company will actually spend twice (x2) as much 1450 than they do under the current system. Thus costing them 750 and hour not saving them the over 5500 you claim.

Second to Mr Acosta,

Sir will you please explain to me how and why it is you feel and think that the wages I work for should go to someone who is unwilling to work? I don’t like people or Government stealing that which I have worked for. In this case a fair wage. Your comments that everyone should benefit from our collective prosperity. Sir there is no collective prosperity unless you take from the producers and give to the non-producers. Sorry, but socialism and Marxism do not work. Look at the Soviet Union for example. No one has the right to take what I earn and redistribute it to others. Plain and simple that is THEFT! Giving to those who don’t produce will only lead to a lack of desire to produce. If I get 3,000 for not working and 3,000 for working why work? If I don’t work nothing is produced. Common prosperity and the GDP of this Nation is now 0 and the 3,000 I get each month is only useful as toilet paper. (Please interpret the previous I as the people of this Nation.)

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive
 

Micheal, in response to your question.

“Sir will you please explain to me how and why it is you feel and think that the wages I work for should go to someone who is unwilling to work? I don’t like people or Government stealing that which I have worked for. In this case a fair wage. Your comments that everyone should benefit from our collective prosperity. Sir there is no collective prosperity unless you take from the producers and give to the non-producers. Sorry, but socialism and Marxism do not work. Look at the Soviet Union for example. No one has the right to take what I earn and redistribute it to others. Plain and simple that is THEFT!”

Sir. The reason I feel as I do Is because I do not regard money as anything more than a medium of exchange. The ideas expressed in your question reflect the level of conditioning we have all been brought up with since childhood.

Fore example your statement of “I don’t like people or Government stealing that which I have worked for.”

That’s my point. Why are you working for money? What dreams did you give up in your life? What skills did you have to let wither and die in order to develop the skills needed to be “where the money is”? Are you living the life you always dreamed you would? Are you having the kind of impact in peoples lives that gives you a sense of fulfillment and personal value? These are the most important questions to ask. Because in the end no one cares how much money you make. It’s about who you’ve touched and what kind of mark you’ve left on the world.

The only reason your money is important to you is because you wouldn’t be able to live a comfortable life without it. But comfort is not the purpose of living. You have a mind. You have skills. You have the ability to be creative and produce things that benefit everyone. But instead your masters teach you the “how” “of getting things done” so that YOU can do it. While the people that own everything you work on and for, get to live their lives as they please, unhindered by lack of money. As you would be if you stopped working.

Not everyone values money in this way. And to be sure those people who have made the great technological advances in our society didn’t care about money as a medium of control the way the rest of society does. They only cared about money in terms of being able to live in society. If you don’t have to spend all of your time chasing the money you need to purchase your needs and wants, you can actually focus on helping your fellow man without bothering with financial considerations.

Imagine what a skilled doctor could do if he/she didn’t have to worry about the patient having the money to pay. Imagine how much red tape gets cut out of real problems when the profit factor is removed.

No human being is supposed to work FOR money. Money is suppose to SERVE US in our pursuits. We are intelligent enough creatures to figure out how to do this while benefiting everyone. The idea here is a fundamental shift in thinking. If one works for excellence in ones chosen field as opposed to profit, then the money would still be there to help someone else develop their own excellence. One should work to produce RESULTS. Money is not results.

And please understand that we already take from the producers and give to the non-producers. Producers are the working class. They get taxed to the brink of poverty. The non-producers are the owners. They evade taxation and get lots of help from the government to do it. The only thing they “produce”, is more work for YOU to do FOR THEM.

 

Michael sorry about misspelling your name in the last post.

 

Consider this “dirty” idea of equal distribution of wealth. We’ve been taught that it’s not a good idea based on the argument that it would reward the few people who actually do the work and that the rest of society would simply lay idle collecting money for doing nothing.

This idea assumes that you as a person are intellectually incapable of deciding for yourself just what it is you’d like to do with your life. It also makes the assumption that what ever you choose to do with your life will be a waste of resources because you don’t have the intelligence to carry it out. Is this how you as a working person see yourself? If you didn’t have to worry about having a steady income, would return to your 9 to 5? Or would you find something to do with your life that puts your best talents to use?

If everyone had their own individual stream of income based on national GDP, wouldn’t that give the government and business minded people an incentive to invest in the education and development of every citizen? After all, if every citizen has equal buying power then every citizen counts and is an important member of society. Now investment in human potential becomes central to our national development. We would truly be a country of free citizens. It would also help control illegal immigration because only citizens would be entitled to an equal share in GDP. Which means if you’re hear illegally you can still make a living but it would be under the older employer/employee relationship. This would give immigrants an incentive do what ever they need to do to meet the qualifications of becoming a citizen and contributing to the common good.

Also with everyone sharing equally in wealth, businesses would not need the hassles of investment banks to raise capital for their enterprises. There would be no need for complex financial instruments. All they would need is enough people who share the same goal to contribute a small portion of their incomes to the effort. This gives every worker a vested interest in the company. And if a person decides to leave the company that person still has their own income stream to see them through. Without the bind of profit, people of skill and know how, can do what they do best, and raise the quality of life for everyone around them. People can focus on being respected. Being known for the good they have done.

Think about prisons. We would still have criminals to be sure. But with each one having their own income, they can pay for their own incarceration and maintenance. Correctional facilities can finally, truly focus on correction, instead of just warehousing people in cages.

Think about hospitals, schools, clinics, police forces, and fire brigades. All self sufficient. Requiring only willing human participants which automatically bring the financing needed.

Our social structure would change dramatically, and there would certainly be some new dynamics in place. But it seems to me that any reasonable person would consider this ideological direction to have a great deal of merit over the current system.

 

Consider the following video if you are wondering if the “powers that be” are attempting to retain control of the system. As soon as a very important point was being made, the person making it was interupted and the subject was changed.

http://www.foxnews.com/video/index.html? playerId=videolandingpage&streamingForma t=FLASH&referralObject=5036977&referralP laylistId=playlist

 

To Michael

The cannery in Somoa employed 2000 people at $3.5 an hour, sooooo $3.5 x 2000 = $7000 an hour . If you couldn’t remember the actual number from the article maybe you don’t have the mental capacity to be writing in this section and debating since facts escape you only a few moments after reading them.
It matters not where the cannery is built, the minimum wage in America’s territories is being raised to the $7.55 level. The new cannery uses newer equipment, thus reducing the work force to 200, from 2000, a difference of 1800 people. SOoooo 200 x $7.55 = $1450 per hour. $7000 – $1450 = $5550 in savings, per hour.
Now, $7.55 x 40(hours) = $302 a week before taxes! only $1208 a MONTH! and this number is before taxes are taken out. How much is a monthly house payment on a $150,000 home on a 30 year term with a (extraordinary) 5% per year is $805.23 a month at Bankrate.com
What happened to the days when bosses and business in general gave Christmas bonuses? What happened to those days when a Businessman, or a Banker, had a sense of patriotism, a sense of loyalty, a sense of civic duty to America and their fellow citizens? What happened to that class all business school students must take called Ethics 101?
The move of the cannery from Somoa to Georgia had absolutely nothing to do with minimum wage, moving to Georgia immediately bumped the wage up to the 6 dollar range, no, the real reason is simply business as usual. The company knew it would get grief from the locals and local government if it reduced the cannery work force from 2000 to 200. It would be better to just pack up and leave a cannery I doubt anyone will buy and use to employ anyone. The company saved money building the cannery in Georgia because i’m sure Georgia gave tax breaks as an incentive, plus shipping material to build the cannery would be cheaper over land as opposed to the sea.
It was a great Business decision. But the greater questions; is what is good for business good for America, its economy, its environment, its government, and its people?

 

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