America’s wage crisis

By Richard L. Trumka and Christine L. Owens
June 25, 2013

Representatives of Providian Staffing offer positions to job seekers in Los Angeles, California, May 31, 2012. Employers REUTERS/David McNew

Working families are suffering today in a wage crisis. Job quality is eroding, the ranks of low-wage workers are expanding and income inequality in America is downright shameful.

Ironically, Tuesday, June 25, marks the 75th anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the landmark New Deal legislation mandating a federal minimum wage that now applies to most work, and most workers, in the United States. Originally set at 25 cents, the minimum wage has risen occasionally since 1938 to its current hourly level of $7.25, where it has been since 2009.

The minimum wage isn’t what it once was. When the minimum wage was roughly half the average wage, in the late 1960s, full-time, year-round minimum wage earnings for one worker lifted a family of three from poverty. Not anymore. Today, a minimum wage worker lives on $3,000 less than the poverty line — and the minimum wage is worth only 37 percent of the average wage.

If the minimum wage had just kept pace with inflation since 1969, it would be around $10.70 today. If it had kept up with productivity growth, it would be $18.72. Meanwhile, if it matched the wage growth of the wealthiest 1 percent, it would be $28.34.

While the value of the minimum wage has fallen — thanks largely to congressional inaction for long stretches of time — the wealthiest 1 percent are doing quite well, thank you. Their real earnings have skyrocketed 275 percent over the past 30 years.

While the value of the minimum wage was falling, so was the quality of low-wage workers’ jobs. Wages grew and hours increased across the board between 1979 and 2007 — but hours increased the most and wages the least for the lowest income workers. The share of workers in “good jobs”– paying more than $37,000 a year and providing healthcare and retirement benefits — fell even though the average age and education level of workers rose.

The 2008 economic collapse and the recent recession cost America decent middle-class jobs. The cost has proved steep and lasting. Most job growth now —  and six in 10 jobs expected to be added over the next decade — are in low-wage fields.

So as we look back over the years since the Fair Labor Standards Act passed, and compare the wage and job quality erosion for lower income workers to the good fortune of the wealthiest — we should be ashamed. U.S. income inequality is greater today than in any other developed nation on earth and exceeds that of many developing countries. Worse, the Congressional Budget Office projects U.S. income inequality will continue to grow through at least 2034.

The bottom line is that working families are paying the price for America’s neglect of basic wage standards. The decline in the minimum wage accounts for more than half of the inequality that has emerged between the lowest-paid workers and those in the middle over the past 30 years, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Fortunately, the solution to this part of the wage crisis is simple: Fix the minimum wage. Raise it, boost the guaranteed rate for tipped workers (frozen at a scandalous $2.13 since 1991), and index the overall wage to the cost of living.

This would accomplish several urgent and important priorities at once. It rewards work; gives consumers — also known as workers — money to spend; and best of all, doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime.

President Barack Obama supports a minimum wage increase. So do congressional Democrats. The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, sponsored by Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Representative George Miller (D-Calif.), would raise the minimum wage over time to $10.10 an hour, restore the guaranteed tipped rate to 70 percent of the minimum and index the overall rate to rise annually.

The Harkin-Miller bill doesn’t make up all the ground the minimum wage has lost. But it makes up a good deal of it. It would benefit 30 million workers, pump $32 billion into the economy and add 140,000 new jobs — all without increasing the national deficit.

America’s wage crisis threatens working families who make impossible choices every day — choices between paying for light or food or rent. The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 alone won’t end that crisis, but boosting wages for those who have lost the most is an important step toward rebuilding a strong economy on the foundation of good jobs with decent wages for all who want and need to work.

In the richest nation in the world, it is the least we can do.

 

PHOTO (Insert A): President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938. REUTERS/Library of Congress

PHOTO (Insert B): Riveter during the Great Depression. Courtesy Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

PHOTO (Insert C): Workers filling out unemployment claims during the Great Depression. Courtesy Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.

 

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24 comments

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Long term US Census household income data (table H17) shows that households are becoming more prosperous over the long haul.

If you do a simple grouping of household incomes into 3 groups, low = under 25k/yr, middle = 25k to 100k/yr, and high = over 100k/yr (data is normalized to constant 2010 dollars) and look at the 3 groups over time, you’ll see a very clear trend. In 1967, 30% of households were in the lower income group, 55% were in the middle income group, and 6% were in the higher income group. Fast forward to 2010, and 25% of households were in the lower income group, 42% were in the middle income group, and 20% were in the higher income group. Lower and middle income households are becoming higher income households.

Posted by jambrytay | Report as abusive

Congress hasn’t reacted to a minimum wage increase because the corporations don’t want them to – unless of course it’s to eliminate the minimum wage laws altogether.

Posted by JL4 | Report as abusive

I find it hard to believe so many half truths and so much misinformation can be present in such a brief outburst from only two authors.

“Working families are suffering today…”. Hey people, today “families” aren’t, for the most part, “down on the farm” where everyone has chores. No, the “new standard is that the little princes and princesses have a “right to childhood” and so contribute little, if any, to the well being of the family.

After WW II, if not before, each additional child became an additional burden on the family income. When there is “not enough” income one could also say there are “too many children”. Choices have consequences.

If children are “arriving unexpectedly”, unless there is an unexpected birth of triplets or quadruplets, someone is an idiot. There is a higher percentage of large families in the lowest income groups, so, DUH, maybe there’s a relation between these two “choices”?

If someone could go back in time and put forth the idea of “income equality” to America’’s founding fathers they would have laughed out loud. They knew that such an idea would stifle the very persistance and determination to survive, come what may, this nation’s citizens would need to achieve a bountiful and civilized society from coast to coast.

The minimum wage was never intended to lift a family of three from poverty with one person working. If a couple is “in poverty”, then BOTH work until they aren’t “in poverty” and have accrued enough education and money “put back” for a downpayment on a car and a house, and THEN have raised their collective income to the point of considering having ONE child. It’s called “social responsibility”. Don’t have children and expect society at large to pay for YOUR CHOICE.

Inflation in the U.S. is a CHOICE by our government to steal from the future to pay government expenses of today. America never paid it’s debt run up during WW II. It just inflated the American Dollar subsequently such that the purchasing power of that debt became inconsequential. This ongoing financial “shell game” that fleeces mostly seniors who are no longer able to negotiate raises or work more hours or “stay healthy” of a dignified retirement. So an irresponsible government begats irresponsible citizens.

It is entirely logical that the least educated, least skilled and least motivated of us wind up in the jobs the rrest of us pass up. You want something better, prepare for it and EARN it.

“The 2008 economic collapse and the recent recession cost America decent middle-class jobs.” No, it didn’t. Globalization has let all who wish to “fish in the economic pond” of the United States. So it has become a “better deal” that Japan and Asia and Mexico and South America make manufactured items like TVs, cell phones, computers, cars, etc. at lower labor rates that improve the lives of their peoples. You have to compare alternatives…once all China made was soldiers, guns and bullets to fight us in Korea. Today they produce things that benefit the whole world and have an economic stake in world peace.

During “ The 2008 economic collapse and the recent recession…” American management took the opportunity to look long and hard at how they did things. They reached the entirely logical conclusion to restructure their processes such that more and more could be done by those with little education and skills 100% within two weeks “on the job”. These can be part time jobs, which need not offer “benefits”, for which there is great demand.

Only a Socialist could come up with the concept of the “quality” of a job. There is no such thing as a “job”. There is only a “need”, which is DEFINED by the employer. Take it or leave it. And in those states with economies that are growing, employment is AT WILL. When the need ends, the worker is back “on the street”.

When necessary, a twenty hour worker can be offered up to 39 hours of work without the necesity of paying overtime. THAT’s efficient, and such workers have NOTHING to do with the dollar productivity increases that result.

Raise the minimum wage and all that will happen is to accelerate the rate at which humans are replaced by automated process. The “new normal” is that millions of clerks, low and middle management, secretaries, draftsmen, etc. that used to be solid middle-class positions “with a future” are gopne. These weren’t outsourced, but, for the most part, have been replaced by computers and related software that multiplies the abilities and output of the person at the keys. America needs less and less people to do what needs be done.

As the “richest nation in the world” America needs to pay close attention to staying on top of the greasy pole, and the only time it was EVER possible to have “…a strong economy on the foundation of good jobs with decent wages for all who want and need to work…” was WW II. That unique situation in history will never occur again!

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

This is by far the biggest piece of trash article ever written. Have you ever taken a course in economics? I’m going to guess by the article that the authors of this majored in liberal arts, or at least slept thru any economics classes they might have had.

First and foremost, what do you think happens to basic commodity prices when you raise the minimum wage? In the long run, it’s the lower class that suffers from a minimum wage increase. Most places locally have either cut staff entirely or reduced them to part-time as part of Obamacare already– factor in fast food minimum wage increases and the prices of everything on the menu have gone up ($1 Wendy’s bacon cheeseburger? Try $1.50 now).

What do you think happens to small businesses who don’t have a lot of money to throw around? Mom and pop shops who used to hire high school kids can no longer afford it. Sure, you really stick it to those select few who turn a decent profit; that must make you feel really good at night knowing you made them take home a few dollars less. But what about the majority of struggling businesses?

Lastly, do you really want to keep a whole group of people uninspired to do better? If an associates degree can net you a job paying $10-15/hour, what’s the point of getting one if the minimum wage is $10? Where’s the motivation?

This kind of short sighted journalism is oblivious to economics is exactly what will destroy the middle and lower class. Of course, that doesn’t matter to the authors of this article, because they are both upper class.

Posted by NorthernLight | Report as abusive

There is no benefit of any minimum wage law. The whole concept is bogus. If it were a good idea why not carry it to its logical conclusion and set the minimum wage at 1000.00 per hour and thus end poverty in America? Anybody think that will work?

Posted by zotdoc | Report as abusive

@zotdoc: Exactly! Let’s just make it a law that everyone must have insurance while we’re at it; because the people who don’t have it are doing it on purpose.

One democratic senator said the minimum wage should be $20/hour, totally straight-faced. C’mon lawmakers, make it illegal for corporations to have a profit– make it illegal for anyone to own multiple business types– make it illegal for anyone to quit their job or be fired already! Pfft sound reasonable logic, what has that done for us lately?

Posted by NorthernLight | Report as abusive

The number of people who buy into the idea that if we impose on corporations in any way, shape or form, we’re cutting off our noses to spite our faces are either 70 years or older or 25 years old or younger, and are not keeping tabs on what corporations, banks, Wall Street, Congress, lobbyists, et al are doing to the American economy.

The “Glory Years of the Middle-Class” saw a steady rise in minimum wage. Companies valued loyal workers, promoted from within for a job well-done, gave raises at year-end evalutations, and considered benefits as “benefits”, (as opposed to “obligations”), to attract the best and brightest workers and build a strong corporate structure. Today, they send those jobs overseas, hire 2 part-time workers so they can avoid “benefits” and any overtime pay.

What corporations used to get at a minimum for their investment(for all you under 30′ers out there) was that you had to get up on time, show up on time, not call in sick every other day, not email, text, FB, IM or make personal phone calls during working hours. When you worked well and intelligently, meeting the standards of the company, you were rewarded for that.

For you over 70′ers out there, things have changed. Your “Ritchie Cunningham” idealism went out about 20 years ago and you haven’t kept up – or if you have, you advocate employment practices that net YOU more income at the cost of everything and everyone else.

Minimum wage used to go up with the cost of living – maybe not in lock-step, but close enough so that people who were working full time didn’t have to apply for food stamps to feed their families.

And the traditional family is over. June Cleaver no longer wears her pearls at the kitchen sink, Jim, the father in Father Knows Best might play the lead in the new family sitcom: Father Might Know Best if He Were Still Around.

There aren’t any more truly viable family farms anymore, Think Monsanto.

Think Smithfield, one of the top producers of pork in the world, about to be bought out by the Chinese.

Think Walmart, whose many, many employees are forced to get food stamps because they can’t earn above minimum wage.

So get your heads out of your Disney-esque a$$es and take a look at what’s happening in and to the real world – not the one you remember, or the one your mommy told you it would be because you’re so special.

Posted by JL4 | Report as abusive

@JL4 Do you know how a business runs? Not on unicorn farts or Disney dreams. Are you aware of how competitive anyone has to be to survive in a global economy? You’re damned right it’s not 20 years ago– 20 years ago the business world was easier with less regulations and less competition.

If the workers of Walmart don’t want to collect food stamps they can go to college or re-analyze what they are doing with their life and where they want to be in 10 years. Those people without a plan generally work minimum wage, and that is due to their own self flagellation.

Posted by NorthernLight | Report as abusive

Tell Me, OneOfTheSheep, how would McDonald’s outsource their service workers (the minimum wage earners)?
Right, they can’t. And who are the customers of McDonald’s? Right again, it’s minimum wage workers! so the argument from our resident econ “genius”, Northern “Light” is that a higher wage for almost all the customers of McDonald’s would hurt it’s business because less than 5% of the business costs are employees earning minimum wage? Looks like another Economics/business school victim to me. It can’t work, eventually! In the mean time, until eventually comes, it will work. As if you cannopt afford a burger that is 1.50$ if you are paying 1$. the reality is that that burger would be more like 1.03$ to adjust to the costs.

GET REAL

Posted by Benny27 | Report as abusive

@zotdoc, the problem with your logical conclusion is that the minimum wage was never meant to be logical economics concept. Rather, it is a necessary government tool meant to ensure some level of base wage earning ability and (dare I say it?) base income equality for the citizens of the country. Without this tool, businesses would continue to operate solely for the benefit of their shareholders (who value benefits to themselves over benefits to the broader society, of course … capitalism, you know), which means operating at the continued expense of their workers (ever-decreasing wages).

Until we can incorporate some “moral” societal component into basic economic theory, the minimum wage will remain a necessary government-mandated societal obligation.

I’ve always found fundamental economic theory to be somewhat clunky. To asume that “if some is good, then more must be better” has always been a laughable “logical” conclusion. It’s the old “100% antifreeze in the engine coolant system is better than 50% antifreeze … right?”.

Posted by VirtualThumb | Report as abusive

Benny27: A victim of a school that makes you study economic indicators, history, the effect of government policies while attempting to maintain some kind of buoyancy for your company– I guess you could say I’m a “victim” of that. I have only one request of you, and it’s an intellectual request so I suspect it will go unaddressed: Do you honestly believe a corporation would just “eat the cost” of a wage hike? Accept smaller operating margins? Use your critical thinking skills (I know you have them in there somewhere), and do the math. The supply chain is more than just the end product– from the workers in the fields to the shippers and distributors, the ingredients each take up their own additional cost multiplied 2-3 times for each minimum bump you add to the supply chain.

VirtualThumb: You are suggesting we bump the minimum wage so that it enforces altruism and people are paid well? This money that is coming from somewhere, where do you think it will appear from? If you accuse the CEO and his friends of being corrupt morale absent people, what makes you think they will do anything other than transfer the cost to someone or something else? (i.e. the consumer, which as Benny27 points out, is generally the lower class, or the stock holders?). There is no economic principle that says if some is good than more is better. To which theory of economic law that I support are you referring to? I hope it’s not Keynesian economics…

Posted by NorthernLight | Report as abusive

NorthernLight,
I told you they would raise the price of a hamburger to 1.03 from 1.00 to cover costs, can you read?

I guess I hit the nail on the head. Economics is not even history. Forgive me, because I was schooled in the Sciences, so I have trouble confusing half-baked guesses and biases about what human nature is (ie. man is rational…really?), with reality. Economics does not accurately describe the real world, which would explain why the theories are useless for making predictions, until after the crises have occurred. Then you can write an academic paper about how you could have guessed that all along….but didn’t.

My family has three businesses. I don’t need a lecture from a robot free market enthusiast about the way the economy works. If my business was selling cheap products to relatively poor people, then I would be an IDIOT if I didn’t want an increase in minimum wage, thus increasing my costs incrementally, and my potential income from sales by orders of magnitude. Do the math again, I think you will see it works.

Posted by Benny27 | Report as abusive

Hi Benny27,

Missed you! “Tell Me, OneOfTheSheep, how would McDonald’s outsource their service workers (the minimum wage earners)?
Right, they can’t.” I never mentioned McDonald’s or speculated as t o how to “outsource” their employees.

I said: “Raise the minimum wage and all that will happen is to accelerate the rate at which humans are replaced by automated process.” Back in the 1940′s in New York City there was the “Automat” where you could put money in a machine and get fresh food.

The technology available today has made possible a free-standing unattended container-sized vending machine that sells ice in my little town. Periodically someone comes by with more ice or to take the money and replace the change. It’s not rocket science to design a similar process for MacDonald’s.

There might be a large free-standing unattended automated MacDonalds Kiosk could connect to a person in an office in another state and take your order (just like today). You can swipe your credit card and get a receipt, or get change back from bills.

They put your order into their computer. In the windowless box next too you the components of your Big Mac, fries, and coke are brought together, cooked as necessary (to order), wrapped and bagged to drop into a little compartment you raise the door to get. Locations with significant “peak business” will have multiple lanes for pick-up. There will be condiments “authorized” according to your purchase…so many salt, pepper, hot sauce, etc. with “extra” overrides possible when you place your order.

With no “interior dining” (which generates little actual income), no wifi, no inside mess to clean up, most wrappings and leftovers taken elsewhere, the only people employed are those that keep the machines clean and humming reliably (third party contract maintenance that comes with the machine), bring change and take cash out (bonded third party contract truck driver), bring fresh ingredients (truck driver) and pick up trash several times a day (third party service).

Each such human will service many such locations or machines, and probably earn perhaps 10% over minimum wage based on the efficiency with which they get around and the sufficiency with which they do that is expected. They will likely be private contractors who bid against each other for the work, hard workers in all weather with no benefits, no overtime, no way to move up and no pension when they can no longer work.

There will even be those who will take your order and go to the kiosk for whatever food, laundry, etc. you want so you don’t have to call a taxi, own a car, get out in the weather to take the bus…people will HAVE to “get out” less and less, which will cut fossil fuel emissions, etc.

So, once again, there will be less and less people necessary to physically do what society needs doing. Sure, there will be a few humans overseeing the machines that make these machines, keeping them running well, refilling them, etc.; but progressively fewer and fewer as the process becomes more and more efficient.

Get used to it. No one today likely has the foggiest idea what their grandchildren (and THEIR grandchildren) will do of commercial value to finance their existence, or what kind of existence that will support.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

@NorthernLight, I am “suggesting we bump the minimum wage so that it enforces altruism and people are paid well”. I will tell you that I do not definitively know from where the money will come to fund the increase (and I’m pretty sure you can’t definitively tell me from where the money will come either … although I’ll bet you have an economic theory as to what will happen), but I do definitively know to where it will flow … the recipients of a minimum wage, so that’s at least a start.

I do not “accuse the CEO and his friends of being corrupt morale absent people” (your words, not mine). I merely suggest that capitalism deals with personal, not societal, satisfaction. If I want to see an overall improvement in society, relying on capitalism / economic theory to effect those improvements would just be silly.

And, yes, there is an economic theory that states “if some is good than more is better” … it’s the theory (mindset, if you will) regarding the maximization of shareholder value (if some profits are good, more profits must be better).

Posted by VirtualThumb | Report as abusive

OneOfTheSheep, Hello again :)
I have seen your version of a fast food restaurant in action, they are called FEBO and they are in the Netherlands. The workers in the back put the food into little vending windows. But somebody still has to cook the food. And all the other jobs you mentioned were service jobs. Somebody has to perform that work. It is true you didn’t refer to McDonald’s, they were just a convenient service industry example. I agree that where possible, a business will try to eliminate employees if they can make more money. I just think that this conversion you refer to might not be such a bad thing on one hand (servicing machines is not such a terrible job), and on the other, that it will take time. While that transition continues, we all have to live our lives, and a few generations have passed since the proverbial buggy-whip manufacturer disappeared. other jobs have filled the gap.

I think the “danger” of an increased minimum wage is overblown. Especially when most business these days is not interested in reinvesting in the community in which they do business, one of the best ways to get money circulating is to give it to the poorest workers, who will then spend it all on whatever businesses they patronize. It returns the money back to the same businesses, after all.

Posted by Benny27 | Report as abusive

Don’t worry. As long as the 1% are doing extremely well, they will create jobs and the wealth will trickle down.

Posted by Leftcoastrocky | Report as abusive

Benny 27,

“The workers in the back put the food into little vending windows. But somebody still has to cook the food.” This is, perhaps, “FEBO” (unfamiliar to me).

What I was envisioning was that the frozen McNuggets, fries, etc. would be packaged or otherwise apportioned out (by weight, count, etc.) and mechanically fed into machines that cook, mix, freeze, etc. as necessary such that no human hand (and it’s germs) need come in contact with the food from the “source depot” through necessary prepping, combination, wrapping and insertion in the bag you will receive. So a relatively few human “order takers” sitting in a “boiler room” like a telephone order center today can receive orders from anywhere in the country and activate the proper sequence of events in the kiosk you are at to quickly produce a hot, fresh order.

No local “order takers, no local “fry cooks”, no people necessary to maintain a dining area or rest room. The kiosk can super energy-efficient with “hot” areas and “cold areas” but no “human environmental control” of opening and closing doors for flies to enter and cool or warm air to escape.With a computer monitoring local weather, it would be possible to forecast within 80-90% accuracy what will be selling in a given location.

These little marvels would be provisioned periodically by truck. Think Walmart Distribution Centers sending out trucks filled with specific pallets to restock one or more specific locations according to what the computer says is needed. It’s quick and easy to adjust a truckload by 10-20% before it departs on a given day.

So yes, this “transition” would create “jobs”, but nothing like the number of jobs lost to automation. The machine servicing jobs would be “new”, but likely snapped up by those no longer needed servicing fax machines (dead technology walking), typewriters, mechanical calculators…you get the idea.

Obamacare is already “changing the math” on FULL TIME minimum wage workers. These are quickly becoming an endangered species. Raising the minimum wage will only accelerate associated innovation to ELIMINATE PEOPLE when ever and where ever possible. When it comes to low wage, low skill workers, NO business will be able to believe that “our people are our greatest asset” EVER AGAIN!

Even today those designing the “machines of the future” give MAXIMUM consideration to making them operable by a minimum of people intellectually comparable to the “village idiot” of old. I believe the term is “fool proof”.

“…one of the best ways to get money circulating is to give it to the poorest workers…”. It used to be in order to give money to anyone you had to take it from someone else, but in today’s Washington you just speed up the printing press to get however much you want. Remember Star Trek TNG, where everyone’s “needs” were somehow “met” by society and only those so inclined took up a profession of their choice to pursue?

I don’t know how fiscally feasible such an idea is, but the U.S. seems to be RUNNING down that road even now. I guess I’m just too old and cynical to believe there can EVER be such a “free lunch”.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

Benny27,

I was referring to exactly what happened here in Ohio to a local food chain, Wendy’s, after the minimum wage hike. The price of a Jr. Bacon did indeed go from $1 to $1.50. It’s not theoretical, it’s history.

You’re telling me if you increase your prices, you will sell more? Are you sure your family owns 3 businesses?

I am not a robot, but I do like to analyze the effects of government policy on businesses. I enjoy studying what happens to the average consumer good price after a forced regulation. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m almost certain there is likely a much better social system to achieve common goals in society– but we haven’t found it yet. I love pure capitalism, not the oligarchy we are facing now. If nothing else, we can take agreement on disliking the current economic environment, even if for all the wrong reasons.

VirtualThumb:

In all my studies of economic theories (and yes, benny, they are all theories, not proofs), I haven’t come across more of a good thing is better. I will agree it’s a possible mindset of a 401k or hedge fund manager to want more return, but it’s the job of a CEO and staff to preserve a company. If paying more to the lowest guy on the totem pole will increase the longevity of a company or provide a more competitive product or service, then the decision will be made to do it. If the lowest guy on the totem pole is no longer content to rest at the bottom, there are sufficient means to raise his income and status with a little elbow grease.

Posted by NorthernLight | Report as abusive

Read an article that stated we have lost 60% of the middle-income jobs (paying $13+ per hour) and those have been replaced with 58% increase of lower-paying (minimum wage) jobs.

Posted by AZreb | Report as abusive

Now I know this is novel and idealistic, but how about raising the minimum wage simply to prove you are still human, comprehend the suffering of your fellow man and possess a friggin conscience. And for that idiot who stated that the lowest paid should just go to college, apparently he hasn’t got a clue about the cost of college, living expenses, lack of a large enough wage to save for it in the first place, and/or then ridiculous students loans that will never be paid because the work isn’t there after the degree anyway. Honestly, some people and their irrational rationality is just unbelievable. Walmart workers need food stamps. Who pays for the food stamps – tax payers. Demand employers raise the mininimum wage and reduce their own cut – it’s not like they need food stamps. How hard-hearted some of you are. What is the matter with you people.

Posted by takeapill | Report as abusive

“The share of workers in “good jobs”– paying more than $37,000 a year and providing healthcare and retirement benefits — fell even though the average age and education level of workers rose.” Flaw 1: Minimum wage has nothing to do with ‘good jobs’ these are disjoint job classes. Flaw 2: The average age and education has nothing to do with minimum wage. It is the education of workers in the bottom tier that matters in minimum wage discussions, not the average. Not mentioned at all – the required education for “good jobs” is rising much faster than any rise in average education. Other countries are pumping up their educational systems while every budget cutter in the U.S. is trying to defund schools. And our students are avoiding STEM courses in droves in favor of anything easier.

Posted by QuietThinker | Report as abusive

You can sell more of your product if more people can afford to buy them. That is a fact.
NAFTA=That great sucking sound.
Two of the richest women in the US/world(?) are named Walton. Neither of them did a day’s work at WalMart.

Posted by VinnieTheSnake | Report as abusive

Lets face another fact – has anyone ever seen how hard immigrant workers work and seen their work ethic? Side by side with an equivalent job, equivalent skillet, and equivalent education – the immigrant workers are usually happier, more appreciative of life in general, and will outwork their “American” counter parts. Believe it or not, they usually earn more too – because they are more productive. Our “good jobs” can not be filled because they require hard work to earn the education and skills required – which is why we need to bring in immigrant people, or just export the job function. Forcing employers to pay more for less productivity will result in ruin – just look at the shining examples of that in Europe. The true solution is to stop enabling poor behaviors (social, educational, and work-related) through legislated fixes which lead to even more non-productivity.

Posted by dbrown77754 | Report as abusive

Morality is comprised of three things – human, social and spiritual values. None of these can be measured in terms of dollars.
Morality has three positions. Moral which means one knows what it is and does it. Immoral which means one knows what it is and doesn’t do it. Amoral which means one never considers morality in the first place.
There can be no better description of amoral than one for whom dollars are the only value considered before decision or action.
Corporations are by nature amoral – they have zero capacity for moral action as the only value they consider before decision or action is dollars.
Justifications for aberant (amoral) activity on the part of corporations is (offshoring work to slave wage jurisdictions which allow corporations to virtually chain their employees to their machine or desk) amoral and makes slaves out of workers so the top few percent of wealthiest individuals and families can stuff even more lucre into their bank accounts should be a criminal offense. Buying and gaming the political system so that corporations have more rights than people should be a criminal offense. America was designed by a wealthy group of men who created a republic because Plato designed a republic to be run by and for wealthy elites and was NOT a democracy and America has never ever been a democracy. Plato designed the ‘republic’ to be run by wealthy elites and all republics are run by and for wealthy elites.
One very apt description of hell is being an ordinary citizen of a republic. Do not attempt to con low or middle income people into thinking that their lives would improve if we gave corporations ever more power by dismantling whatever little power is possessed by individuals who are not a part of the wealthy elite classes, or are wannabees or butt kissers or excuse artists for unlimited greed. A special room in hell is reserved for those who advocate for the wealthy to extract ever more wealth at the cost of lowering incomes for the workers of the world. NAFTA is a human tragedy in action and is destroying whole communities and families. So called free trade agreements are nothing more than institutionalizing the theft of wealth by kleptomaniacs and oligarchs.
What do you think will happen in a country where everyone is armed to the teeth when the kleptomaniac oligarchs finally drive the vast majority into destitution and homelessness, when there are only two economic classes of people – rich and poor? Do you really believe that gated communities and minimum wage cops will stop the violent reaction of the vast majority?? Why would you want to live in such a place?? America will eventually harvest the fruit of kleptomaniac corporations and greedy elites – this is inevitable.If you hate America then this will be a good thing. If you love America then you will not drink the Kool Aid of Chicago School vulture capitalism.

Posted by Barni1 | Report as abusive