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Minimum wage/Livable Wage

Discussion in 'Tilted Philosophy, Politics, and Economics' started by Aceventura, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    This line of discussion.

    I do understand it.

    I have no counterpoint at the moment, but I do have a question: Could you paint a more complete picture before drawing a conclusion? If you do so, I may respond to it.

    They would be affected in more ways than you imply. McDonald's is also not a good example to use because their profit margin is ridiculously high.

    The company is ranked #423 in the Fortune Global 500 most profitable companies in the world. The list is populated with tech companies, resource companies, banks, drug companies, auto manufacturers, huge conglomerates, etc. It's a big list of big companies that make some serious bank. And there's McDonald's in there. I'm uncertain, but I think they're one of the few (or the only) fast-food companies on there.

    And you know what? I wouldn't be surprised if it's the company that has the lowest average (or median) pay. I also wouldn't be surprised if it has by far the highest number of minimum wage workers (or even near-minimum-wage workers).

    Also, this: McDonald's Billion-Dollar Profit Is Awkwardly Close To The Amount It Costs Taxpayers Every Year

    Could you outline these?

    Could you point them out?

    Which ones, and why?

    Could you point them out?

    Do you? Do you really?
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    North Carolina
    I stated the obvious, the only possible responses, a truism - I did not draw a conclusion. If I give a list of possible outcome of a roll of dice, in my view I am listing the possible outcomes not making a judgement or drawing a conclusion. With the market response to increased wage costs or minimum wage increase the outcomes can include an infinite combination of the three possibilities - but we will never have more than the fundamental three. I do not know what your issue is with my point, because you have not stated what your issue is. Rather than me playing a guessing game, why not say what you want to say?

    Who are you referring to when you write "they"? If you mean MCD, that is my point about looking at historical results, in particular years when minimum wage changes have been made. If it is a concern one would think in the past operating margins would reflect impacts of wage changes, they don't. MCD has bee a company that has absorded increased wages in a manner not impacting profitability. Further, it is clear productivity has shown large improvements over time - they do more with fewer people. Not to be confused with the total number of employees - what we are looking at is the production output of those employees in ratios. I can go on but I am not even sure we agree on some basic issues, making pointless to get into more intricate eveluations of the question.



    I think we are better off with MCD than we would be without it - by a large margin. The thought that MCD is a net social cost is silly IMHO.

    I continually point out my views of some of the studies cited. I gave you the challenge of looking at a real world company, look at the income statement, see the real world impact - I know we can not hold low wage earner costs as the only variable - but we don't need to. In one regard we can actually ask the decision maker. Why did you, MCD, streamline customer ordering and the cashier process? What factors did you consider? Etc?

    Do I think? Ha Ha. Keep your day job.:rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
  3. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    My issue is that you aren't looking at the whole issue. You're zeroing in on one thing. Call it reductio ad absurdium, call it causal reductionism, call it an incomplete comparison, call it an irrelevant conclusion—call it all of these things. Perhaps it is difficult to tell what the real problem is, because I don't know where you're going with this. Where are you going with it? That minimum wage increases are bad for the working poor?

    You'll need to work harder. You'll need to do more. There is a lot missing in what you're saying.

    No one will be convinced.

    I understand this. But what's your point? Minimum wage increases are bad because it forces McDonald's to increase productivity?

    Where are you going with this?

    What an odd thing to say.

    Well, it kinda is when you consider that they don't pay well enough for the things that government assistance provides. What would you call it instead?

    This wouldn't really be an issue if the U.S. had a stronger welfare state.

    The debate on minimum wages wouldn't be as much of an issue either.

    I still want to know your point.
     
  4. ASU2003

    ASU2003 Very Tilted

    Location:
    Where ever I roam
    I think Ace and I are saying that raising the minimum wage won't be a slam dunk fix to all of the problems of the poor. There are other issues that should be addressed even if the amount of their paychecks goes up 25%.

    I want to know what the end game will be. What is the desired outcome 10, 20, 30 years down the line to make it so there can be a normal middle class where people aren't living paycheck to paycheck, have some financial security, and can take some vacations or time off in-between jobs, or even while they are working. It is a long road to go since even getting paid sick time to keep them from infecting other people at work is too much to ask of shareholders to lose a penny or two of earnings so we don't have as many medical bills from the flu epidemic to pay...

    Are we going to have deflation? If inflation continues as it has, I just don't see how the math would work for most people. Are we going to become freegans and cheapskates? I live that life now, but why should I if I am making 0.25% interest a year and that money that I have saved over ten years will be what I could make working at a minimum wage job in 2040 in one year? Will there be Occupy communes and Tea Party fortresses where people can live a low cost & self-sufficient lifestyle?
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
  5. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    I don't know of anyone who thinks it's a slam dunk. It's a correction. It's one of several things that should happen. You don't have to oppose a minimum wage increase to get people to deal with the other issues. They're not directly connected like that. The $7.25 rate is really low. America's economy can handle a raise of the minimum wage rate. America's economy will benefit from it ultimately. But, no, it's not the only thing that should be done.

    I know, it seems like a pretty dire situation for many Americans who just can't get what they need by "normal" means. I myself think that America needs a stronger welfare state. The minimum wage rate, as I've said, is just one of many issues. There is no real universal health care, and for many of America's poor, education sucks, healthful food is difficult to access, crime is a problem, and debt is an unfortunate reality. They get trapped, making upward mobility more difficult than it is for the average American. A stronger welfare state would serve to better allow the poor equal opportunity compared to those who don't have much concern regarding even the most basic provisions of life.

    Well, for starters, increasing the minimum wage will likely help prevent a deflationary situation, which is still a real risk in the American economy. As for long-term inflation concerns, I'm doubtful that it will be a big issue in the American economy. Since the early '90s, it has barely broken 4% (the historical average is 3.34%). As far as I know, it's operating below the global average. Relatively speaking (i.e., compared to other developed nations), the U.S. has a fairly low cost of living.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
  6. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    North Carolina
    Repeating what I have already written - you can do whatever you want with the minimum wage, it will not improve living standards for the working poor. Other actions are more important and will have a real impact - the easiest one to address is affordable housing. Working poor get no net benefit from raising minimum wages - some benefit, some are hurt, most are neither helped nor harmed.

    Your critic of my views are frustrating because they are not specific. I have no understanding of what your issue is.

    I fully understand that no will be convinced. I have concluded that efforts to help the poor and working poor are insincere. In my life time over 50 years of a war on poverty, empty rhetoric and failed wasteful attempts would suggest to sincere and reasonable people that a different approach is in order. The notion that in some zip codes the young male population without employment being 75% or more while they have no marketable job skill is met with a policy that would make them less appealing (minimum wage increase) in the market place is a tragedy. And I get responses to the obvious like what you are saying and some of your cited studies report, that unemployment is not impacted by the minimum wage.

    I am going to do what I can, regardless of who is convinced. I understand the issue, I have looked at it from many different angles. The answers are out there and it is not hard to see them.

    I have never said the minimum wage is "bad". Ineffective, yes I have said that. Inflationary, yes I have stated that. Causes unemployment, yes I have said that. Your characterization of my points in the context of MCD is intellectually dishonest.

    If you have ever worked in a production environment and the boss say costs are up 10% we need you to do 10% more (really meaning 20%), you know what that kind of pressure can do. I am not saying it is good or bad - but for you to pretend it does not happen...is again intellectually dishonest.
    --- merged: Jan 26, 2014 at 1:29 PM ---
    What should it be? What does "really low" mean? What are you measuring? In the US payroll is taxed, FICA is 15% (7.5% employee and 7.5% employer), that is over $1.00 an hour right there - not to mention other mandatory employer costs. How much is low skilled labor worth? How much would you pay for someone to keep a dining area clean - sweep/mop floors, wipe down tables and take trash to a dumpster (a common entry level fast food job)? $15/$20/$25 per hour?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 2, 2014
  7. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    How do you know this?

    That's another issue, and it shouldn't lead us to dismiss the issue of the minimum wage rate.

    How do you know this?

    My issue is that you're not looking at the impact of minimum wage increases beyond "increased labour cost." This is a narrow view that won't lead to anything worthwhile other than a half-assed look at business operating costs from a labour standpoint. It's not interesting, nor is it worthwhile.

    I thought you said you didn't draw any conclusions. Are you contradicting yourself, or is this just a personal opinion/gut feeling?

    You're doing it again. (Reductio ad absurdium, causal reductionism, incomplete comparison, irrelevant conclusion, etc.)

    You obviously don't. Where are you getting this?

    The problem is that you aren't demonstrating this very well. That's why it's not convincing.

    It can't be intellectually dishonest if it's a) factual, and/or b) a restatement of what you wrote. This may be tied into your not being clear with what you're getting at. Don't mistake your confusion for my being intellectually dishonest. It's not about me. It's about you. (It shouldn't be about either of us at this point, really.)

    This time, it can't be intellectually dishonest if I didn't even state it.

    It's like you hate having to support your own statements.

    It's low in that it's an insufficient rate for many to support themselves in providing even the basic necessities in life. I don't view the minimum wage rate as a be-all and end-all (despite my suspicion you may think I do—for a really odd reason). I see this as a minor correction in lieu of stronger social programs or a stronger welfare state to help the poorest of Americans. Looking at the minimum wage in America compared to other wealthy nations, it's low. You think that raising the minimum wage will be ineffective and will cause problems of inflation and unemployment (which I can only assume is a gut feeling of yours at this point). If true, this seems to me a fundamental weakness of the American economy.

    A minimum wage rate of around $10 should be feasible, and even desirable. If the American economy cannot support such a rate, it's indicative of serious economic issues that place America's position as a leader at serious risk (something that is already at risk for different reasons). Whether this weakness is a result of Corporate America having become competitively complacent under its nanny state protections, or because of a lack of a strong welfare state, these aren't something that can be corrected overnight. Looking closer at these issues, maybe it should be no wonder that places like Canada and Scandinavia are far more stable economically, and places like China are far more competitive economically, than the U.S.

    America is starting to look a lot like Russia, and it seems to me a result of corrupt capitalism. Pretty soon, it will no longer be the go-to place where everyone wants to bring their family for the good life. They're going to start going elsewhere, and there are many other, more desirable places.

    It's becoming more apparent that the American Dream was always a myth.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
  8. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    North Carolina
    Repeating what has been written - we have historical data points that show actual market responses to minimum wage increases. We have both empirical and theoretical economic modeling theories that illustrate market responses to variables with increased costs. Personally I have my own business experience, as a business owner, line employee, management level employee and corporate executive level employee.

    Is it important how what I know is true or is the importance in what is true? Is your problem with the messenger or the message?

    Your failure to see the connection to other more meaningful factors impacting living standards of the working poor, does not diminish the importance of the connection to those factors.

    Problem: Working poor adults tend to spend 50% or more of income on housing.

    Solution: Raise the minimum wage - does not work. Increase the supply of affordable housing for the working poor reducing the ratio to below 30%. Resulting in actual disposable income that can be used for savings, education, improved living standards. A big first step in my view towards helping people.

    I am a genius. My problem is in conveying my thoughts to others in a manner they can understand.


    See what I mean. In my mind I don't think I said I never drew conclusions, but that on that one issue...this game bores me.

    E=MC2

    I write something using the word ineffective and you characterize it in a vague manner using a subjective term like "bad". In literary circles what do you call this? I think you did it on purpose with the intent to be diversionary. I characterize that as intellectually dishonest in a discussion.

    Not my job to be convincing. If you want to understand something that I write that is not clear we can walk through that. If you want to dispute something I have written we can walk through that. Your interest in me being convincing is confusing to me - who cares?


    Perhaps we have different understanding of the nature of productivity. In my view productivity gains result in more production per labor input. This would be a negative for total employment needs. I am not using words like good or bad. Your view seems to be, based on my interpretation of your writings is that even if labor costs go up, there is no market response encouraging increased productivity. You have said this many times in many ways.

    If I count my response in support of my statements I would conclude that I "love" supporting my statements. Your conclusion is different. So, what? What is the point? What next? Is this a diversion? Did you really want my response? Is this an example of me not supporting my statements, or supporting them? when you use the term "support" what does it mean to you? why is it always my problem?

    First, a minimum wage and a livable wage are very different in my opinion. I argue minimum wages are ineffective. I think livable wages are much more important and is very location specific....wait for it....wait for it...have you got the answer....BECAUSE OF HOUSING COSTS!


    I have enjoyed my journey in life as an American. For some, even people I knew as a young man, things turoned out different for them - in some cases due to no fault of their own. It happens.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
  9. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    Wow, Ace. It continues to amaze me just how much you fail to communicate (both reading and writing) on even a very basic level.

    Let me be outline this for you, so there is no confusion:
    • You haven't been clear on what you mean.
    • You make your lack of clarity my responsibility.
    • You make it difficult for me to clarify what you mean.
    • You take what much of what I write and somehow interpret it as its opposite or inverse.
    • You ignore certain important aspects of what I write and often end up filling in gaps with assumptions that are false (and, again, often the opposite).
    • You keep reiterating problematic premises despite my best efforts to notify you that it's useless to discuss them until they make sense.
    • We don't disagree on anything, because I haven't even issued my opinion on the content of what you wrote.
    I'm not sure you even know much about my opinions. We rarely get that far.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Derwood

    Derwood Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Ace's assertion: giving people with almost no money some more money solves nothing.

    Um, no
     
  11. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Location:
    Foggy Bottom
    Cartoon break

    [​IMG]
    --- merged: Jan 27, 2014 4:42 AM ---
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2014
    • Like Like x 5
  12. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    North Carolina
    Here is what is clear. In some cities we can double/triple the minimum wage and it would be ineffective because of housing and other living expenses. New York is one example, San Francisco is another. If that is not clear, it is not my problem! Liberals in some of these places can try to pat themselves on the back if they support a minimum wage that may be significantly greater than the minimum wage in in a state like Mississippi - but that wage in Mississippi may be far closer to a livable wage than higher wages elsewhere.

    Points like the above have been made over and over. You argue in some vague fashion that is never clear or direct.

    I do not know how to help you. I respond over and over - I try different methods - I make suggestions of what to look at - I give examples - I cite source material - but it is never enough.

    Your comments are often directed at me as an individual rather than the points being made - try to get over that as a start. You do not like my style, we have known that for a few years now. I am not going to change. In the past to you and others, I have suggested that if you can get beyond my style, ignore me. Not complicated. Even if you have to monitor what I write, you do not have to engage me. When you engage me, I will respond.
    --- merged: Jan 27, 2014 at 12:43 PM ---
    I think you know my focus is on net disposable money. In one example money, that can be spent on things other than housing. Increasing the minimum wage will result in three possible outcomes - the net does not result in the working poor have more disposable income. I argue the proposed solution is ineffective and I explain why, I give an alternative approach.

    The purposeful mis-characterizations of what I write here illustrated a broader problem on how this issue is demagogued and as a result the needs of the working poor are never served. The President in his State Of The Union speech is going to talk about income and wealth disparity - it will be a waste of time - nothing will change - the rich will continue to get richer - me included. I don't need to convince anybody of anything. And at some point I will simply support higher minimum wages just because I am tired of fighting the fight. Hello another 50 years of a war on poverty with no real results in terms of wealth disparity.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2014
  13. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    No one is taking about doubling or tripling the minimum wage rate.

    Conversely, one could say, "In some cities, we could halve or quarter the living expenses, and it would help the poor immensely."

    The problem? It's an unrealistic notion.

    I suggest sticking to practical parameters. This is something you refuse to do in your false claims about the minimum wage.

    I haven't made an argument. I don't know what you're talking about. Are you thinking of someone else?

    From my perspective, this is an overstatement.

    If I end up getting personal here, it's usually attached to one's content, and not directed at an individual exclusively. I sometimes end up taking things personally with you (though I probably shouldn't), because it often seems like you're being difficult intentionally. You constantly eviscerate my posts that point out problems in your posts, and then you point out that I have the problem. You end up mischaracterizing what I say, and I'm sorry if that it sometimes gets taken personally. If you're not doing this stuff intentionally, then maybe I should try another tactic with you.

    This isn't a stylistic issue. It's a structural and substantive issue.

    Various styles I can appreciate and admire.

    I don't have a problem with your style. I actually kind of like it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
  14. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    North Carolina
    Some are. I have read the views of some that the wage should be $15, some as high as $25 for what they think would be a livable wage. My point has been that you (or anyone) can support any number you want - it will help some, hurt some and for most not make a difference with the net making it ineffective.


    I say increasing the minimum wage will be ineffective on a net basis. You say....? What impact do you want an increase in the minimum wage to have?
     
  15. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    I'm still waiting for a citation.

    Do you mean on a net basis across the entire economy? I ask because I want to know whether you think raising the wage of millions of workers from $7.25 to $10.10 will have no effect on them.

    I want to know if a 30-hour workweek now worth $303.00 instead of $217.50 will have no effect.

    I want to know if a 30-hour workweek now worth $303.00 instead of $$262.50 for someone with a "decent" wage of $8.75 will have no effect.

    Bear in mind that raising the minimum wage has a marginal impact at best on inflation and jobs. If not, then the impact (whether positive or negative) is debatable, meaning no one is sure—meaning the impact can't be all that bad.

    Bear in mind that Canada's average minimum wage is around the proposed rate of $10.10. Bear in mind that the Canadian child poverty rate by all measures have either held steady or declined over the past decade. The minimum wages across the provinces rose an average of eight times within that same period.

    Bear in mind that the hours of those working part-time fluctuate, making it difficult to maintain a schedule and to keep hourly wages high. If every hour they work is now worth $2.85 more per hour, I can't see how that would be ineffective to their situation.

    Yes (again), there are separate issues affecting the poor, such as housing costs, health care costs, childcare costs, high crime, poor quality education, poor job prospects, poor job skills training, etc. These are all issues that should be dealt with. But saying that minimum wage increases are "ineffective" to individuals who earn minimum wage is blatantly false. While the effect may be minimal, it's certainly better than not raising the rate.

    I'm not about to say lowering housing costs for the poor is ineffective because they don't make high enough hourly wages. This is because I take a more comprehensive approach to issues like poverty. (Poverty is a complex problem that no silver bullet will kill.)

    Also, consider that many people look at wages when considering their housing affordability. I'm sure you did that when you shopped for your current home. You considered your income and possible expenses to see what kinds of homes you could afford. Depending on your "philosophy of home," your balance between "nice" and "reasonable" will vary. Either way, affordability is an issue. What do you think a couple making, on average, $60,000 a year will look at in, say, Virginia? A two-bedroom apartment renting for $1,078 is reasonable, depending on the area. It represents 22% of their income. Totally affordable.

    Now consider this:
    Out of Reach 2013: Virginia: National Low Income Housing Coalition

    Even a one-bedroom apartment worth half that ($539) would require a Housing Wage of $10.36 to make it reasonably affordable.

    Even at $800 rent, it would require two income earners working at around $7.50 an hour (no less than full-time) to make it affordable. Is that reasonable? How many two-bedroom apartments are going for $800 in Virginia? What about single income earners?

    At this point, perhaps stop wondering why anyone making less than $10 an hour has problems with debt and affordability.

    How cheap will government need to make housing before considering a rise in minimum wages? Do you support free government housing for the poor?
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
  16. ASU2003

    ASU2003 Very Tilted

    Location:
    Where ever I roam
    At the state level, a minimum wage increase would be a good thing to pass. Maybe along with a few other issues that you listed can be addressed as well. But, at the Federal level, I expect to see a 2,000 page plan on how to address each and every one of those things. Past historical successes and failures, different community issues and demographics, and figuring out why some communities turned around why others aren't. And they will have to look at individual people and families and then place the blame on them if they waste money or have kids/pets/cars/homes they can't afford.

    I want to know why rents are so high, why is property values going up and up, and why aren't modern home construction practices taking into account extreme energy efficiency and a smaller, but open space interior? I would also like to see the rent-to-own model used for apartments. Not having to pay rent or a mortgage is the quickest way to fiscal security.



    The government needs to figure out how to survive on lower property taxes from smaller homes. But, you need to do both. These homes need to be safe, and we need to change a bunch of the gangsters are cool mentality in the low-income projects.
     
  17. Street Pattern

    Street Pattern Very Tilted

    The tremendous escalation in the size of the average housing unit in the last 40 years was not brought about by governments greedy for property taxes.

    What's happened is that the market has changed so much that 600 square foot houses are no longer acceptable to home buyers. That's why they're being torn down and replaced with much bigger houses.

    We would all (collectively) be far better off if we could still live in the same amount of living space that was acceptable in 1960. But that is not the case. The U.S. in the early 21st century has by far the most square feet of housing per capita of any country in human history.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
  18. ASU2003

    ASU2003 Very Tilted

    Location:
    Where ever I roam
    Old houses that are 600 sq ft with a tiny garage are a problem. And new houses that are 600 sq ft, would be labeled as 'hipster' and probably get listed for twice what it should.

    But, I shouldn't talk too much. If I were to build a house, it would still be 1000 sq ft with a two/three car garage...

    However, if I were living paycheck to paycheck or on minimum wage, I would much rather be able to afford a decent small house over paying never-ending, and always increasing rent.
     
  19. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    It now seems trite to pull out this sort of thing, but have a look at this chart:

    [​IMG]

    We don't even have to make this about income disparity. Just look at the change in real family income of the bottom 20%. Do you realize the impact of a 7.4% erosion in purchasing power when you're already poor? I don't. That's part of the issue here. Most of us can't empathize with that sort of thing because either we've never been there, or we're not currently stuck there.

    Things may have been hard in 1979, but they're worse now. We haven't even gotten into the cost of rent and other living expenses. This is just income. This is why I don't buy the argument that income (e.g., the minimum wage) isn't an issue among the poor. It obviously is.

    Now look at this chart:

    [​IMG]

    This illustrates much of the problem regarding income. The average has been flat for decades. We're not even talking about just the poor here. And look at the history. Between WWII and 1972, wages rose an astounding 75%. Between 1972 and 2009? After some long-term erosion, it has managed to crawl up to an increase of just over 4%. Again, we're talking average here. Guess where most of the gains went.

    So the American economy was used to steadily increasing incomes until recent times, when the new normal became mostly about the wealthy garnering most of the economic gains, leaving relatively little for everyone else. If we didn't have that first chart, we'd think the American economy has been struggling for decades. It hasn't. A lot of wealth was generated between the '70s and today. A lot of wealth is still being generated—$15.7 trillion annually is a lot of money.

    Now we can talk rent. Are they high? The U.S. rent index hasn't been out of step with inflation, and inflation hasn't been a big problem. Do you think rents would be considered high among the poor if their incomes actually increased instead of eroded? Do rents ever go down? Are they cheaper than they were in 1979, accounting for inflation?
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
  20. Derwood

    Derwood Slightly Tilted

    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    What do we consider a living wage? Would, say, $35,000/year be enough for a halfway comfortable living? Well that job would pay $17/hr.