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  • What should the minimum wage be?

    In the United States, some fast food workers are wanting to be paid $15/hr.

    I reason if that actually happened, inflation would be a problem because about everyone making under that would demand $15/hr or more.
    11
    no minimum wage
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    $6
    0.00%
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    $7
    9.09%
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    $8
    9.09%
    1
    $9
    9.09%
    1
    $10
    9.09%
    1
    $11
    9.09%
    1
    $12
    0.00%
    0
    $13
    0.00%
    0
    $14
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    $15
    18.18%
    2
    $ more than 15
    18.18%
    2

  • #2
    They're probably setting an unreasonable asking wage because they're hoping to realistically get at least 10 or 11 dollars.

    And personally, that sounds about right to me. I work at a Boston Market. I make minimum wage. And we are on a pay freeze, which basically means I will always be making $8.25/hr. And that's ridiculous. My shifts have gone from 6 1/2 hours to 5. Which means, after taxes, I am taking home about 35 bucks per shift. Come on.

    I am super part time. Meaning I only work one or two days a week. But I am reliable and expedient. I take initiative and even do jobs that aren't mine to do. I don't think it's unreasonable to at least have a hope of a raise at some point. Especially after being there for a few years now. But because I--and other workers--are expendable to them, they can get away with paying the lowest legal wages. If we don't like what they're offering, there's no shortage of hopeful applicants waiting to take our places.

    Also, the work force isn't the same at it used to be. These jobs are not being filled exclusively by teenagers. College graduates like me have these jobs too.
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    • #3
      I never realised until recently that the reason tipping is compulsory in the US is because the minimum wage is so damn low. I don’t even know how people are expected to live off their wage and what it must be like to rely on tips to survive. It sounds incredibly stressful to me as it seems so unreliable and will literally change from one day to the next.

      I’m 24 and work part time as I get back into my studying. Anything under $20 an hour is considered very low for me now. I was making $25 an hour working at Blockbuster when I was 19-21 and can earn just as much working as a Waiter. I briefly worked as a kitchen hand in a hospital and was earning $23 an hour and $46 per hour on a Sunday. When I was 15-18 I was earning $17 an hour working in a store. Our minimum wage is $16.91 US an hour.

      I do believe our cost of living is higher in Australia than it is in the US so you have to take that into account. However, I still can't wrap my head around how low the wages are and now realise that people actually rely on tips to survive
      Last edited by vampmogs; 30-08-13, 06:18 AM.

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      • #4
        It's not "compulsory" to tip in the US, but it's certainly the social norm here. So much so, that as a result of gratuity (i.e. not the cause for gratuity), statutory minimum wages are usually lower for the service industry, i.e. roles where gratuity is a normal source of income -- servers, bartenders, delivery drivers.

        Mogs, I'm not surprised to hear you say that the cost of living is that much higher though -- certainly it's no help at all to the price of goods or services in the marketplace when the overhead business owners have to cover is that extravagant. I think you have the causation backwards there, it's that wage driving that cost of living, not the other way around. I was having this conversation on my political board and had to lay it out thusly about this strike; if you just pull taxes out, utility costs out, capital expenses, etc, the price of your eats at a restaurant works out to (A+B+C)=P

        A = food cost
        B = labor cost
        C = profit margin
        P = your bill

        There's just no way any one business or any number of businesses or society at large can mandate an increase in any of those variables without some adjustment elsewhere to balance the equation -- either the profit margin has to disappear, even invert; the food cost has to go down (which... how? Wishful thinking? Lower quality? Less selection?); or price has to go up.

        I've worked as a delivery driver and asst manager type for four years while adrift in the process of getting my law license, so this isn't a distant country for me. But it also has given me some perspective... like that if our company was suddenly required to more than double the wage of all its employees, we'd by necessity be letting more a bunch go, and probably still raising prices to offset the difference. Sure someone would say "well, they should take less of a profit", but hell, why even own the place? It's not like they make a wage or salary, their livelihood is the profit the place turns.

        Were I a restaurant owner myself and one of these events was coming up... my reaction would be pretty severe, warned in advance, but still pretty severe. I'm troubled by a trend I've seen too much of in my current field of necessity, and that's people, particularly first or second job they've ever had, still in school people, or people like myself who've sort of landed there, well, by necessity, treating their job as something that is just... unworthy of them. And part of me think that plays at least some role in this sort of belief that their job is magically worth a doubling of their wage. To which I'll answer with quotes from the unlikely combo of MLK and Ashton Kutcher --

        “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

        Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

        "I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work. When I was 13, I had my first job with my dad carrying shingles up to the roof… And I’ve never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job. And every job I had was a stepping stone to my next job, and I never quit my job until I had my next job. And so, opportunities look a lot like work.”

        Ashton Kutcher, addressing the Teen Choice Awards
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        • #5
          Minimum wage jobs such as working at McDonald's were not created for a 30 year old person with a family of 3 to live on. Jobs such as these are suppose to be for kids in high school or college students trying to make a little more money while they earn an education so they can get a better job. That is the problem here. The fast food employees want more money for a job that is not worth money. Someone whose main responsibility is to stick fries into a cardboard container should not be making $15. In my opinion, if they want to make more money maybe they should think about getting a better job.

          Restaurant wages are completely different than fast food wages. Yes waitresses work for tips and a lower wage than minimum wage; however, in the event that their weekly income does not equal out to being paid minimum wage, legally the restaurant owner is suppose to make up the difference. Though in any good restaurant a waitress should be able to make way more than minimum wage.

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          • #6
            In my country the minimal wage pay per hour is 80 din. When this is converted in US dollars it's 0.922$.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
              The price of your eats at a restaurant works out to (A+B+C)=P

              A = food cost
              B = labor cost
              C = profit margin
              P = your bill

              There's just no way any one business or any number of businesses or society at large can mandate an increase in any of those variables without some adjustment elsewhere to balance the equation -- either the profit margin has to disappear, even invert; the food cost has to go down (which... how? Wishful thinking? Lower quality? Less selection?); or price has to go up.
              And yet, the CEOs of these franchises manage somehow to fit in enormous salaries into the equation, how strange! Maybe if they took a little bit of a pay cut, and were paid more in line with what they actually contribute to the company, they could afford to pay workers more. When it comes right down it, are they really that much more crucial to the survival of the company than the people who keep the doors open and actually operating in order that it can make money in the first place? I'm not saying that people on the front lines should make as much as the head of a company, but the disparity should not be as pronounced as it is, especially when they are claiming that they can't afford to wage raises and yet clearly have some extra cash. But then again, the private sector is rarely as efficient and cost-effective as they like to portray themselves; otherwise things like company cars and jets, wouldn't exist, since they would all want to save as much money as possible...

              Originally posted by Risa View Post
              Minimum wage jobs such as working at McDonald's were not created for a 30 year old person with a family of 3 to live on. Jobs such as these are suppose to be for kids in high school or college students trying to make a little more money while they earn an education so they can get a better job. That is the problem here. The fast food employees want more money for a job that is not worth money. Someone whose main responsibility is to stick fries into a cardboard container should not be making $15. In my opinion, if they want to make more money maybe they should think about getting a better job.
              Well in an ideal world a lot of things would happen that are ~supposed~ to happen--there would be peace everywhere, the environment would be protected, murder wouldn't exist, etc. Unfortunately, however, we all happen to live in the real world, and have to deal with a little thing called reality. And the REALITY is that our economy is increasingly service-based (while manufacturing jobs disappear), so that these are the ONLY kinds of jobs available to many people...including those with a college education these days. That is just the fact of the matter--trying to cling to the past when only teenagers held such jobs is not going to change that. And suggesting that they should "think about getting a better job" is as useful and productive as Marie Anthoinette's apocryphal suggestion that the peasants, lacking bread, should just eat cake--if many people WITH a college education often have to resort to service jobs, I think that should a good indication for the chances of those without one. And with the costs of higher education ever soaring and spiralling out of control, the idea that working in a service job could ever significantly cover education is similarly ever more unrealistic.

              I don't know if $15 should be the federal minimum wage--I think it should depend in part on where you live/what your costs of living are (in Washington, DC for instance $10/hour is pretty bad for surviving, let alone the minimum wage there of $8.36 or so), but something needs to be done to reflect our new reality rather than what might have been true in the past--the current situation of more and more people unable to get by no matter how hard they work is untenable; and it makes the racist "Welfare Queen" myth perpetuated by so many Republican politicians that much more galling, considering that many people receiving food stamps DO work full time or more, but still can't afford to feed their families because of terrible pay.
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              • #8
                I don't know what the cost of living in the US is - I assume it's vv different from state to state?

                In the UK I believe it's around £6.20 (not sure if I'm looking at most up to date figures). So... 9-10 dollars. But, there's also lots of discussion around a "living wage" - ie what you need to live a decent life. I think minimum wage should be raised to this - whether that's by law or by incentives, I'm not sure what's best.

                So, I believe that the minimum/living wage should be set such that someone working full time at that wage would be able to make enough to cover rent, food, hygiene goods, travel and other essentials for an adult and dependents (I guess you'd have to go for an average where this is concerned - average of how many kids/elderly etc depend on each adult?)

                If people aren't paid enough to live, then capitalism is NOT working and needs to be given a helping hand from the state. Or a helping boot in the seat of the pants


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by sherrilina View Post
                  And yet, the CEOs of these franchises manage somehow to fit in enormous salaries into the equation, how strange!
                  How strange? It's explicitly in the formula, it's labor cost. The boss works, too. Leaving aside that in the small business context, "CEO" is more of a theoretical abstract (it really means "that guy over catching the oven" or "the owner doing inventory or meeting the guy for the estimate on the broken AC" in most contexts of the American business market), even at that, why shouldn't they get paid, and well? Unlike the front line production employee, your CEO and corporate officers have legal liability for the quality of the work they do, substantially more responsibility. I've never had a satisfactory answer to the question of why a CEO shouldn't make the most money.

                  I don't know if $15 should be the federal minimum wage--I think it should depend in part on where you live/what your costs of living are (in Washington, DC for instance $10/hour is pretty bad for surviving, let alone the minimum wage there of $8.36 or so), but something needs to be done to reflect our new reality rather than what might have been true in the past--the current situation of more and more people unable to get by no matter how hard they work is untenable; and it makes the racist "Welfare Queen" myth perpetuated by so many Republican politicians that much more galling, considering that many people receiving food stamps DO work full time or more, but still can't afford to feed their families because of terrible pay.
                  Working even a full time minimum wage job was not, never was, is not, and but for the grace of God never will be meant to indefinitely support even an adult living all but perhaps the most totally spartan of lifestyles (i.e. lolcable, lolinternet, lolcellphone, lolcar-newer-than-10-years-old, lol-diningout). Let alone one such income supporting a family.

                  I don't think we have a new reality, economically, I think we have a shift toward a mentality of managed decline. There is no work-around to the "current situation of more and more people being unable to get by no matter how hard they work", because no amount of collectivist largesse can address it; the money has to come from somewhere, it has to be produced at some point before it can find the distribution of said largesse.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore View Post
                    I don't know what the cost of living in the US is - I assume it's vv different from state to state?

                    In the UK I believe it's around £6.20 (not sure if I'm looking at most up to date figures). So... 9-10 dollars. But, there's also lots of discussion around a "living wage" - ie what you need to live a decent life. I think minimum wage should be raised to this - whether that's by law or by incentives, I'm not sure what's best.

                    So, I believe that the minimum/living wage should be set such that someone working full time at that wage would be able to make enough to cover rent, food, hygiene goods, travel and other essentials for an adult and dependents (I guess you'd have to go for an average where this is concerned - average of how many kids/elderly etc depend on each adult?)

                    If people aren't paid enough to live, then capitalism is NOT working and needs to be given a helping hand from the state. Or a helping boot in the seat of the pants
                    I feel the cost of living varies more between urban and rural than state to state. The US has a federal minimum wage and states have their own minimum wage laws. So some states have higher minimum wages. And cities are also able to enact their own minimum wage laws. Ooh, I found a fun chart!

                    I agree that minimum wage jobs arent meant to support families or be long term careers. However, in large urban cities like NY, the minimum wages are not remotely enough for one.

                    The real travesty in minimum wage jobs is that they are usually only part time with no opportunity to get more hours. People want to work 40 hours a week, but the business wont let them. I read an interesting (infuriating) article recently about how big businesses realize that people work best in 4-5 hour shifts so thats all they hire them for. The business takes the best part of a person and their time in the day and says, "Tough luck finding another job with hours that work with the irregular hours we work you. We want your prime hours of life without paying prime. We know it will take you awhile to realize what we are doing. " It is a cruel viewing of humans as simply a resource rather than as humans.

                    I am not really one for raising minimum wages (especially federally). It does hurt small businesses who respect their employees to always pay higher than minimum wages. But I also see the need to have them increased over time.

                    There is a lot wrong with the country and it isnt the minimum wage amount. The educational system has been particularily failing in the student loan racket. Students can get a loan for any amount so colleges can raise their prices without increasing any quality of education. Immense amount of debt and little opportunity to earn money for college graduates. I also believe there is a lack of emphasis in trade schooling. Everything is geared toward white collar desk jobs and there arent enough opportunities. But big business has this immense resource of applicants willing to low bid themselves just for a job.

                    Lydia made the punch!

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                    • #11
                      http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2013/...mart-pay-raise

                      That means the average Wal-Mart employee's take home pay should be $33,315. Wal-Mart doesn't say what its actual average salary is. But Payscale estimated it to be just over $22,000 at the end of last year.
                      Well, okay then.

                      That'd probably be good for the economy. Less need for food stamps, welfare benefits, etc. People would be able to buy better stuff, be healthier, etc.

                      ____________

                      I don't consider there should be a 'maximum wage'.

                      ______________________

                      Edit: This only applies to such retail establishments. Fast food generally has lower profit margins. But fast food could afford to pay above what is currently minimum wage.
                      Last edited by MikeB; 13-11-13, 02:59 AM. Reason: adding info.

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                      • #12
                        THE NRA, the other NRA, national restaurant association, does not have the business pay for its own employees--which are "written off" as a business expense; but grandly support their representation to maintain the grand wage of a few cents over two dollars—even if not actually earned, but have ‘you’ pay their wage for the minimum wage of a few cents over $7. in a tip, whether actually earned, but taxed, as if earned.

                        In a country in which “tax payer money” paid for obscene bonuses of bankers and ratings insurers “legally” and it is not uncommon for a CEO to make 400 times more than the “average” employee, the “target” of a dollar number for employees really isn’t the problem. A living wage is not in the supposed “poverty line”—as actual access to the “basket of benefits” is very conditional, and critically focused to maintain such status or in “benefits” that are proving to shorten life itself—“what to do with all that government subsidized fat and sugar, for examples, in brain development. Further, in many states, “the right to know” is forbidden “speech” regarding wages and benefits in order to control “negotiations” for said “right to work” wages. (Not to mention to speak to conditions in the work place and the reality of the lack of protections for whistleblowers). Further, in small businesses, “tax payers” support five years of failure to make a profit, by which time “a clue” might be had by that owner.

                        While a “single wage” nationally is supposed to adequately cover food, shelter, education, heath care, and human actualization, “states rights” are darn quiet about “the rights” of its citizens to “influence” the marketplace in a * meaningful * way when it comes to actually living there.

                        I see socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor.

                        HUGS!
                        sybil

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                        • #13
                          The real issue is twofold, I find.

                          1. Long gone are the days of manufacturing jobs, which were the bread and butter of the American working core for several decades over. With outsourcing, good paying jobs are few and far between. The bulk of available jobs fall in the service industry, which are indeed minimum wage positions. Manufacturing jobs were also great for providing pensions. Take my grandmother. Nearly 90, she lives in a assisted living home. She pays nothing for it because she has insurance that covers the cost. This type of insurance is not commonplace these days. She also gets he Social Security and her husband's social security. She gets her pension. And his pension too. She actually MAKES money. This is not something we can look forward to for ourselves. It's a different world.

                          2. The income equality gap has increased dramatically over the past several decades. The disparity is staggering. Why is it okay for companies to make record profits and not let that profit spread down to their employees? Because they view their employees as expendable. If you don't like your job, thousands of other are willing to take your place. Why share in the profits when they don't have to. It's supply and demand. Too many people, not enough jobs.

                          I see people say that if you are good worker then your company will pay you accordingly, offering raises and bonuses. I see very little evidence of this except at the top tier. Things didn't use to be this way. While I don't thinking raising the minimum wage will solve any problems, it should still be done. It tends to be raised about once a decade. It hasn't been raised in five years. A little bump is in order, imo. Especially with inflation factored in.

                          I FINALLY got a quarter raise at my minimum wage job. After three years. Woo-hoo! An extra 7 bucks on my check every two weeks.
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                          • #14
                            * Income inequality isn't a problem. Wealth inequality is the problem. The lack of good schools, the cost of a college education, for profit colleges, tax policy, people and companies hiding money or simply putting money in 'tax shelters', etc. is the problem.


                            * Anyway, read this on Cracked.com: http://www.cracked.com/photoplasty_9...you-dont-know/

                            Last year Walmart made a profit of $17.2B and last year Walmart employees received $2.66B in government assistance due to low wages (likely in the form of such things as Food Stamps, etc.)


                            * And some companies instead of wanting to raise the minimum wage seem to want robots to replace their low wage workers.


                            * I was fine with the minimum wage of 10 years ago because one could get a Big Mac for $1 and most apartments in So Cal were under $800/month. Now, people on minimum wage often need food stamps to be able to buy food. And the food now in grocery stores is filled with crap and a lot unhealthier than it used to be. And apartments in So Cal are usually $1,200/month or more. And now people need cell phones. And internet bills instead of being around $28/month are now around $45/month. People can't live off a minimum wage job. And the economy still being bad -- outside of stock values, corporate profits, etc. -- , many are being forced into these low skill jobs.


                            EDIT:

                            http://www.cracked.com/photoplasty_9...you-dont-know/

                            And look at #20 the legally required minimum leave (in working days). Most of the countries listed have around 30 days. The United States has zero. In the United States, sick people go to work. In the US, many don't take any vacation for fear of possibly losing his or her job.


                            EDIT #2:

                            http://www.cracked.com/photoplasty_9...-dont-know_p2/

                            Look at #10. The typical -- likely meaning average; so this includes the executives, managers, forklift drivers, truck drivers for the company, etc. -- is paid about $20K per year. The Walton family fortune -- meaning the heirs of Sam Walton -- who do almost nothing for the company and give about nothing to charity or any other philanthropic causes -- are worth around $145B.


                            EDIT #3:

                            http://www.cracked.com/photoplasty_9...-dont-know_p3/

                            Look at #7. In terms of cost of living, prescription drug prices in the United States are way too expensive. The US isn't "subsidizing" other countries low prices, the American people are simply overpaying because of industry lobbyists, political contributions -- meaning money -- etc.
                            Last edited by MikeB; 10-06-14, 07:42 AM. Reason: added info.

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                            • #15
                              http://money.cnn.com/2014/06/11/news...lth/index.html

                              In the United States, the average net worth is around $301K, but the median net worth is $45K. I don't see how that's sustainable.

                              Anyway, any raise in the minimum wage would probably have to be done at a national level or else some companies would simply move to different cities or states were labor is cheaper.

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