Sunday, November 26, 2006

Smug as a thug in a stolen Bug

On Saturday, I posted a comment I made on the Daily Advertiser forum about the minimum wage. Since then, I've been involved in a back-and-forth...well, let me rephrase that...gang bang with irate locals on the issue. Here are some highlights:

Ya'll need to get a grip here. The MINIMUM WAGE is not a living wage. Quit confusing the two, they are NOT the same. Do you honestly want somebody like your teenager with absolutely no job skills out there making a mandatory $10 an hour?

My wife took an entry level position and her first year I think she made $2.65 an hour, last year she made $80,000 and that is with no degree. Nothing but hard work and being a responsible, dependable person who worked her way up the ladder.

Minimum wage is for minimum work. Minimum wage is for kids starting out their working career. How easy is it to quickly get above minimum? If someone wants to make over minimum wage then need to: get to work on time, do what is asked consistently, treat people with respect while representing their employer, give a damn about what they are doing. This isn't rocket science.

In an open job market, people are paid exactly what they are worth. Sometimes minimum wage is too much. If you don't feel you are being paid what you are worth, shop yourself around. [...] Education is one answer. Hard work and dedication are other means to better pay. They are all equal in my book. I have had college grads who I wouldn't employ if they paid me. I have G.E.D. recipients who make six figures. The work force in another example of supply and demand. Legislation will not change that.

Ian McG doesn't get it. Like I said, go back and take an economics class, you sorely need one. [...] I don't pay anyone $20 to cut my grass when they come knocking either. Why? cause it takes 30 min. to cut my entire yard. That comes to $40 an hour for a kid to cut grass.

Minimum wage is an emotional issue used by politicians. The amusing thing is the outcome results not in a higher standard of living but in a lower one.

I am NOT a minimum wage person, so I do NOT work for minimum wage. It is THAT simple. This is my CHOICE....say that with me slowly for the people in the back......CHOICE. Who is forcing these people to make 5,6, or 7 bucks an hour? Not me, are YOU. Democraps want to keep the bottom feeders dependant on them, so that they may continue to get their votes. If you want more, GO AND GET IT!!!!!

I am going to type this out in caps really s-l-o-w for all those that don't get it:

MINIMUM WAGE IS NOT MEANT FOR YOU TO LIVE ON

If you can't support your family on minimum wage you have a few choices. Don't have kids and get your spouse to work. Change your lifestyle. Change your job/education status/career. Take responsibility for you life. In spite of what some tell you, it is not some politician's job to coddle you through life. Stop being a victim of politicians that tell you should get more for doing nothing in addition.

SOME JOB TASKS ARE ONLY WORTH MINIMUM WAGE

Society does not value all professions the same. It is obscene that actors make millions and teachers/police/firemen make 20-30K. It is obscene that bartenders and service industry people make more than people with Master's degrees. Is counting, logging, and handing people their clothes at the dry cleaners really worth more than minimum wage? NO!

THAT IS LIFE! LIFE IS NOT FAIR. Get over IT!

You can command what you are worth. If you don't work regularly, if you consistently show up for work late, bitch, moan and complain and if you aren't a good worker, maybe $5.00 is too much money.

Quick question for you posters in favor of a higher minimum wage. Does your manager insist you ask if I want fries or a hot apple pie with that, or are you just trying to show some initiative?

My grandmother always reminded me of a scripture in the Bible that says " Do all for the glory of God"....I didn't get it when i was young, but as I grew older and wiser, I leasrned that this means that I should do the best that I can do at everything that I do in order to please God. If that means I clean the toilet with a toothbrush for $2 then I do it with the passion I have for God. I had Minimum wage jobs, then I went to college, got an education and left minimum wage behind.

I'm glad at least one person had my back. Thanks, "Amber."

I don't understand the reasoning that says certain jobs are not worth a liveable wage, no matter what education is required for them.

First off, there are not enough teenagers to take all the minimum wage jobs the market has available, so adults will be working them. They can't be viewed as just something for people who do not need a liveable income, because that's simply not what has happened in our society. Take a look around you next time you venture out into the world.

And then getting paid what you are worth is not as easy as "shopping yourself around" when you are a minimum wage worker, because there isn't much to shop around. Even if you show up to work on time every day and work as hard as you can for a period of time, the average minimum wage job is not teaching any skills or imparting any education that will help the employee seek any kind of job...except another low-wage job.

If we're going to ask people to do these jobs, then we need to pay them money that they can live off of while working full-time or close to it, instead of demeaning their hard work as "minimum work" (whatever *that's* supposed to mean...)

Finally, here's my reply to all of them:

The common thread I see in these responses is value judgments. And that's, frankly, a very pathetic way to determine what the minimum wage should be. The minimum wage should be the line of the cost of living, period. Otherwise, we're simply fostering a culture of governmental dependence and the decline of the work ethic. Put another way: if everyone made wages in line with the cost of living, then poverty would decline sharply and welfare would all but disappear. But we as a nation have yet to make work worthwhile for all people.

Not everyone who works minimum-wage jobs--or the equally unlivable $7.25 an hour, for that matter--is there because they want or choose to be. When times are rough, people sometimes have to take whatever they can get. Much of the time, merit doesn't even factor into it. I'm sure everyone here knows somebody who works a job beneath their capabilities, or has done so themselves at some point. Sometimes they do so because of family concerns, because they work another career where opportunities are inconsistent or any other myriad reasons. No one should ever be faulted for having to do that. Hey, it beats welfare, right?

I can only hope that none of you on this thread ever find yourselves in a situation where you are forced to make it on minimum wage, like millions of your fellow citizens.

And, for the record, I've taken an economics class. And hundreds of other college courses, as well, earning two degrees in the process. What I've learned is that success is not automatic. Nothing in our economy is automatic. So why do we continue to pretend that it is?

That may be all I have to say on that (or any other) topic on that forum; seeing the true colors of my anonymous neighbors hurts my head.

37 comments:

Nick said...

I have no problem with raising minimum wage for FULL-TIME employees to $7.50/hr. But forcing an employer to pay that for a part-time employee who can't effectively do their starter level job is ridiculous.

Ian McGibboney said...

Nice stereotype there, Nick: part-time employees are merely people who can't hack it for 40 hours a week. They aren't part-time because they go to school, or hold other jobs, or can't find any other work. No, they're simply entry-level, rock-bottom lazy punks.

It seems to me that if an employee of any stripe is not passing muster, then they should be fired. Makes more sense to me than punishing decent part-time workers over some flawed character judgment.

Nick said...

Stero-type? Where did I do that? Unless you're trying to put words in my mouth, I never said all part-time workers can't do their jobs effectively. I just said that employers should not be forced to pay more than $5.15/hr. for the ones who can't do the job effectively.

An employer can't always fire every ineffective worker right away. They have to find someone to take their place, first. Sometimes a warm body is about all that can be found, which is the sign of a pretty good economy. You know, that who un-employed number that has been pretty low as of late.

Nick said...

"that WHOLE un-employed number", not who

Ian McGibboney said...

I've never been impressed by the unemployment figure, at least when it's cited as the main indicator of the job market. It takes into account only those who are currently receiving unemployment benefits; theoretically, Bush could axe unemployment assistance and bring that number to zero. But even if the job rate is better (and it IS growing, though it still has a long way to go), it still glosses over the types of jobs people have. As I've said again and again, a laid-off computer technician working two jobs at fast-food joints should not be considered an example of economic growth.

As for the "stereotype" question: you seemed to be making the distinction that part-time employees somehow aren't as qualified as full-time employees. I thought that was a gross generalization and a very weak argument. Again, someone who doesn't do their job effectively should be fired, period. But if someone does the job well, then they should be paid accordingly. And I don't think that something above sub-poverty wages is too much to ask.

cord said...

Although there are plenty of teenagers working fast-food and other low-skill jobs on a part-time basis as a means of earning "spending money", I'm consistently surprised by the commonly held misconception that these are the only people working such jobs, and even if that were true, that there is no need for that income to be sufficient to support oneself. Yes, education and initiative *can* be a means of getting out of the minimum wage trap, but are no garauntee.

And consider the case of an uneducated teenage parent who is not recieving parental support. Further education may not be a practical suggestion, and part-time work may be the only option (and not just because child-care is expensive; don't forget that many employers prevent workers from working 'full-time' to avoid providing benefits). Is it preferable that this person rely almost completely on governmental support to survive? This hypothetical individual seems like a perfect target for moralistic high-horsers to pass judgement on: regarding sexual activities, familial erosion and worth to society. And that judgement does get made--the minimum wage is made more acceptable by demonizing an entry-level worker who isn't a teenager making *extra* money--as lazy, immoral, or just plain stupid.

If an employee is unwilling or incapable of doing a job, an employer has recourse--the employee can be fired. And this happens. Minimum wage employers aren't forced to keep ineffective workers on staff, and they also don't hire employees based on their non-reliance on the wage they are to be paid. Of course, a healthy job market can make it harder to find high-quality employees to work low-wage jobs, but low-wages can also denote low expectations, which are easily met.

That said, I find the most effective way of expressing distaste for the practive of valuing an hour of human work in the U.S. at $5.15 by avoiding businesses that do so. Excessively low wages do seem to ensure poor service, dull personalities, and low-quality products, and in the end min. wage says more about that employer's perception of the customer than it does about the employees.

Ian McGibboney said...

Well said, cord. I definitely agree that a higher minimum wage would lead to happier workers, better service and products, and an overall jump in profit for the company and its shareholders. But apparently some would rather not have the workers share in the success to which they contribute the most.

Nick said...

I never said that part-time employees aren't as qualified. But what I am saying is that they should not automatically qualify for $7.50/hr. or $8/hr. or whatever the "living wage" is. What I am saying is that an employer should not be forced to pay slack workers higher wages, and you have to draw the line somewhere, so it's at the full-time/part-time distinction. That does not mean that all part-time workers are only paid minimum wage. Currently in Lafayette, you can go to almost any non-fastfood restuarant and start part-time at better than minimum wage.

With unemployment figures, they also don't taken into account people who leave a company to go to work independently. Those who file 10-99's are sometimes not factored in for 2-3 years after they start their own work.

As for your laid-off computer technician working fast-food, two things. First, they could always try to get contract work. Second, if they just recently got into the profession, then they chose to enter a flooded market. Much like people who go into sports medicine these days. It's a market with few good jobs with way too many people still choosing it as a major in college.

And finally, if every employer would start firing every slack employee, then you'd start bitching about high unemployement and more government welfare would have to be paid out.

Ian McGibboney said...

Nick:

1) Why shouldn't part-time employees qualify for a higher minimum wage? The way I see it, you get out of the system what you put in. Slackers are not strictly limited to part-time jobs; conversely, not everyone who works full-time is a go-getter. Drawing the wage line at part-time, as you want to do, is very arbitrary. And, as I've said repeatedly, we should not set wages based on character judgments, but rather by the cost of living.

2) I know all about freelancing (what you call contract work). That simply isn't a possibility for most people. For the few who manage it, they often have to take a regular job to supplement their erratic income. And, yes, contract work is just as (if not more) competitive than the standard market.

3) I think you're missing my point about the two fast-food jobs. Look beyond the specific example: huge numbers of skilled workers in this country are currently in jobs that pay teenage-allowance-level money. And to add insult to iniquity, the Bush administration uses those job figures to make themselves look like the best job market of the last 20 years.

4) An employee fired for slacking on the job is one who will have to become motivated to do better next time. That's a fair mechanism, I think, and far better than employers assuming that their new employees deserve bad wages and poor treatment.

Phillip said...

Ian -- in.re. The Ragvertiser forums: hate to say I told you so.... :O)

I don't mean to open an even bigger can of worms but this is just a symptomatic argument about the balance between unrestrained capitalism and socialism. Or maybe communism, whatever. Assuming that an employer will treat an employee fairly by compensating them according to performance is putting a lot of faith in the judgement of that employer, that HUMAN, that INHERENTLY FLAWED human. And that human's own job is overseen by HIS/HER boss, the performance of which is judged largely by costs and profits, of which employee wages play a significant factor. So there's another echelon of management (humans) whose judgement we rely on to treat others fairly. Big leaps of faith, if you've noticed just how ethically and humanely we tend to treat each other.

Our Democracy (Republic, rather) is in place so that certain bare minimums (including wages, healthcare, social security, the EPA, FDA, on and on and on and on) and safety nets are in place for the common good. Together we stand, divided we fall, all that crap. Some want that net to be lower, some want it higher (the anti-minimum wage hikers and the pros- respectively, if I can keep my metaphor straight).

Non-sequitur: ever notice how people treat "capitalism" and "deemocracy" synonymously? I find that fascinating.

Everyone thinks their experience is universal, certainly several of those commenting in your Advertiser thread, Ian. What it amounts to, in my humble and probably flawed opinion, is having a little more compassion for people whose situations we can't empathize with. Maybe raising the minimum wage will help punk teens who don't need more drag-racing cash and put a strain on industry and our "gangbusters" economy (those parentheses are meant to imply huge amounts of horse shit), but if it helps that exponentially-expanding working poor improve their quality of lives, then I have to believe it's worth it.

GumboFilé said...

Maximum ignorance is an appropriate description of most thinking on the minimum wage.

Logic tells us that an increase in the minimum wage must increase unemployment. The more that anything costs, the less of it that will be purchased. This reality doesn't change simply because the product being purchased is labor.

In the real world, there are so many variables that affect the level of employment that no empirical study can definitely prove or disprove this. Suffice it to say that economists use economic theory to explain real world experience, not the reverse.

Tragically, those priced out of the labor markets by the minimum wage are often young, unskilled, high school drop-outs, or minorities. Those who most need that first unskilled, low-wage job are most likely to be economically and legally unemployable after the wage rate is raised.

Thus, the first obvious effect of the minimum wage is to cause unemployment among the least skilled and most disadvantaged workers!

If the minimum wage law does not cause unemployment and can raise living standards at zero cost, why keep it so low? Why not have a minimum wage of $50 an hour? The answer is that it would cause mass unemployment because most people aren’t worth $50 an hour. The logic is clear and all skeptics have to do is realize that the negative effects of a huge rise in the minimum wage are also seen with smaller rises in the minimum wage but merely to a lesser extent.

The best way to help the working poor is to reduce taxes. Lowering taxes directly and indirectly raises their standard of living. Low-income workers pay a myriad of taxes, directly or indirectly. They directly pay income taxes, payroll taxes and sales taxes. If they rent, they indirectly pay property taxes. They indirectly pay for tariffs on imported goods. The best way to help the working poor is to allow them to keep more of the money they earn by cutting taxes.

We all know we can’t get something for nothing. Such is the minimum wage. It promises to give us something (increased wealth for low-wage workers) for nothing (the stroke of a pen). We all know the world doesn’t work that way.

If we really want to help the working poor, we have to pay the price. We have to do the work required to understand how things really work. Then we have to seek policy changes that correspond to reality.

Nick said...

Yep, let's pay everyone and anyone who works $10/hr. Then we can watch those same people have to pay $6 for a whopper and have their income taxes raised since they're making more money.

Nick said...

Good analysis, Gumbo.

Phillip said...

No, let's let the Whopper go to $6.00, increase taxes and keep paying everyone $5.15. Get rid of minimum wages entiely. To hell with everyone that hasn't had my opportunities.

Ian McGibboney said...

Gumbofile: you're EXACTLY right that taxes need to be lowered on the poorest brackets. This is exactly what Bush's tax cuts don't do. Payroll taxes (Social Security, FICA, etc.) apply only to the first $61,000 of income, so their burden increases exponentially as income lowers. Bush's tax cuts--as well as most others--completely neglect this, preferring to focus purely on income tax. The income tax cuts currently in effect offer windfalls for such income as capital gains and reduces taxation on deductions that only the wealthiest need concern themselves. So, yes, I would be in favor of a massive payroll tax cut for those who live paycheck to paycheck.

And while one theory suggests that a higher minimum wage would hike up prices, recent trends in fuel prices (along with everything else) would suggest that prices rise anyway. Our spending power is the lowest it's been since the late 1970s. Additionally, the record stratification between rich and poor tells me that a certain economic class isn't putting in its share. And it isn't the poor.

E.J. said...

I see a common theme in today's arguments. They all suggest that since raising wages raises prices & causes unemployment (since employers must hire fewer people) that: 1) No one should ever get a pay raise no matter what job they have; and 2)These fast food restaurants in N.O. are going to go belly up soon for paying people so much more post-K.

Interestingly, I didn't see anyone against raising minimum wage make the argument that:
a) he/she has lived just fine off of $5.15/hr for the past several years and speaks from personal experience on this issue or;
b) prices of goods and services and the overall cost of living haven't risen for nearly a decade, thereby negating the need for an increase in the minimum wage.

Instead of hiding behind these arguments, just say you don't think that poor people deserve to earn enough to make ends meet.

Anonymous said...

Nice argument there Ian...prices are going up anyway so who cares if they go up even more...yeah that makes tons of sense.

Also over 85% of people participate in the stock market, so please explain how the capital gains tax cuts only help the wealthy.

Nick said...

But participating in the stock market is "morally wrong" so people shouldn't be allow to receive tax cuts.

E.J.:

The fastfood restuarants in New Orleans HAVE to offer $10/hr. for workers because the work force is so few. And even at offering such great starting wages, they still can't get many of the evacuees to leave their FEMA paid-for apartments in Houston where they are receiving monthly government checks.

Meanwhile, the murder rate in Houston has risen considerably and New Orleans violent crime is right back where it left off before the storm.

Phillip said...

Cajun Tiger -- by "participating" in the stock market did you mean actually owning stock? If so I'd like to know where you found that 85% of Americans are invested?

From the Economic Policy Institue (http://www.epi.org/):

"It probably would surprise a lot of people to know that less than half of American households are
invested in the stock market in any form--either directly or indirectly through mutual funds or
401(k)s. The percentage of households that own stock declined from 51.9% in 2001 to 48.6% in
2004 – the first decline recorded. Furthermore, the percentage of households with more than
$5,000 in stock fell from 40.1% to 34.9%--the first decline in this share.

Stock ownership remains concentrated among the wealthiest households. The wealthiest 20% of
households own over 90% of all stock value. For the top 1%, the average value of stock holdings
was $3.3 million in 2004, down from $3.8 million in 2001. The average value of stock holdings
for the middle 20% was $7,500 in 2004, down from $12,000 in 2001.
'The typical American family relies on home ownership and home equity for their financial
security, not the stock market,' said EPI economist Sylvia Allegretto."

EJ said...

Nick,
I think you missed my point. How are they able to afford to pay nearly twice as much when serving a city half its original size? Seems to me they could have afforded it before. Prices have not shot up and instead of having to lay off people, they can't keep the places staffed.

Again, it seems that your argument devolves into stereotyping the poor as criminal and lazy to justify not paying them decent wages. The crime rate in Houston has not risen considerably, but if you are going to blame storm victims for that, then you gotta give them credit for Houston's drop in Burglary and Rape since Aug. 2005. See for yourself http://www.southwestern.edu/~ramseyp/2005-06houston_stats.php


And the people you've talked to about why they haven't come home...they've told you it's because they want to collect a check and not work? Or did you get that survey data from someone else?

Nick said...

Well EJ, what am I to think is the problem when workers have piled into pickup trucks to work on construction jobs but people who could get off the FEMA dole by working for $10/hr. decide to keep collecting their government check. Then again, New Orleans has been a ground for many generations of welfare recipients, so it doesn't surprise me.

As for Houston's crime since Katrina:

"Houston's homicide rate has shot up 18 percent since the storm, and police statistics show that one in every five murders in the city involves a Katrina evacuee as suspect, victim or both."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06239/716412-84.stm

Please point out where I classified all poor people as criminals or lazy. You can't.

The point is obviously people are willing to take starter jobs for $5.15/hr. because if they weren't, fastfood chains would raise their pay. However, I'd be willing to bet that more restuarants here in Lafayette start their employees at a pay above $6/hr. than those that don't, whether that pay is just hourly or hourly plus tips.

Now, if people like President Bush and the far-Left who seems to be all for illegal immigration would take a real stand against both the illegals and the businesses who hire them, we could see cheap labor siphoned off and American wages for those types of jobs would naturally have to increase.

Ian McGibboney said...

EJ, good points. I've always argued that if minimum-wage workers can affect the economy that much by clawing up to the poverty line, then the CEOS and other high-ranking executives must be absolutely strangling it with their inflated salaries.

And yes, we've seen neither of the two arguments you mentioned. It's character judgment over statistics and reality.

CT and Nick: On paper, the stock market is a good idea: let anyone purchase shares of a corporation in exchange for input on its business practices. But somewhere along the line, the stock market became more of a gambling venture. Now investors trade these commodities on a whim, interested primarily in their monetary value. And corporate bosses feel that they owe more responsibility to these people than to either their employees or their customers.

Phillip, I don't own stock and I don't know anyone our age who does either. The figure CT cited probably referred to 85 percent of a specific demographic, such as corporate excs who receive options as compensation. Most people I know couldn't afford stock in LA Gear, much less Halliburton.

Nick again: the statistic you cite is meaningless. It factors in those evacuees who were victims as well. For all we know, these crimes involved Houston gang members killing Katrina victims! And yes, you ARE making broad statements about Katrina evacuees. Instead of talking about the housing situation, the disappearance of jobs, the inability to get back or personal reasons for not going back, you tacitly imply that they're all just too fat and lazy to come back. Would you say the same for the college graduates from around here who flock there in droves because the Louisiana economy pushes them out?

Finally, people don't take $5.15/hour jobs because of choice; they take them because that's all they can get, and their negotiating power is near zero. The wage is not a testament to what the market can bear; it's a damning indictment of how little it CAN bear.

Nick said...

Again Icon, ya'll point to where I made that statement about all Katrina evacuees. You can't.

You don't know anyone your age who owns stock? I have a 401k, which I've had to fund soley on my own since my company does not match a percent. I believe I am your age, younger in fact. There are many people you know and went to school with that have a retirement fund that depends on stocks.

People bitch all day about oil companies and their record profits only benefiting themselves. Many public school teacher pensions are invested partially in oil stocks. The Social Security system is a mess, will NEVER be fixed by government politicians, regardless of party, so people can't depend completely on that.

Anonymous said...

Well make me person #2 of people your age that own stock and nearly all my friends do as well. Guess that puts me in the upper 20% income earners according to Philips stats. Well take a wild guess how much money you have to earn to be in the upper 25%...hint...it isn't over $100K...ok...I'll help you out...according to the IRS in 2003 to qualify for the top 25% of income earners all you had to earn was $57,343. Not quite just the wealthy amoung us now is it.

As far as the 85% stat, I'll look to see where I heard that before and if it was a misstatement I'll correct it.

Anonymous said...

Ok...I retract my statement of 85% Americans being stock owners. The stats you site are accurate. Doing a very quick search I think I had that high a number in my head from one of two places. In 2002, 70% of registered voters owned stock or the more likely place was that small business employ 80%+ of the jobs in America and thus anything done to hurt investing in stocks would hurt small businesses which would in turn hurt the main driver of 80%+ jobs in the country.

cord said...

An individual earning $6.00/hr and working 40 hours per week earns just under $12,500.00 in a year, minus taxes.
I'm surprised no one who thinks that increasing the minimum wage even to this paltry ammount is raising any ruckus about corporate ceos pulling down 1000X that ammount annually ON THE LOW END, or more specifically UNSKILLED ceos fired and given severance packages sometimes extending 9 places to the left of the decimal. Of course this hasn't seemed to run the whopper up to $6,000, even though said ceos could easily afford it.
Oh wait, does that carl's jr. commercial play in LA, the one about the casino moguls having a $6,000 combo meal featuring the million year old champagne? Dang, I guess the ceo salaries are causing inflation. yeah, we better keep that minimum wage right where it is.

EJ said...

OK, Nick so you didn't say "all" of them. Saying "some" or "many" (you did say "many" of them just want to collect checks) makes what you say more palatable I guess.

Your bias is present in your tendency to eventually reference crime or work ethic, or some character judgment -- when discussing the poor. Why even bring up crime when we're supposed to be discussing whether one can make ends meet on $6/hour? What has that got to do with the core issue of economic survival in this country? Why aren't Executives' criminal squandering of peoples' hard earned investments (far more $$$ than a mugger will ever take from you) not used to justify ending pensions, 401k's, etc... but crime and receipt of welfare checks (but not receipt of $10million in illegal stock transactions) is reason enough to keep the minimum wage down?

But instead of nitpicking what you say, I am curious about how you came to your views of the circumstances poor people find themselves in. Basically, I think alot of our views on this boils down to "why are people poor?"

Ian McGibboney said...

Personally, Nick, I wouldn't want a retirement fund based on stock options. People pitch fits about their hard-earned money being taken by taxes, and yet they are more than willing to risk losing a huge portion for no reason at all. At least with taxes, you get streetlights, pork and missiles. What happened to money just earning a steady interest rate in a savings account? True, the gain isn't as dramatic; but the downside is next to none.

And I echo what EJ said about your use of character judgment regarding Katrina victims. Sure, you don't straight up say, "All Katrina victims are leeching off welfare in Houston," but we all get the implication: the minimum wage deserves to be low because the kind of people making it are not like us, if you catch my drift. You may not even be doing it consciously, I don't know. But it sounds exactly like the closet racism I run into regularly here in south Louisiana.

Nick said...

"But it sounds exactly like the closet racism I run into regularly here in south Louisiana."

Typical liberal mantra, just say someone is being racist. I don't believe I described anyone's race in the above comments. But you're right, the Katrina evacuees who committed real crimes after the storm and are doing it now in Houston and New Orleans are not like me. I don't break into people's homes. I don't sell drugs to 13 year old kids.

There are many Katrian victims who have returned to work in New Orleans. There are many who are now working elsewhere. That IS the majority and I have stated that before on my site. However, there are also many evacuees that have either returned to New Orleans to commit crime or have just resorted to it in other cities. One New Orleans gang leader in Houston even said that if FEMA and/or Houston started to cut back on free housing and aid, crime was going to go up in the city.

But the only reason we're even on this subject was to conceed that yes, fastfood places in New Orleans are offering starting positions at $10/hr., and yet many New Orleans residents and/or evacuees would still rather collect their government checks. Why aren't the welfare recipients who have returned to New Orleans filling those positions?

Sure, CEO's do make ridiculous money, and retirement packages of $400 million are excessive. But, unfortunately, that is capitalism. Why not also bitch about Hollywood actors making $30 million per film or professional athletes like Terrell Owens complaining that a $25 million contract isn't enough to "take care of his family"?

I've already conceded that minimum wage increase for full-time employees should be made law, as high as $7.50/hr. And good, competent part-time workers will almost always be paid $6/hr. or better. Again, more restuarants in Lafayette offer starting positions better than $6/hr. than those that start lower. But no employer should be force to pay $6/hr. for someone who is little else than a warm body.

Also, maybe many on the Left who complain about bad wages could get behind real illegal immigration prevention. Then Americans and legal immigrants won't have to compete with those who are illegally hired for $3/hr.

Nick said...

As for the 401k vs. bank savings account, the bank account doesn't even keep up with interest. God willing, I'm trying to retire by 60, not 90, and Social Security will not be their b/c the D.C. politicians are all nice and comfy with their retirement and medical packages.

I have 401k, IRA, savings, and checking, though. So I do have a Plan B incase something dramatic happens. However, notice how those who kept their stocks after 1930 or bought cheap after the crash made back money plus more.

Ian McGibboney said...

Nick, the main flaw in your warm-body argument is this: If someone is such a terrible person and lazy worker, then why is anyone employing them in the first place? That's why prospective employers give interviews. I've had to interview for virtually every job I've ever had, and those were more to gauge my character than any expertise I might have had. Even when I've put my best face forward, I've been turned down or have been received chilly. The way I see it, it's the employer's fault if they can't weed out these people. Even if one does get through, they should be fired if they do a poor job. I don't see why these standards aren't enough without penalizing all workers with that stigma.

Regarding race: you continually highlight the gangster expatriates in Houston as if they represent the mainstream New Orleanian. You know they don't. So why even bring it up, except to inflame?

As for the salary issue: I've learned not to be too overly critical of what rich people make. Sure, there are plenty of overpaid people out there; but I also understand that most pro athletes, entertainers and CEOs earn what they deserve. None of those are easy jobs, and they all work constantly and often under very critical eyes. My criticism comes in when someone blithely ignores the huge salaries that corporate execs make and acts as if a $3 increase in the minimum wage is what will bankrupt a company.

Your point about illegal immigrants is almost a non-sequitur. Not only are underpaid illegals a favorite of conservative employers, but they are living examples of why no minimum wage would be disastrous. Between getting rid of migrant labor and losing the minimum wage, it almost seems like you want America's underclass to resemble the illegals you hate so much.

GumboFilé said...

You can use emotional, sentimental, even moral arguments and laws to address economic matters, but they will not change economic reality any more than making a law against gravity could change that physical reality. The reality is this, the minimum wage, and increases in the minimum wage, while promoted as a way to help the marginal, only hurts those it is intended to help. It hurts the marginally employable by making them even moreso. It also hurts some marginal businesses. It hurts the rest of us indirectly and marginally.

Ian McGibboney said...

Gumbo, you're right once again. I should know better than to attempt to win over conservatives with compassion.

But seriously...I'm the one trying to take emotion OUT of this debate. I'm arguing that the minimum wage is far below the poverty line, and that inflation is too complex to reduce to a small bump in the poorest wages. On the other hand, those advocating otherwise are talking about teenagers and how most minimum-wage workers aren't even worth $5.15 an hour. And let's not forget the talk about lazy Katrina evacuees!

If exhibiting compassion for those who make less than I do makes me seem "sentimental," then so be it. But I'm not the one whose side is basing their argument almost entirely on stereotypes and flawed economic assumptions.

GumboFilé said...

It's not a matter of compassion v lack thereof. It's informed compassion v ignorant compassion, which is actually not compassionate at all. Would you prefer to do harm to those you claim you want to help so long as the ostensible "good deed" gets better press than the real harm?

Ian McGibboney said...

I don't think anyone takes the compassionate high ground by allowing people to make below-poverty wages, on the dubious premise that asking for more money will make prices rise. As I've said before, prices rise for a variety of reasons, and it certainly isn't because the minimum wage keeps getting increased (because it hasn't been in almost 10 years). Also, keeping your argument consistent would mean that everyone (CEOs on down) gets a pay cut to bring prices down. Won't happen, and wouldn't work if it did.

If by "ignorant compassion" you mean that I don't think we should keep the impoverished down for their own good, then guilty as charged. But, as I've already said, we clearly aren't coming from the same place.

GumboFilé said...

You're addressing someone else's arguments rather than mine. Re-read my previous posts. My arguments say nothing about effect of wages on pricing. My arguments are all about the effect of a government imposed minimum wage on the working poor. It doesn't help them, it hurts them, by putting them out of work. What's compassionate about that?

Ian McGibboney said...

Assuming that a minimum wage raise would result in greater unemployment is a flawed premise. But even it IS true, I doubt that many would stand to benefit from a large increase in jobs that pay, say, $3 an hour. My whole point is that even those who earn almost TWICE the minimum wage cannot support themselves, much less those whose paychecks level out at the comically low level the government mandates.

With a higher wage, people working multiple jobs could give one up, thus opening up another job at a livable wage for someone else. Who could complain about that?