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Question: Would killing the minimum wage help?
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vforvendetta
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July 12, 2011, 07:23:11 AM
 #41

I don't have a complex, model backed reply, but I can say that going from $7.50 an hour to something less would really screw me over as far as finances go. Stuff is expensive these days - I don't mean luxuries, but the essentials. Gasoline & car expenses, food, living maintenance, health care (many Americans have NO insurance), and that's not even looking into the fiat currency inflation eating up people's retirement savings. And while I see a lot of the points being made here, and they may indeed work in a perfect world, I also believe that many (employers) would end up taking advantage of it not to hire new employees at a lower price, but to fatten their own bottom lines by slashing wages under the banner "like it or leave it". There has to be some system to look out for the little guy, or you end up with a system like in China where you see people working for a pittance. Just my two cents...
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myrkul
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July 12, 2011, 08:17:37 AM
 #42

I don't have a complex, model backed reply, but I can say that going from $7.50 an hour to something less would really screw me over as far as finances go. Stuff is expensive these days - I don't mean luxuries, but the essentials. Gasoline & car expenses, food, living maintenance, health care (many Americans have NO insurance), and that's not even looking into the fiat currency inflation eating up people's retirement savings. And while I see a lot of the points being made here, and they may indeed work in a perfect world, I also believe that many (employers) would end up taking advantage of it not to hire new employees at a lower price, but to fatten their own bottom lines by slashing wages under the banner "like it or leave it". There has to be some system to look out for the little guy, or you end up with a system like in China where you see people working for a pittance. Just my two cents...

I understand, I really do. But imagine what would happen if you (or if not you, the one or more of your coworkers) went from $7.50/hr to $0.00/hr?

That's what happens every time the minimum wage goes up.

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July 12, 2011, 08:26:21 AM
 #43

I don't have a complex, model backed reply, but I can say that going from $7.50 an hour to something less would really screw me over as far as finances go. Stuff is expensive these days - I don't mean luxuries, but the essentials. Gasoline & car expenses, food, living maintenance, health care (many Americans have NO insurance), and that's not even looking into the fiat currency inflation eating up people's retirement savings. And while I see a lot of the points being made here, and they may indeed work in a perfect world, I also believe that many (employers) would end up taking advantage of it not to hire new employees at a lower price, but to fatten their own bottom lines by slashing wages under the banner "like it or leave it". There has to be some system to look out for the little guy, or you end up with a system like in China where you see people working for a pittance. Just my two cents...

Would you prefer going to $0.00 an hour with no chance of getting another job?

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July 12, 2011, 08:32:29 AM
 #44

I guess I should had been more clear. If the more 'skilled' workers applied for a job which normally people with GED would apply for, who would you hire? One with a degree or a GED? Now the only way they would get hired is if they where paid less then the minimum, but mainly, it may help bring back business that has been sent overseas.

The one with the GED, the one with the degree will leave as soon as a better job becomes available.  The one with the GED will not.

This is probably true but hard to say with any certainty. I know plenty of people with no degree or even GED who have drifted through plenty of "dead-end" jobs: Blockbuster, McDonalds, Securitas, Regal Cinemas....
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July 12, 2011, 08:41:02 AM
 #45

Problem with the lack of a minimum wage is that the situation looks increasingly more and more like slavery.  As the race to the bottom prevails, if markets are left unfettered, even below subsistence levels of pay can be maintained with costs externalized to whatever social safety net (be it political or religious) may exist.

The idea that 50% of the people think there shouldn't be a minimum wage means one of the following to me:
1) People are unbelievably cruel and hateful and believe that there is nothing wrong with slavery by any other name
2) They are millionaires and also think that there is nothing wrong with slavery and grinding poverty due to their oligarchical disposition
3) They are trolling
4) They have no historical, political or economic understanding outside a Milton Friedman book
5) They believe in no fundamental value for human life and whatever you can get out of someone you should

I really don't see any other options for this.  Please post them here if you know of any even partially legitimate sounding reason for the elimination of the minimum wage that isn't the most obvious, flagrant and hideous face of class warfare by the top 0.1% against the rest of society.

The problem with supporting the minimum wage is that the situation looks increasingly more and more like slavery.  As the race to the bottom prevails, as we regulate markets (and therefore people), below subsistence level jobs will be erased and we will create unemployment depriving some workers of even the very little they could get.

The idea that 50% of the people think that there should be a minimum wage means one of the following to me:
1) People are unbelievably cruel and hateful and believe that there is nothing wrong with slavery by any other name
2) They are millionaires and also think that there is nothing wrong with slavery and grinding poverty due to their oligarchical disposition
3) They are trolling
4) They have no historical, political or economic understanding outside of a few Keynsianist economics classes and Paul Krugman articles
5) They believe fundamentally that humans are unable to know what's best for themselves and should not be allowed to voluntarily trade and exchange with other human beings



Edit: I'm not trying to be a troll, and would sincerely like to have a rational dialogue with you, but do you see how easy that is?
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July 12, 2011, 10:29:49 AM
 #46

Ahh! So now we have the real argument -- we need a minimum wage to prevent other laws from screwing things up. There is no screwed up regulation that can't be fixed by more regulation of something else, right?
No. We need a minimum wage so long as there's any kind of safety net to stop people starving en-masse in the street, be it government-provided or charitable or even just assistance from more well-off relatives and friends. Otherwise employers' wage costs will end up getting subsidised by that safety net - they'll be able to employ workers for less than it costs to keep them healthy and fit for work - which is going to lead to some, errm, interesting distortions in the market for labour. You might be able to "solve" this by prohibiting anyone from providing this kind of support to anyone else, but this has the issues that it's unenforcable and will lead to people starving en-masse in the streets.

As the somewhat more rational supporters of the minimum wage noted, the only people who would have even a chance of "racing to the bottom" would be those already working minimum wage, and most of THEM are either working very simple jobs that pay poorly regardless or are using the job to gain experience for a springboard to a better job.
While the race to the bottom would indeed screw over lots of people currently working for the minimum wage, they're not the only ones it could affect. Suppose you're working 40 hours a week at the minimum wage of $7.25 a week, which is just enough for you to survive on, and when the minimum wage is removed your employer looks at all the unemployed people out there and decides he could get away with paying you $6 a week - not quite enough to make ends meet. What do you do? You get a second job - say, for 10 hours a week at $4/hour. Except that everyone else is doing the same too, and the resulting increase in labour supply pushes wages down further until you're now working 80 hours a week at $3.50/hour. (That's the optimistic version - if the amount of employment doesn't keep up, some people will end up working 0 hours a week for $0/hour as they get replaced by better employees that are suddenly desperate for more work.)

Of course - and this is the fun bit - said increase in labour supply makes it harder for the unemployed to get a job, counteracting the benefits of increasing the number of jobs available. In fact, removing the minimum wage may well make finding a job harder, not easier!

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chickenado
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July 12, 2011, 12:19:49 PM
 #47

Mininum wage only "protects" people who already have a stable job.

But it hurts those who need the most "protection" - the unemployed. It lessens their chance to get their foot in the door and pushes more of them into a vicious cycle of long term unemployment.

Minimum wage is regressive and anti-social.
vforvendetta
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July 12, 2011, 05:19:26 PM
 #48

I understand, I really do. But imagine what would happen if you (or if not you, the one or more of your coworkers) went from $7.50/hr to $0.00/hr?

That's what happens every time the minimum wage goes up.

From what I've seen you post, I have no doubt that you have nothing but the best of intentions in mind and that you (are?) would be a fair employer in this kind of situation. However, I would be more inclined to agree with your point of view if there were some sort of way to prevent the aforementioned problem - if we eliminated minimum wage, what would there be to stop huge corporations like supergreedymegacorp inc. from treating people like dirt and hoarding every last penny for the capitalist class?

Would you prefer going to $0.00 an hour with no chance of getting another job?

If wages were to sink so far that I would have to work most of every day to pay for the essentials, I would probably look for a new form of money-making activity. If starting my own business were obviously not viable (in this scenario we're discussing a dirt poor economy where this whole wage-cutting situation is necessary), I honestly can't say that relatively profitable criminal activity would be out of the question - and I guarantee you that I wouldn't be the only one with it on my mind. Perhaps that makes me a bad or immoral person - but life isn't worth living if you're miserable going through it every day and have no time for your family or for 'self' things. From my point of view, though, it's just the nature of man.
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July 12, 2011, 05:36:29 PM
 #49

(indeed, for all of the problems of the 19th century, unemployment because of a lack of experience was not one of them; a poor man could get a job in a factory or a railroad and, through a lifetime of hard work, eventually find himself managing the route or the factory).

I wasn't responding to your "unemployment and experience" argument. I was responding to your Horatio Alger fantasies of robber-baron capitalism being a time where hard workers can rise to great wealth and prominence, when in fact most hard workers were dying in coal mines or being shot by either government or private militias for trying to organize.
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July 12, 2011, 05:38:17 PM
 #50

I understand, I really do. But imagine what would happen if you (or if not you, the one or more of your coworkers) went from $7.50/hr to $0.00/hr?

That's what happens every time the minimum wage goes up.

From what I've seen you post, I have no doubt that you have nothing but the best of intentions in mind and that you (are?) would be a fair employer in this kind of situation. However, I would be more inclined to agree with your point of view if there were some sort of way to prevent the aforementioned problem - if we eliminated minimum wage, what would there be to stop huge corporations like supergreedymegacorp inc. from treating people like dirt and hoarding every last penny for the capitalist class?

That's where collective bargaining comes in. supergreedymegacorp inc only has the massive bargaining power because of its size. with collective bargaining, you take away that size advantage. Without the distortions placed on the market by state regulations, the two groups could come to an amicable arrangement, that benefited both parties.

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vforvendetta
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July 12, 2011, 05:40:48 PM
 #51

I understand, I really do. But imagine what would happen if you (or if not you, the one or more of your coworkers) went from $7.50/hr to $0.00/hr?

That's what happens every time the minimum wage goes up.

From what I've seen you post, I have no doubt that you have nothing but the best of intentions in mind and that you (are?) would be a fair employer in this kind of situation. However, I would be more inclined to agree with your point of view if there were some sort of way to prevent the aforementioned problem - if we eliminated minimum wage, what would there be to stop huge corporations like supergreedymegacorp inc. from treating people like dirt and hoarding every last penny for the capitalist class?

That's where collective bargaining comes in. supergreedymegacorp inc only has the massive bargaining power because of its size. with collective bargaining, you take away that size advantage. Without the distortions placed on the market by state regulations, the two groups could come to an amicable arrangement, that benefited both parties.

I can agree with that - although I have a feeling a lot of other people are going to disagree with your stance on the place of unions. Tongue
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July 12, 2011, 05:46:06 PM
 #52

I think it is a fallacy to assume that every step towards "liberty" is a step in the right direction, when it greatly matters what order things are done and how they are done. Repealing social safety net type programs without dismantling the state/corporate imperial power apparatus is incredibly fucked up. For instance -- look at the way both Reagan and Thatcher used Libertarian rhetoric to dismantle safety net type programs (while of course increasing the power of monopolists, increase the police state, increase the military-industrial complex, etc).

This is just the sweatshop thread in another guise.

When it comes to dismantling state capitalism, abolishing the minimum wage (and other safety net type programs) is pretty fucking low on my priority list (though I think that in practice maximum wage laws that limit the ability of any person at a corporation to earn more than say 15X more than anyone else employed by the corporation would work far better than minimum wage laws) -- I'd rather start from the other side and eliminate present forms of state intervention that weaken the bargaining power of labor, and which thereby coerce workers to sell their labor under incredibly warped conditions of unequal exchange --- I agree that the current labor market is incredibly warped, but it is warped towards the employing class, not against it.
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July 12, 2011, 05:51:30 PM
 #53

That's where collective bargaining comes in. supergreedymegacorp inc only has the massive bargaining power because of its size. with collective bargaining, you take away that size advantage. Without the distortions placed on the market by state regulations, the two groups could come to an amicable arrangement, that benefited both parties.

Yes, but currently there are laws (like Taft-Hartley and even the Wagner Act) as well as other laws like "right to work" agreements etc that greatly limit collective bargaining power. Though we may have different interpretations of how we think a voluntarist society will eventually evolve, surely you will agree with me that among the capital-L Libertarian movement in the US there tends to be much more handwringing over things like minimum wage laws and safety-net programs that provide some kind of "soft-edge" to the predatoriness of state/corporate capitalism than many of the regulations that give corporations that power to exploit

Here is a very good analysis of what labor struggle in a free market could look like, combined with a critique of the labor analysis the Libertarian Right often uses

http://c4ss.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/C4SS-Labor.pdf
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July 12, 2011, 05:58:46 PM
 #54

That's where collective bargaining comes in. supergreedymegacorp inc only has the massive bargaining power because of its size. with collective bargaining, you take away that size advantage. Without the distortions placed on the market by state regulations, the two groups could come to an amicable arrangement, that benefited both parties.

Yes, but currently there are laws (like Taft-Hartley and even the Wagner Act) as well as other laws like "right to work" agreements etc that greatly limit collective bargaining power.

Even worse are the laws that give unions too much power, resulting in.. well, in GM.

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July 12, 2011, 06:01:03 PM
 #55

That's where collective bargaining comes in. supergreedymegacorp inc only has the massive bargaining power because of its size. with collective bargaining, you take away that size advantage. Without the distortions placed on the market by state regulations, the two groups could come to an amicable arrangement, that benefited both parties.

Yes, but currently there are laws (like Taft-Hartley and even the Wagner Act) as well as other laws like "right to work" agreements etc that greatly limit collective bargaining power.

Even worse are the laws that give unions too much power, resulting in.. well, in GM.

riiight. because in an economy where workers have too much power, the rumneration scale looks like this

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July 12, 2011, 06:05:09 PM
 #56

I think it is a fallacy to assume that every step towards "liberty" is a step in the right direction, when it greatly matters what order things are done and how they are done. Repealing social safety net type programs without dismantling the state/corporate imperial power apparatus is incredibly fucked up. For instance -- look at the way both Reagan and Thatcher used Libertarian rhetoric to dismantle safety net type programs (while of course increasing the power of monopolists, increase the police state, increase the military-industrial complex, etc).

This is just the sweatshop thread in another guise.

When it comes to dismantling state capitalism, abolishing the minimum wage (and other safety net type programs) is pretty fucking low on my priority list (though I think that in practice maximum wage laws that limit the ability of any person at a corporation to earn more than say 15X more than anyone else employed by the corporation would work far better than minimum wage laws) -- I'd rather start from the other side and eliminate present forms of state intervention that weaken the bargaining power of labor, and which thereby coerce workers to sell their labor under incredibly warped conditions of unequal exchange --- I agree that the current labor market is incredibly warped, but it is warped towards the employing class, not against it.

Right on.

That's where collective bargaining comes in. supergreedymegacorp inc only has the massive bargaining power because of its size. with collective bargaining, you take away that size advantage. Without the distortions placed on the market by state regulations, the two groups could come to an amicable arrangement, that benefited both parties.

Yes, but currently there are laws (like Taft-Hartley and even the Wagner Act) as well as other laws like "right to work" agreements etc that greatly limit collective bargaining power.

Even worse are the laws that give unions too much power, resulting in.. well, in GM.

Uh, which laws are these exactly?

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July 12, 2011, 06:15:31 PM
 #57

riiight. because in an economy where workers have too much power, the rumneration scale looks like this

I'll admit I haven't done a lot of study, and it's highly likely GM was run into the ground by a combination of factors.

But one needs only to look at how Kia has revitalized a - I believe Georgia? - town by building a factory, and then look at Detroit, to see the difference. I'll admit that may have as much to do with corporate policy as government, though.

What I do know is that these regulations distort the market, causing one group to be inherently more powerful than the other, and that never works well.

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July 12, 2011, 09:41:38 PM
 #58

Pay disparity is often the result of government meddling. CEOs that drive up shareholder value through political entrepreneurship  get compensated accordingly. 

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July 12, 2011, 10:23:39 PM
 #59

well see this is where we get into the sort of argument where all the beneficial outcomes of a "free market" are attributed to the market, and all the bad outcomes are attributed to "regulation". In any case, it still doesn't address the fact that myrkul claimed there was too much regulation is favor of unions/labor power. If that was the case, why would compensation be so skewed towards the ultra-elite?

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July 12, 2011, 11:08:39 PM
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well see this is where we get into the sort of argument where all the beneficial outcomes of a "free market" are attributed to the market, and all the bad outcomes are attributed to "regulation"

The problem is that we don't have a free market. So either side can claim the benefits. That's why we need to reduce things to certain undeniable facts.

1. Human action is based on improving our position.
2. People that want to work for a certain amount of pay think that their position will be improved.
3. Employers will only pay as much as the employee can return in productivity.
4. Minimum wage forces low productivity workers to be unemployed.
5. If we didn't have minimum wages then employers would compete for employees and their wage would tends towards their productivity level rather than a race to the bottom, etc, etc.

These are all facts so therefore we can deduce that minimum wage only hurts low productivity workers. You know who tends to favor minimum wage workers? Unions, because it keeps competition out of the market. Instead of hiring a bunch of guys with shovels that can compete with a bulldozer operator without minimum wages, employers don't have that option so they hire bulldozer operators. Who loses? We do through higher prices, the unemployed low productivity workers lose because they don't have a job and employers lose because their costs are artificially raised.

Oh yea, even if this wasn't all true, it's still immoral to prevent adults from interacting however they want, be it gay sex or low wage work.
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