Friday, August 04, 2006

The Minimum Wage

It's the same discussion that comes up every few years...what to do about the Federal Minimum Wage.

Many Democrats push the old argument that if you're against raising it then you're against the working poor and don't want to give a livable wage to a single woman who waits tables to feed her four kids. Her kids are already mal-nourished because you're the same person who wants to cut their free food program at school...oh and you poison their water also.

If you're for the minimum wage then you're compassionate and loving and one with the universe but you think it's compassionate to mandate that people live on a slightly higher (yes still unlivable) wage.

How high should the minimum wage be? I know how much it costs to live these days...maybe it should be $15 dollars an hour. Why should anyone in America have to work for less than 30k a year? After all, the mother with four kids is not going to be able to give her children any kind of life on less than 30k a year. But 30k a year isn't really that much and it certainly doesn't make up for what should be a 2nd income that a spouse would provide. Why not have the minimum wage also make up for the salary inequity that results from her being a woman. Her earning potential is less so really her annual salary based on a truly compassionate minimum wage should be $50,000.

But what do I know? I'm just a heartless libertarian that doesn't want to help anyone who is on the bottom rung. After all I grew up in a relatively stable family, a good house with indoor plumbing, had middle-income parents and unfairly had life opportunities that gave me advantage in life that poor people couldn't possibly know without a compassionate and fair minimum wage.

Except that I'm a libertarian, nothing in the previous paragraph is true.


Robert the Grump said...

Tracy, it's not like you to oversimplify an argument this way...LOL. Just kidding, you love to oversimply these things.

I'm one of the few people you know who grew up as poor as you did, and now we both make bags of money in the high tech field because we can instruct other people how to use their applications without losing our tempers. So we've been poor and we've been middle-class.

But we differ on our empathy for the less fortunate. You think everyone should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, or they should starve like Ethiopians and make way for us elite types.

I think what makes America great is that we take care of our own. Sure, there are limits. I don't want my tax money going to wasteful programs, either.

Here's the thing: the new minimum wage proposal is actually a wage cut for people who collect tips. People near and dear to me are in this category. How dare congress propose a wage cut for hard working people while they just gave themselves a 25% raise to do absolutely nothing (unless you count bankrupting our future to democratize Iraq into a Muslim theocracy as something).

And the other piece of this Republican farce is that the same people you deny a better wage to will just collect food stamps and welfare when they can't afford food anymore. You and I get to pay for that, whereas employers get to pay for fairer wages.

Don't try to convince me that restaurant servers and other minimum wage workers don't earn their piddly wages. They work a hell of a lot harder than you or I and I think you know that. They just aren't as valued by society, for some reason.

Washington state has the highest minimum wage in the country, and I don't see businesses reeling and going bankrupt because of it.

You really are a heartless Libertarian, but more importantly, a short-sighted one. Penny wise, pound foolish. I guess you don't know what hunger is like anymore because your bunker in Idaho is stocked with a year's worth of canned goods for one the big one hits.

Esther said...

You forgot to mention that you eat spotted owls. :oD

I agree. Plus, rasing the minimum wage would cause employers to downsize a lot. Many small businesses would only be able to hire skilled workers. How does a worker get skilled if no one will hire him or her in the first place so he or she can get training?

Tracy said...

Grump...I have to admit that I baited you into this...but you already know that.

As for the part of your argument concerning those who collect tips you and I are in complete agreement. In agreement except that I would also add that tips and wages should not be taxed at all. As we've established in other posts that the tax on wages is really designed to pay for interest for the national debt rather than a source of actual income receipt to fund your favorite social engineering boondoggles.

Because of this whenever possible I tip anyone I can generously...all the way from wait staff, to my barber, to the guy that helps me organize my stockpile of weapons for the bunker. (which would be the envy of anyone in Hezbollah)

By the way...while the minimum wage in our state isn't that big a deal in the I-5 corridor you should have a look around and see waht it does in other parts of the state. But like Gary Locke and other failed Governors of this state (really all of them) you've forgotten that there is life (albeit marginalized life in the view of the average Seattle liberal) outside of the Greater Puget Sound area.

Robert the Grump said...

Tracy, you make some good points, until you get to the part about life outside of the I5 corrider.

I must take exception to your assertion that there is life east of the Cascade mountains. I have been there, and the area is incapable of supporting intelligent life. I offer the Washington State Cougars as proof of what I say.

Tracy said...

Actually your reference to WSU is quite right and an impossible argument to rebut.