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[–] dabork 8 points 39 points (+47|-8) ago 

Whenever the wage debate comes up I always hear the same thing. "People flipping burgers shouldn't be making X amount of dollars an hour!" It's usually followed by some weak justification like "Doctors and firefighters only make Y per hour!" or "They should be bettering themselves or looking for a better job". Well that's all a crock of shit if you ask me and it reeks of greed. What you're really saying is "why should a person who I view as inferior to myself or someone else based on their occupation get paid a similar amount?" This ridiculous notion so many people seem to have that occupations should all be some kind of ranking system for your worth as a human and have a matching pay scale is a detriment to society. Yes, people who are critical to the foundations of life itself should get paid a little more than people who simply enhance our lives or provide convenience to us, but that doesn't mean the gap needs to be astronomical. It's also a little infuriating that everyone seems to view look down on the people that actually affect their lives the most. Sure, your doctor keeps you alive, but you see him maybe a few times a year unless you have a condition. You rely on the guy who flips your burger or cleans your toilet or mows your lawn or cleans your car or delivers your pizza several times a month. Also take into account that not everyone in life is profit driven or wants to dedicate their lives to their occupations and is merely looking for something that offers enough for them to live comfortably like the people they serve on a daily basis, albeit on a smaller scale. I've delivered pizza, I've been a line cook in multiple restaurants, I've been a telemarketer, an IT technician, and now I detail rich peoples' cars. All jobs that people seem to take for granted and most of which could benefit greatly from an improved wage. I have been genuinely happy with every job I have ever had except telemarketing, but that was my first job ever and I hate talking on the phone. To see people constantly berating me to always be on the hunt for something better and try to make me feel bad for enjoying the work I did, regardless of how "important" the work was, used to be really discouraging. I've met people who have been doing the same job for 20 years who can do it better than anyone I've ever met have to take a second job just to make ends meet because somebody decided the person building the Pizza Hut was twice as important as the person working in it. Get out of this outdated thinking. Just because your parents and grandparents told you that the only way to be happy in life was to work as hard as possible and never be happy with anything other than the absolute best, doesn't mean it's true. Stop underestimating the value of the people around you because of their uniform. We're all humans and we all deserve to live a rich and happy life based on our own motivations. Money is driving a wedge between us all, and that's exactly what the people running the show want.

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[–] Poco 0 points 16 points (+16|-0) ago 

Your are correct that anyone who is starting their argument with "This person doesn't deserve that much money" is a jerk. No one should be looked down just because of the job they have or their skill set.

That said, the straight up economics of it would suggest that people will only get paid by a business if they can produce more value than they are paid.

Let's say you run a business and sell widgets for $10 and it costs you $9 to produce the widgets. Let's say that $4 of that cost is wages and you are currently paying minimum wage. If minimum wage were to double then the cost of producing your widgets might go up by $4 and now it costs you $13 to produce each widget.

If the market for the widgets is highly elastic then there is a very good chance that people don't want to pay $13 for the widget. The $10 price was set based on what people were willing to pay, not based on how much it costs to produce.

If the market is inelastic then they might be able to charge $14 a widget and still sell just as many. However, if that was the case then you would likely already be selling them for $14 per widget and making even more money than you do now. There is probably some competition that is pushing the price down to $10 per widget.

So then the problem come if your competition is going to be affected by the minimum wage the same way you are. What if their cost is also $9 but they have a more automated process so only $2 of their cost is wages. Their cost would go up to $11 and now they are selling it for $12, undercutting you by $2.

Unless you can find a way to optimize your production then you might very well go out of business and have to layoff your staff and find a new line of business yourself. They can get jobs somewhere else, and so can you, but in the mean time you have been negatively impacted by the rise in minimum wage.

This is the real, non-emotional, problem that can happen. Not because they are being looked down upon or because they are worth less or don't deserve the money, but because the wages make it cost too much to produce a product in their current line of business.

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[–] 1252693 1 points 14 points (+15|-1) ago 

Ok, but over the last 3 generations the value of the individual hasn't been raised to their actual production value.

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[–] tothetop 2 points 2 points (+4|-2) ago 

I agree that this will likely happen if the minimum wage is increased. My issue though is why should the owner of the company be protected to make a profit on the widgets while the workers get shafted and have to work a second job or something? In my mind, if your company can't produce the widgets while paying your workers a livable wage, you are doing something wrong. If that company collapses, a different company that can do both will take its place if there is enough demand for the widget.

In my opinion, this draws a lot of attention to things like overseas manufacturing that drive the price down. It's good for individual consumers because they can purchase things for cheaper, but it drastically reduces the number of consumers in the US that can spend money.

It seems like a society where more people can buy widgets sold on a smaller profit margin is better than one where fewer people can buy them on a larger profit margin, and both would theoretically result in profits for the company.

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[–] Hand-Banana 1 points 1 points (+2|-1) ago 

But we don't really produce anymore. Most min wage jobs are service jobs. And there employees make many times their wage for the employer. Everything else would have already left for countries where the labor savings far outweigh shipping it in.

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[–] XPS 0 points 6 points (+6|-0) ago 

It's not that the less educated or less industrious don't deserve to have the good life or whatever you want to call it, it's that it erases or denigrates the work those who are already there did to get it. No one likes to see people get what they worked hard for without doing likewise. I feel the same about student loan forgiveness, mortgage debt forgiveness, financial oppression through confiscating saved funds in a bank during crisis, why do the irresponsible get off while I paid and get fucked? It's the same sort of feeling going on here. If it were really true that all wages would get a bump up, I don't think anyone would cry out as much. I don't care as much as I make well above 15 but if I was around that amount I would be annoyed. Those guys will get a raise too but I bet it won't be by the same amount as those at the minimum now. People will see that as a clawback.

People also just assume businesses will eat the costs to do this. They won't. It will get passed along to the consumer and long term eliminated through efficiency whether technological or lowering in service or quality. I'm not saying it isn't the right thing to happen but people will see prices rise in a visible way and that gives reason to complain.

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[–] Isaak 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

"I had it bad when I was your age, so you should too otherwise I'll feel that it's unfair" isn't a healthy view to have. The quality of living is supposed to get better for everyone as time goes on.

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[–] pitapityparty 1 points 1 points (+2|-1) ago  (edited ago)

No one likes to see people get what they worked hard for without doing likewise.

So you're faced with two alternatives: one in which you make $X, and those who didn't work as hard make less, and one in which you still make $X, and those who didn't work as hard also make $X. To me, a bystander, I'm drawn towards the former latter, since more people are better off. Did you work hard so you could make a living and maybe follow a passion, or did you work hard to feel superior to others?

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[–] aScott 1 points 3 points (+4|-1) ago 

Finally, some sense. Thank you.

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[–] lolol42 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

People aren't saying that they, as people are less meaningful or valuable. Their labor is worth less. Labor is a product like anything else, and it is harmful to mandate minimum prices that are higher than it is worth. What if they decided that to help the grain industry, the minimum any store could charge for bread was $5/loaf? Would everyone just pony up? No, they would buy other kinds of bread, or make their own.