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True/False: wages should keep up with living-costs?

Studies show minimum-wage should 

be $22/hour; while middle-class wages 

should start at $35/hour if they kept up 

with worker-productivity. How can you not 

see all Americans are being jipped across 

the board?...and what can be done about it?

8 Answers

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  • Amy
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    No business will pay $22 for labor that only generates $5 worth of product. They'll either shut down or switch from human labor to automation or move to a country with cheaper labor. Imposing a minimum wage eliminates those $5 jobs instead of raising them to $22.

    Automation is a good thing. We want to generate more productivity with less human effort. But it doesn't help anyone if all the products are hoarded by a few oligarchs.

    So business profits need to be taxed. The business that only generates $5 of product doesn't pay as much tax as one that generates $100 of product, so it can continue to be profitable and therefore continue to exist.

    With those taxes, the government needs to provide all the necessities (food, housing, medicine, education) to all regardless of how few hours of labor were needed to generate those products.

    Despite what some people claim, taxation is not "socialism". It's actually more capitalist than our current system: with the government taking over responsibility for welfare, wages and prices would be set by a completely free market.

    It's not pure capitalism either, of course. Any system in which everybody survives has the problem of inelasticity in the markets for necessities. If the government is going to pay for a certain amount of food no matter how much it costs to produce, then the price can go well above what it would be if people who can't pay it individually just starve. The only thing that helps is to encourage capitalist competition between many food producers.

    (Obviously leaving people to starve is also an option. But as we approach 30% unemployment this year, I think a lot of people are coming to appreciate having some sort of safety net.)

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  • lila
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    False. Wages should be based on the skill required for the job. If the job pays a wage that cannot support someone, they should tweak or strengthen their skills or develop new ones to perform a job that compensates more appropriately with their lifestyle. Minimum wage jobs were never intended to support a family. Before you say not everyone has the resources or money to go to college..... hello, trade schools are dirt cheap or even free with scholarships and some trades pay damn good! Like CNC Machining or Electrical work for example... my company pays Electricians and CNC Machinists well over $30 per hour. These are just two examples of trades.

    If a fast food worker demands $22 per hour to run hamburgers from the kitchen to the counter, then that hamburger is going to get real expensive for customers. Think about that. Companies will need to charge more for their products and services to pay their employees more.... but just for them to do the same exact job requiring the same exact skill.  It doesn't make sense.

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  • 2 months ago

    If min wage was $22 your Big Mac would cost $10 - so you would be WORSE off because you would be paying more income taxes and at a higher rate. Plus, businesses would automate and many people would be permanently unemployed. Basic economics.

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  • A.J.
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Every study will give different results.  $10.31/hour is fair.

    We can say that the Federal Minimum Wage in January 1980 was $3.10 per hour.

    The average rent in the USA was $310 per month or 100 hours gross wage.

    The Federal minimum now is $7.25/hour

    The average rent in the USA is about $1450 per month or 200 hours gross wage.

    By Consumer Price Index,

    https://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl?cost1=3.10...

    $10.31 is $3.10 of January 1980

    Housing, Education, Medical costs have outpaced inflation.

    It is fair to state that people should be responsible to get the necessary skills and we should be able to offer sufficient education opportunities.

    But, we should be able to have a floor level rate at least equal to 40 years ago.

    Having people work in indentured servitude is not fair.

    If a business model cannot afford at least $10.31, that business was not viable.

    All wages would improve at the bottom based on supply-demand for skills.

    Studies do show that fast raising of minimum wage hurts the people in those jobs most because automation eliminates those jobs.

    But stepping it up and catching up to inflation is fair.

    Worker productivity is not properly measurable.

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  • Scott
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Minimum wage jobs are not careers. They are intended to give inexperiencd, unskilled workers the opportunity to learn. Nobody is going to pay a McDonald's worker $22 an hour to get the order wrong.

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    It is a vicious cycle in which making more money means paying more for everything you purchase.

    You don't need to earn more money - items need to cost less - but as long as workers keep getting more money for what they produce - the cost of those items will also go up.

    The other answer saying to enjoy your $10 Big Mac isn't wrong.  If what you suggest actually happened, then the cost of everything you buy on a regular basis would also go up reflecting what the worker is being paid. 

    If you pay $100 right now for a week of groceries - it would likely cost around $200 for a week of the same groceries if people earned what you think they should.

    If you have doubts about that - do a little research - find out what the wages were like in the 1950's and find out what the cost of most items was in the 1950's.  

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    You earn what you are worth. If you want to earn more, produce more.  

    • John2 months agoReport

      If you earn what you are worth, then those of us who are only going to work right now because we are considered "essential" must be worth a whole lot more than those of us who are sitting at home quarantined right now. (I will concede that the $22 per hour figure is crazy high. I get by fine on 12.)

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  • 2 months ago

    Companies aren't benevolent.  They will pass any cost on to the customer.  Hope you like your $10 Big Mac.   

    Here's the funny thing.  Those who make more money will be more able to absorb those costs.   The poor, who are regular customers of McD's and so forth?   Not so much.

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