Coppermine wrote:I don't know a whole lot about this issue which is why I've stayed out of it (and especially since this topic has gotten off track).
I hold a business degree and I learned quite a bit about economics. Some interesting things to consider is that minimum wage, any minimum wage, is bad economics. Additionally, and the most surprising thing, if wages were established through our free market economy, minimum wage would be less than what it is now.
More surpises; how about this... minimum wage in the UK and Australia equals about 9 US Dollars/hour.
So here's where economics kicks in... first of all, almost no one in economics debates over the "fairness" of minimum wage. That is, someone who made minimum wage 10 years ago received this much of an increase and therefore everyone should get that kind of an increase, blah, blah, blah stop whining.
The real argument over minimum wage is that by raising it, smaller companies that employ young and unskilled workers simply won't be able to afford to keep them on their payroll, therefore causing a loss in jobs. But even this is open for debate, and it is; 46% of economists agree with this sentiment, while anotehr 20% "partially" agree.
The argument is all about social welfare. $5.15 simply is not a living wage. As cost of living goes up, a family, or even single person can barely eek out a living at that rate, especially in a city. But does raising minimum wage help the working poor? That's what is up for debate. I mean I can understand that poor in this country have gotten a free ride too long (<-sarcasm). Politics and economics aside, even I get a little irritated to see estate and luxury taxes cut, while there are people can barely feed keep the heat on in the winter.
But I see both sides of the coin too and I agree that it's hard to take a non-political stance. I'm just trying too; I feel that we, as well as the government, have a civic duty to help those less fortunate. If I can help two different poor poeple; a person to works for a substandard wage or a person who sits on their ass all day and collects welfare, well I'm going to want to help the one that works.
But even I must say, when I was an unskilled 16 year old with no money, even I got 6 bucks an hour. That's about 200 bucks a week; not bad when your expenses are covered for you, but there's no way I could afford a car, rent, food and utilities on that.
So the arguments I'm seeing are slightly skew... It's important to help the poor, we have to agree on that. People are poor for various reasons, but I believe in helping those who are willing to help themselves. Then again, what if raising the min wage does cut jobs? Then who's hurting? Well, minorities and unskilled workers over 30 for the most part. But how does that impact our economy as a whole? And more importantly, how does it affect our society?
That's all up for debate.
I agree with this post completely. I tried to make a similar argument around 4AM this morning, albeit not nearly as clearly stated as you just did. I'm pretty much out of this debate, as I try to avoid political disscussions in general here, but I do believe that the issue is social welfare.