MINIMUM WAGE

Is Australia a fluke?  Is their prosperity a bubble due to burst any day?  American conservatives are increasingly brutal toward our down under cousins and it’s NOT limited to made up “facts” about gun control.

They took less of a hit in the recent world chaos than most.  As America continues to degrade in near every world ranking…  It would be swell if we could learn.  Australia has a minimum wage of $16.37 an hour.

http://www.fairwork.gov.au/resources/fact-sheets/conditions-of-employment/pages/minimum-wages-fact-sheet.aspx
That translates into 14.90 an hour in US dollars.

Wages aren’t a hunter/gatherer concept.  Serfs, peasants and slaves didn’t survive on paychecks…   either.   We don’t collect berries, grow grain, or personally raise sheep to eat and clothe ourselves anymore.

We work for the Dominus and get credit units we trade for berries, grain and soylent green.   There are  currently 7 BILLION+ of us and no mountain left for mountain men.  We are so many, wild animals are going extinct.  Like it or not we are dependent on the hive.   Compensation no longer has much to do with how hard one works or how smart one labors.  It has to do with the perceived value of the task performed and the increasing numbers of the desperate who will do the job for less.  Labor is a buyers market and that won’t change soon.

The computer you are reading this on was made in China by someone who earns less than you do.

No amount of  libertarian horsepuckey will thin population or turn the Walmart smiley face into more than a cynical corporate graphic.  Absurdly low wages cost our society billions in safety net assistance…   AND YES IF YOU ARE WORKING YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO EAT.

WHO IS JOHN GALT?

John Galt is a UTOPIAN OPTIMIST  and  immature ideologue.  He’s sure Monsanto sans regulation will do the right thing because they are swell.  If the poor don’t want to eat “FRANKEN FOOD” John Galt thinks they should drive their Mercedes across town and buy certified organic.   It would be a burden on freedom to label.   He is  anti noblesse oblige, anti union, anti minimum wage, anti government and anti regulation.  John Galt hasn’t read enough history to know laissez-faire capitalism has stifled more creativity and killed more people than the communism his creator justifiably loathed.   He fails to understand greed is not rational self interest.  John Galt is anti everything but a fantasy world that has never existed.  John Galt is a fiction created by Ayn Rand who died fighting cancer sucking on the democratic socialist teat using her maiden name to collect her entitlements.  I do not resent the help she got, I resent that she tried to kill it for those who came after.

John Galt is the Koch brother’s “useful idiot”.

trickle down

Those who oppose a minimum wage (let alone raising it) are also adamantly against safety net programs and anti-union.  Absurd.

Conservatives  think encouraging Randian sociopaths will be a cure.  Government is not the problem,  government is a necessity… bad government is the problem.

Minimum wage had birth pains in America.  It’s an interesting study if you have time and interest.  FDR finally managed it in 1938.  It began as a whopping .25 an hour that applied to few but was part of broader legislation that also limited the length of the work week.

Adjusted for inflation .25¢ an hour in 1938 translates to $4.10 an hour in 2013.  For $164.00  a week before taxes….  You couldn’t keep yourself shod, meet the required dress code, eat, have a roof and transportation (to the job).  If you think it possible try it.  Still, it was a good thing to set a minimum wage.

Today most nations have minimum wage laws and at least 14 countries have a higher minimum wage than America.  In fact America, in our current rabid conservative period has walked away from minimum wage.  It peaked in 1972 when minimum wage of $1.60 an hour equaled 10 dollars an hour today.

The poor have historically been the majority of society and when societies grew very prosperous that wealth was mostly held in the hands of the few and minimally trickled down.  A large middle class is a new and apparently short lived phenomenon.  There has always been class warfare and it has been consistently waged by the Uber rich.

I live somewhere I love.  I recommend doing so.  Santa Fe New Mexico has the distinction of having the highest minimum wage in AMERICA.

Our minimum wage is now $10.51 an hour and includes part time and temporary workers.  Wages here are tied to the CPI (consumer price index) for the Western region and when the cost of living goes up so do wages.
 
http://www.santafenm.gov/index.aspx?NID=84

When our law was being debated all the usual dire predictions were made that have been made by the anti minimum wage since 1935.  None of them came true.  The sky here did not fall.  Prices did not rise.  Businesses did not close.   People with expertise and tenure earn more than new hires.   Corporations and the wealthy are simply required to cut the pie slices a little larger  for the average Jill/Joe these days.  Mansions here have not been boarded up and abandoned.

Henry Ford knew that when he “ovepaid” his workers “back in the day” it allowed them to afford the cars they built.  If people are unwilling to pay a living wage for Henry Ford styled reasoned self interest then I have no problem compelling them to do so.  If they were decent human beings no compulsion would be necessary.

Many Economists including libertarian/Objectivist Alan Green Span now recognize that shrinking paychecks coupled with huge gains at the top of our society are a fire alarm.

“The income gap between the rich and the rest of the US population has become so wide, and is growing so fast, that it might eventually threaten the stability of democratic capitalism itself”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_of_living_in_the_United_States

The top 20% of Americans now hold 93% of the wealth and that leaves 7% for the rest of us…

Raising the minimum wage would be good for America.  Even the Americans who don’t think so.  Come visit Santa Fe and see for yourself.

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20 Responses to MINIMUM WAGE

  1. osolynden says:

    Here is a terrific related quote. I recently received it from a favorite “lefty” source called “Truthout”

    “All labor has worth,” said Martin Luther King, Jr., in one of the last speeches he ever gave. “It is a crime for people to live in this rich nation and receive starvation wages. Now our struggle is for genuine equality, which means economic equality. If we are going to get equality, if we are going to get adequate wages, we are going to have to struggle for it.”

    And Bah Humb…

    Er, I mean Merry Christmas.

    • osolynden says:

      Of course since the right has now declared us a color blind society…

    • osolynden says:

      Of late a lot of readers email me privately rather than comment here. That is a shame. Here is a comment received tonight from a very bright lawyer dude COPIED AND PASTED:

      Raising the minimum wage is a total no-brainer. You might check out San Francisco’s minimum wage – it’s pretty high as well.

      I saw recently that a conservative Silicon Valley billionaire has an argument for raising the minimum wage that even the Ayn Rand koolaid drinkers might listen to. He said WalMart employees receive more than $1.5 billion a year in federal aid – food stamps, etc. So why not make the Waltons and their ilk pay living wages so the rest of us don’t have to subsidize them?

      Of course the human argument is much more persuasive, but then there are some very deaf ears out there.

  2. Hi ho, my friend. I hope you’re doing well and staying warm.

    We went to Australia in 2010 and the first thing we talked about was “how much does everybody get paid around here?” Everything was expensive by our American standard. A trip for groceries was easily $150-200 every couple of days. Entry fees to their national parks were $25 per person/per day and attractions were about the same. The motorhome rental was 2.5 times what it would have been here. A fast food stop for 2 was a minimum of $30 and dinner at a decent restaurant was another $100-$150. I won’t even discuss the price of cigarettes and alcohol because it was just too shocking. From our observations we figured to live decently (lower-middle class with an indulgence once in a while), one would have to make at least $20-$25 an hour.

    While I wholly support raising the minimum wage simply because it has become an absolute necessity, I believe it’s part of the never ending cycle fueled completely by the greed factor. Wages go up, prices go up; prices go up, wages then eventually need to go up. As long as we’re willing (or required) to consume at an ever increasing price, wages have to go up in order to maintain a minimum economy.

    • osolynden says:

      Hey SPK! It’s good to hear from you. Yes, the price of beer and cigs in Australia is shocking. One of my Aussie pals wrote to say she and her partner spend about $225.00 for two weeks of food and cleaning products. I assume that is Australian dollars.

      I have never managed to get there so I have no direct experience as you do.

      I think we need to be careful about seeing wage increases as the driving factor behind price increases. (Not that you are particularly saying that) Wages are far from the largest overhead businesses face and here in Santa Fe by tying wages to price increases we seem to have addressed that issue.

      Here is a fascinating link. The Walton family owns Sams’s Club and Walmart, (currently the largest employer in America). The six richest Waltons hold the same amount of wealth as the bottom 41% of America. Could they absorb a wage increase without raising prices and take a bit less for themselves? Yes.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walton_family

      Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  3. Melissa Hart says:

    I’m all for raising the minimum wage a couple of dollars. I don’t agree with the 15 an hour that fast food workers were striking for.

    That 4.10 an hour gave me bad flashbacks of a sweatshop job I had in the early 80’s. Ugh!

    • osolynden says:

      Hey sweetie! As a card carrying commie pinko faggot I think we need to make sure wages in the service sector (where all the “new” jobs are being created) pay at least 125% of the poverty level. People earning less than that are eligible for SNAP and other programs conservatives love to hate. I see no justification for tax dollars subsidizing low wage companies. Here is a terrific link with a detailed analysis that points out that low wages do not equate to low labor cost. Companies that pay better actually have lower labor costs.

      http://www.utsandiego.com/uniontrib/20040707/news_lz1e7ghorpade.html

      Hope you are staying warm. I don’t think my feet will warm up again till April?

  4. Ishbel says:

    The UK minimum wage as of October 2013

    https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates

    • osolynden says:

      Thank you so much Ishbel! The link is appreciated. Your minimum wage translates to $10.34 an hour for older than school age non-apprentice workers. Much higher than our current $7.25.

      Are you baking like crazy for the holidays?

      • Ishbel says:

        Well, I’ve scaled back slightly as we will be eating at my daughter’s home for the first time and whilst I can ferry some things, other stuff will be surplus to requirements. I made the usual numbers of Christmas puddings, black bun and Christmas cakes for the regular recipients, though!

        I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and new year (when it comes). Scots always qualify their HNY greetings with the (when it comes) before the actual day… Perhaps we’re scared to tempt fate?

        • osolynden says:

          Ah… I remember your educating me about the Scot (when it comes) New Year tradition and still appreciate it.

          But sigh. Nary a fruitcake is mentioned this year on your baking list… 😉

          Hope your holiday is everything you want and MORE Ishbel.

          • Ishbel says:

            Christmas cakes ARE fruitcakes, dark with dried fruits and booze. None of those fluorescent green and red preserved fruits which I suspect are the culprits in the dislike expressed by many of your fellow Americans! The fruitcake is then enrobed in marzipan paste and then decorated with royal icing.

            • Sounds delightful, Ishbel;-].

              And an interesting statistic, Lynden, about the 6 Walton families owning the same amount as the bottom 41% of the usa.

            • osolynden says:

              I did not realize Christmas cakes were fruitcakes! I suspect my aunt’s recipe was quite different than yours. She taught “home ec” on a university level way back when. She used candied rather than dried fruit however she insisted on making her own candied fruit and citrus peel. She wouldn’t have been caught dead using the dayglo stuff from the market. 😉 Because our family was deeply religious no alcohol was used… (it’s an American thing perhaps?) They were never frosted but were quite delightful. I am sure yours are as well.

              • Ishbel says:

                They ARE,

                Some US companies advertise thisside of the pond re fruitcakes. Light on fruits, but high with pecans and day- glo preserved fruits.

                NOT A TRADITIONAL BRITISH CAKE!

                No alcohol? Be still, my beating heart!

  5. thomassparky says:

    My family fruitcake recipe is more fruit and nuts than cake with two weeks of being marinated in apricot brandy! YUM! Warning, the tea twits are going to war with moderate Republicans in the next elections. If they win out, I’m moving to Canada! Love You My Friend! I hope you find lots of Love, happiness and warm feet for Christmas!

    • osolynden says:

      It could get very interesting Thomas. Boehner and others are already pushing back rather than accommodating the extremists. Polls are showing Tea Party popularity is plummeting. Of course these radicals are very well funded… Interesting is an understatement.

      That fruitcake recipe sounds good Thomas. Of course I rarely meet a home-baked treat I don’t like… Trying out a new kerosene heater for my digs. My solar heat needs an expensive repair. So far so good with warmer tootsies.

      • Ishbel says:

        Send me your addy and I’ll make sure you get A christmas cake for 2014!

        • osolynden says:

          Shall I assume this is your permission to use your private email address… Something I have never done as I would consider it violating a trust. Cause I ain’t publishing my addy in public… 😉

          So wait. You are a Scot who says “when it comes” as regards to New Year… but are pretty sure I’ll be around?

          And yes I am sure American companies are marketing baked goods with radioactive fruit abroad. What else do we have left to export?

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