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Comments by YACCS
Friday, April 30, 2004

The minimum wage

The Minimum Wage

Atrios has a post on Ben Affleck joining Ted Kennedy on Capital Hill to campaign for the minimum wage.

The current minimum wage, which has made Walmart millions by underpaying its workers and providing no benefits doesn't work. If calculated for real needs, the average mininmum wage should be around $!2.

Every time raising the minimum wage comes up, conservatives, who haven't worked for the minimum wage for years, think it will "hurt" business. Which is insane. The owner of Godfather's Pizza, a truly shitty fast food chain, had health insurance for his office staff, but his line workers were simply too "expensive" to insure or pay well. He testified in the mid-90's that raising wages would force him to close stores.

This, is, of course, a lie. Anyone who defends the penury which American law permits is either a liar or a fool. The current minimum wage has climbed two dollars in 20 years. No one ever correlates the cost of federal assistance to the working poor with the cost of a sub-poverty line living wage. If America's employers actually paid their least skilled workers enough to live on from one job, maybe American tax payers wouldn't have to suppliment their income with food stamps and medicaid.

Make no mistake, we are making up the difference between the minimum wage and the profits companies are making.

I watched Duncan Hunter (R-San Diego), talk about self-reliance and individuals coming together as service families lined up for free food given out by the Boy Scouts.

So many Americans have swallowed bullshit which comes from movies, not from actual American history. The West was the largest government grant program in history. Most farms failed long before the mandated five years of the Homestead Act. The real story of the West is the growth of cities, not the individual farmer, who usually failed badly and abandoned the farm for the city as soon as they could. I have to wonder about the sanity of any person, watching people line up for food and spout this drivel.

The minimum wage is a gift to service and retail businesses. It allows them to underpay for labor and profit. Even most fast food places have to pay around $7 an hour to hire anyone, so the legal minimum wage is fictional in most places. What the current mimimum wage does is depress wages for work and allow owners to save on labor costs.

Needless to say, this system doesn't exist in Europe, where the government covers the cost of benefits, like health care and encourages unionization. Too many Americans believe that they can handle their own problems, which is a myth best left on the movie screen.

posted by Steve @ 10:22:00 AM

10:22:00 AM

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