I have questions about raising the minimum wage.

I’ve probably said this before – the last time we went through this – but feel that it needs to be said: there’s a reason that economists qualify their opinions with “ceteris paribus.” It means a lot of their opinions are pretty much guesswork because it’s virtually impossible to change just one thing.

The President feels that raising the minimum wage will be just the thing to raise up low-income wage earners; and that’s factually correct. It will raise the wages of those currently earning the minimum wage, and of everyone earning less than the proposed minimum wage, and of everyone whose wages are calculated on the basis of the minimum wage. We used to call that inflationary, but now it passes for social engineering.

I don’t know how much the maintenance guy and groundskeepers in my apartment complex are paid, but I’m pretty sure they’re going to be getting a raise pretty soon. The owners/investors might be willing to eat that additional expense for me – I’d appreciate that – but it’s much more likely that my rent’s about to go up, and I’m on a fixed income and I don’t see the Tea Party voting a raise for me anytime soon.

My sense is that most low-wage jobs aren’t with Fortune 500 companies. I think they’re with small-business operators with very slim profit margins, and they’re going to have to raise their prices to stay afloat. It they can’t do that, I think they’re going to have to sell out which will lead to more consolidation and job losses, but that will probably take a little while to sink in and that should work out pretty well for the Democrats in the 2014 elections. My lease is up for renewal before that.

 

 

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3 Responses to I have questions about raising the minimum wage.

  1. Rain Trueax says:

    Oregon and a lot of other states already have it at $9 or above. Yes, business will raise prices if wages go up but it amounts to pennies on something like fast food. Right now we are paying for these people through food stamps, welfare, medicaid. Not saying raising it a few dollars will end that but if we want to claim there is a minimum wage, shouldn’t it go up with inflation? It didn’t and now here we are where it’s meaningless. Incidentally how many people worry about costs rising when the CEOs get big increases?

  2. Harold says:

    It’s hard to argue against a living wage as a minimum. It’s especially hard when people conflate Wall Street economics with Main Street economics because the people who are employing minimum wage earners are not, for the most part, the people living large in the Hamptons. Wall Street couldn’t care less about the minimum wage because they just move their production offshore somewhere. It’s the Main Street employers, entrepreneurs, who have to come up with some way to pay an increased minimum wage.
    I’ve found a couple of places near the Red Cross office where I can get lunch for just under $5. If they have to raise prices, I can pack my lunches. Finding affordable housing if rents go up would be more of a problem.

  3. Rain Trueax says:

    Unless you pay no taxes, you are paying for those jobs anyway. Right now people go into a Walmart and don’t realize that when people need help with food, heating oil, medical care, and it’s provided by the taxes we pay, we are paying it. The Walmart guys might raise prices while they wallow in their profits never thinking of covering that.

    If you are in California, I think the minimum wage is already pretty near what it could go up to. Oregon’s is currently $9.15. A lot of small restaurants are their own help; so it would depend on where you eat whether giving the workers a higher wage would be a factor in your food prices. But if we won’t pay 25¢ more for a meal, that is our option. As a nation we should have had minimum wage going up all along or not even had one. It’s meaningless when it’s $7 an hour and a lot of restaurants don’t even give that. They depend on the tips which some people don’t give either and that leaves the wait person out of luck.

    The thing that gets me is there is all this fear being generated over raising the minimum wage and ignoring the CEOs who get their many millions and constant raises– even when their policies fail. Congress gets auto raises and a ton of perks. Yet all the worry is over the poor getting a few dollars more. We are a whacked up culture is all I can say. And the richest do all that they can to make the people who are economically not much above minimum wage fear the poor getting a few dollars more instead of looking at where the real problem is– the rich.