Minimum wage provides a “dying” wage rather than a living wage. It does not provide for the costs of adequate housing, food and education. And forget about leisure. While the free market may determine the base minimum wage as it is certainly doing in Alberta where the “minimum wage” is now at $10.50 for a McDonalds McJob (night shift), our province is an anomaly and I don’t believe you can depend on these types of boom economy situations to provide a sensible setting for the minimum wage. I love the SparkleTeddy‘s blog and personally do not know how any family with both couples working minimum wage jobs survive. I feel the minimum wage must be in place if only to protect those who cannot advocate for themselves, those who do not have a big business lobby group to ensure that their profit margin is adequate (i.e. inflated) and those who are too busy working (i.e. trying to survive) to be writing to argue their case on our financial blogs.
You can argue that all these minimum wage suckers could all get an education and boot strap themselves into the middle class but don’t forget that an education these days is a mortgage in itself. In addition, an education is no guarantee of a well paying job; witness all the MSc. students working as administrative assistants. And what about the elderly poor, the people on AISH (assured income for the severely handicapped), the mentally ill on our streets and single parents with kids – don’t they have enough nails in the tires of their rattling vehicles (if they have cars at all)? Why add to their woes by letting the free market determine how poor they will be? In Canada, at least for now, there is a medical system that is accessible if not quickly accessible to all. What happens to the working poor in the U.S. who face a medical emergency or accident? Bankruptcy? Or more genteel poverty?
I certainly feel that we, the well off are selfish and self absorbed. Don’t think so? Notice that this article is about happiness and the strange concept that your value as a human being does not depend on your cash value but many of the comments have zeroed in on the minimum wage comments. Most of the comments appear (to me at least) show a striking lack of sympathy for the people among us who are bringing up themselves and their kids on wages that are guaranteed to ensure that the next generation will be poor. Like wanzman said it best “get over yourselves” people and put yourselves in the shoes of the working poor.
oney is only a mechanism for purchasing things that bring happiness. A wise man once told me:
“Money is the lubricant of life”
And I couldn’t agree more. The more lubricant you have, the easier life becomes. However, just having the lubricant doesn’t ensure happiness.
Secondly, on the topic of wages, I feel that the marketplace efficently dictates wages. Minimum wage jobs are really supposed to be temorary; for teenagers and students. Nobody is supposed to make a career out of making burritos at Taco Bell. But people do. Making burritos is very simple, and thus a vast number of people in the marketplace are qualified for that job, thus the wages are low.
I believe people need to take responsiblity for their own education. By increasing their education, they again access to jobs that are more exclusive, thereby requiering higher wages. The goverment cannot MAKE people become educated, but the marketplace and the goverment provides incentives for education. Rasing minium wage higher than the market would naturally dictate would give people incentives NOT to get educated. Bad idea.
Interesting you point this out. Right now, I’m speaking with a recruiter about a possible career change. I’ve only been in my current job for six months, but the money I make just isn’t inline with what I want to do in life so I’m switching companies. $10-$12K difference is what I’m looking for and it’s true … the extra $12K for a college grad is very significant given the amount of my loans.
If there should not be a minimum wage – if a person chould be free to work for an employer at any wage – say, $1 per hour – landlords and developers should also be free to offer housing they can profitably provide to someone earning $1 per hour.
Funny how people support a free market in labor but hyperventilate about free markets in housing and land use.
I’d rather be employed at $5.15/hr than unemployed at $8/hr. A minimum wage simply consigns the bottom layer of the talent pool to poverty and dependence on charity or robbery. And the higher that minimum wage is raised, the more people are priced out of the job market. Frankly, I doubt they would derive any more value from the $8/hr they’d see teenagers making at Burger King than they do today from the millions per year they hear about Fortune 500 CEOs making. No matter how high a wage gets, it only benefits the people who are still employed to earn it. The minimum wage started out as a program to keep blacks, immigrants, and women out of the workforce. Now it’s mostly just a government policy to steal from the truly poor for the benefit of middle-class teenagers, while making self-righteous leftists feel better about being unrepentant cowardly thieves.
Of course, the core premise of the original post is entirely correct…money isn’t everything. Money is just a tool, and what you use it for is way more important than how much of it you have.
And for the record, the only time I hyperventilate about free markets in housing and land use is when people are trying to argue against them.
Government regulation is about the use of force by people powerful enough to wield politicians as weapons against those not powerful enough to do so. Trying to pretend that it’s really for the benefit of the poor and disenfranchised just makes the practice more offensively craven.
I find it surprising that college grads couldn’t do at least a little better than that. But assuming you are correct and is is not possible for them to get paid better somewhere else, it may be too late for the 50 year olds. That said, the larger problem I see in America is that too many people put the cart before the horse in everything they do and then assume “things will work out”. 1/3 of our children are born out of wedlock (that’s financial suicide right there). And TONS of people simply do not save when they do make living incomes. They act as if they will be able to earn X income or more for the rest of their working lives. BIG MISTAKE! I’m 37, live in a high cost area, have never made more than 50K a year at my job, and have 164K in long term savings / investments. Assuming an 8% return, I could stop saving right now and have a nest egg of over 450K at age 50. 450K will not be a fortune when I’m 50 (it isn’t now), but it will certainly keep me from needing to take some crappy minimum wage job when I’m 50. Unfortunately, most Americans never plan for the worst case scenario and then they wonder why they’re always living at or near “crisis” mode.