Social Question

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Why is it acceptable to pay someone a wage that they couldn't possibly live off of?

Asked by SQUEEKY2 (19619points) January 14th, 2018

We will call it a level entry job, then you can pay them dirt and just use the excuse they are getting work place experience.
Wasn’t that type of thing used on women just a few short years ago?
After all they don’t need to make the same wage as men do, they have a man in their life paying all the bills, was that fair to women?
A lot of people are trying to live off these so called level entry jobs, and need help at the end of their work week just to put food on the table.
I realize there are different pay scales, but no one should have to have government help just to put food on the table after a forty hour work week.

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35 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Because it Is assumed that they are an adult and have the freedom to go elsewhere. My boss said that he isn’t breaking anyone’s arm to shop or work for him. He didn’t know that I felt trapped.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Maybe we need to leave the job type out, and try if work place experience is so important go with age instead.
Say you can get away with the “job experience thing” up to the age of say eighteen after that they then must be paid a living wage.
and a living wage could be based on whatever the minimum cost of living is in that particular area.

flutherother's avatar

It’s wrong and if the minimum wage is so low that workers can’t survive on it then it must be raised. What’s happening effectively is that the taxpayer is subsidising unethical companies. The bosses of these companies and their shareholders make lots of money while the honest poor can only scrimp and try to survive.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

My boss used to tell his employees that they get paid more than him. Then he would drive his BMW around the block a couple of times. True his hourly wage was lower but he didnt add divedends or the cut of the profits at the end of the month.

elbanditoroso's avatar

That is not the role of the employer.

The employer’s (and the corporation’s) duty is to turn a profit. And the way you turn a profit is by paying the least amount possible to employees and charging the greatest amount for your goods and services. The difference between the two (plus overhead) is the profit.

The employer is not a social welfare organization. It is a business trying to make ends meet. The reason why McDonalds can hire people at $12/hour is because there is an endless supply of people willing to work for $12/hour. If no one was willing to work at that amount, the employer would raise wages.

The reason Google pays developers and programmers $200,000/year is because there is the demand for those skills and people are hard to find. Google would probably pay programmers $12/hour if it could find any, but the market is much higher than that,

The role of an employer is not a social welfare organization. It is in business to make a profit.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@elbanditoroso Then I shouldn’t have come to work a hour early and voulenteer extra unpaid time to sweep and mop the floors . Plus other free services like work out solutions to problems in my off time.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

But @elbanditoroso Then it’s the employers job to make their low end employees depend on the government just so they can eat?
If that is the case who is needing the welfare system more? the employer or the employee?
The trucking industry is crying for drivers, but they won’t raise the rates,if there is a demand for drivers why won’t they raise the rates?

elbanditoroso's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 – you’re making a big jump there. It’s not the employer’s job to make people get food stamps. In a legal sense, that’s of no concern to the company. Their stance is “it’s not my problem”. Wal-Mart did that in the states, and still does. People are on Medicaid because their WalMart salary is so low.

The trucking industry is caught between a rock and a hard place. (as are many other industries). Driving takes you away from your family for days at a time, and it can be dangerous, and it is highly regulated. If trucking companies can’t find enough drivers, they will have to raise salaries or go out of business. They haven’t done so yet because there are enough replacement drivers to make the company run. But if they can’t hire drivers at current salaries, they’ll have to raise them.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@RedDeerGuy1 – that’s right. If you’re volunteering your time unpaid to the company, you’re a hell of a lot more loyal to them than they are to you. It’s always your choice to do so. But keep in mind that the corporate loyalty is not to @RedDeerGuy1 – it is to the owner’s pocketbook.

zenvelo's avatar

The rationale for low paying jobs, jobs below the living wage level, is that the person is part of a household that pools resources for rent and food and other necessities.

My kids earn just above minimum wage but they live with me and I feed them. They could not survive without my help.

thisismyusername's avatar

It isn’t morally acceptable.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

But business has no morals @thisismyusername there is only one objective make as big a profit as you possibly can and screw anyone that gets in the way and that includes employees.
Look at how many people Trump screwed when he pulled his bankruptcies lots of honest hard working people.

thisismyusername's avatar

@SQUEEKY2: “But business has no morals @thisismyusername there is only one objective make as big a profit as you possibly can and screw anyone that gets in the way and that includes employees.”

Correct. Capitalism is difficult to justify. (Some might say, impossible)

SQUEEKY2's avatar

That’s why a living wage has to be a law, leaving it up to the private sector to pay a living wage will never happen,because greed and profit always get in the way of anything morally right.

elbanditoroso's avatar

The problem with discussing morals and morality is that they are different for each person, each religion., each family, each corporation, and so on.

There isn’t any such thing as ‘external morality’ – it either exists within YOU or not. Based on your values. There may be communal expectations, but those aren’t morals in any real sense

So to say that something “isn’t morally acceptable” (as @thisismyusername stated) is meaningless. It means that it it doesn’t meet his/her views of moral behavior. But that may or may not be mine or yours or the corporations.

thisismyusername's avatar

@elbanditoroso: “The problem with discussing morals and morality is that they are different for each person, each religion., each family, each corporation, and so on.”

Moral relativism. There is no right and wrong, etc. Fun for late night philosophical discussions, but is horseshit.

Anyone proposing an ethical model that accepts the existence of obscene wealth next to extreme poverty needs to talk about the lack of of any solid ground to morality. This isn’t a philosophy class. There are people outside your door that are really suffering. Telling them that there is no such thing as right and wrong won’t put food on their table.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Such is capitalism.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Define “living wage”

elbanditoroso's avatar

@thisismyusername – of course it’s moral relativism. Unless every one of us is a clone of one another and we have all had the same life experiences, which of course we haven’t, then our individual morals have to be our personal guiding lights.

I find moral relativism to be a more sane approach than moral absolutism imposed by some external source that ignores human differences. Because that’s what you are espousing.

thisismyusername's avatar

@elbanditoroso – I’m curious – why would you jump into a conversation like this if your answer is really that anything is acceptable?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Most jobs that don’t pay this ephemeral “living wage” are not and never have been jobs that you could have the standard of living that many people would envision as acceptable to themselves. They’re going to pay what the market will bear and no more. I don’t have a problem with having minimum wage jobs or laws ensuring a minimum wage to be paid. I do have a problem when people somehow think that employers are caretakers of their employees and must provide for all their needs. That’s not how it works.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@thisismyusername – I didn’t say that anything is acceptable. You’re misreading what I wrote.

What I explicitly said is that each person’s history and experience governs that person’s moral compass. I said that there is no such thing as externally imposed morality – it has to be internal.

thisismyusername's avatar

@elbanditoroso: “What I explicitly said is that each person’s history and experience governs that person’s moral compass.”

This a description of how you believe humans acquire an internal moral compass. In what way does this keep the door open for discussion?

If person A’s history and experience leads their moral compass to feel that murdering women is morally justified, then there is nothing to discuss. All you can say is that you don’t share that view. There is no reason to dissuade someone from doing this. There is technically nothing wrong.

From what I gather, your concept of a moral compass is similar to a taste for a particular food. It in no way is tethered to the suffering of conscious creatures or any external criteria.

thisismyusername's avatar

^ And yes, I realize that this is somewhat diverging from the original question. Probably worth another thread.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@flutherother I did define a living wage in my very first answer.
And I realize there are different pay scales, but someone working 40+ hours a week should be able to live a simple life roof,electricity, hot water,and food on the table without having to go to the government for food stamps.
You huff and say it’s not the employers job to care take their employees, very true, but is it their job to exploit them pay them a dirt wage they couldn’t possibly live off?
And don’t pull the “well they are free to move on if they wish” you know a lot of people can’t just move on and are trapped being exploited for a wage they can’t live on.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Sorry I meant to address @ARE_you_kidding_me ^^^ not @flutherother .

flutherother's avatar

@elbanditoroso I don’t agree that companies are interested solely in maximising profits and paying their workers the least they can get away with. Companies are different. Some take a pride in creating superior products and brands and believe the workers should share in the company’s success.

But let’s say you are right and the objective of all companies is to pay the workforce as little as possible. That would be all the more reason for government to step in and enforce a living wage and decent working conditions. Companies exist to benefit humankind, humans don’t exist to benefit companies.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 I could honestly live off minimum wage where I live without assistance. It wouldn’t be pretty but it’s doable. That’s about $1000 a month after taxes. I do think people deserve better than minimum wage if they’re working full-time though. Some of minimum wage jobs are actually quite demanding physically but they are not careers nor were they ever intended to be. For most adults it’s actually not too difficult to find work that pays more. I fail to see how a company pays a wage, even if it is a minimum legal wage and the worker agrees to it is somehow “exploiting them” as if the company has some responsibility over their circumstance. Where do you draw the line, what should companies be paying their workers then? If consumers refuse to do business with a company that does not pay their workers enough then the business will fail. Don’t like how Sams club treats their employees…. then shop at Costco where their workers are paid well. If you don’t like how a company does business then stop supporting it otherwise who are you to tell a business what it can or cannot do? Businesses have work that needs to be done, the type and nature of that work has an intrinsic value that is paid accordingly. Nowhere in that basic exchange is the promise of a living wage. I do believe though that it’s good business to pay a fair wage.

ucme's avatar

Because some of us like to amuse ourselves by laughing at the housestaff when they count their monthly pocket money.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Then your area meets the minimum living wage and that is all that is required for these low end jobs.
Big business bitches less government, let the private sector rule and take care of itself, nice theory except greed and profit rule over paying a living wage and safe working conditions.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I don’t think it is in any way unreasonable for Gov’t to enforce safe working conditions. I can’t think of anyone who would argue against that.

zenvelo's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me There are a whole lot of coal mining operations in West Virginia that would argue that’s governmental overreach. Not to mention things like telling Union Carbide to have workers wear respiratory filter masks when mining silicon.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have lived on minimum wage for long periods of time in my life, and supported 4 kids to boot. It’s not impossible. The only aid I got was about a million a month in food stamps. 3 times more than we really needed, so food was never an issue.
It’s no fun. It’s pretty miserable to not be able to buy decent presents at Christmas, and finding yourself wrapping boxes of sugar cereal (that they didn’t get the rest of the year) to put under the tree, and putting new socks in their stockings, but it’s doeable.
To this day I shudder when I use foil! It was such a luxury. I didn’t buy trash sacks either. I used the plastic Walmart bags that I brought the food home in.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

“I used the plastic Walmart bags that I brought the food home in.”
I still do that lol.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yeah. Who doesn’t? Like if I have chicken bones, I’ll double wrap them in a bag before putting them in the trash. If I don’t, the dogs will drag all the trash out.
They’re good for wrapping around things that you’re shipping. and a hell of a lot easier to clean up than those Styrofoam peanuts!

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