Social Question

SQUEEKY2's avatar

If you are not paid a living wage, and need government help just to eat, are you not then simply being exploited by your employer?

Asked by SQUEEKY2 (15542points) 1 week ago

And then who is more guilty of relying on welfare from the Government, you or your employer for not paying a living wage?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

73 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

It’s complicated. Some companies definitely benefit from employees being able to collect food stamps, use Medicaid, and section 8 housing. Sometimes the consumer is the one who benefits, because paying low wages can help keep prices down. However, in some cases prices are up, and the money is going to profit.

If the minimum wage was high, then competition could only drive down wages so far. Higher minimums help owners who want to pay more to their employees, but can’t with the lower minimums.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

The average citizens labour is more valuable per hour than previous generations. It is up to the worker to decide if they are compensated enough for what they are worth then they can decide if they will leave or stay. That way prices will naturally go up. If employers can’t afford to pay for a workers basic needs then the value is not important enough to have. Humans are worth more because of improved education and other things over the previous generations.

MrGrimm888's avatar

According to most conservative Americans, it’s all on the employee. They should get a better job, or work multiple jobs. They are simply lazy people who live great lives on the government dime.

Reality is different of course…

I blame the government. Capitalism plays a large role, as well.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It completely depends on what the job is. I don’t expect to be paid a living wage when the job requires no skill, responsibility or accountability. When the farmer down the street hired me to put up hay as a teenager that job certainly did not command this ephemeral “living wage.” What someone can live on varies dramatically based on their personal situation and location. Where I live minimum wage is about $15,000 a year and I would peg a “living wage” for a single healthy person with no debt at double that. You could easily survive on 15k but it’ll be a pitiful existence. You can watch TV, pay rent and utilities on a studio and eat. That said, there are plenty of jobs available that pay this. They’re everywhere but either take special skills, education or other trade offs like swing shifts or less cozy working conditions like you would see in construction. Your “pay” is a proxy for your value in a certain position and that value can come in many forms. What a job is worth is what it generally pays and if you take a job that pays little why would you expect to get more? If someone simply can’t make ends meet it’s not the employers fault. Capitalism is just like nature and people will be exploited at times. It’s not fair but even if we converted to another economic system capitalism will still be there in the background. May as well let it be out in the open where it’s harder to hide shady dealings and we can regulate for better conditions. The problem is not capitalism it’s that we often don’t regulate it properly. Corporate interests have way too much political power right now so it’s not really surprising that we have an economic divide. If you asked me… the answer is sometimes

KNOWITALL's avatar

@MrGrimm Good luck qualifying for help if you have a FT job.

Mariah's avatar

At that point, the government, and therefore the taxpayer, is simply subsidizing corporations to allow them to pay insufficient wages. It’s shameful.

rojo's avatar

Exploitation of the worker is the only way present day vulture capitalism will work. I partially blame the workers who have allowed themselves to be convinced that unions are a bad idea. Unions help level the playing field but it is easy to delude the masses into believing that they are the bogie man who takes away their hard earned wages instead of realizing that they are not getting what they are deserving from their employers.

seawulf575's avatar

I think I should be able to work 10 hours a week and make enough money to live on for me and my family. I think it is unreasonable for this not to happen. If my employer doesn’t accommodate this, he is unreasonable. I shouldn’t have to work back shifts or travel as these take time away from my family as well. That’s just unsatisfactory. Being asked to do these things is ridiculous. I should be able to pick the 10 hours a week I want to work too since that would fit into my plans the best. Without all these things, I will need public assistance.
Now…is that on the employer? Or is it on the government? Can’t be on me since the worker is never at fault or accountable for anything.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I guess I should have made it more clear,if you work a 40 plus hour week (full time) for those of you confused and still need government welfare, are then being exploited by your employer?

The damn question was never about one time jobs, meaning you helped farmer Brown clean out the barn type thing.

Or very part time jobs, filling in at the corner store for 10 to 15 hours a week, it was for full time work but most of you knew that, and if you really didn’t hope this explanation helped.

josie's avatar

Blame it on Mexicans, Indians and Chinese etc. who will work for a fraction of what you call a living wage. And blame it on the people in various governments who make it easy to globalize the labor market, thus keeping the cost of labor down.

Keep in mind, the idea in that is to create a larger world middle class, so more people can have jobs at all. But that is, nevertheless, part of your problem.

Blame yourself, I suppose, for not having something to offer the labor market that is worth more. If you are more valuable than you are being paid, you can negotiate a higher salary based on the threat of leaving. In that case, employer will probably pay you more to keep you. If they can find somebody cheaper to do the same work, there might be an issue

In my opinion, you are only being exploited if you are working there against your will.

kritiper's avatar

I suppose so, to a certain extent. Such is “Right to Work.”

KNOWITALL's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 Did anyone define a living wage yet? Does that include a budget within your means or does it include a huge cell phone bill, cable bill and internet bill, credit card debt, etc…? I think the term “living wage” is subjective.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@josie I blame the Government, we are desprately short truck drivers here and the our Government is allowing foreign nationals to come and fill those jobs,thus keeping the rate down.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

A living wage would determin your location, and what it would take working a 40plus hour week, to put a cheap roof over your head and food on the table.

rojo's avatar

So, from what I gather paying someone a wage they can live on without government assistance is bad because that would drive up prices and every one would have to pay more for goods and services and so it is better to pay low wages to keep prices down and profits up and force people who work in these jobs to supplement with money (tax dollars) from the government coffers?
Isn’t this just welfare for business?
But, I guess you can just cut off the government funds at any other arbitrary point so there is that.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@rojo the right and business cry that one every time rising the wage for lower class workers is contemplated, they bitch sometimes cut hours, but after a little they adjust and everything is fine.
And gee if the lower classes are making more money everyone benefits because more money is put back into the economy, instead of the wealthy that just stash it away.

josie's avatar

@SQUEEKY2
I am not wealthy so I can not speak from personal experience.

But I have a couple of buddies I grew up with, and with whom I am still close, who are very wealthy. I can tell you with certainty that they do not “stash” their wealth away. They use it to grow their businesses, which gives more people jobs, they invest it in stock markets where it is used to grow other businesses which gives more people jobs, they spend it on consumer goods, which are created and manufactured by somebody who gets to keep their job in order to make the goods, or they just put in the bank, where it is loaned to somebody else, so they can buy a house, or a car, or start a business, which means somebody has a job somewhere because of it.

I don’t like getting in your shit after your sensitive question, but that is how it works.

rojo's avatar

Let’s take an example I learned from some time in Jamaica. Jamaica is a country with basically two classes, the haves and the have nots. There are very few that fall into the middle class category; much like the way the US is heading at this point in time.
If you have money, you can borrow money for investments, starting and running businesses, etc. If you do not, you cannot. Fairly simple, banks will only loan to those who have a degree of financial security. If you cannot get a start-up loan, then in order to survive you have to work for someone else. Unemployment is high, wages are low, government assistance is minimal, even less so since the IMF and World bank demanded austerity measures that punish the general populace in order to loan money that is then used to fund further wealthy individuals and businesses (See The Multilateral Debt Trap).
If you are a working stiff you have two choices, work for minimal pay or starve. Starving is not an option many people will choose so low wages it is. Don’t like it? Well, do as @josie said, leave. Now what? Unemployment is around 15%, higher in urban areas, that means that there is always someone starving who will be willing to work for a pittance, after all, a pittance is better than nothing right? So, regardless of how unhappy you are, how much you are abused and exploited, you stay. In Jamaica, those fortunate enough to get out of the trap, usually through education, get out completely, many coming to the USA, where they send money back to families still there to help them survive.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@josie You are right the wealthy invest where it makes them the most return, for some that is growing their business, for others it could mean putting it an off shore account.

josie's avatar

@SQUEEKY2

Where it is loaned to somebody else in order to continue the process I described.
I’m done.
@Josie out.

Mariah's avatar

Can the “if you want a living wage, get a better job” crowd answer me this, please?

You want the services that low-wage workers provide, do you not? You want your offices, hospitals, etc to be cleaned? You want your crops to be harvested? You want to be able to buy fast food?

If everybody took your “get an education so you can get a better job” advice, do you understand that no one would be working these low-wage jobs anymore and you wouldn’t have these services?

We will always need workers to do unskilled labor, unless maybe we manage to automate it all away. The people doing those jobs need to be able to survive. These are both facts.

Why should they survive on the government’s dime instead of being paid sufficiently by the corporation that has hired them?

MrGrimm888's avatar

@KNOWITALL . Many companies are reluctant to hire people full-time. In this case, it’s the employee’s fault. Lots of people sue the company that fire them from a full-time position. The corporate strategy to combat this has been to use a high turnover, army of low skilled part time employees.

The downside for people trying to get two, or three part time jobs, is that most companies expect employees to have open availability. That means that it is extremely difficult to find two or more jobs, that will accept that you are only available for 3 days a week because you work at another job.

Many companies will cut/keep your hours below 33/week, or whatever would qualify an employee as full-time, and therefore eligible for benefits.

Before I was a LEO, I juggled 2–3 jobs. It was VERY hard to get hired without completely open availability. I had a full-time job at the emergency veterinaryhospital for almost 10 years, before I got back into law enforcement.

Manycompanies will cut hours from the schedule too. You might be scheduled for 17.5 hrs Monday, and Wednesday you.notice that your Friday shift was cut.
Whilst lower level employees get hours cut, management receives bonuses for having a reduced payroll.

The same company that will fire you if you don’t work thanksgiving, will gladly expect you to work two or three days a week, and occasionally cut one of your shifts.

This type of behavior is rampant in most big box retail stores, and
corporate restaurants. In a capitalist society, big box/food and beverage are where the majority of jobs are available.

I know dozens of people with college degrees, that are forced into these jobs… In fact, the only people I know that are employed in a profession that matches their major, are people in the medical field.

My brother owes like $60,000 still, on his college loans. He is a manager at a big box sporting goods store in Houston. He’s making good money, but disappointed that it’s in a corporation…

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Mariah I agree super great answer.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@MrGrimm888 Interesting, I don’t hear that where I live but perhaps because unemployment is low here.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

“A living wage would determin your location, and what it would take working a 40plus hour week, to put a cheap roof over your head and food on the table.”

Minimum wage will do that here.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me then your area is paying a living wage to it’s low end workers that is all I am saying, NO ONE working 40plus hours a week should then need government help just to put food on the table.

ucme's avatar

Exploited by your employer…wow, our housestaff would be all over this.
Luckily I banned them all from the internet so no fair no foul.

seawulf575's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 I’m a little concerned with your confusion about the question you asked. Has anyone defined a living wage yet? It was your question! I think you should define that. And the definition you came up with is relative as well. It would define your location. So if I wanted to live on park avenue, my employer should pay me a wage that would allow me to get the lowest cost housing there? And if I wanted to eat filet mignon, I have to factor that in as well?
The problem with this question is that it is, indeed, very relative. I have lived in the house that had no indoor plumbing, no heating and AC (we were in the south at the time) and limited amenities. We survived just fine because we adapted our needs based on our income. And many people do that. So what you think is a living wage and what I do may be two entirely different things. Is owning a home a part of that? Is having central AC part of that? Is having two cars part of that? Some people might look at all of these things as necessities and would define what a living wage is for them.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ucme Internet should be worth at least a buck an hour….lol

@seawulf575 That was exactly my point. I’d love a RL example of a frugal household that needs govt assistance and all adults work FT jobs.

I do know a few people that choose to earn less, maybe wife wants to stay home even though kids are school age, or people that may want to slow down for awhile pre-retirement, etc…

ucme's avatar

@KNOWITALL My name is Buck & i’m here to f…woah, stop that right now!!

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I did define it little wulfie, it does depend on your location to put a cheap roof over your head and food on the table without being subsidized by the government to do that, adding extras does not come into that.
You want to eat better steak and lobster then you better try and get a better job.
And I will give you live in the south and you can get away with out as much heat, thus the living wage can be lower than those in the north.
Being an extreme fright winger and wanting smaller government wouldn’t wanting the lower end worker to NOT depend on the government come into that?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 How about we set a standard and compare that way, for context? Like RentJungle.com.

As of November 2018, average rent for an apartment in Springfield, MO is $664 which is a 10.99% decrease from last year when the average rent was $737 , and a 1.81% increase from last month when the average rent was $652.

One bedroom apartments in Springfield rent for $560 a month on average (a 3.21% increase from last year) and two bedroom apartment rents average $780 (a 10.51% increase from last year).

rojo's avatar

@KNOWITALL

Real Life example:
My niece, who lives in northern Alabama just a few miles from the Tennessee border, 28 years old, three kids 3, 5 & 7, dad walked out. Has an associates degree (I can’t recall in what right now) left school when she got married. She lived in a 2-br basic apartment, one bath in a neighborhood where she was afraid to let her kids outside because of the gang activity. Kept her kids fed but supplemented with meals program at school. Had to get housing assistance and food stamps. Has a 15 year old car that she bought two years ago by borrowing from her family. She needed it to get to her job at Aldi’s A job she almost lost when her previous car broke down and was irreparable and she needed it to get to work and kids to school. Depended on friends and family for about a month to get her and pick her up. Has furniture purchased from second hand store, including her bed and mattress, Until she got the bed she slept on the sofa so her kids could have a bed to sleep in. They would eat at her moms twice a week so she would have enough groceries to last the week. Had a cell phone bought and paid for by her father. Still does. A year ago she got a job with the school district in the cafeteria. It paid $1.50 an hour more. With that extra $12.00 per day (plus being able to depend on 40 hour week) she was able to get off housing assistance and food stamps and afford a three bedroom apartment so the boy and girls could have their own space. She has health insurance and is taking care of all the health related things she neglected because she could not afford to have them seen to. She has a few extra dollars in her pocket and has started her first savings account, has a much more healthy sense of self worth and pride in herself. She also found she had the time, energy and more importantly desire to start dating again and has found a man who treats her like she deserves and treats the kids like his own.

It doesn’t take that much to make a big difference in someones life.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@rojo Thanks. The only thing is, that example wasn’t someone working FT and had three dependents and you did not mention whether she received child support or govt support (instead of child support.) To me, those are extenuating circumstances, as a good man would be paying his support.

Being raised by a single mom, I totally get it. Sounds like family and friends helped, and she’s getting out of that cycle…happy for her!

stanleybmanly's avatar

The basic answer is of course a resounding yes. But this doesn’t mean that your employer isn’t being exploited as well. It’s a system where everyone accepts that the big fish eat the little fish, but attention is diverted from the fact that midsized creatures are on someone’s menu as well. And driving the whole ecosystem to their immense benefit are the whale sized parasites, slowly sucking the life out of all the participants, who are too busy avoiding the obvious big teeth and tentacles to notice.

Mariah's avatar

I live in a suburb of Boston.

If you don’t have a car, and you work in the city, you need to live within walking distance of a bus route or subway line to get to work. This means you can’t move far enough away to really escape the inflated cost of rent in the city. The price of a 500 square foot studio apartment in Somerville (one of the suburbs that has access to subway lines) is about $2100 monthly. Or, if you could get a roommate and move into a 1000 sq foot 2 bedroom apartment, you’d each pay $1600 a month: https://www.rentcafe.com/average-rent-market-trends/us/ma/somerville/

Say I’m working full time and earning minimum wage ($11 an hour, 40 hours a week). That’s a take-home pay of about $1550 each month.

That’s not even enough for rent.

OK, so you can’t live in Somerville on minimum wage. What other options do you have? You could move farther away and take the commuter rail.

Say I move all the way out to Worcester. That’s a 3 hour round trip for my commute, but the cost of a 450 sq foot studio drops to $975. https://www.rentcafe.com/average-rent-market-trends/us/ma/worcester/

Your commuter rail pass costs $200 monthly: https://www.mbta.com/fares/commuter-rail-fares/zones

Say $150 for a month’s worth of groceries, $50 a month for electricity, $150 for heat in the winter (non-optional in Boston).

Aaaand we’re at budget. God help you if you’re a parent, or if an emergency arises. Even if you’re insured you can’t go to the doctor if you have a non-zero deductible because your budget literally leaves no room for anything but the bare necessities.

No, minimum wage is not a living wage. Not everywhere.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@seawulf575 That “it’s all relative” line is always available to defend ANY atrocity or injustice. And if you’re chump enough to tolerate the retort that “If you can’t live on your Burger King salary, you belong in Mississippi”, things must only deteriorate. We’re living through it. It starts with Trump and the gradual acceptance of the idea that the mean and selfish way is best. The pitchforks and heads on pikes must inevitably await.

rojo's avatar

I guess you are right @KNOWITALL, technically, she was not working full time. They would not let her have enough hours to be full time. That is their business model. No full time employees except the manager. But she worked every hour they would let her. It was the best she could do with three kids to look after. If it wasn’t for my sister taking care of the little ones when she did work she could not have done that. The whole time she was in that job she was searching for another full time position. The only advantage to not having 8 – 5 job is that you do have time to job hunt. The unemployment rate in that part of the country is still high.
She received no child support. A good man he wasn’t, the worthless POS just up and left the state for a while. This year he came back to town and wanted to see his kids. Big mistake on his part, she finally got the courts to force him to pay child support. He and his new girlfriend were not at all happy but jail sounded less enticing. The only government support she got was food stamps and housing assistance. Even with the housing assistance the places available to her were trash; falling apart, roach ridden, just nasty. HUD does a lousy job of keeping tabs on a property once it has made the list.
And, you are right, if it were not for the financial, physical and moral support of family and friends I am not sure what she would have done.
BTW she comes from a solid middle class background. Father is a union member. The only thing that has kept them all afloat in recent years.

seawulf575's avatar

@rojo good example and truth throughout. One question though…if that sort of increase can make such a big change in someone’s life, why is it the left wants to denigrate Trump so much for his tax reform that put that much money back into the pockets of may working people? Just a random thought, I guess.

seawulf575's avatar

@stanleybmanly funny thing, there mister…many others on this thread are looking at the “all relative” angle as well. Go through and read many of the answers. As for your attack on me and this odd non sequitur you threw out about ”… the retort that “If you can’t live on your Burger King salary, you belong in Mississippi”, things must only deteriorate. ” is very interesting. Where have I ever said anything even remotely close to that? You are a strange person…having to create stuff to try to slam me. Do I really get your obsessions going that much? For the record, I’m the one that has consistently stated that Burger King wages are not intended to be those designed for a family of 4 to live on. Jobs like that are entry level, part time, starter jobs that are designed for new workers (i.e. teens) to learn responsibility and possibly for elderly to supplement their income a little. But I guess you are only obsessed with me because you see me as a surrogate on these pages for your hatred of Trump. Take your meds, dude.

rojo's avatar

@seawulf575 it is not the paltry sum being returned to the working people, it the the vast quantities of cash being given to the already wealthy that most object to. That and the impact upon the deficit.

The whole benefit of the tax cut to society was predicated on the belief that trickle down economics actually works and it has repeatedly been shown to be ineffective each and every time it has been implemented.

I know I am not the first to point out that it seems perverse to insist that that wealthy people need support and encouragement, and thus are offered substantial financial incentives, in order to work and contribute to the economy, and yet the less fortunate apparently need to be punished, by the imposition of financial cuts in the form of reductions to social services such as Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security and the like, in order to work and contribute to the economy.

rojo's avatar

@seawulf575 I would like to point out that while I might agree with you that fast food jobs are supposed to be entry level jobs they are increasingly being performed by older people. I note that you mention them but I think that if you took the time to speak to them you would find out that many, if not most, are not supplementing their income, this is their income.

And this is just going to get worse before it gets better. Companies are no longer offering jobs that provide retirement accounts or any other kind of supplementary benefits. And Congressmen like Paul Ryan are trying to lessen what support Social Security does offer.

Many I have spoken to are working, particularly at places like McDonald’s and Home Depot and the like, for the health insurance they can get because they simply cannot afford to purchase it in their retirement. It has become a luxury item. So, they take the pittance of salary and feed it back to buy their insurance in order to stay alive.

The capitalist system has changed substantially from the capitalism of the mid 20th century when it supported tremendous growth of the middle class just as we as a society have changed. Now, which is the chicken and which is the egg? That is what we need to determine. . I am not saying that capitalism is not the system to use but I am saying that adjustments can, and must, be made in order to bring society back to some semblance of its former glory.

rojo's avatar

One other thing on the tax giveaway @seawulf575 and then I will leave it alone:

A 2015 report – Causes and Consequences of Income Inequality : A Global Perspective by the International Monetary Fund concluded in June of that year that there is no trickle-down effect – the rich simply get richer:

“We find that increasing the income share of the poor and the middle class actually increases growth while a rising income share of the top 20 percent results in lower growth—that is, when the rich get richer, benefits do not trickle down.”

stanleybmanly's avatar

@seawulf575 Don’t flatter yourself as worthy of either attack or obsession. You’re lucky if I can muster contempt for your silly ass. The issue isn’t about for whom the job is tailored, but rather that many outside your “qualifications” subsist on such wages.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@rojo The system is designed to keep the poor poor. There are those of us who are blessed with opportunities to live the American Dream, and grab those opportunities and wring every ounce we can out of them.
There are those who would rather do drugs or work less, too. Then people like your niece who just have to deal with the cards life hands them and try to get out of it and raise the kids to stay out of it. Everyone’s got a story but it seems to be the luck of the draw more often than not.

flutherother's avatar

A fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. Expecting people to work a full day and not earn enough to live on is exploitation plain and simple. Blaming the people who work in such low paid jobs is ridiculous.

notsoblond's avatar

I just love how people who have never needed government assistance try to tell the rest of us how it all works and what it’s like. Your anecdotal evidence is just that. Anecdotal. You have no idea but go ahead and use the bad seeds as examples. Those of us who know the truth shake our heads at your judgmental responses.

JLeslie's avatar

About full time and benefits. The whole idea of health benefits attached to employment is horrific. If you are full time and get benefits through work it alnost enslaves you to the job. If you want to quit you have health insurance as part of the decision whether to actually bite the bullet and leave. I hate that. If companies are forced to give health care benefits for full-time, some companies opt to have more part-timers instead of full-timers. Who wants to have to job hunt for two jobs, and commute to two jobs. The commuting almost no one talks about, most likely an extra hour lost in ones day if you have to go to two jobs in one day.

Ironically, I personally wish I could get a part-time job that makes decent money, but the better jobs usually are only full-time, and lower paying jobs are part-time. I do work part-time as a subcontractor at $22—$25 an hour, which is fine, I don’t consider that low, but I work very few hours, and it’s not easy for me to get more hours. I can only do it because I’m married and worked myself to death in a previous life and saved and was semi-frugal have no kids and can buy my house outright at this point.

For companies, health benefits are part of the wage calculation and it’s a guess. If the employee opts not to get a healthcare plan, bonus for the company! The company just saved a bunch of money. Does the company now give that employee more money so the employee can use it towards healthcare, or whatever he wants? Nope. It’s just more profit fir the company.

seawulf575's avatar

@rojo, I get it…you don’t like the wealthy. But we had this discussion in another thread as well and I proposed a question to the jellies at large. What law can you pass that will (a) not kill jobs or hours or pay and (b) will benefit only the poor and middle class? Ross Perot, during his bid for the presidency made the comment during an interview that it really didn’t matter what the government did with the economy…he was diversified enough that if the economy is great he’s making money and if the economy turns sour he’s making money. That pretty much sums it up for all “wealthy” people. But there aren’t many solutions out there that you can come up with. So getting wrapped around the axle because some mysterious “wealthy” people are making money is really a waste of time.
As for the tax reform impacting the deficit, tax revenues went UP after the tax reform.

seawulf575's avatar

@stanleybmanly please…stop obsessing about me. you really do get going! The question was about “a living wage”. But that sort of makes an assumption that all jobs are created equal. When challenged about this aspect, even the OP admitted he meant someone working 40+ hours a day. That still doesn’t fully make all jobs equal, nor all sections of the country equal. The idea of who the jobs are tailored for is a part of that as well. Many entry level jobs are part time, mindless, unskilled work. Also, many of these jobs are part time only. And having jobs to get promoted to is an incentive. It makes you want to work harder and move up…get better money, hours, benefits…whatever.

JLeslie's avatar

^^Who is saying all jobs are equal? I don’t think anyone thinks a cashier at a supermarket should make the same wage as a CPA doing corporate taxes. Let’s not make it sound like we want communism with total wage equality, no one is saying that. I also think it’s obvious people are talking about a living wage calculated based on full time work. Plenty of professions can “live” on part time work, but we are discussing minimum wages, not people who earn $200 an hour.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I realize there will always be different pay scales depending on the job, and don’t expect a supermarket bag boy , to make the same wage as a licensed electrician.
What I am saying if that bag boy is a full time employee 40+hours a week he should be able to put a cheap roof over his/her head and food on the table without needing government help to do that.
The right seem to have a huge problem with that concept,they claim it will hurt the business to much,or if he/she is paid enough to do that inflation will go through the roof to keep the profits on par for the owners and share holders.
Or they sneer maybe if that happens then they will want 2 cars,lobster every night and a beach house,yeah that’s the reason keep them being exploited or the world will run amuck.
Next they sneer these are level entry jobs for teen agers to get work experience, seems to be a ton of level entry jobs with a lot of very old teen agers filling them.
Rep/cons cry the problem is the evil entitlement programs, well stop making the lower class worker depend on those evil programs so much and start paying them a living wage.

MrGrimm888's avatar

@KNOWITALL . You are extremely fortunate, to live in an area with such cheap rent. The rents in my area, are easily double those rates.

SQUEEKY, in the south we don’t run the heater as much. But in the summer, we have to run the A/C. I live alone, and in a small house. My average power bill, in the summer, is $260/month.

I am currently wearing multiple layers of clothing, and my dog is wearing a sweater. If I don’t run the heater at all, I can cut my power bill in half. I usually run my heater for an hour or so, to keep my fish tank’s heater from overworking.

Stache's avatar

^People in the Midwest are out of touch. They don’t understand how expensive it is to live in or near large cities. They think everyone should move to the outskirts if they can’t afford where they live.

55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas. This is where their jobs are located. They can’t just up and leave their family and much needed resources. Especially when their only mode of transportation is public.

stanleybmanly's avatar

This question is at heart a variation of the big one on the viability of the status quo. Is systemic poverty justifiable in a nation with the wealth of the United States? I think most of us believe (if only instinctively) that justice requires our society to attempt some balance of the inequities arising from the harsh realities inherent with capitalism. We avail ourselves of such measures as progressive taxation, social security, and a burgeoning social safety net to dampen the hazards of predatory capitalism. But in the face of accelerating inequality and concentration of wealth the question is “are these remedies sufficient?” Isn’t Mariah correct? If the guy with the McJob qualifies for food stamps, isn’t the burden of providing for his support being shifted from his employer to the taxpayers in general?

seawulf575's avatar

@stanleybmanly I think that is a difference between the way we see things. I don’t view as employer as having any burden when it comes to providing support for the employees. The employer is under the gun to pay whatever wage was agreed upon with the employee. That’s it. He doesn’t dig into their lives and ask what else he can do for them. When a person earns a paycheck (and benefits if available) it is incumbent on that person to determine how best to spend that money. That provides their support. If there isn’t much money they need to get a different job or a second job. But that burden of decision making is on them, not the employer. And again, you are back with the fast food jobs. We have been over this…those are mainly part time starter jobs and are not supposed to be a living wage.

stanleybmanly's avatar

So the jobs “aren’t supposed to be a living wage”. And people “aren’t supposed to be living on the sidewalks”. And yet….. And does the fact that “we’ve been over this before” mean the issue is settled? Are things improving?

seawulf575's avatar

@Stache Funny you should mention the high cost of living in some urban areas. Why is it that no one is down on that? Why should the cost of rent be so high in these areas? It is things like that which cause situations like what you have in Los Angeles where working people are homeless. I saw a report on the news a while back that included an interview with a woman that was an RN that couldn’t afford a place to live. She was living in her car and showering at the local YWCA. Why is everyone down on the employers not paying enough when no one mentions the other things that eat into wages? Why should an apartment cost $2000+ a month? That is silly. It costs that because the landlords charge it. We don’t talk about places like LA that have housing costs that are almost double the national average and sales tax up around 9% and food costs and gasoline costs that are way higher than the national average as well. Why is it that these things can cost so much? The same gasoline that costs $2.77 in the rest of the country costs over $4 in LA. You say the people in the midwest are out of touch? I suggest it is the people in some of these cities that are getting screwed. The fact that you accept the higher prices as being normal shows how bad that screwing really is.

stanleybmanly's avatar

That’s the point. People are getting screwed no matter where you live. People flock to good paying jobs in L.A., but can’t afford the rents or gasoline. Skyscrapers sprout like mushrooms while people with jobs live in tents on the sidewalks. Meanwhile, it is increasingly difficult to earn a decent living in the heartland which withers from neglect and abandonment. Does any of this have anything to do with the rich getting richer? Housing is unaffordable because demand exceeds supply. Who benefits from the shortage?

seawulf575's avatar

It has everything to do with greed. Greed makes the world go ‘round. People always want more. Yet you are only attacking one point of the problem. “People flock to good paying jobs in L.A.” You are only looking at dollar values when you make a statement like that. They obviously aren’t good paying if they don’t afford you the ability to live. If you took that same pay to @KNOWITALL ‘s midwest conditions, it would be a great wage. But much like how the Big Pharma charges one price for pills in Canada and a much higher price for the exact same pill in the USA, it isn’t the person that is paying for them that is at fault. It isn’t CVS or Walgreens that is selling the pill that is the problem. It is the cost being charged at the source. Yet you are silent about that. Why does real estate cost so much in California when it is so much cheaper elsewhere? Why does a gallon of gas cost almost 50% more? It certainly isn’t that there isn’t demand. And as you said, it isn’t the wages being paid…people flock there for those wages. I suggest you are looking at the wrong end of the spectrum for the real problem.

stanleybmanly's avatar

What are you talking about? Real estate costs so much BECAUSE PEOPLE WANT TO LIVE THERE. Greed?—-capitalism.

seawulf575's avatar

Didn’t I say it was greed? You are astounding in your ability to take my answers and try to make them your own by acting like I’m the fool. But real estate is only a part of it. Why is food and gasoline so much more? Clothing? Why are taxes so much higher? Is that because people want to live there too? And what about the people that were born there and can’t afford to move away? Did THEY want those higher prices too? Please.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Is greed a good thing??
You sure make living wage, and social safety programs sound like a very bad things.
Things I hear when there is a shortage of workers to fill those low paying jobs the wage for them will go up,that is an out right lie, it happened in the hospitality sector here they convinced tthe government to let them hire foreignors to fill those positions thus keep the wage for them low.
It is happening in the trucking industry as well, as well as the mininig industry,they claim they can’t fill those positions with Canadians so they look outside the country to fill them instead of raising the pay for those jobs and attracting citizens to fill them.
If the wealthy can’t curb their greed, then after a while the poor will revolt on them it’s happened before in history don’t be to sure it can’t happen again.

rojo's avatar

I don’t think it is greed to want a wage that you can live on. I don’t think anyone here would argue that.
So, how do we pass laws that are more equitable to the middle and poorer class? I have no idea since it is only those with any wealth, and the prospect of becoming even more wealthy from their position, that have the power to do so. But, we know where they live so there is that. But let us say we get beyond that, what steps do we take to provide more income to the middle and working class. To begin with we need to look back to the period from WWI to the Vietnam war. It was during this time that we saw the surge in middle class families and, since most of them came from the poorer underclass we saw a reduction in the number of poor. What drove that? Where did they middle class get their money? What were the tax rates? What were the rights and responsibilities of corporations and businesses? What effect did immigration have or was this a response to earlier immigration? Is it a coincidence that it began with the New Deal with its financial reforms, social safety net programs and increased government spending? How do we replicate the times? When did it start falling apart? I believe most knowledgeable sources say it was in the early to mid-1970’s? Why? What changes did we as a society implement at that point? Banking? Social Changes? What was it that began the shrinking of the middle class, both in numbers and relative income? So many unanswered questions and ignored historical evidence but it is a place to start.

JLeslie's avatar

@seawulf575 Real estate is outlandishly expensive in places that pay extremely salaries to certain professions and certain levels of management. If they were making less, and people lower on the pay scales were making more, there would be less extremes in costs of living also.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I think the diminishing of the middle class started with the Reagan administration,and implamenting trickle down economics it didn’t work,but the wealthy saw that as a cool way to keep the most for themselves and convince the lower classes is how it works.
That was the early to mid 1980’s
and the wage for the middle class has been stagnant since.
with only a 4% growth since then where the top has seen a 400% growth in their income.

seawulf575's avatar

To be perfectly honest, all of us have greed. It’s inherent in being human. I personally don’t consider it a good thing, but it is part of us. Everyone wants more. I think the only ones that don’t are those few weirdos that try to live off the grid in a cave or a tree house or something. But in today’s world, greed rears its ugly head repeatedly. I firmly believe that CEOs and other top execs that give themselves $20M bonuses year after year are just ridiculous. I think professional ball players that make millions per year to play a game are ridiculous. And that’s not saying the owners turning 8 figure incomes aren’t ridiculous. But lets face it, there isn’t much to be done with these folks outside of pure communism.
But there are many things that go into a living wage other than a dollar value you are making. It has to take into account all the costs of living. @JLeslie you make a point that real estate is outlandishly expensive in places that pay high salaries to people. That is a true statement. We can all come up with neighborhoods that cost an arm a leg and a butt cheek to move into. But that is a cop out to say that is what drives real estate costs up. NYC, for instance, has many low income areas, yet housing prices are ridiculous when compared with other areas in the country. Land in Manhattan runs about $365/square foot. That’s roughly $16M/acre. I lived in an area for a while where land was $900/acre. Those are sort of extremes, but it makes the point. Land is more expensive in NYC because people feel they can get what they are asking for it. Period. Remember the housing bubble? That wasn’t all rich people raping people. It was people continually asking more and more for houses over time until the market could no longer support it. Yes, there were many things that played in as well, but it still comes back to plain old greed. My suspicions are that if you tried raising wage rates in NYC to a point where the employees could earn a living wage, you would find most of the businesses were closing. Most middle class and below people commute because of that. Or they live and work out in the ‘burbs. But very simply, this all exists because someone asks for a price and they get it.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I will agree we all have greed,but it is how we act on that is what separates us.
To get consumed with greed that you get it from the backs of the lower classes, I have a big problem with,to gather and get richer on true honest work I have no problem with.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Greed is a simplistic answer, but to whatever extent it drives our system there is absolutely no question that ours is an economic model where greed, even criminal greed is rewarded to an extent far out of proportion to any possible benefit to the society overall. The fact that the vice is just one aspect of human nature, does not mean the society must stumble along allowing greed to drive the agenda to the benefit of the few at the expense of rest of us. But increasingly this description of the lay of the land grows to define the reality of America.

JLeslie's avatar

@seawulf575 The most important thing in real estate is not what the seller asks, but what a buyer is willing to pay. In the housing bubble people were only concerning themselves with what their mortgage payment was, not the total actual price of the house. Many of the mortgages had variable interest rates or arms, or various other mechanisms. Many people were speculating, planning on flipping the property. Obviously, supply and demand is in the equation also.

Manhattan is a good example of supply and demand. It also does fit into the wage scenario. People from all over the world buy property in NY. Many parts of Europe and Asia are very expensive, and they help drive up prices in NYC when those foreigners buy there. Also, obviously, there is a lot of big business executives with big salaries in NYC. There is rent control in NYC and low income areas that are reasonable-ish, it’s just a question of would you want to live in those places and it’s not easy to get into some of those places. The longer you live in NY the better you are, because the city protects you from rent increases eventually. I’m not saying NYC isn’t very expensive, it is, but like most places there is sort of a cliff. It’s hard to find a middle ground.

Where I live now the $300k houses don’t feel much different than the $450k houses. If you want something at the next “step” you have to go to $600k plus. This is what I consistently find wherever I live. It’s frustrating.

Some places in the US use maintenance fees or club equity to keep an area more exclusive and keep housing prices and property taxes very moderate. That’s part of the housing price game also, trying to keep an area a desirable area.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther