Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Dear Democrats: Why do you think $15 is the perfect number for the minimum wage?

Asked by JLeslie (60734points) 1 month ago from iPhone

Why is $15 better than $12 or $17?

Have you really analyzed why $15 is the right number if you feel strongly about it?

Do you know how the $15 was derived?

Do experts agree $15 is perfect?

Is $15 just the number that caught on and everyone is just repeating it?

The way I remember it, NYC was fighting for $15, and now people think $15 would be good at the federal level. That doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to me. Maybe you can convince me.

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37 Answers

Darth_Algar's avatar

It isn’t. It’s simply double the current federal minimum. The minimum ought to be higher.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I agree with @Darth_Algar – based on poverty income levels, it ought to be closer to $20 to get more people off welfare and social programs.

But the right wingers already balk at $15, so the chances of a number like $20 are ridiculous to think about.

JLeslie's avatar

So, you both think the federal minimum should be a living wage if I understand correctly. No room for paying someone less money for doing very easy tasks like stuffing envelopes or greeting people as they walk in a store.

Also, have you read anything about how it will affect prices, jobs, and other possible side effects written by experts? Not Republicans and Democrats repeating what the party says, but actual experts.

si3tech's avatar

I think $15./hr will cause many businesses to close or raise their prices to the
extent that the larger wage will make no difference.

elbanditoroso's avatar

What I have read is the opposite of what @si3tech wrote. A living wage may affect some small percentage of employers that are failing anyway, but by and large do not have widespread effects.

From what I have read and heard, the ‘businesses will fail’ myth has been around for decades and is about as believable as ‘trickle down economics’.

Smashley's avatar

I try not to let perfect become the enemy of the good.

hello321's avatar

@si3tech: “I think $15./hr will cause many businesses to close”

Any business that refuses to pay its employees deserves to close. We (you and me) are subsidizing these businesses through increased need for public assistance, etc.

@si3tech: “or raise their prices to the extent that the larger wage will make no difference.”

I agree. Capitalism doesn’t work.

elbanditoroso's avatar


article2 (before congress)

Congressional Budget Office read down to the bottom

Long article

from business owners.

Bottom line: @si3tech ‘s scare tactics are not supported

zenvelo's avatar

$15 isn’t the perfect number. It was a good number when the movement towards it started 9 years ago.

Real world evidence has shown that increasing the minimum wage increases GDP without increasing inflation, as it increases the velocity of money through the economy without increasing the money supply. Minimum wage earners spend on essentials rather than sit on the money.

KRD's avatar

I’m not a democrat but I know the answer which is they want to destroy America.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Oh for fucks sake, The Big Mac theory raise the wage and all products go up to compensate for it.
If you care to do a bit of research there are quite a few countries that have a much higher minimum wage and yet a cheaper Big Mac than the states do.
Another fright wing example is that it will kill small Mom and Pop businesses problem is most of those so called small businesses they cry about employ family members only.
I think most of crying over raising the minimum wage is large employers such as Wal-mart and other big box outlets who pay the employees a wage so crappy they can’t live off it.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

So Fright winger think raising the wage will destroy America?
Guess the only hope is to keep the poor as wage slaves?

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
Darth_Algar's avatar

@JLeslie “So, you both think the federal minimum should be a living wage if I understand correctly.”

Astute observation.

“No room for paying someone less money for doing very easy tasks like stuffing envelopes or greeting people as they walk in a store.”

No. Why should they be paid less just because someone else deems their job as “menial”? Same with fast food workers. People think they should be paid less because their job is “easy”, unskilled. But then they complain about bad service from people who aren’t being paid enough to give a shit. If you want give a shit service then you gotta pay give a shit wages.

“Also, have you read anything about how it will affect prices, jobs, and other possible side effects written by experts? Not Republicans and Democrats repeating what the party says, but actual experts.”

Yes, and it doesn’t bear out. With the volume of dried-out, leathery burger patties and reheated nuggets McDonald’s slings in a given day it’s not going to have a significant impact, and certainly not on price. Reminds me of when Papa John was bitching about the ACA going into effect and they his company would have no choice but to pass that cost along to consumers. Ultimate the price of their crappy pizzas increased by like $0.10 a pie.

kritiper's avatar

In time, but not right off. Jumping right up to $15.00 will kill off a lot of small businesses.
And after that, at some point in time, when $15.00 isn’t enough, we can shoot for $50.00 per hour. Then $250.00. Then…

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
JLeslie's avatar

Personally, I don’t assume fast food work is easy. I have never done it, but being in front of a customer or working at flipping burgers, I think they are both under pressure and working in hot conditions, and dealing with a hungry public does not sound easy to me. I never understood that example.

Darth_Algar's avatar

A lot of people seem to think unskilled = easy. But yeah, flipping pre-made, frozen burgers isn’t a particularly skillful job, but it sure as shit ain’t easy. I wouldn’t want to do it.

Jaxk's avatar

I don’t prtend to know what the right number might be. I do know that a living wage in Butte Montana is not the same as Manhattan. There a;so seems to be some erroneous connection between salary and work performance. Shitty customer service at $7.50 hr will still be shitty service at $15 hr. Unskilled labor does not mean easy, it means you don’t need skills to perform the work. Programmers, mechanics, plumbers are all skilled while ditch diggers, stock boys, cherry pickers, and such are not..

The jobs that will suffer the most are the entry level jobs generally taken by the kids right out of high school. The unskilled jobs that serve a first jobs that give the kids an entry into the job market. Do you want your kids to live at home until 25 or 30 years old? This is how you do it.

According to the CBO, $15 hr will kill about 1.5 million jobs. Jobs that are currently filled by those we are supposedly trying to help. The law of unexpected consequences is ripe for the picking. Think long and hard before jumping into this. The consequences may be hard to reverse.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Honestly, I don’t see too many teenagers at McDonald’s or Burger King these days. I do see a lot of folks who look to be well into their 30s-40s (sometimes even older) trying to make ends meet (probably working their second or third job).

Jaxk's avatar

@Darth_Algar – Good point. It’s better to just eliminate their job. That will solve the problem.

jca2's avatar

@Jaxk: Fast food places will still need a certain level of staffing in order to stay open with decent customer service. Yes, some can be replaced with robots, but they will still need people at the counter and the window. I don’t buy that these jobs are going to be eliminated if the minimum wage goes up. If a supermarket needs their shelves stocked, they need stock people. Yes, they can run on minimum staffing, but then that’s going to be that much longer that the stock doesn’t hit the shelves.

What would be ideal is that the CEO’s and upper management of McD’s and other fast food and supermarkets take a little pay cut, maybe instead of making 500 million a year, they cut their salaries down to 450 million a year.

jca2's avatar

Edit: My apologies. The McD’s CEO made 18 million last year. Do you think he might be able to survive on 17 million?

Jaxk's avatar

Let me clear up a couple of points. Most fast food outlets are not owned by the corporation but rather by franchisees, typically a small business owner. If the CEO takes less pay that does not solve any problem for the small business owner. Customer service in general is quickly disappearing. If you want to talk with or be serviced by a human being, your options are limited already.

gorillapaws's avatar

Here’s an argument I think “moderate” Democrats can understand: If Kamala doesn’t override the non-binding recommendation of the parliamentarian on $15 minimum wage (which she has the full authority to do), there is a very good chance Trump (or worse) will win in 2024. How’s that?

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Or better yet decrease the minimum wage a few dollars and put more people to work, who the hell cares if they can no way even begin to try and live from the wage.
You can always issue employers bullwhips ,and shock prods to beat any disgruntled employees back into shape.
It’s a win win employment goes down and profits for the companies go up, who the hell cares if the slugs on minimum wage need welfare at the end of a forty hour week just to eat at least they are working.

Darth_Algar's avatar


How exactly do we define “small business owner”? Because according to McDonald’s itself the cost just to open a McDonald’s franchise is typically between $1,000,000 – $2,000,000. When I think of “small business owner” I think of someone like my aunt and her little tchotchke and homewears store. And she sure as shit didn’t have a couple million laying around to start a McD’s franchise.

Jaxk's avatar

@Darth_Algar – Small business is defined by the SBA (small Business Administration) and varies by industry. It’s not cheap to start one and most small business owners require a loan to do so. The SBA loans are neither cheap nor easy to get but that’s how it’s done. McDonalds is one of the most expensive franchises to get but also one of the best bets to be successful. That’s why they can charge so much for a franchise.

Darth_Algar's avatar


I wasn’t questioning McDonald’s franchise fee or requirement. Nor was a looking for a dry answer about what the SBA considers “small”. But hey, it’s good to know I can be a locksmith making $22,000,000 and still be considered “small”, so that I can qualify for a taxpayer-supported loan.

JLeslie's avatar

@Darth_Algar I don’t think so. There are revenue limits also under the technical definitions. Revenue or profit. I’m not sure. The definition for small business varies a little by industry. Under 500 employees is a general rule, and then there are monetary limits too. I think the average person thinks of a small business as less than 30 employees and that it is a local businesses, maybe 1–5 locations, but that’s not a technical definition.

Darth_Algar's avatar


Indeed, there are revenue limits. I looked them up, and apparently the revenue limit on a locksmith business is $22,000,000.

gorillapaws's avatar

I think this lecture by a billionaire does a better job explaining it than I ever could.

sadiesayit's avatar

@gorillapaws thanks for the link, was a great watch.

JLeslie's avatar

@Darth_Algar Gotcha. I did a quick search to see the numbers for each industry, and this article is a little old. but if anyone on the thread is interested it gives a clear breakdown by industry.

KRD's avatar

A piece of plywood used to be $8 now it is somewhere around $38 so prices are going up.

hello321's avatar

^ I just ate an apple.

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