Advance Team Episode 15: Minimum Wage throwdown

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AMG
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Advance Team Episode 15: Minimum Wage throwdown

Episode 15 of The Advance Team is live - the week we debate the minimum wage. With Scott Cuddy, Ben Grant, Jon McKane, and Lance Dutson

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Mike Travers
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So here's episode 15. After

So here's episode 15. After watching it I realized I needed to catch up, as I had missed episode 14. It's a little early in the season to be fishing for suckers, isn't it Lance?

mainemom
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I had to stop watching when

I had to stop watching when Ben Grant trotted out the stimulus argument, that is, use a mandated higher wage to put more money in the pockets of people who will spend it, and you get an economic boom.

People on the opposite side of the minimum wage hike argument can defeat that point easily by taking it back to its source: two analysts at the Chicago Fed who said all things considered, a small minimum wage hike of the sort most typically done by states has that stimulative effect for the first few quarters, but after that, it becomes a drag on economic activity. See here.

The dynamic is something like this:
The wage hike has some negative effects such as job cuts, price increases, and curtailed spending by business owners, but the aggregate impact in the very short term is increased economic activity due to more spending among the receivers of the new wage.
However, much of that new spending is on credit, and as the consumers begin paying back those loans, their other spending falls to the point where (in the second year?) it no longer offsets the negative effects of the wage hike.

Moreover, the kind of wage hikes the MPA and the Greens are seeking exceed the typical wage hike, and the negative effects of disemployment, price increases, and curtailed business spending may be greater than assumed.

Maybe I'm not paying close enough attention but I haven't seen our side out there making that point.

Melvin Udall
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I heard a fancy word applied

I heard a fancy word applied to this situation....I think is ended in "-osis."

As I recalled, it described a situation that starts off with things changing, but eventually everything readjusts to compensate, and a new 'status quo' is reached where everyone is more or less the same as they were before. The 'numbers' may have changed, but the places in the game haven't.

Not a very precise memory recall, but it's a variation on the 'rising tide' analogy.

pmconusa
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It is patently obvious when

It is patently obvious when people engage in such conversation or debate they are ignorant of both the law, economics and even simple arithmetic. In the first place the federal and state Constitutions prohibit government from impairing the obligation of contracts. Dictating to an employer what he must pay his employee falls into this category as does requiring an employer to engage in collective bargaining against his will. On the economics side, no employer is going to engage employees or stay in business if he cannot pass along the cost to his customers. On the arithmetic side if a business outside the United States can hire its labor for $1.00 per hour and his shipping cost to the American market enables his American competitor to out price him and still pay his labor $2.00 per hour, mandating the American employer pay his labor $3.00 per hour will obviously flip the market in favor of the foreign producer. Perpetuating this stupidity will ultimately result in reducing the actual work performed in the United Sates to only those things that cannot be done outside the country.

The name of this group should be changed to the Regressive (Backward) Team.

Matt
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Would anyone disagree with

Would anyone disagree with the principle that if someone is willing to work 40 or 50 hrs a week, they should be able to make enough money to support themselves and live decently?

Mainelion
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Start a business Matt and

Start a business Matt and feel free to pay your employees enough to "live decently". What's stopping you?

Be the change you want to see.

Matt
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I own a business with 6

I own a business with 6 people on the payroll. Unlike the people in this video, I have actual skin in the game.

So, again--do you think that anyone who works full time should make enough to live off of?

Islander
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Matt, what is your definition

Matt, what is your definition of "make a living", how many people are being supported, how many things wanted not needed is money being spent on...

Matt
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Islander, I'm talking about

Islander, I'm talking about just the basics, though I would argue that some things that are "not needed" are, in fact, needed, for any human being. Money to buy your kid something for his birthday, or the ability to treat yourself to a decent hamburger every once in a while. And maybe something that can go to bettering your situation--like a little $ towards an associates degree or trade school or what have you.

But I'll go with your question. Rent, food, heat and electric, transportation of some kind (whether it be a reliable car or bus fare) and enough $ to cover basic healthcare.

Islander
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Thanks Matt, ok, so I would

Thanks Matt, ok, so I would say that for an individual you can do it on about $500/week ( a good week) at least that is my experience or about $12.50/hr. But that means no cell phone, car paid for, no vacations, no tattoos, no smoking etc. But if you are trying to support a family then you had better find a better job, or do like my family did put the kids to work. My employees family budget is not my problem nor is it yours.
But I am not for raising the minimum wage, if you are worth X$ then I will pay X$, otherwise you will not work for me.

Matt
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Yah. I think that's the

Yah. I think that's the problem. There is a sizeable percentage of the population that must find a way to live with low wage jobs. It may not be my problem, but I'd assert that it IS a problem if someone is willing to work, but nevertheless has a tough time paying the bills and has no realistic chance of getting out of what is basically poverty.

Mr. McKane says that there are "other ways" to help people who are not making enough money at work, but generally speaking when most conservatives talk about public assistance, it's in the context of cracking down on cheats or limiting access or weaning people from the public teat. Not figuring out how to get assistance into the hands of people who need it.

But my point, or perspective, is that people who bust their butts at crappy jobs shouldn't have to go begging for handouts.

It also seems especially insulting to me--even un-American--given how wealth is being further and further concentrated. There are more layabouts and members of the lucky sperm club, who don't have to do anything productive to get by, than ever before. They can live off of daddy's sizeable hand me down bankroll and complain about capital gains. And yet we think of people who work at Burger King and the gas station for 50 hrs a week as the parasites. Doesn't seem right to me.

I'm not saying that raising the minimum wage substantially isn't problematic, believe me. I get it. The guy who owns the sub shop and has a couple of people helping out at the counter will most likely take it on the chin. But the criticisms of these proposals from conservative think tank talking heads are a little too smug for my liking.

Bullseye
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Matt,

Matt,

Is Maine Peoples Alliance writing this socialist dribble for you to post?

I've employed people for nearly 50 years, so I think I'm more than
qualified to discuss this subject. When the minimum wage was raised
over the years the productivity never increased. When we did work on
Federally funded projects subject to the Davis-Bacon Act the productivity
never increased, actually it declined because folks would drag the project
out to enjoy the increased pay as long as possible. We always saw an
increase in Comp. claims. They would wait until 10 weeks to file because
that would give them a work experience at the higher D-B wage rate.
I never encountered one claim that wasn't laden with fraud. I beat every
false claim at the comp. hearing

Now let me share a true story about the value of a job. A retired dairy
farmer worked for me part-time in the nineteen sixties. He nailed job
value when told of a young man who had helped him part-time from
the time he was in Jr. High. When the young man reached college
age the farmer helped him go to U Maine and get a AG degree, which
he accomplished. The kid went back to the farm at very low wages.

He approached the farmer to ask for a wage increase.
The farmer responded to the request with this response: You are
already getting a higher wage that exceeds the value of the job you
performing. But now that you have your AG degree I am offering you
a position managing this farm, so I can begin to enter my retirement
years. That job commands a much higher wage because the management
position has far more responsibility than cleaning stalls and other menial
chores around the farm. So there you have it Matt. The facts from the
horses mouth not the horses ass.

pmconusa
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The economic system we have

The economic system we have adopted requires that everyone must work for a living. If a traditional family of four with children under working age are still at home and so is their mother the man must earn enough to feed four mouths. When seeking employees for his business is an employer gong to pay what it costs to feed a single person or one who must feed four. You can see that this system is ultimately doomed to failure particularly when your wonderful democratic government forces employers to move jobs overseas or opens its markets to foreign competition denying jobs to Americans willing and able to work.

Every government ever contrived has adopted this economic system and it is the reason all have ultimately failed as will ours. If it were not for government welfare there would already be rioting in the streets because people would be starving and having to steal to survive. This condition is sustainable up to the point our population begins to exceed natures ability to produce sufficient food to feed us all.

I have devised a system that I have described on other threads and all I have gotten is ridicule but no one has found any fault with it with the exception it will never be implemented so long as we have a government that thinks only of its own survival and that of those who keep them in power.

Matt
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Bullseye--

Bullseye--

An increase in minimum wage isn't really supposed to be connected to productivity. It's about cost of living. But if you want to talk about productivity, it's axiomatic that the productivity of the American worker has increases over the last three or so decades, while real wages have actually decreases.

I don't need any left wing organization to write talking points. This stuff seems pretty clear to me. I think that if someone is willing to work 50 hrs a week, they should be able to live off what they make. Can you answer that question?

Btw--most low wage working folks aren't offered management positions nowadays. They are offered "assistant manager" positions, bumping up their pay from 7.75 to 8.50.

Islander
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Matt " This stuff seems

Matt " This stuff seems pretty clear to me. I think that if someone is willing to work 50 hrs a week, they should be able to live off what they make" exactly so live within your means based on what you are making, not some government forced wage. Some people can live on less than others and others no matter how much they make are unable to do so. We pay our help what we can afford and what they are worth, not what someone else thinks they should be making.

Dale Tudor
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Islander is correct, in my

Islander is correct, in my view. The more Americans who learn to live within their means, the less of a financial mess they will find themselves within. And if one's means are not sufficient for the lifestyle one chooses, then it is incumbent upon that person or family to make changes: either to how they earn income (a new job that pays more), how and upon what they spend, or where they live.

One of the benefits of living within America is the mobility available to each of us. We are free to change what we do, where we do it, and where we choose to live. Our greatest individual impediment always rests between our ears.

God put us on earth to praise and honor Him, and to prosper. He provides us free will. Therein lies the rub. Some choose wisely. Some don't.

Matt
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My point is that there will

My point is that there will always be people who have no choice but to work low wage/minimum wage jobs, in part because there are not enough decent paying jobs to go around. This is especially the case now that most of our manufacturing has dried up. To think that some single mom working 50 hrs a week at a fast food place and a drug store, or cleaning rooms at a couple of hotels, is only impeded by what's between her ears is pure folly. Or willed blindness.

If you actually believe that some people just get the short end of the stick, and tough luck to them, no matter that they work full-time, then just say so. But the suggestion that anyone can change their lot if they just use their brain is straight from la la land.

Dale Tudor
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Matt, your last post exhibits

Matt, your last post exhibits little faith in the individual's choice and decision to change their lot; and in the economic freedom and mobility that actually exists within the USA.

Individuals make lifestyle choices, spending choices, where to work choices, where to live choices in America every day. Some choose wisely. Some don't. We often don't hear about or see the examples of the wise choice choosers, but I can drive with you, any day, through most towns and cities in Maine, and spot unwise choosers frequently.

The wise choosers don't eat out frequently. The unwise ones do. The wise choosers live within their means. The unwise choosers do not. The wise choosers do what it takes to improve their lot, the unwise choosers don't (for whatever reason...and there are many reasons to choose from), and find themselves getting further and further behind. These unwise choosers eventually find themselves always relying upon the charity of others: family, government, charities.

The maid in the hotel often does not speak English (from personal experience across America, including Maine).
If she improved her English speaking skills in our English speaking country, she could choose to seek a role on the front desk or as a housekeeping supervisor or as a waitress. If she chose to be a waitress, she could eventually work up to being a supervisor or manager. You get the picture. But because she won't go to the trouble to learn the primary language of this country, she relegates herself to the role in which she finds herself. Maid. Low wage. Not a lot of opportunity for financial growth.

In the early 70's, when I got out of college and the Naval Reserve, I took a job for $1.80/hr for a 48 hour week as a radio announcer at the locally owned radio station in Lincoln. Glad to get the work. Had a four year degree and 6 years of part-time related experience to back me up. I soon realized that I made more in the Calais A&P while I was in high school @ $2.10/hr.

Four months later I talked with the local owner about a 5 cent raise per hour. He said he was considering firing me, instead. I did not take offense. But I did find a more professional career, shortly thereafter, as a Boy Scout District Executive in Elizabeth, NJ, making the princely (at the time) sum of $8,500/yr, with health insurance and a car.

People in America are free to either accept their current lot or to do what it takes to improve their current situation. Almost all of our personal restraints are self-imposed, and do reside between the ears, regardless of whether you realize it or not.

Dale Tudor
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http://www.freerepublic.com

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/3289385/posts

Reading this discussion on www.freerepublic.com might help. The originator of the thread makes many of Matt's points. The subsequent comments on the thread make many of the points, more eloquently, that I made in my earlier post on this AMG thread. It's an easy, fast read for those who don't like getting bogged down.

Islander
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Matt, everyone I know who

Matt, everyone I know who started out as dishwasher, chambermaid etc actually did use their brains and work ethic to rise above those jobs. For us and it is a choice, we do not eat out, have not taken a vacation in years, drive used vehicles etc, so yes it can be done. Artificially paying someone more than the job is worth just because is not good business, at least for us.
Sometimes the earlier you start working (for me age 11) the more incentive you have to rise above that position. Is it easy, hell no but it can be done.

Matt
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Dale, again, I think you're

Dale, again, I think you're missing the point. Perhaps that maid can find a way to get another job, though this mobility you're referring to is much more the exception than the rule. But someone still needs to clean the hotel room. That job will always exist and need doing. Correct? So if someone is stuck there, for whatever reason, tough luck? Make better choices? It's all between your head? Really?

Dale Tudor
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Perhaps, Matt, the maid is

Perhaps, Matt, the maid is new to the USA or the USA is not the country of her birth; and is not the country in which she grew up. Perhaps she is from Mexico or a country in Central or South America or is from Somalia. Whether she is here legally or illegally, she has the choice to learn the language and move on and up in our American economy. She can choose to remain at her current job or acquire the skills to move on to another job. Her choice. Economic freedom. Her primary limiting factor resides between her ears.

And it is wise to realize that the working poor immigrants in America are far better, standard-of-living-wise, than the working poor in whatever impoverished country from which they originated.

If they are here illegally, I'm of the view they should be arrested and deported. And their employer should enter our criminal justice system, also, being subject to jail time and/or substantial fines.

If we decrease the number of illegal aliens in America, we open up more jobs for those here legally, especially those born here. And if we correspondingly decrease the welfare net that traps folks in a substandard, dependent lifestyle, encouraging them to work and support themselves, everyone in America wins.

Sorry for the digression, above, into immigration. Our nation's stupid "open borders" policy is encouraging an over-supply in the labor realm, which decreases wages, overall, for the lower tier jobs that most immigrants or first time or lower skilled job seekers seek.

In America, no one is shackled to their current job or unemployed situation. We each have the power to choose to change. It's a choice. Some choose wisely, some don't.

Matt
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Yah, I'm not talking about

Yah, I'm not talking about illegals. I'm talking about Americans. And again, you're not addressing the fact that when someone progresses, someone else must necessarily take their place.

So, I will answer my initial question: no, Dale does not believe that someone who is willing to work 50 hrs a week deserves to house, feed and clothe themselves. It's just fine that that person is impoverished. If they can't afford rent, they just need to make better choices.

You find that in Matthew 5?

Islander
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How does a business owner

How does a business owner know what his/her employees need to live on? Is it a case by case situation? Should I be handling all their financial affairs? Where does one draw the line? For some no matter what they are paid they will never make enough because they do not know how to plan for a rainy day or live within their means. For others they have all ready figured it out and have moved on or moved up.
I have never heard any employee say they make to much, usually raises are expected not earned.

pmconusa
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You all forget that there are

You all forget that there are always going to be people who cannot work but still need to be fed. I include children, the infirm, the very elderly, pregnant women and the like. Nature, with man's help provides all of them with sufficient food for survival but it is government that decides who gets what and it should not be that way. In a society as in a family everyone gets what they need and the one who brings in the bread gets a bigger share.

Dale Tudor
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Matt, don't put words into my

Matt, don't put words into my mouth, and don't reference the Bible unless you are willing to be specific.

When you use the word "deserve," as in "someone...deserves to house, feed and clothe themselves" you are making a dangerous assumption. "Deserves" lines right up with "is entitled to." No one in America either deserves or is entitled to any specific standard of living.

The Declaration of Independence says "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." We are not guaranteed a job, good housing, food on the table, health care, good health or anything else by God or by American law. With freedom comes personal responsibility and personal choice.

Our nation has unfortunately created an entitlement mentality among much of the population. Some folks think they are entitled to any number of things or conditions in their lives. "I deserve a good job!" I deserve to be able to earn enough money to support my family!" "I deserve a free Obama phone!" "I deserve to be given credit, lots of credit, for anything I want to purchase!" "I deserve to do what I darn well please, and no one but me can tell me what to do or how to live my life or that I can't buy this or do that!" "I deserve a nice car, nice clothes, to go out to eat when and wherever I want!"

That is not how life in America was designed to work. We all have equal opportunity. And our greatest opportunity comes from the decisions we make, the determination we each have to succeed, and the drive each of us has to do what must be done to get to where we want to get in life.

No one deserves anything, except the opportunity to be free and determine how to live one's life.

And you are free to determine what a "living wage" is for your employees, and pay them thusly, as long as your determination meets federal and state wage and withholding minimums. If you own a motel and want to pay the maid at your motel $20.00/hour, you are free to do so.

Jesus knows the heart and soul of mankind, and tells us, via the Bible, Matthew 26:11, "The poor you will always have with you..."

In 2nd Thessalonians 3:10, Paul writes "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."

We are not encouraged to ignore the poor, but Jesus never says, "It's the government's job to care for the poor," nor do His disciples in the Bible.

Our nation is the greatest place on earth for man to rise up from where he begins to a standard of living to which he aspires. We are limited only by the restraints we place on ourselves...to the gray matter and determination that is located between our ears.

The logic of your posts on this topic follow the mantra of "That's not fair! That's not fair!" News flash: life is not fair, nor was it designed to be fair. God granted us free will. The constitution recognizes that our Creator has granted us certain unalienable rights. When we stray from them, we go astray.

pmconusa
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Dale: Your penultimate

Dale: Your penultimate paragraph is incorrect. We are not limited in our ability because of restraints we put on ourselves but on those which government has imposed. We are a great nation because we can produce enough food to fee our population and still have surplus. Our ultimate purchase is food but you must work to earn the money to buy it, share it with those who have a surplus or steal it. There are people in this country without jobs, more than those who do. To keep people from having to steal to live the government takes it from others, or prints it and doles it out to those who don't have any. We are adding more people but we have not added more food supply and are already importing enough to feed over 27 million. Most other countries have adopted a similar economic system but do not, with the exception of some European countries, have the huge welfare system that has been instituted in this country and as a consequence people are engaged in civil war or migrating or both. We will be experiencing this problem if we do not change the system and even if we do and continue to increase population faster than agricultural production we will be where they are now.

Dale Tudor
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Thanks for your words of

Thanks for your words of wisdom, pmconusa. I had to look up "penultimate," which means next to last. I'll try to work it into my lingo.

We disagree, though. I was not addressing "the system." I was addressing "the individual." I maintain my perspective that individually each of us is often our own worst enemy, since as individuals we each tend to put limits on what me may accomplish or do in or with our life.

There are folks who seek to further their boundaries, and commit themselves 100% to achieving what they begin. There are others (most of us) who do not commit ourselves 100%. In the military it is easy to identify these "high achievers" from the "regular achievers." The "high achievers" may be found in the ranks of the "special operators" within the Navy Seals, Army Special Forces, Marine Recon units, etc. The difference between them and others is they are in 100%, to the end, no matter what the trial or tribulation. That difference lies between their ears (and some would say, in their heart).

In the civilian world, these folks may be found in the ranks of parents, workers, ceo's, salespeople, students, etc. They achieve more than the average Joe or Jane, because they, too, are in 100%. Sometimes they are more difficult to identify, though, as they are not a member of a "special" unit, as in the military. Their dedication to their path in life could often be described as legendary.

'Nuff said on my part. Thanks for the language lesson. I'm always in need of learning more lingo. God bless you and your family.

Murphy
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Matt,

Matt,

I know many people that work 40-50 hours who struggle for necessities and it isn't right. However, there are better and less coercive solution than an increased minimum wage. A better solution that does not require force is to focus on all the periphery expenses handed down to us directly from government inefficiency.

1) The tax code is too complex. I know of numerous, honest and hard-working people who made small mistakes on their taxes that led to obscene penalties. At this point, taxes are so complex that most of the people in the demographic you describe end up going to H&R block and spending over $200 for their taxes (if they don't get suckered into an advance on their taxes and the associated fees). I would consider this a tax as the alternative is to risk seizure of assets. Also consider minor traffic violations, vehicle inspection and excise tax, Obamacare fines, and all the other little things that add up throughout the year.

2) The cost of utilities is crippling to those just starting out in life and trying to scrape by. I work for a municipal engineering company, there is a great deal of wasted money, mostly due to redundant regulations. I a $1.3million price tag for the installation of 16 manholes through a wooded area already owned by the town.

3) Regulations in general are preventing would be business owners from realizing their dreams. I just helped my cousin in Ashland, Mass. get an Intent to Build permit for a small addition to her house. The lowest bid to get her all the required information was $6,840 due to her lot being within 200' of a perennial stream. That doesn't even guarantee her the ability to build. Regulation is necessary but we have not tempered it with incentives for planners to help people improve their properties or create new businesses. Australia has a high minimum wage, but it only works because their regulators are not antagonistic towards anyone and everyone. We have a system that encourages regulators to go by the book and discourages them from making spirit-of-the-law decisions.

Increasing minimum wage before changing the ways in which we regulate is foolish and will only hurt the working-poor more as they need work experience and not another part-time job.

To answer your question directly: Yes, working 40-50 hours should provide the means to secure the basic necessities of modern life. The reason it doesn't has less to do with greedy businessmen and more to do with unaccountable regulators.

Islander
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Well put, Murphy.

Well put, Murphy.

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