1) Productivity has increased significantly; part of this is technological, but the greater portion of it came directly from employees.
2) Corporate profits are at an all-time high.
3) Wealth distribution change leans heavily towards the wealthier people.
4) These trends appear set to continue.Also:
a) Real income for employees is much lower than it used to be (adjusted for inflation).
b) Poverty lines were developed from subsistence-only survival wages, and are not reality-checked to changing living priorities or automatically adjusted for inflation.
c) The majority of employees on minimum wage are not teenagers or secondary wage-earners; for them (for better or worse) that “menial” job is a career, not just a stepping stone.
d) The majority of employees on minimum wage are not working full time (32hrs or more per week), and many of them do not have regular schedules that would permit having multiple part-time jobs.
e) The vast majority of minimum-wage work is not exportable and cannot be automated easily, as it’s manual or service work, leisure and hospitality.I think:
A) No employer should receive incentives to reduce hours worked by an employee—such as preferring two part-time employees instead of one full-time employee to avoid paying for benefits.
B) No person working a full time job should need government assistance, regardless of the low qualifications.
The fact of the matter is that there are some people who simply won’t be able to “negotiate” a better wage based on their importance to the company’s mission, their unique qualifications, or any other criteria. These employees may be very replaceable, in menial jobs of very little visibility. This does not justify in any way the employer paying substandard wages that will not support a basic but fairly stable life. Nobody suggests these people should make wages that support Cadillacs and 85” 3D LED TV’s, but having a minimum wage that is lower than the poverty line when the poverty line was specifically designed merely to cover the minimum calorie intake required for survival and was never meant to be maintained for anything but a very short term, is on the one hand shameful and on the other a terrible business practice. Suggesting otherwise implies agreement to subsidizing those wages with government assistance to meet basic needs, or rejecting those people to the scrap-heap of humanity where we know they cannot support themselves and we’re ok letting them starve to death. This is not an exaggeration.
A decision needs to be made one way or the other: support them and suffer the weight of the less educated, less capable and less smart around your neck as you work hard at your job; or let them starve and carry their deaths on your soul. Only 4.5% of employees make minimum wage, though plenty more still make less than poverty wage though they be over the minimum wage. Are there alternative solutions that might improve the economy so either effect is minimized? Sure, plenty, and one day we might move past the petty politics to determine where we want to draw the line. But, in the end, in its worst possible terms, these are the choices: support them or let them starve. Maybe there will only be hundreds a year, instead of thousands or tens of thousands, but that’s it. Some people will always need help. Just hope it’s never you, waiting for other people to decide.