This week, Seattle decided to do something economists should have told them was irresponsible and reckless. Seattle decided to raise the minimum wage to $15. Fifteen dollars an hour! And people are celebrating? Hasn’t anyone, anywhere, took a look at what happened when the wages increase in an area beyond what is a reasonable amount? Can you say Detroit? In that case, unions fought to raise minimum wages for guys doing little more than turning a wrench. Of course, to recover the costs, expenses for everything else went up.
I make a pretty good amount. Yes, I do. The reason I do is not because of minimum wages, but because of my training, my skills, my experience. When I first got out of the service (yes, I was a knuckle-dragging service member, slope-brow, etc.), with my experience, skill set, and training, my basic salary was $19 an hour. I worked hard, 60 to 70 hours a week minimum, to provide a decent life for my family. With increasing experience, skills, training, my corresponding pay and salary has increased. Yet, now, you are saying that someone flipping burgers for a living has equivalent life experience and deserves to be paid minimum $15 an hour.
The SEATAC corporation, a group of businesses surrounding the Seattle-Tacoma area, agreed to raise minimum wages to $15 an hour. The result of this magnaminous move? Several businesses found that they had to reduce the number of workers they could hire, several raised prices on goods to cover the increased costs, and still had to reduce the numbers of people hired and/or their hours. Now, lets take this forward:
Fast-food restaurants have a choice: Reduce the number of people they hire or increase the costs of the meals. Happy meals are no longer so happy. Hotels have to decide: Can they afford the numbers of people they need to maintain the rooms, or do they increase the costs of the rooms, and the meals, and other things. Grocery stores: Can they get by, now, on fewer people stocking shelves, working cash registers, working in the produce, meat, and seafood departments. StarBucks: Will anyone be able to afford the skyrocketing price of specialty coffees? Especially since StarBucks already uses choice imported coffees and teas, now those prices escalate. Let’s look at those who have to produce the goods. Local producers will now have to increase their prices, because the price of, for farmers, feed, fertilizer, transport to market, fuel for farm machinery, all increase, because those who produce those items have to increase their costs to cover the new wage increases. And this isn’t the end.
All of those who claim that big businesses rape the little people, have no, I mean, NO, basis in reality. People should be paid on experience, not plain need-greed. If you desire a better lifestyle, its called getting an education, getting the training, getting the skills. This used to be taught in schools, but common-core is more interested in indoctrination, than in education. If people cannot survive on a minimum wage of $7 an hour, see above. A minimum wage is supposed to help people develop skills, give them an opportunity to improve and move on. Nowadays, just as with welfare, people see minimum wage as a means of living like the Joneses. I’m sorry, but this is not what making a minimum wage is all about. And for those who say companies have shown no responsibility to the employees, I say look at what’s the reason for this attitude: Unions. I don’t bash anything for the heck of it, but unions, which started out as a good thing, have become a big, slavering, greedy monster.
Quick history and civics lesson: At the end of the 19th, beginning of the 20th century, workers were worked hard, with small recompense. Making three to five dollars a week, up to twenty dollars a week, for working in backbreaking conditions, and living in multi-family homes, was the norm. Companies were only concerned about how much they could get paid for what they made, and how much they had to pay for wages. Unionizing was a means to increase safety, help people receive a decent wage, and insure that employees were taken care of. As the century passed, working conditions improved, but unions, instead of worrying about the employees, started worrying about political and economic gains. Unions started working on getting politicians elected, forcing higher wages on companies, because they could. Unions tried to force workers into unions, not because people needed help, but because of the economic power the unions were and are trying to maintain.
The average worker in the late eighties and ninties didn’t need unions, as companies were working to provide good living wages and benefits to most workers. But unions didn’t even try to change, and thus, the new financial wizards invading the companies in the nineties suddenly found a new religion: Outsourcing and Off-shore contracting. The cost of living in other countries was lower, not because wages was lower, but because the cost of items for living was lower. Unions didn’t learn. And those who were fed from the unions trough couldn’t change, for fear of the spigot of funding being cut off. And the ones who have paid for it, are the workers of today.
If companies are allowed to come back to the US and build factories, without the crippling taxes imposed by the federal and local government, people would get hired in decent paying jobs, developing the skills and experience needed for better paying jobs. If the unions went back to taking care of the people who support them, and not by trying to get legislation crippling to US businesses, and federal and local governments reduce the crippling taxes that do nothing for the community, but allows politicians to pay for pet projects, people would be getting paid well. The minimum wage can stay at its current levels, as we bring more jobs back to the US, and companies hire people, people get promoted, and get paid for it.
$15 an hour as a minimum wage is destructive to businesses, is destructive to cities and counties that rely on tax revenue, and is destructive to the ones who are supposed to be helped the most, the worker.
“We Must All Stand Together, For Assuredly, We Shall All Swing Separate….”