A Livable Minimum Wage

Discussion in 'Business & Economics' started by scheherazade, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Not the business - the recipient of the wealth from its operations. I linked, above, to an example: Wyatt Ingraham's, who will receive wealth from his business in marketing innovative designs of men's shirts. The janitors who clean whatever building is involved run more personal risk in getting to work - more financial personal risk - than he does in starting and owning the business. That's typical, in his economic class.
    No, they would not. It's a lot of work, of kinds many do not enjoy, and often pays little.
    In the first place, we aren't talking about "profits", necessarily - we're talking about transfer of wealth. Many US businesses have lost money, even gone bankrupt, while enriching their owners and beneficiaries. Goldman Sachs, for example, probably - we'll never know.
    1) If there is such a market place - an actually competitive "free" market - sure. So when that does not happen, you have discovered something.
    2) And what do you mean by "historically high"? In history, after all, usually, wealth has quickly accumulated at the top and destroyed the economy that created it, producing a new and lkess productive economy of aristocratic ownership and impoverished peasantry, which then maintains itself indefinitely in what theory calls a "suboptimal equilibrium". That's what we want to avoid.
    3) Functioning "free" markets under capitalism require careful and competent government regulation - free markets under capitalism are unstable, especially if compound interest and inherited wealth are allowed.

    Example: top executive compensation in the US is something on the order of ten times what it was forty years ago, in real terms, and is consistently increasing, in all industries and economic sectors, regardless of executive performance or productivity. The highest paid executives in the US are the owners of hedge funds, who pay the lowest total tax rates of any US citizen and whose business has been by careful measure negatively productive - costing the US economy approximately 1% of it's growth in standard operation, not including its pro-rated contribution to the side effects of bubbles and crashes. Neither of these circumstances is possible in a "free" market. Something has gone wrong.

    Example: In 2013 - the last year of solid and analyzed data - the US spent more than six billion dollars providing charity food, housing, and medical care to employees of Walmart, who were unable to obtain them in exchange for their wages. Walmart is the largest single private employer in the US and about half of the States, and 90% of the US population lives within twenty minute's travel of a Walmart. The upper level recipients of wealth transfer from Walmart are among the wealthiest people in the US, and there has been no challenge to their status entering the third generation, or Walmart's in your adult lifetime. Nor is any apparent in the visible future.

    That is what an aristocrat/peasant economy looks like.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
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  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I'll get back to the above comments when I have more time but how does one disallow "compound interest". This is rhetoric that it appears you don't understand?
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  5. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    How so? Don't they both espouse Keynesian, demand-side economics?
    I guess not worth supporting.
    How do you define "excessive inequality"?
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  7. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Your issue then, it seems, is transfer of wealth, rules for retaining wealth. Of course, you can't separate rules of retaining wealth from incentives for starting and maintaining businesses.

    If your father buys some farmland and starts a farming operation but knows that he can't transfer that to his kids, he has less incentives to work hard or to start the farm in the first place.

    If there is a high inheritance tax at his death that potentially requires the selling of the farm, this is not helpful to society either.

    If you are talking about billionaires keeping those billions in the family for years and years, sure, you can find progressive ways to make that harder to do. In all likelihood onerous tax laws would just result in much of that wealth leaving the country.

    You can increase marginal tax rates to some reasonable degree and make small changes that improve the situation over time without all of the negative consequences.

    Corporate executives, it could be argued, make "too much" money. That has little to do with the average worker however. That basically comes out of the pockets of shareholders and in mass is controlled by them.

    The bigger issue isn't taking money from those who have it. It's finding ways to broaden the middle class. I would suggest that the best solution to that is universal health care, universal higher education and moderately progressive taxes and changes to inheritance laws only at the very highest levels.

    This shouldn't be about "punishing" those who have any sort of wealth. Most/many people, by the end of their lives have some sort of wealth and it should be able to stay in the family.

    No one is served by continually taking money away from productive people or disciplined people or frugal people to transfer it to those who are not those things.

    There should be more of a social safety net for all citizens in a well organized society with opportunities for advancement for those who are willing to take those opportunities.
  8. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    ? They are both capitalist economists, analyzing capitalist economics. Stiglitz has written several articles dealing with what he thinks are Piketty's errors of approach, I don't know if Piketty has done anything comparable.
    I leave that to the better informed. Stiglitz, for example.
    Most societies and almost all major religions throughout history forbade compound interest. I don't recommend that, understand - I think compound interest has its place in an industrial economy, just my opinion - but it's important to realize how new it is, how dangerous it is, how easily it lends itself to predation, and how rigidly and carefully it must be governed.
    So don't do that. We never have done that, in America, even at the peak of the New Deal reforms that launched our greatest prosperity, and there's no reason to start now.
    That hasn't been a factor in the current destructive round of top-heavy wealth accumulation, in particular - so obviously we can deal with that without any such side effects. We can certainly restore the former inheritance tax just recently eliminated by the Republicans, for example - that had no such effects, while in force. Neither did the income tax rates before 1980 - our last years of generally increasing prosperity and growth of the middle class in real terms.
    And in a situation such as we are headed for, if we don't head it off, that in itself might be a big improvement in everyone else's lives. Not the best outcome, , not even a good outcome, but an improvement. Look at the improvement in the lives of Cubans, for example, just by getting rid of some rich people and destroying their wealth. And in spite of the harsh punishments visited upon them in retaliation.
    Now you're being silly.
    So you join the ranks of the extreme leftwing, hardcore radical Americans. And you advocate - as they do - complete rollback and repudiation of Reaganomics and the Republican Party agenda.
    Except the children of the community, and the elderly, and the sick, and those who anticipate becoming elderly, sick, caring for children - or being cared for in turn. The unproductive. Among others.
    One takes money from those who have it, after all - who else?
    And in a top-heavy economy, the only ones who have it are the rich.
  9. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Agreed. But all too often, people claim that higher taxes (needed to pay for the government's operation) are "punishing" someone or other.
    Also agreed. At the same time, no one is served by:
    - reducing taxation to the point that infrastructure that those productive people rely on decays
    - increasing class stratification to the point where we have "rich" and "poor" and almost no middle class

    Taxes can be used to address those problems. That is not "punishing the rich." It is paying for the government that the rich use, and helping reduce the class divide that harms both rich and poor alike.
  10. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    Small quibbles don't mean they aren't both demand-side economists.
    Do you know that capitalists can be either supply-side or demand-side?
    Do you know that supply and demand is largely a capitalist notion?
    So no justification for your claim?

    Just noise. That's good too. Oo, oo, oo.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
  11. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    No argument here from me.
  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member


    I think you are vastly overstating the case. Yes, of course there should be a social safety net. That takes care of the people you mentioned.

    The rich aren't the only people with money. This sounds more like the excuses of someone without money who doesn't want to do the things that everyone with money had to do. Work and save in other words. The comments about compound interest are just ridiculous. Yes, I know "money lending" was a big no-no in the Bible, so what?

    The bigger issues for an individual are those of taking care of yourself foremost. If you don't have something, the primary reason isn't because of the rich.
  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    There isn't one, at the moment.
    Increasingly, they are. In history, that's our future - unless prevented.
    No, they are not.
    That depends on what that something is. If you are talking about US real estate, for example, you are wrong: the primary reason more than half - most - of those who own no real estate do not, is the policies and actions of the rich over the past fifty years.
  14. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    You can buy a house in any small town in the U.S. right now. You and a working spouse or a roommate with pretty much any job.

    You can't be a cashier, live in Seattle and buy a house unless you are really frugal.

    There is a safety net. It's just not large enough. There is Medicaid, healthcare for pregnant women and their children, food stamps, government assisted housing, unemployment compensation.

    You can't live in an area where people have high paying jobs and buy a house if you have a low paying job. That has nothing to do with the "rich".
  15. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    Ten people in a life boat but the food and water is owned by one man is he entitled to eat and drink whilst the others die of thirst and starvation.

    Why should a country be seen different to a life boat situation.

    The owner of the food can claim he worked for the food and water but does his effort mean he has no duty to care about others.

    And one person on the boat is skilled at catching fish does this mean his skill means he should not share.

    And another becomes sick should the rest throw that person overboard.

    And one person can navigate should he recieve more water and food than others?

  16. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    This is no kind of an honest argument. What are you actually arguing for and against? I'm talking about actual policies that you are concerned with and not food/lifeboat scenarios.
  17. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    A good question.
    I dont have a direct answer but I point to the unreasonable belief that controling wealth offers entitlement... that those with nothing deserve no consideration...
    A life boat senerio must seem inconvenient but all I suggest is in a life boat it is clear that equality of access to resourses is most reasonable... Why does such a reasonable approach get ignored when we substitute the life boat with a country... Sure the reality is that a few control the wealth and proclaim an entitlement that see folk at the poor end going without and less well off than a slave.. A slave at least would be fed clothed and cared for yet in our world of freedom the masters no longer need feed cloth or care for anyone... I guess I think in a country held up as wonderful does not extend that wonderfulness to anyone who is poor.
  18. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    What country would you be speaking of though? Who do you define as the wealthy with all the wealth?

    The economy in the U.S. is pretty good, most people are employed, if you want a house and a car you can get one if you are willing to save and move to smaller towns.

    If you have a decent (not large) income you can live most anywhere but you can't necessarily live like you would in a small town. If you are unfortunate, for whatever reason, there is some help for you.

    I have always argued that the social safety net should be larger. I've always liked the manner of thinking that says the measure of a great society is how the least fortunate members are treated.

    None of this is directly related to the "rich" other than to make sure their political influence (and therefore taxes) isn't undue. Therefore there is always something to improve upon in that area given the realities of what money and power can do for you.

    Everyone's taxes should be a little higher and our spending on the military should be lower. Budgets (in good times) should be balanced. Our national debt should be minimal.

    None of this is really applicable to your boat scenario. Most everyone, rich included, would behave in a lifeboat as you would.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
  19. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    Any country...but in a country that is held up as the ideal, USA, it seems the gap between those who have everything and those who have nothing is simply unconscionable.
    Er those who have all the wealth perhaps.
    Those who have numerous homes in comparrison to those who are homeless.
    If you work at it you could determine the gap I suggest.
    So I guess I am worrying about those on a minimum wage without cause...where would you select as a town where whilst receiving the minimum wage, and remember these are the privilelged of the under class, where you could save and buy a home...I am curious.
    That is good but not consistent with my impression.
    What help is there for the homeless...how does it go for returned veterans who have lost a limb...I mean as I said I work only with impressions and my impressions are that if you dont make it or fall by the way side the wealthy dont lobby to have the system modified to see a better deal for what they call losers.
    Well you agree with where I am going. Fine but the poor would like more than a mere desire that the net should be larger...they probably would feel respected if actions were offerred rather than good intention.
    Yes that is a great measure to apply so realistically how does that place the USA.
    Of course not how could their monopolising resourses affect anything other than controling the politics, all resourses, capitlal and generally others peoples lives...clearly its the poor people who are at fault...they should stop being poor.
    Give the poor money as I am sure they would be happy to work within your principles...but the rich are not without compassion ..look at the money they give to charity...maybe not the portion they give may be insulting...but really think of this...would you like to depend on charity or would you rather belong in a system that offers equal opportunity in education housing and work or be put in a box labled poor and depend on charity to survive...charity once came from the church why should in an enlightened age it not come via good policy...and good policy would seem not to let massive accumulation of wealth be concentrated in just a few hands.
    You dont see a conection.
    In the boat the options are clear and yet as it becomes impersonal it changes somehow..I dont see any difference in dealing with ten people or 200 million other then with 200 million you dont attach a face to the suffering.
    Well I am not even sure about that...if there is such complaint about raising the minimum wage why would those advocates not complain about sharing the food and water...they display a belief they are somehow more entitled why would they abandon that belief in the boat...oh one reason they know when face to face they could not get away with their selfishness.
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    So not just one completely reliable no layoff small town job, but two, that somebody from - say - south side Chicago can easily pick up after they put down 20% cash on the house. Which has no major repairs necessary. They interviewed for these jobs on the telephone, I'm guessing, and nobody local wanted them, and they don't need a car each certainly, and the local bank loaned them the money without a local work history based on their high credit scores. Is that the fantasy, or did you have something even less realistic in mind?
    You do know why those towns are small, right? Why everybody left right after they graduated from high school?
    It has everything to do with the rich. They're the ones writing the zoning ordinances, setting the minimum lot sizes, and bidding up the price of real estate in the area of the high paying jobs - and the area of the low paying jobs, also. Rental property is a standard investment.
    So we aren't actually talking about the US at all here, but about some hypothetical situation in which things like a minimum wage or income wouldn't really be necessary.
  21. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    No one is complaining about raising the minimum wage because they are unwilling to help the poor. That is just not the way to do it. Most of the people you are talking about don't have jobs. How is raising the minimum wage going to help them?

    How does causing employers to hire fewer people help the poor? Why does this burden fall on employers in small businesses? Most/many larger businesses already pay more than the minimum wage. The average wage for full time employees at Walmart is about $13/hr.

    I grew up in a town of 30,000 people. I lived in a small 2 bed/1 bath house. When my mom died I sold that house for $40,000. Today, in that same town I saw a house listed that a friend of mine grew up in and it is listed at $45,000.

    If you live in that town, make minimum wage and get a roommate/spouse who is also making the minimum wage you could save up and buy a house like that.

    If you aren't mentally disabled in some way you never need to make the minimum wage for your whole life either.

    The more realistic scenario would be to have a lower salary job of $35k a year. Two people like that would make $70k. Now if you only have one minimum wage job, a spouse that stays at home and several kids that probably doesn't work.

    It doesn't really have much to do with the "rich" hoarding all the money though. Such a personal situation isn't going to result in a fabulous lifestyle in any country under any economic situation.

    We have military hospitals, disabled vets receive pensions. That same small house for $45 k where I grew up may be $400k in Seattle in a decent neighborhood even though the house is no better.

    You can buy houses for several hundred thousand in that small town that I grew up in too.

    You are exaggerating the issue. It is a problem but it's not the problem that you suggest and the solution isn't that the rich are taking too much in general. It's legitimate to talk about adjusting tax rates but it also isn't a panacea for everything that you are talking about.

    There will always be differing income levels.
  22. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    You aren't talking about anyplace that exists. You want someone who can't function at a level beyond minimum wage to buy a house in a nice section of Chicago.

    If the good jobs are in Chicago (your statement) and if you can qualify for a good job then you have no problems do you?

    If you don't qualify for the good jobs in Chicago, why move to Chicago. People who qualify for lower paying jobs that stay in smaller towns do better in terms of what they can afford.

    This does require some personal effort and initiative. The bigger problem is people that aren't doing well but aren't willing to move to where the best job for them is.

    Staying in a small town in the Mid-West that was based on manufacturing that left isn't a smart move. Going to a smaller town in the South that has lower costs of living but that does have jobs is something that might be a better choice.

    Getting an education and then moving to a larger town where you are able to land a job works too.

    Or you can just lay it on the "rich".

    Most people in the U.S. do actually do "alright" in comparison to many other places on Earth.

    Blaming everything on the "rich" is just offpoint as is blaming zoning practices. In your view, it seems, anyone who has anything is "rich". I have a house and I'm not rich. I bought a house in a neighborhood that is only zoned for residential housing.

    If it was zoned for apartment buildings, public housing, and commercial businesses I wouldn't have purchased a house here. I have to be concerned with the value of my purchase if I need to sell.

    That's the way anyone would make a purchasing decision. It's rational. It's not rational to do otherwise. I'm being to think that you aren't rational in your thinking on this particular subject.
  23. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Probably not the case. Remember the six billion a year spent on welfare for Walmart employees? Most of the poor are working poor - even among black male teenagers the unemployment rate is under 50% most places.
    This is a bit odd. At least you recognize that even in that small town poor people would need two fulltime and completely reliable jobs to buy a house from scratch. Meanwhile, I'm curious about the "saving up" part. How does that work, on minimum wage? No health insurance, no doctor visits, no dentist, or is it no car - in a small town? And the idea that 35k a year is "realistic" - that's more than fifteen dollars an hour. That's almost median wage in most regions of the country, and you are anticipating that for poor people newly arrived in a small town.

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