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Old 12-05-2008, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Florida
18,332 posts, read 18,578,802 times
Reputation: 21051

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"it's long overdue that we replace that concept with a "living wage." Nobody who works 40 hours per week, regardless of the "skill" of the work that they do, should be in poverty or unable to feed/house themselves and their kids. Period."

I'll ask you the same question Poker player never answered.
What do you consider a 'living wage'?
And for you also....Am I to guess you think it's OK for people who can't feed/house themselves to go ahead and have kids?
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Old 12-05-2008, 03:40 PM
 
Location: Richardson, TX
8,692 posts, read 11,438,256 times
Reputation: 3684
Quote:
Originally Posted by old_cold View Post
"it's long overdue that we replace that concept with a "living wage." Nobody who works 40 hours per week, regardless of the "skill" of the work that they do, should be in poverty or unable to feed/house themselves and their kids. Period."

I'll ask you the same question Poker player never answered.
What do you consider a 'living wage'?
I remember a living wage I had for a time that was more of a living-in-a-small-house-with-three-other-single-guys-splitting-the-rent-wage. So that was a living wage of sorts. SO who defines this "living wage?"
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Old 12-05-2008, 07:37 PM
 
122 posts, read 121,044 times
Reputation: 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by old_cold View Post
"it's long overdue that we replace that concept with a "living wage." Nobody who works 40 hours per week, regardless of the "skill" of the work that they do, should be in poverty or unable to feed/house themselves and their kids. Period."

I'll ask you the same question Poker player never answered.
What do you consider a 'living wage'?
And for you also....Am I to guess you think it's OK for people who can't feed/house themselves to go ahead and have kids?
It would vary based on geographic region. One of the biggest problems with the "poverty line" is that it is just that - a line that is the same regardless of whether one lives in the middle of rural New Mexico or New York City.

For an average city, I would say about $25,000/year. In some areas, it would be less than that; in others, significantly more. That's just a rough estimate.

Since I've never been a huge fan of Social Darwinism and making sweeping statements about whole classes of people, I'd prefer to know someone's individual circumstances in detail before I give my "enlightened" opinion on whether they should have kids or not. I'm glad that some sheltered middle-class people on this forum have reached that level of enlightenment; good for them, 'cause I'm not quite there yet.

Getting back to the subject of this forum...a large part of the problem is that the system we have developed allows a few well-connected and well-pedigreed capitalists to make billions by shifting wealth around hedge funds, contributing nothing of tangible value to society, while people who work themselves to the bone day after day, for 60+ hour weeks sometimes working 2 or 3 jobs doing real work in factories and schools, are often unable to provide for themselves and live a precarious paycheck-to-paycheck existence. I'm sorry, but I sometimes think that I'm one of the few white-collar workers with a college degree who doesn't sit around feeling sorry for himself all day about how "hard" his existence is. I have enough common sense to know that, even when I work 70 hour weeks, I have it much better off than the man who has worked 40 years in an auto plant, or the coal miner, or even the person who has to deal with the stress and insecurity of a fast-food job all day. I'm not worried with protecting the people in my income and work profile; the system has worked well for us, and it's time that we as a group stop acting like we're the maligned captains of industry in some cheap Ayn Rand novel. Labor is not a commodity; the fact that the "invisible hand" may assign more value to my skills than those of a janitor or fast-food worker does not excuse society from the collective obligation of making sure that people in those groups are able to take care of themselves.

So no...I'm not ready to tell those folks that they "shouldn't have kids" just because they didn't get a graduate degree and go to work on Wall Street. I'm not ready to tell people who make $15,000/year that they shouldn't have kids because I know that many of them make damn good parents, far, FAR better in that category than some folks who pull down six figures.

Last edited by florida_guy1234; 12-05-2008 at 07:45 PM..
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Old 12-06-2008, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Florida
18,332 posts, read 18,578,802 times
Reputation: 21051
"I'm not ready to tell people who make $15,000/year that they shouldn't have kids because I know that many of them make damn good parents, far, FAR better in that category than some folks who pull down six figures."

You're using extremes with the Wall St and six figures crap.

The point was those who cannot afford to feed and house.
A parent can be a 'good' one in every other way but if they can't provide basic needs, it doesn't matter much.

Putting aside the dollar amount or locale.
What do you think a 'living wage' should provide?Specifically.
For instance....food. Rice ,beans, vegetables,bread and milk?
Clothes.....new from a store or would thrift shopping meet your criteria?
Allow for cable TV and phones?
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Old 12-06-2008, 03:17 PM
 
122 posts, read 121,044 times
Reputation: 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by old_cold View Post
"I'm not ready to tell people who make $15,000/year that they shouldn't have kids because I know that many of them make damn good parents, far, FAR better in that category than some folks who pull down six figures."

You're using extremes with the Wall St and six figures crap.

The point was those who cannot afford to feed and house.
A parent can be a 'good' one in every other way but if they can't provide basic needs, it doesn't matter much
.

Putting aside the dollar amount or locale.
What do you think a 'living wage' should provide?Specifically.
For instance....food. Rice ,beans, vegetables,bread and milk?
Clothes.....new from a store or would thrift shopping meet your criteria?
Allow for cable TV and phones?
If you're waiting for me to say that "poor people should not have kids", keep waiting, because as I said, I know plenty of poor parents who managed to do a better job of raising their kids them some of those $100K+ Connecticut types. Some of our most outstanding citizens were from poor backgrounds.

More importantly, my entire point is that people who work full-time should not be paid so little that they cannot provide for the basic needs of themselves and their children, regardless of the "skill" of their work. I'll say it for the 20th time: human labor is not a commodity whose value should be dictated solely by the "invisible hand" of the market. There is a reason why we don't allow companies to pay $1/hour for janitors and fast food workers, or even somebody who does nothing more complicated than pressing a button for 8 hours daily, even if the "market" might fix that as the real value for their labor. The minimum wage is a (at least partial) recognition of the decommodification of labor, and a living wage is the next logical step in that evolution.

Specifically, those would be:
  • Basic living needs (clothing and essential supplies)
  • Utilities (running hot water, electricity, and cooling/heating)
  • Food (I'm honestly not sure why in the hell the question of "rice and beans" vs "milk and bread" matters, unless you're trying to attack the argument by some type of bizarre reduction ad absurdum. Use common sense - a diet that is sufficient in caloric intake to provide a healthy existence. Something like 2,000 calories daily for an adult, less for a child.)
  • Education for their children, healthcare, and social welfare protections such as Social Security disability and unemployment insurance (should be provided by the government)
Extremely simple. That isn't the most complicated topic in the world.

And yes, those numbers can be easily quantified. Every college student in this country is given an "estimated cost of attendance" for their college which, based on statistics from the local market, provides an allowance for things such as transportation, food, and clothing. Not exactly rocket science. You are given an allowance at which you can reasonably and safely live in that market, and if you wish to exceed those allowances (i.e., enjoy a more comfortable luxurious/standard of living), it's up to you to do extra work to provide for it. That is the proper role for skills, hard work, and competition in the market; to provide an increase over a baseline standard of living, not to simply provide that baseline standard of living itself. We as a country shouldn't allow people who work full-time to go homeless and hungry because their jobs aren't "skilled" enough. But if you want to live in a mansion on Miami Beach one day, it's entirely up to you to take the steps (education, hard-work, saving money aggressively) to reach that goal.

Last edited by florida_guy1234; 12-06-2008 at 03:51 PM..
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Old 12-06-2008, 05:20 PM
 
Location: Florida
18,332 posts, read 18,578,802 times
Reputation: 21051
That doesn't read "rice and beans" vs "milk and bread . Just wondering whether you consider those good enough basic foods.
The forums here on CD alone show not everybody agrees to what is the baseline for living in the US.

Say it happens and minimum wage gets raised to whatever arbitrary level somebody decides is a 'living wage'
By the way,would that wage be the same for a single 18 year old as a married man with 3 kids?

What do you think would be the ramifications of that increase?
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Old 12-06-2008, 07:26 PM
 
122 posts, read 121,044 times
Reputation: 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by old_cold View Post
That doesn't read "rice and beans" vs "milk and bread . Just wondering whether you consider those good enough basic foods.
The forums here on CD alone show not everybody agrees to what is the baseline for living in the US.

Say it happens and minimum wage gets raised to whatever arbitrary level somebody decides is a 'living wage'
By the way,would that wage be the same for a single 18 year old as a married man with 3 kids?

What do you think would be the ramifications of that increase?
You are apparently trying to suggest that there is no way to establish a baseline in terms of caloric intake. That's absolutely ridiculous. Baselines can be established, and as I said, every college in this country from Maine to California has a cost of attendance that includes an allowance for staples such as food. WIC and SNAP employ such mechanisms. The individual components of that diet are entirely inconsequential in this discussion, and there are a wide variety of ways to reach a base level of dietary health. You'll never get 100% of people to agree on what constitutes an "acceptable diet", but that does not mean that we should just throw up our hands and forget about ever establishing a realistic baseline.

The minimum wage is the same for everybody within states. I would propose a similar system for a living wage, but based on metropolitan areas rather than states. The wage itself should not change just because somebody has kids, but the level of taxation, as well as eligibility for Federal programs such as social assistance, the EIC, and Pell Grants, is affected by family size, just as it is under our current system. Can the government prevent childhood poverty? Of course not, but it can alleviate it through regulations, and it has an obligation to do so.

Consequences? Well, conservative economists have been trying for years and years to link increases in the minimum wage to higher unemployment, with no success (at least based on empirical data, not based on studies from the Ayn Rand Institute or the Heritage Foundation.) They've been trying to link increases in the minimum wage to lower rates of job creation, with no success. They've been trying to link increases in minimum wage to capital flight, with no success (really, if that were the case, all of the world's capital would be flying at light-speed to Gambia and Bangladesh.) I'd name a few things, just off of the top of my head:
  • Lower levels of poverty
  • Decreases in child malnourishment
  • Higher educational attainment among children in lower socioeconomic brackets
  • Decreased strain on social welfare services
  • Decreases in health care costs (it has been demonstrated that higher incomes, for a variety of reasons, lead to healthier lifestyles)
  • For companies, higher productivity and lower attrition, saving money and largely nullifying the costs of such a wage (why are Costco workers so much more pleasant and more stable than Wal-Mart workers?)

Last edited by florida_guy1234; 12-06-2008 at 07:49 PM..
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Old 12-06-2008, 08:01 PM
 
48,519 posts, read 81,130,238 times
Reputation: 17979
In the end no job that can be repalced by just baout anyone is going to have high wages. Besides my garbage man drives a truck and never lifts anything as the mechanical arm does it all. Unless ypu are a skilled dirty job worker like a plumber then youyr going to be at the bottom of the barrel most times. The fact is that either you have the vast majority at the bottom or it is spreadout by how valued your work is by society.But government is the only one that gets away with too low pay for some positions like police officers. But that is changing as the field requires more skill;the larger number of people that don't qauify ;and there is more demand.
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Old 12-07-2008, 04:17 AM
 
Location: Florida
18,332 posts, read 18,578,802 times
Reputation: 21051
"You are apparently trying to suggest that there is no way to establish a baseline in terms of caloric intake."

No no no....I'm trying to see what you (and PokerPlayer,and all) consider a baseline for a "living wage"
But let me ask you a few more questions. Hopefully I can do so in a way that doesn't allow any mis-understanding.

1: Why do you think there should be more tax breaks the more children you have?
Do we have a population shortage?

2: Based only on your reply, what need would there be for public assstance programs if at least a "living wage" was being made by all?

3: You imply that WalMart, for instance, would attract a higher quality worker if the wage was higher.
If that be the case, where do all the workers go that would be replaced by them?

4: And most pertinent....If the answer is as simple as increasing the minimum wage, why hasn't it been done?
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Old 12-07-2008, 01:25 PM
 
Location: Middle Earth
491 posts, read 647,136 times
Reputation: 194
I agree with Adam G it depends on the region and where you live. In certain states it has been raised
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