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Old 01-06-2015, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
276 posts, read 245,866 times
Reputation: 519

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There's been a lot of talk lately about minimum wage and earning "a living wage".

What, in your opinion, should you be able to afford to buy with - a living wage?

Cell phone? Smart phone? Cable TV? High Definition Cable TV? A new car? Vacations abroad?

Is a living wage well above the poverty line?
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Old 01-06-2015, 09:34 AM
 
797 posts, read 918,842 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neosec View Post
There's been a lot of talk lately about minimum wage and earning "a living wage".

What, in your opinion, should you be able to afford to buy with - a living wage?

Cell phone? Smart phone? Cable TV? High Definition Cable TV? A new car? Vacations abroad?

Is a living wage well above the poverty line?
To me it's the bare minimum in living arrangements with little room for savings unfortunately. I won't put dollar signs next to anything besides groceries since I'm not implying that someone should be eating gourmet food daily. "Living Wage" to me is not what people seem to think it means because they are 'owed' that simply by working low skilled labor.

Splitting rent with a roommate
$200/mo groceries
Public Transportation
Basic Cell phone
Subsidized Medical Insurance
$100/mo savings
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Old 01-06-2015, 10:32 AM
 
Location: "Daytonnati"
4,245 posts, read 5,982,537 times
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It means being able to afford food/clothing/shelter/transportation, and being able to raise a family, on one persons wage.

(vs having dual incomes--husband & wife working--- or maybe even three or four jobs to be able to afford this).

I guess I see this as a family wage vs a mere subsitance living wage.
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Old 01-06-2015, 10:53 AM
 
797 posts, read 918,842 times
Reputation: 954
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayton Sux View Post
It means being able to afford food/clothing/shelter/transportation, and being able to raise a family, on one persons wage.

(vs having dual incomes--husband & wife working--- or maybe even three or four jobs to be able to afford this).

I guess I see this as a family wage vs a mere subsitance living wage.

So $25-30 an hour for one person is your living wage (or minimum wage)? In most parts of the country you will need at least 40k per year to be able raise a family of four. This would be on the bare minimums. Although 40k for a family of four is much different in taxes than I'd pay on 40k so maybe im overstating.

It's crazy how things used to be though. My grandpa used to work for his local city in the 1950's. I'm not sure what his wage was back then but maybe $15,000 a year seems about right for a maintenance person back then. My Grandma told me they bought a property for $2500 and it cost him about $3000 to build their home (based on what I was told) . How many people today can say they built their home on 4 months of salary.

Last edited by UntilTheNDofTimE; 01-06-2015 at 11:17 AM..
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Old 01-06-2015, 11:02 AM
 
Location: WA
5,392 posts, read 21,385,099 times
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A wage is a deal between employee to sell labor/skills in a stated environment for a compensation package. The negotiation technically has nothing to do with other needs of either side.

A business cannot raise prices arbitrarily to avoid bankruptcy and a customer cannot expect lower prices because of their budgetary constraints.

There is a conversation about wages that is divorced from reality when we talk about a 'living wage'. Perhaps the first conversation should be about lifestyle choices that people make that put them in untenable financial situations.
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Old 01-06-2015, 12:55 PM
 
Location: Paranoid State
13,047 posts, read 10,428,989 times
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It means being paid enough so that I, as a landlord, can raise their rent & soak up that extra cash they receive.
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Old 01-06-2015, 01:07 PM
 
2,485 posts, read 1,844,890 times
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Really, we're going through this again?
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Old 01-06-2015, 01:32 PM
 
11,780 posts, read 8,587,835 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UntilTheNDofTimE View Post
So $25-30 an hour for one person is your living wage (or minimum wage)? In most parts of the country you will need at least 40k per year to be able raise a family of four. This would be on the bare minimums. Although 40k for a family of four is much different in taxes than I'd pay on 40k so maybe im overstating.

It's crazy how things used to be though. My grandpa used to work for his local city in the 1950's. I'm not sure what his wage was back then but maybe $15,000 a year seems about right for a maintenance person back then. My Grandma told me they bought a property for $2500 and it cost him about $3000 to build their home (based on what I was told) . How many people today can say they built their home on 4 months of salary.
$40K for 4 people? That would be a rough life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Costaexpress View Post
Really, we're going through this again?
+1
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Old 01-06-2015, 01:41 PM
 
Location: Wastelands
251 posts, read 232,304 times
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Livable wage is above minimum wage for me. What I get now, I will have to make more to qualify to be poor.
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Old 01-06-2015, 01:49 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
17,848 posts, read 54,121,626 times
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The original post reeks of snot-nosed far right bias and does not address the real "living wage" issues. Such disconnect is not only irritating, it serves to divert attention into political dogma rather than anything intelligent or useful.

Do poor people sometimes make poor choices with their money? Why yes they do! GET OVER IT. If you are in a box where there is no escape, a cigarette and a drink might be all that gives enough momentary pleasure to keep you going without turning to crime. In contrast, the working poor rarely complain about the excesses and idiotic purchases of the rich, because that stupidity may be their only income stream as waiters, cab drivers, cable tv installers and Wal Mart workers.

Living wage? Many low paying jobs end up being a negative income, and people cannot afford to take them. A few years back I calculated that because I live in the country now, I would lose money by taking ANY minimum wage part-time job with less than five hour shifts in the closest city. Why part-time? Because a majority of jobs are part-time these days because it allows employers to avoid having any health insurance plan or benefits. The cost of insurance and employee medical care is supposedly too great for businesses that are sometimes making millions of dollars a year. What little right wing tooth fairy makes you think health care costs are any less of a problem for the poor?

The political debate over a so called "living wage" is only part of the problem. Part-time "living wage" employment has no guarantee of continuing income, even at $30/hr.. I know, because as a manager over part-time workers I had to cut their employee hours seasonally and pray that I could manage to somehow give enough hours to the best employees that they wouldn't up and quit on me. Those who irritated me in any way - including asking for more pay - got hours cut. That is simply how part-time employment works.

Should a "living wage" employee be able to afford a new car? The cost of "public" transportation - as compared to minimum wage - has risen over the years. I remember (and still have) fifteen cent tokens that allowed a subway/elevated trip to anywhere in Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens. Now it is $2.50 and no transfers. In an effort to make increasingly costly transportation life-lines self-paying, their usefulness to those low wage employees who depended upon them non-existent. Ridership figures show this: List of United States commuter rail systems by ridership - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Other than the top three cities, any chance of these systems being un-subsidized in nil and yet they are STILL too expensive and unreliable for the low paid worker. That makes them expensive window-dressing to claim that the poor ARE being accommodated. Reliable transportation to and from work IS an expense that any job at living wage HAS to cover.

In order to live in anything more than a cardboard box (most employers frown on that), one must have at least an apartment. Housing costs have increased as well. I remember renting a decent two bedroom apartment in Vermont - heat included - with a porch and lake view in a safe working class neighborhood for $110/mo - NO subsidies. I remember doctor visits that were $10 - with no subsidies. Living wage means being able to eat regularly. I remember when a full bag of groceries containing steaks, chicken, fish, five-for-a-dollar canned foods, ten cent soups, and enough else to feed a family for a week was less than $10. Minimum wage was $1.65 and most people in "low paying jobs" earned more than $2/hr. There was no sales tax stealing 10% of the wages of low income workers.

I can bet you are already thinking "I'm going to write and blast him that there is such a thing as inflation, and that was then, this is now." Around here a doctor visit is a minimum of $100 and it is a nurse practitioner instead of a doctor. Minimum wage would have to be $16.50 or more to keep up. That same apartment today would rent for $1,250 with NO heat. I recently saw a sale of the same brand of canned soup I bought at ten cents per can at $1 per can + sales tax. Your blast about inflation would be hot air. REAL costs of basics have outstripped incomes for the poor.

Screw "living wage". MINIMUM wage today would have to be at least that $16.50 nationwide for the poor to survive as well on the basics as they did back then.

What happened to that America? The answer is a lot more complex than I can describe here, but mechanized agriculture and the increasing loss of a large section of productive society working as single family farmers removed the lobbying for fairness to the working poor as a political need. Instead, the income producers - business and then BIG business - got laws more to their liking. The change from heavily taxing capital gains (only affecting those who had money already) and the use of tariffs on business exports and imports to an "income" tax that increasingly included the poor and middle class allowed the rich to become richer on the backs of the poor without appearing to have any direct connection, even though they drove the "representative" government that made the changes.

At the same time, television became the cheap drug that not only entertained, but guided the masses into non-confrontational thought. "I'm better off today than my parents because I have a color tv and can watch Bonanza! Why on earth would I want to go out in the cold and protest or complain about low wages?"

So what is a "living wage"? In the U.S. today, you had better be in the top 25% of income earners to qualify - primarily because of insurances and the variety of taxes and fees. A living wage is utterly meaningless if a single medical event turns you into an impoverished debtor who can never escape that debt. A living wage is meaningless unless it is computed as the SPENDABLE income remaining after all legally required taxes and all legally required insurance costs are excluded. A living wage is meaningless if a large portion of it is consumed by work related costs, such as transportation, phones, uniforms, etc.

"What can you afford to buy with a living wage job" accompanied by a list of perceived luxuries is an idiotic question. As an employer, even my part-time employees were REQUIRED to have a phone or a consistent way I could reach them on short notice. They HAD to have "reliable transportation." I fired them if they didn't show up for work on time every time. Shifting the onus of the cost of a car to a parent, friend, or subsidized public transport merely shifts REAL costs of employment onto others who won't complain. Income is only income AFTER the costs of a job are removed. Even the IRS understands that.

The shifting of jobs oversees in search of cheaper labor has reduced the pool of low paying jobs and lowered the comparative wages in those areas. Computers have reduced the need for legions of low-paid accountants and other workers. Automation has turned 1,000 employee factories into 10 employee factories. Instead of our economy being based upon manufacture and repair of real goods, the public domain has been stolen by big business and turned into "intellectual property" that can be sold and resold and increasingly restricted. http://web.law.duke.edu/cspd/publicd.../2015/pre-1976 Making money on that stolen property is still theft, "legal" or not, and our growing GDP depends on the sales from such theft being included in the figure.

Tourism is no longer a pleasant by-product of a constructive manufacturing system that created cars and roads for commerce and industry, but now a major part of the "gross national product." Just what tangible and lasting "product" is created (other than personal memories by those able to afford them) is beyond me, but the government wants to include it to say how well the country is doing, so who am I to complain? To me an economy is not a circular daisy chain jerk-off of old films constantly being resold to the same people in different formats, but a system where each individual contributes something tangible more than their own needs, raising the level of civilization and science so that the next generation will start at a better place and continue the task.

At the very core of the term, the sum total of a "living wage" is a wage calculated, over your working life, to eventually cover ALL real costs of your life (monetary or not), from birth to death. Anything less than that merely shifts that burden of cost for your existence onto others.

But then you just want to complain that some worker, somewhere, is somehow getting too much money because of a required "living wage", and preventing a business you invested in (and haven't done a lick of work for) from making a larger profit, right? Complain on.
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