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Sun Feb 10, 2013, 11:17 AM

Question about minimum wage

Hello -

I heard a discussion on the radio yesterday that increasing the minimum wage would be detrimental not only to small businesses, but ultimately to the very people it was designed to assist.

I would think that an increase in minimum wage would (overall) be more beneficial since it would increase individual purchasing power, but I can also see where such an increase could have a negative effect on a small business.

Listening to this discussion made me realize that I really did not have a good grasp of this argument, so I was wondering if anyone had a suggestion as to a book (or books) that deals with both sides of the minimum wage issue from an economic point of view (rather than political or social point of view) so I can be better informed. In other words, are there facts/numbers/studies that bolster one side of the argument over the other?

Thank you very much.

Tim

52 replies, 3205 views

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Arrow 52 replies Author Time Post
Reply Question about minimum wage (Original post)
Pendrench Feb 2013 OP
Laelth Feb 2013 #1
Pendrench Feb 2013 #6
Laelth Feb 2013 #7
Pendrench Feb 2013 #9
TheMastersNemesis Feb 2013 #2
Laelth Feb 2013 #4
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #5
Pendrench Feb 2013 #8
gtar100 Feb 2013 #29
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #3
Pendrench Feb 2013 #10
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #12
Pendrench Feb 2013 #19
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #43
Pendrench Feb 2013 #44
Gambart Feb 2013 #11
Cobalt Violet Feb 2013 #13
Gambart Feb 2013 #14
Cobalt Violet Feb 2013 #15
Gambart Feb 2013 #18
Cobalt Violet Feb 2013 #20
uppityperson Feb 2013 #17
Gambart Feb 2013 #22
ornotna Feb 2013 #23
Gambart Feb 2013 #25
uppityperson Feb 2013 #31
uppityperson Feb 2013 #24
Cobalt Violet Feb 2013 #27
Gambart Feb 2013 #32
Lady Freedom Returns Feb 2013 #33
uppityperson Feb 2013 #37
musette_sf Feb 2013 #30
Lady Freedom Returns Feb 2013 #35
ornotna Feb 2013 #21
uppityperson Feb 2013 #16
Pendrench Feb 2013 #26
uppityperson Feb 2013 #28
Pendrench Feb 2013 #34
uppityperson Feb 2013 #36
Pendrench Feb 2013 #39
Lady Freedom Returns Feb 2013 #38
Pendrench Feb 2013 #41
Warpy Feb 2013 #40
Pendrench Feb 2013 #42
Hugin Feb 2013 #45
Warpy Feb 2013 #47
Hugin Feb 2013 #48
Laelth Feb 2013 #46
yaakov.eban Feb 2013 #49
Pendrench Feb 2013 #50
Mattias Feb 2013 #51
Pendrench Feb 2013 #52

Response to Pendrench (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 11:29 AM

1. I'd advise not listening to right-wing blather.

That's the only advice I can give you.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #1)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 11:55 AM

6. Hi Laelth -

Thank you for your response...and I appreciate the advice!

Tim

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Response to Pendrench (Reply #6)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 11:58 AM

7. *smile* That, in fact, was very easy advice to give.

But, you're welcome, for what that's worth.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #7)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 12:03 PM

9. Agreed :)

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Response to Pendrench (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 11:32 AM

2. The Arguments Against Increasing The Minimum Wage Are Hogwash

The argument should be for a living wage. The minimum wage should be indexed in a way that it allows a person to live. Any business that cannot pay at least pay the present minimum wage should not be in business in the first place. The present minimum wage is absurdly low and is in fact below the poverty level.

The opponents of a higher minimum wage want to see minimum wages abolished. They want a "free market" wage decided by supply and demand. They want a wage that is in parity with the "global economy" where some countries $1 a day is the norm for most people.

WE SHOULD HAVE A MAXIMUM WAGE FOR CEO'S AND MANAGEMENT AND HAVE UNIONS OR WORKS ON CORPORATE BOARDS!!!!!!.

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Response to TheMastersNemesis (Reply #2)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 11:38 AM

4. +1. n/t

-Laelth

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Response to TheMastersNemesis (Reply #2)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 11:38 AM

5. parity with the "global economy" where some countries $1 a day is the norm for most people.

While they completely ignore that countries like Australia do very well with a minimum wage of $15.51 an hour. Or Sweden with the equivalent of about $20 an hour.

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Response to TheMastersNemesis (Reply #2)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 12:02 PM

8. Hi TheMastersNemesis -

Thank you for your response...that was/is my thought as well.

The reason I asked if anyone could suggest a book on this subject was because I wanted to make sure that I had facts (rather than just my opinion) to dispute the arguments against a living wage (which I agree is a much better goal to have, instead of pushing for a "minimum wage").

Thank you again.

Tim

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Response to TheMastersNemesis (Reply #2)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 02:50 PM

29. You are exactly right! It's important we remember that if someone is willing to pay you minimum wage

then they are willing to pay you less. A living wage should be the standard and it should have a very well defined and easily understood set of criteria for coming up with that number. Anyone who works full time should be able to provide for at least the basic necessities of life. Our values, however, should extend that considerably. Teddy Roosevelt's definition of a living wage I believe is still a very good one. A maximum wage should be implicit in a progressive tax system.

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Response to Pendrench (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 11:35 AM

3. I don't know that you need books on the issue...Google is your friend.

However, you could consider reading "The Price of Inequality" by Joseph Stiglitz who is a Nobel Prize winner in Economics and professor at Columbia University, for a great overview of the societal costs of low wages. Another thing to remember is that the definition of a 'small business' is very deceiving... any company with fewer than 500 employees... Donald Trump owns several businesses, all of which employ no more than 499 people...cut me a break.

Here's a link to a site where you can download a briefing paper about raising the minimum wage.

http://raisetheminimumwage.org/pages/why-we-should-raise-the-minimum-wage

Hope this gives you a starting point...

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 12:11 PM

10. Hi Sekhmets Daughter -

Thank you for your response.

I'm glad you mentioned Joseph Stiglitz's "The Price of Inequality"...I actually just purchased this, but have not had the opportunity to read it (although I certainly plan to do so, now!) Right now I'm reading Krugman's "The Accidental Theorist"...and "The Price of Inequality" was next on my list.

I also appreciate the link to the briefing paper - I'll be sure to read that as well.

Thank you again -

Tim



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Response to Pendrench (Reply #10)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 12:44 PM

12. Hi there...

You're very welcome. There are a number of good books on the subject, but I think if you add Stiglitz to Krugman you'll have a very good handle on the subject.

Have a good time reading!

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #12)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 02:04 PM

19. Thanks! By the way, other than Krugman and Stiglitz do you have any other recomendations?

I have been trying to improve my basic understanding of economics, so I've recently purchased books by Krugram and Stiglitz, as well as some by Robert Reich, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Robert Heilbroner. I also bought "The Instant Economist" by Timothy Taylor (so I could get a better handle on economic terms) and "The Working Poor - Invisible in America" by David Shipler.

Tim

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Response to Pendrench (Reply #19)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 07:32 PM

43. Sorry I took so long to get back to you...

I watched 5 episodes of "The Newsroom" ...Great show if you get HBO...

John Kenneth G. has a grown son who is also an economist, James K. Galbraith, I found his book "Predator State" helpful. Do not get it confused with the newer "Predator Nation" by Charles H. Ferguson (I have this book, but haven't read it yet)

Bailout Nation by Barry Ritholtz is quite good at describing how the American people have been paying to bailout millionaires for decades....He's a Wall St. insider and pissed off at both political parties. Also Josh Bivens of The Economic Policy Institute has a good book, "Failure by Design" it's a small book with many charts which provide a really visual picture....

You'll get bored with the topic long before you've read all the books written about the economy and the mess we're in.

Keep in touch and let me know what you think about the books you've read. You can mail me here at DU.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #43)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 09:45 PM

44. Thank you for the suggestions!

I think I may have started "Predator State" awhile back...it was library book, and I had to return it before I was able to read much of it. That's the story of my life...so many good books to read, and so little time!

Thanks again -

Tim

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Response to Pendrench (Original post)


Response to Gambart (Reply #11)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:06 PM

13. total bullshit!

National Restaurant Association (the other NRA) talking points.

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Response to Cobalt Violet (Reply #13)


Response to Gambart (Reply #14)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:24 PM

15. I don 't believe anything that comes out of your rightwing mouth.

You got yours, the hell with everyone else. Have you ever thought that minimum wage isn't worth what it was when you claim you were on it.

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Response to Cobalt Violet (Reply #15)


Response to Gambart (Reply #18)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 02:08 PM

20. It's obvious you listen to conservatives.

You spew all the conservative talking points. Thanks for outing yourself but I knew it since your 1st post.

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Response to Gambart (Reply #14)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:37 PM

17. How did you get more training if you didn't have any money for it?

Since you didn't "ask for or receive any help", how did you pay for training? I am curious as many are not able to do such a thing and I'd like to be able to pass on stories from others as it may help them.

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Response to uppityperson (Reply #17)


Response to Gambart (Reply #22)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 02:21 PM

23. So raising the minimum wage is a "handout"?

Who knew?

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Response to ornotna (Reply #23)


Response to Gambart (Reply #25)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 02:59 PM

31. Food costs more, so does gas, living expenses. How is increasing min wage to not even keep up

with all that a "handout"?

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Response to Gambart (Reply #22)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 02:32 PM

24. "Making the poor comfortable does not help people advance it keeps them down." Raising minimum wage

is bad because it makes the poor "comfortable" and is a handout?

Would you rather those "3 jobs" paid you more or would you rather instead try and compete to get more jobs?

"In today's world the opportunities are endless. "

So because someone has difficulty getting a job, having competed with 20-100 other people for one minimum wage job that won't pay basic living expenses, they just aren't what? Motivated? Goal oriented? Spending excessively? Lazy asses wanting only a handout?

I agree that motivation and planning are needed, but it take a whole hell of a lot more than that including getting paid a living wage which is the topic of this thread. Minimum wage.

You see increasing minimum wage as a handout, as simply making the poor comfortable, as being "owed" something. Unlike, thank god, most of us here.

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Response to Gambart (Reply #22)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 02:46 PM

27. So you did get help.

You lived with your dad. Not everyone has that option.

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Response to Cobalt Violet (Reply #27)


Response to Gambart (Reply #32)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 03:16 PM

33. 3 jobs at once?

And they allowed you to do that? Many an employer that I have ever worked for was angry at you for working another place, and working three would make them look bad and they would fire you.

And working three would cause lack of sleep, another thing that employers hate. They could fire you for that easy.

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Response to Lady Freedom Returns (Reply #33)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 03:45 PM

37. Couldn't have been full time as not enough hours in the day for that. I've worked several jobs

at one time. I was doing 5 once, had to color code my calendar, but each was part time (no benefits, no guarantee of continuing employment either).

Let's see. 3 jobs X 8 hrs X 5 days/wk= 48 hours/ week left not working. With travel time to and from jobs, let's pull off 1/2 per job per day which would be 7.5 hours, leaving 41.5 hours not working. Another 1/2 hour per day for eating, preparing to go to work=7.5 leaving us 33 hours to sleep in. If you fell asleep immediately. Oh, bathroom time, let's say you ate at the same time you used the toilet so that takes no time away. 33 hours/7 days= 3.5 hours / day to sleep in.

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Response to Gambart (Reply #22)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 02:55 PM

30. "In today's world the opportunities are endless."

Bullshit.

Speaking as an almost-60 YO, looking at the "today's world" of my young adult family members, I can confidently state that nothing could be further from the truth.

I sold Apples almost 30 years ago, and in my worst months made a somewhat comfortable income (equivalent today of apx $60K annually) on which I could support myself without roommates; my niece sells Apples today for less than $25K annually, you do the math on how "comfortable" that income is and what it buys her.

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Response to musette_sf (Reply #30)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 03:33 PM

35. I have a college education that I can't use.

Due to not being able to pay the payments due to a natural disaster taking everything, I can't get a copy of my transcript. without that I can't prove I have it. That take a lot of that endless opportunities out that the other poster was yapping about.

Add to it that, for some odd reason, the fast food guys can google my college graduation (something the fore mentioned can't/won't do) so they know I have an education and that makes them not want me. I can't understand it. I can't even start a career flipping burgers!

And I am NOT alone! That hurts even worse!

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Response to Gambart (Reply #14)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 02:16 PM

21. How did you afford training if you didn't have enough money?

And I see that has been asked above.

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Response to Gambart (Reply #11)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 01:35 PM

16. Minimum wage workers I know were very happy to get more and didn't get extra work beyond

what they were already getting. They were better able to afford more and hence passed their money on through spending it, helping keep other businesses, like mine, in business. All around a win win situation.

I am sorry you have to work at such a shitty place that did this to you.

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Response to Gambart (Reply #11)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 02:34 PM

26. Hi Gambart -

Thank you for your reply...your initial comment (as well as your subsequent comments in this thread) were similar to what I heard discussed on the radio - which is why I originally posted in the first place - so I appreciate your sharing your experience and point of view.

Just out of curiosity, what happened to the restaurant where you worked? Were they able to stay in business after the quality of service and product went down, and prices went up?

Thanks again -

Tim

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Response to Pendrench (Reply #26)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 02:49 PM

28. What radio station did you hear this on? I am curious. Thank you.

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Response to uppityperson (Reply #28)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 03:21 PM

34. Hi uppityperson -

It was a local station here in Maryland (1300 am)...99% of the time it's a sports/talk format, but I guess on weekends they program other shows.

I was taking my daughter to her acting class Saturday morning, and I was just searching for something to listen to, and this discussion caught my attention.

By the way, I just did a search and apparently I was listening to: SMALL BUSINESS SECRET WEAPON” 10-11am with Host Mark Luterman

I wonder if this is the same guy: http://www.themillionairesjourney.com/MarkLuterman.html

Tim

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Response to Pendrench (Reply #34)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 03:38 PM

36. Here is what I found. I can understand any increase in business costs being difficult for a business


http://www.smallbizsecretweapon.com/about-sbsw/



BUT. I do not think slavery is the answer either. Cost of living for even basics has increased so much, wages need to follow.

To take it to the other extreme, if employees do not have money to spend, they won't buy things and the companies that they are not buying from experience a drop in income.

I often see financial advice to cut back on small things, like buying a cup of coffee (which I rarely do). 2 of our few local coffee shops have just closed because people have quit patronizing them because they cut back trying to use their money for necessities. Now there are another 10 people unemployed, getting unemployment and part of the group competing for other jobs.

1 of them was a customer of mine but now needs to cut back. So my income drops. And I need to cut back more.

Having a decent minimum wage is not a "handout" or giving someone they do not deserve. Why should nurse aids in the nursing home have to chose between electricity, phone, food, gas to get to work or a place to live? Do they not do needed and difficult work? If increasing minimum wage makes their lives a little easier (by letting them afford a tiny apartment rather than couch surfing), is this bad?

Why should any minimum wage worker have to settle for such struggles? Why should small businesses have to cut back staff because they can not afford to pay a living wage to enough employees to get the job done?

It is a conundrum but raising minimum wage IS the right thing to do and in no way a handout.

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Response to uppityperson (Reply #36)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 05:07 PM

39. Hi uppityperson -

This really reflects what I thought/think, too...especially when you said:

"...if employees do not have money to spend, they won't buy things and the companies that they are not buying from experience a drop in income."

Thanks!

Tim




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Response to Pendrench (Reply #26)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 03:57 PM

38. Good one! n/t

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Response to Lady Freedom Returns (Reply #38)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 05:25 PM

41. Hi Lady Freedom Returns -

Thanks...I hope my comment didn't seem too snarky to Gambart...I really was curious to see how such a place could stay in business under such circumstances.

I will be the first to admit that I have never run a business (so I am not speaking from personal experience) but I would think that if you paid good employees a living wage, you would be more likely to keep good employees, who would in turn keep up the standards of the business (i.e., provide good customer service and a good product) and this would create customer loyalty and good word of mouth, which would increase revenue.

Tim

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Response to Pendrench (Original post)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 05:24 PM

40. Tim, how often do you hear small businessmen clamoring for a roll back

of any minimum wage increase once the increase has been in place a few months?

I never have, not in the decades I've been alive.

The truth is that raising the minimum wage always increases his business far beyond what he's shelling out to his employees. Minimum wage increases have always been in the "give a little, get a lot" category.

That's your answer, right there.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #40)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 05:41 PM

42. Hi Warpy -

Thank you for your reply...you are correct, I have never heard a small business owner make such a claim - and I agree that (as you said):

"The truth is that raising the minimum wage always increases his business far beyond what he's shelling out to his employees. Minimum wage increases have always been in the "give a little, get a lot" category."

When I heard the conversation on the radio, the participants were all of the same mindset: there are too many regulations, an increase in minimum wage will cause small businesses to close, and Obamacare is the worst thing ever.

I can honestly say that even though I disagreed with these thoughts, I also felt that I needed to increase my knowledge and familiarity with the facts concerning the minimum wage if I wanted to have an intelligent conversation with someone who held the opposite views on this subject.

So I've been very glad to see the responses that I've had here today...it has definitely helped.

Thanks again!

Tim

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Response to Warpy (Reply #40)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 05:20 AM

45. A Minimum Wage increase only affects the most Regressive of Employers.

Who are generally the Larger Businesses. (That's why they squawk the loudest.)

The truth is most employees already earn more than the measly increases proposed, so the change is largely superficial. It's a political football.

I don't know of any books on the subject. Which is a telling fact in itself.

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Response to Hugin (Reply #45)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 05:02 PM

47. They always trot out the "small business" as though they're all

Mom & Pop running a corner store. This is what I addressed.

Once the minimum wage is hiked, it tends to take other wages with it. Increased business goes on up the line as they do, the money pump working from the bottom up and not from the top down.

Even the rich don't complain about it a few months later when they see bigger dividend checks.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #47)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 08:46 AM

48. ...

Oops, I meant to reply to the OP.

Sorry, Warpy. Glad we agree tho.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #40)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 02:03 PM

46. +1. n/t

-Laelth

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Response to Pendrench (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 08:10 PM

49. To the OP: Minimum wage is far too low

What I have enclosed is a graph contrasting the growth in worker compensation, in both the private and public sector, and the growth in productivity between the 1st quarter of 1989 and the 3rd quarter of 2010. You'll notice immediately that the disparity between the two has done nothing but grow considerably year after year. As if it needed to be repeated, workers are not the problem.


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Response to yaakov.eban (Reply #49)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 09:39 AM

50. Hi yaakov.eban - Thank you for your response (and for the chart!) n/t

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Response to Pendrench (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 02:09 PM

51. As with all things in economics

the answer is crystal clear and 100 % explanatory...it all depends

To take a bad and extreme example, increasing minimum wage to $ 100/h would be a very bad idea. But to stay in reality an increase as president Obama suggested would have neglible effects on employment but likely a positive effect on growth. Since the lower the income the more of it go directly to consumption. One effect that is hard to estimate from a minimum wage increase is that all incomes tend to rise since an increase in minimum wage to $ 9/h likely would have the effect that thoose earning that today would see there wage increse to lets say $ 12/h, those earning that would perhaps get an increase to $ 14, those earning that getting $ 15 and so on. Historically the closer to the new minimum wage the higher the increase in % with this effect flattening out at about dubble the new minimum wage.

With coorporate earning as share of GDP beeing at historically high levels this would actually be a good timing for an increase.

Also the case can be made that any company going bankrupt as consequence of the proposed increase perhaps deserve going out of business. A firm not able to carry that increase is propably very uncompetative anyway so basically just denying other more competative companies its labourforce.

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Response to Pendrench (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 08:51 AM

52. Just turned on Up w/Chris Hayes...and they are discussing the minimum wage.

One of the people they have in the studio is a small business owner, he mentioned that he never pays minimum wage (he pays above it) because he feels that he can attract (and retain) better employees.

He also said that because of this, not only can he expect more from them (in terms of output and attitude), but they (the employees) also expect more of themselves, and work accordingly.

Right before they broke for commercial, Chris said that there was an economic term for this...the "efficiency wage".

Thanks again to everyone who has replied to this thread - it has been very helpful!

Tim

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