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Reply #53: A living wage? [View All]

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divinecommands Donating Member (68 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-09-07 09:48 AM
Response to Reply #43
53. A living wage?
Maui said he didn't think the minimum wage was the _best_ way to help low-paid workers.

I might be a bit more specific: I don't think the minimum wage is the best way to help _low-skilled_ workers. There's economic theory to back that up, but also anecdotal evidence. My mother, who works in food service, was overjoyed when the new Liberal government raised the minimum wage in Ontario.

Shortly thereafter, her hours were cut so she was making basically no more than before the minimum wage hike. In order to keep profits constant, her store (Tim Hortons) tried to do more with fewer people. This probably lowered the quality of service, but since just about every Tim Hortons was doing the same thing, sales didn't really go down.

Sure, my mom was working less, but each shift was more miserable because she was expected to do more in less time.

As someone with an interest in economics, I could have told my mom this sort of thing was going to happen when the minimum wage was raised. Unintended consequences, you know. There are always tradeoffs. Maybe raising the minimum wage helped my mom a little, overall, but low cost training and education would have helped her a lot more.

By the way, in dollars/hour and given a 40 hour work week, just how much is a "living wage", anyway? My old prof used to say that when studentsuse the term "living wage", they mean it to mean how much they imagine a graduate student gets paid. Now that I am a graduate student, I hope it's more than that. But how much more? 10 dollars/hour? 12 dollars/hour?

A "living wage" might very well have us all working for huge corporations, since those are the only entities that can afford to pay their workers that much and not go broke.
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