Minimum pay for minimum work

That’s the way it should be, but it’s not. I know people that sit on their ass all day doing fuck-all and still seem to bring home enough money to support a family of 5. I don’t get how anyone can say that fast food, service and labor workers are lazy and don’t deserve to be paid more than minimum wage.

Oh, I got right into it, didn’t I? Well, let me give you some points of reference.

I was reading an article today that gave me hope. You see, I live in Washington state. Our unemployment rate is 6.9%¹, our minimum wage is $9.19 an hour and our small businesses employ 41% of the workforce². Gas prices vary by area, but they range from $3.05 – $3.39 a gallon. And milk is $2.69 a gallon in most places here (I hear downtown Seattle can be as much as $4.50 a gallon, but I digress). We’re doing ok considering the economy is tanking pretty hard.

Higher wages do, however, attract more skilled workers and reduce employee turnover, Mr. Dube said, and over time that can change the composition of the work force. – NYTimes.com

Mr. Dube is making a profound statement here. Reducing turnover is one of those magical business ideologies that every employer seeks with impunity. There’s a tough balance between being profitable and supporting your employees in a way that makes them content and willing to work. When you minimize the value of the employee, you get a higher turnover. Training is expensive. Each new employee costs the company money and time. More money than would be paid in a decent wage and benefits. More time spent on a project usually means the company is bleeding money.

With tech jobs going overseas and the health industry booming due to our rapidly increasing waistlines and shitty diets, we’re stuck with a low paid workforce. The middle class is disappearing because of this. At what point are we going to decide that people should be paid for the work they do? A CEO should not be paid millions of dollars until his hardest workers have been fairly compensated. Overpaying the higher ups doesn’t inspire a worker to work harder when they’re already working their fingers to the bone. It creates a resentment and further divides the two classes. If we are not going to bring home our outsourced jobs, then we need to pay the service and health industries more money.

Our economy will only recover with a strong middle class. Yes, that is a main liberal talking point, but it’s absolutely true. No one spends the way the middle class does and only the poor (currently) outnumber the middle class. Increase the middle class > increases local spending > increases the economy > increases job creation. BOOM!  Recovery imminent.

Supporters, citing a report³ by the liberal research group Puget Sound Sage, said that travelers accounted for more than two-thirds of airport commerce, and that increasing pay to $15 an hour would inject $54 million into the local economy. – NYTimes

If you don’t immediately see the benefit of pumping $54 million into a local economy, then I can’t help you. This statement alone gets me excited, teary eyed and hopeful. But included with the idea of more satisfied workers and you have a no brainer. This should be happening. This needs to happen. Why isn’t this already happening?

All other arguments aside, really give this some thought. How much will it hurt the economy for highly profitable companies to pay their workers a fair wage? Really think about that. And the only way it’d hurt a smaller business is if the higher wages DIDN’T increase local spending. Seriously.


Sources:

¹http://money.cnn.com/interactive/economy/state-unemployment-rates/
² http://www.washingtonpolicy.org/publications/facts/snapshot-small-businesses-washington
³http://pugetsoundsage.org/downloads/PSSage%20-%20Economic%20Analysis%20of%20SeaTac%20Living%20Wage%20-%209-25-13.pdf
NYTimes article

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