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Show ALL Forums  > Off Topic  > Why is the min wage so low in the US??      Home login  
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 AppleGeek
Joined: 9/26/2006
Msg: 2
Why is the min wage so low in the US??Page 1 of 3    (1, 2, 3)
The minimum wage in the use ($7.25) is not considered by anyone except the politicians to be a living wage. The poverty line is Just above $5/hr. Most people who make minimum wage are not the primary earner in the household.
 flyguy51
Joined: 8/11/2005
Msg: 3
Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 5/17/2010 5:11:06 PM
In the US, the minimum wage isn't really meant to be a living wage, from what I can tell. It is simply the lowest wage one can legally earn. It is mostly for kids who are still supported by their parents and people trying to get their shoe in the door, perhaps. Many people depend upon tips in addition to their low wage.

If you are a grown adult earning solely minimum wage with no other prospects? Well, you haven't played your cards right employment wise or have run into some very bad luck.
 Stray__Cat
Joined: 7/12/2006
Msg: 5
Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 5/17/2010 6:58:19 PM
Unions have declined in the US and with them the living standards of workers.
I don't see Walmart workers organized or striking any time soon.

Personally I think the Cashier at Walmart should be paid more than a Goldman Sachs evil sharpie.
But that's just me.
folks with money make the rules.
folks without just have to suck it up at 5 an hour.

NAFTA
did we really hafta?
 late™
Joined: 2/1/2010
Msg: 6
Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 5/17/2010 7:17:34 PM

Why is the min wage so low in the US?

Slavery wasn't abolished, it was just disguised by degree...
 nipoleon
Joined: 12/27/2005
Msg: 7
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Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 5/17/2010 7:57:28 PM
This is one of my favorite quotes from Adam Smith, the founder
of modern free market economic theory.

Our merchants and master manufacturers complain much
of the bad effects of high wages in raising the price, and thereby
lessening the sale of their goods both at home and abroad.
They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits.
They are silent with regard to the pernicious effects of their
own gains. They complain only of those of other people.


From, " The Wealth of Nations "
 yna6
Joined: 1/21/2007
Msg: 8
Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 5/19/2010 9:25:12 AM
Well...to answer the OPs question.....you must remember that many people in American society have a sense of "entitlement". They think they "deserve" what everyone else gets because they are "just as good". They are not. They refuse to acknowledge that fact. Some have more education, more experience, better personal financial strategies. (That last is a big one!)
Can you live in a two bedroom apartment in a rundown, cheaper section of town and work at a job making good money? Sure...but many feel they would rather "move to a good area", thereby blowing more of their paycheque on accommodations. For many it is a sign that they are "doing well" for themselves. Better chances for their kids to get a better education, less violent criminal activity, less street gang pressures, etc, etc. People will use any excuse to justify their expenditures, as long as "they have theirs".

Now if a bill was passed that said something like "All rentals will now be gov't regulated at 33% of the income from that particular rental property.", you'd see a lot of people getting out of the rental business. Yet...this is what is advised for paying for a roof over you head...about 33 % of your wage! How many people do you know actually stick to that rule and get accomodations to fit that "rule" of financial security? Not many!

Some places DO have a "living wage"....employers pay for people to live in a half decent lifestyle. A "minimum wage" is just what employers can LEGALLY expect to pay anyone for almost any job. Ever hear of a "minimum wage lawyer"? Nope...how about a doctor? Nope. They simply will not provide their services for less than what the market will bear. Also, there are not many of them in comparison to the population and it takes a long and expensive education to get there. But a cashier at Walmart? Almost anyone off the street can handle that job...therefore the employer can replace people AT WILL if they wish...while paying out the least amount to increase profits!

Most places like that have their budgets set in a certain order. Paying for advertisement is often 10 times what the payments for wages are, on a store to store basis.

Some places you have to train people, and entrust them to operate expensive machinery...but they get a very low wage to do so...because it isn't that hard to learn. Other places pay very well (Think GM or any other car company) because they have to make a wage that will allow them to afford the very product they are producing. Henry Ford introduced that idea when he found he couldn't keep employees at his factory. Cheap price at Walmart for goods...so cheap wages.

A certain "one hour" eyeglass place pays minimum wage, yet calls their lab people "technicians". they are entrusted to fulfill a prescription for your eyeglass lenses. A pharmacist makes far more than those "technicians". Both fulfill prescriptions. Both could have a detrimental affects on you if they screw up. But the greater responsibility is on the pill dispenser.

Wages are set by three basic criteria. How "risky" a job is...how important to the community, and how much training and education does it take? EXCEPT in job classifications that are regarded as "service" jobs.
 cookie22222
Joined: 8/4/2007
Msg: 10
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Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 5/20/2010 8:26:28 AM
I found it hysterically funny, many many moons ago, when VP Dan Quayle was talking about unemployment - and pointed out that a McDonald's was hiring. I'd like to see him feed his family on that money...

I think "we" in the US have an idea that if you work hard, you can have "everything" - and I also there that there is very much a sense of entitlement here, and a perception that luxuries are necessities.

I do not have a degree. I make, all things considered, what I think is an ok living. BUT - if I had a degree, I would be making much more. I chose to have a family at a young age instead of pursuing an education. I chose the place I work - and if I had chosen differently (private sector), I would, at this point, probably be making twice what I do now. I have my reasons for the choices I have made - and I don't cry in my coffee every morning about what I have, or don't have.

That of course, is very different than seeing inequities and being upset by that.

As for the cost of living - depends where you are. I could live in the same type of apartment in the same type of neighborhood in another state - and pay half what I do - or twice what I do. It's all about location. I have a friend in rural Texas who was STUNNED to hear how much my rent is...he said I could get the same thing for half that out there. Of course - I might only be able to find a minimum wage job!
 yna6
Joined: 1/21/2007
Msg: 12
Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 5/21/2010 4:19:24 AM
A buck an hour? So what? To some that is a fortune! Especially in countries where the cost of living is low, no taxes to pay, no "social safety net" to pay, where families still group together to make a living. How many times I've seen photos of some third world farmer who gets 3 crops a year, has extended family working together living in a compound, and this guy is making a buck an hour at some shop doing the same job I was doing here. He owns his land. He grows his food. He has a "social net" built-in with his family. If he needs health care, they pay a doctor, and NOT life breaking huge fees either.
Yes...they may not live as long...they may have a lot less of the conveniences of 21st century living. They may not have the "privileges" of North American society. But who's better off? Farmer dude doesn't give a rat about politics as long as the gov't leaves him and his alone to make a living. If he wants a cell phone, he'll go get one at a far cheaper price than what we pay.

Try extending that whole concept to North American society now. We see illegals coming in who want to have a few of the "privileges" of "rich yankees". They can live cheap enough..therefore can get some of these things. But the average American feels entitled to the life of privilege, due to their accidental birth in that country! They feel it should be some kind of inherent right to have a cell phone glued to the side of their head by the time they learn to talk!

Not to mention the greed of corporations. The land owners.

Try getting a law passed that says " ALL must ONLY pay 33% of their wage for current housing, and the landlords cannot evict tenants for this." Want to see a lot of changes in wgaes, prices and housing situations? Try that one on for size!
 rustytraveler
Joined: 4/30/2007
Msg: 14
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Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 5/21/2010 11:37:14 PM

There should be no govt mandated minimum wage. If people want higher wages, then they need to get training to advance themselves.


Really now? I thought 'training' cost time and money.... or hadn't you noticed? Just how is someone in a minimum wage job supposed 'advance' and still pay the rent and eat his beans and rice? It does seem that you are out of touch with the cycle of poverty sir. Have you even noticed the upward spiral of costs for post high school education and the debt that that produces for years to come?

Once upon a time there were trade apprenticeships, where people were paid a small wage while learning their trade...the skilled laborers (plumbers, electricians, mechanics etc.) no longer, now you have to have the money for a junior college, which have taken on the duty... at a price too steep for many.

The other option for young poor kids was the military... which is how they recruited in the all volunteer military since the Vietnam days...' learn a trade', 'be all you can be' and the benefit of the GI bill, which gave a college option after having served... but the fact is, through the Bush years, most of the saleable skilled tech jobs have been funneled out to private contractors and there are less and less military training for plumbers, electricians, electronic techs.... because it's been convenient to have a military that only pulls triggers and catches bullets.

This is simply another example of the blatant disregard of our government for years towards education and the consideration of ALL it's citizens.

Not everyone has the capacity to be a physicist... but when your toilet is plugged... who do you call? .

I believe you truly insult the many who struggle to better themselves, but have few avenues and support at their disposal.
 valenciacityx
Joined: 3/10/2009
Msg: 16
Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 7/15/2010 10:43:54 PM
suck it up, every civilian job I have had has been pure commission, no sale, no pay, no money.
(commission sales positions are exempt from federal/state minimum wage jobs) oh its tragic, they cant treat you like that and pay you nothing..... um I do quite well, even in this shiatty economy. Its called networking, target marketing, and aggressive closing.
 HoosierInMo
Joined: 6/20/2010
Msg: 17
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Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 7/19/2010 7:59:55 PM
I have two main philosophies
"If you're working 4o hours per week, you're part time"
"If you're$making minimum wage and not looking for work like you're unemployed, you've given up your right to complain."

Companies pay their employees for the value they bring to the hour, not for the value of their hour. Some positions bring more value than others. The average wage of a Walmart employee is $11.70 per hour. That's not bad in my book. People complain who complain about Walmart's wages then turn around and compare them to the average wage of all retail sales jobs whose average wage runs roughly over $12.00. Here's the thing, those other sales jobs include jobs like selling jewelry, furniture, and cell phones that have mark ups in four digits. These people are commissioned, and can earn a pretty penny. I once made $40,000 selling furniture, and in college I made $20 per hour selling computers and cellphones.
 starmaiden35
Joined: 5/10/2007
Msg: 18
Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 7/24/2012 4:42:09 AM
Ok flyguy-

That is simply not true! I am a grown adult. I used to make a decent salary before the economy went bad, plus I was able to earn a bonus check every other month to help with expenses. After the economy went bad, I lost my job, only to get another earning a little less and was laid off from that one due to downsizing. The only job I could find was one making minimum wage. I even tried to change careers by taking some courses at the college and after I graduated from that program, I still was only making minimum wage because I was starting at the bottom in that career! So I am stuck with two part time jobs to make one full time and they both only pay minimum wage!
So, no it is ridiculous to expect people to live in this salary. I also have tons more experience that a lot of the younger people working at the same job, but because I am new that is what I started at.
 unYOUsual
Joined: 8/11/2011
Msg: 19
Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 7/24/2012 5:33:56 AM
There should be no mandated minimum wage people should be able to negotiate a wage..by implementing a minimum wage employers can point to that and say this is what the Government says I can pay you....on the other hand because of our tax laws and workman's comp and what not employers have to pay close to double that in order to pay minimum wage to an employee...
 robin-hood
Joined: 12/2/2008
Msg: 20
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Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 7/24/2012 6:46:29 AM
Star Maiden,

The profession listed on your profile, is this the current or past ?
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 21
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Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 7/24/2012 10:09:22 AM
The minimum wage is too *high.* If it didn't exist, and entry-level wages were set by an open labor market, there would be a lot fewer young people without jobs in this country. Like rent control, the minimum wage is a well-meaning but dumb idea that does a lot of harm--especially to the young and the nonwhite.

Most people who start at a low wage move up before long, at least if they do a good job. And keep moving up. But to hear the sob sisters tell it, you'd think they were all stuck at the bottom forever.
 want to travel
Joined: 7/29/2006
Msg: 22
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Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 7/24/2012 10:35:14 AM
anyone who 'thinks' the minimum wage, is a bad idea, or too high, should be made to go work it for a year or two
and yes I meen in north america
I worked very hard to get to where I am in life
but, a lot of people just do not have the opportunities I had, or if they do, they dont take it...


honest work, should be respected,that was the american dream, not have the biggest house, on the block
but have enough!
in the last couple of decades the middle, and working class have been disapering
people are becoming more and more heartless, and a lot more selfish
how many people take time, and give it to the poor
not many
I know, I always have set time, aside for charity, and frankly, i just do not see the well off helping
 flyguy51
Joined: 8/11/2005
Msg: 23
Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 7/24/2012 10:45:20 AM
Starmaiden:

Ok flyguy-

That is simply not true!

I looked back at my vintage post and still don't see what the problem is. What is not true? With all the other anti minimum wage posts, you take issue with mine? Here's my post again:

In the US, the minimum wage isn't really meant to be a living wage, from what I can tell. It is simply the lowest wage one can legally earn. It is mostly for kids who are still supported by their parents and people trying to get their shoe in the door, perhaps. Many people depend upon tips in addition to their low wage.

If you are a grown adult earning solely minimum wage with no other prospects? Well, you haven't played your cards right employment wise or have run into some very bad luck.

It doesn't conflict with anything you have said. Did you catch the "very bad luck" part?
 GreenThumbz18
Joined: 4/25/2012
Msg: 24
Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 7/24/2012 11:14:06 AM
Does everyone understand the definition of "minimum" ? It means "the least."
Would anyone here accept the least boyfriend/girlfriend , the least happiness, the least intelligence, the least housing, the least education?
 vlad dracul
Joined: 4/30/2009
Msg: 25
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Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 7/24/2012 12:16:42 PM
personally i think you should earn a decent living wage for doing 40 hours per week. instead of
opting to do 60 hours. the other 20 hours could be allocated to a part time worker.

here in the uk though we have this directive

Working time limits (the 48-hour week)
Find out about your right to not have to work more than 48 hours a week on average, unless you choose to or work in a sector with its own rules. Your normal working hours should be set out in your employment contract or written statement of employment particulars.

The weekly maximum working hours
Usually adult workers cannot be forced to work more than 48 hours a week on average - this is normally averaged over 17 weeks. You can work more than 48 hours in one week, as long as the average over 17 weeks is less than 48 hours per week.

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/employment/employees/workinghoursandtimeoff/dg_10029426

you can of course choose to opt out of the 48 hour agreement.

our national minimum wage rates are below. i used to think it was a good thing but no longer.
it just means bosses can cut wages with the governments blessing. although most public sector
cushy non jobs are not affected by the infux we had from eastern europe*

There are different levels of NMW, depending on your age and whether you are an apprentice. The current rates (from 1 October 2011) are:

£6.08 - the main rate for workers aged 21 and over
£4.98 - the 18-20 rate
£3.68 - the 16-17 rate for workers above school leaving age but under 18
£2.60 - the apprentice rate, for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship

If you are of compulsory school age you are not entitled to the NMW. Some of your other employment rights are also different.

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/employment/employees/thenationalminimumwage/dg_10027201

* EU INFLUX MEANS OUR YOUNGSTERS CANNOT FIND JOBS
But the only realistic way to bring youth unemployment back down to 2004 levels is to reduce the influx of European labour until the jobs emergency is over and the political class has so far shown no inclination of doing so because it certainly would contravene EU law.

It would also upset employers who have become used to a limitless supply of keen young Eastern Europeans willing to work hard for relatively low pay.

Yet because most are doing low-wage work, send a large proportion of earnings home and qualify for taxpayer-funded healthcare and free schooling for their offspring, their presence is of negligible overall economic benefit.

http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/294618/EU-influx-means-our-youngsters-cannot-find-jobs/
 vlad dracul
Joined: 4/30/2009
Msg: 26
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Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 7/24/2012 1:51:30 PM
well in a way i agree with you paul but the way the nation works would
have to change.

we are always told that as fathers we never spend enough time with our bairns. working
60 hour weeks only means that we will never get the time to spend with the wee yins

again unless self employed what are the incentives to work 60 hour weeks? getting
paid an overtime rate is virtually impossible now as hourly rates have been cut during
the economic crisis

and if you are self employed and working 60/70 hour weeks whats the incentive?
we already get taxed to the limit over here. so you work cash in hand

if possible i will always work in the black economy. the reason being if i can help in a total
meltdown of the current system then i shall.

but

and now this. a politician talking about morality

Tradesmen's anger over cash-in-hand claims
Tradesmen have accused the Government of letting them down after David Gauke, a Treasury minister, criticised those who accepted cash-in-hand payments in order to cheat the tax man.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/consumertips/tax/9422946/Tradesmens-anger-over-cash-in-hand-claims.html

maybe the twat should have a word with his wife

For the record Mrs Gauke - aka Linklaters-trained solicitor Rachel Gauke - does specialise in corporate tax law. In other words, she is trained to offer legal tax avoidance advice to large companies.

http://www.channel4.com/news/public-fury-over-treasurys-tax-morality-lecture

people in glass houses etc. but if you have a 2 income household then why can someone
not be employed 20 hours if they are making enough to live on? someone nearing retirement
age would maybe enjoy getting out the house and working but not the full week.

anything is possible it just takes the will to change
 pescando75
Joined: 3/23/2012
Msg: 27
Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 7/24/2012 2:01:50 PM
It's not a popular position to argue from, but I have heard analysis how minimum wage actually hurts those most who could use employment and a true living wage.

If the government mandates you *must* pay at least ___ per hr.,
do you:

A.) Hire anyone that can do the job, regardless?
B.) Be selective and get the most qualified person who can do the job and still get paid squat?
C.) Outsource to another country altogether?

How many "A." answers are we seeing these days?

Couple this with higher than average unemployment of minorities, and I think we see once again who bears the brunt of minimum wage policy, like so many other laws meant to "help" and "protect." Save us, Government!
 usernonymous
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 28
Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 7/24/2012 11:00:30 PM
The minimum wage is seen in two ways. Those who support it often see it as a living wage for long term employment meant to provide a minimum standard of living to all citizens of the country, if they choose to work.

Meanwhile other people see these jobs as unskilled labor not meant for long term employment and hence do not agree with a minimum wage because they see minimum wage as a inhibitor for future personal growth and development, as well as a limiter of low end job creation (a job they feel is worth $4 hour will only create half the amount of employees if the minimum wage is set at $8).

I don't believe that without a minimum wage, that wages would suddenly go down to $1/hour as some here have suggested. The fact is that supply and demand that makes up the employment market would limit $1/hour jobs (as no one would ever take it due to the availabilty of other jobs paying more).

I fall a little more on the latter as well. I feel that a minimum wage is not needed because many unskilled jobs are often temporary (such as in the service industry) and with people right to job mobility (get educated or trained and get a better job) and collectively bargain, I feel that the market tends to work itself out.

Then again. I am a bit of a libertarian.
 Padawan61
Joined: 3/1/2008
Msg: 29
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Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 7/25/2012 11:43:54 PM
Those who think minimum wage is disguised slavery is out to lunch. If a person doesn't like his min wage job, he is free to quit. But your paycheck stops when you do. No employer will force you to work for them.

Minimum wage jobs are for young people starting out in the work force. If you're permanently stuck in that wage category past age 30 ... you're doing something wrong.

but, a lot of people just do not have the opportunities I had, or if they do, they dont take it...

And that is rich people's fault ... how???

Quit making excuses for the poor. They simply "can't cut the mustard" and it's not mine or anyone's problem to lift them out of their misery.

Yeah ... I'm selfish. The money I make is for my own comfort and nifty stuff ... like big screen TVs. I work hard for my money and don't feel the need to give it away to charity.
 vnufall
Joined: 3/6/2011
Msg: 30
Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 7/26/2012 6:59:51 AM
I just don't like the fact that the really wealthy...The 1%, are getting wealthier off the backs of the middle class. This group fights for every last penny( minimum wage, medicare, social security, medicaide etc) anything that smacks of any kind of help to anyone else other than them. The thing is they will tell people with little or no money that they are working hard and rich and everyone should aspire to this too, to be just like them. In the meantime they are working extremely hard to take the minimal amt of the poor and middle class for their profits. its simple, the rich get rich, the poor get poorer, and the rest of us in the middle are going down.
 Reprmoreons
Joined: 7/22/2012
Msg: 31
Why is the min wage so low in the US??
Posted: 7/26/2012 7:12:32 AM

I just don't like the fact that the really wealthy...The 1%, are getting wealthier off the backs of the middle class. This group fights for every last penny( minimum wage, medicare, social security, medicaide etc) anything that smacks of any kind of help to anyone else other than them. The thing is they will tell people with little or no money that they are working hard and rich and everyone should aspire to this too, to be just like them. In the meantime they are working extremely hard to take the minimal amt of the poor and middle class for their profits. its simple, the rich get rich, the poor get poorer, and the rest of us in the middle are going down.


Yup. And one of the ways the wealthy are able to do this is because they have bamboozled 47% of the population in the United States into advocating for the interests of the rich, and against there own best interests and the best interests of their children. I see people who are not one of the rich, but who advocate for the interest of the rich, as fools. Anyone who is so easily suckered are fools. There is no other way to explain it.

I also see them as traitors. The wealthiest Americans have declared war on this citizenry of this country and those are not wealthy, but have sided with them, should be seen as the turncoats they are. When they decry increasing the minimum wage, it is the same as spitting on the flag of the United States.
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