Thursday, August 14, 2008

Minimum Wage

Who decides what wage to pay a person? Is it what the job can support in terms of selling a product or service or is it government's role to mandate that this job is worth X dollars?

I can truly appreciate that low wages make it difficult to survive. As a member of the US Navy, my pay came out to about 1/3 that of minimum wage. However, I did have the advantage of being fed (though the food was gross), healthcare (I got blown up and spent months in the hospital only to be given a bill for $75,000 but later reduced to $3,000) and don’t forget the free lodging (1 bunk that was 72 inches long by 22 inches wide and I could not extend my finger tips with my elbow bent high and a mattress that was made of foam and two inches thick. Oh, and I had a blue curtain I could draw closed.

The problem with a minimum wage position is who decides what a position is worth? If people can find other work, then that person will have to pay more to entice some one to work or find another means of accomplishing what labor was doing.

I started on minimum wage, but moved up the scale. I do not know many who stay at minimum wage. The question I have is how many are there and what type of jobs are they doing?

A person deserves only the wage they negotiate. Government does not set what is fair. They have no idea what is fair. Just look at the continual budget deficits for the past 48 years.

We could also compare labor rates another way. Farmer A uses a horse and plow. He can farm 25 acres this way. Farmer B uses a tractor and farms 2000 acres. Should both farmers be paid the same hourly rate even though their yields are totally different? Minimum wage jobs exist because these types of jobs are outdated, but remain due to being cost effective only at that wage. If there were no people to perform these jobs, then an alternative means would be found.

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