Sunday, December 10, 2006

No, That Would Be Too Easy

Cripes, all the human labor hours wasted blathering on about the minimum wage.

Literally any discussion of the minimum wage is wasted as long as the current and/or proposed minimum wage is below the market rate.

So blather on about it all you want, it's a waste of time.

However, as a mere zygote economist I asked myself "why don't we just index the minimum wage to inflation? Each year we'd increase it based on the CPI and then there'd be no debate."

Alas it seems politicians insist on using this effectively irrelevant issue as a political football because this simple solution would deny them the chance to masquerade themselves as people who actually give a damn about low-income earners.

Regardless, I decided to go and adjust the minimum wge myself. Set at $5.15 on Sept 1, 1997, today it would be $6.44.

7 comments:

Ryan Fuller said...

"Literally any discussion of the minimum wage is wasted as long as the current and/or proposed minimum wage is below the market rate."

The only problem with dismissing the minimum wage issue using that argument is that different markets pay different wages. An increase in the minimum wage may have little impact overall, because most people get paid far more than the minimum wage. However, someone who makes $5.50 an hour may well see their job disappear if the minimum wage is raised significantly.

The minimum wage is either harmful when it is raised above the market wage, or irrelevant if it doesn't go that high. Which effect it has depends on the market, but it shouldn't be dismissed just because most markets aren't affected at all.

Richard said...

It's worth noting that the $6.44 that the minimum wage would be at adjusted for inflation is below the prevailing market wage in the country, so even Cappy Cap's adjustment would be effectively meaningless.

Anonymous said...

I agree the Minimum Wage is pointless. What the politicians are really after is a means to raise UNION WAGES using the minimum wage as a benchmark...

So my conern or question regarding indexing the minimum wage to inflation, how does the impact the market by forcing Union wages higher??

Anonymous said...

Who want’s a Mc job?.
Well Fort McMurry Alberta Canada, McDonald’s pays up to 18 dollars an hour.
Its all due to labor shortages and the Alberta oil boom. I didn’t believe it myself, until I looked into it.
I think raising minimum wage and the job losses are over stated, what you find in states that have a higher minimum wages were many benefits. You have happier employees that work hard and come in on time also they can afford to pay for healthcare and are a less burden on the state. Corporations really don’t care, they are only concerned with the bottom line. There are desperate people out there that will work for anything “can you say slave labor.”
Peter

Anonymous said...

Who want’s a Mc job?.
Well Fort McMurry Alberta Canada, McDonald’s pays up to 18 dollars an hour.
Its all due to labor shortages and the Alberta oil boom. I didn’t believe it myself, until I looked into it.
I think raising minimum wage and the job losses are over stated. What you find in states that have a higher minimum wage were many benefits. You have happier employees that work hard and come in on time also they can afford to pay for healthcare and are a less burden on the state. Corporations really don’t care, they are only concerned with the bottom line. There are desperate people out there that will work for anything “can you say slave labor.”
Peter

doinkicarus said...

Why don't we index minimum wage to inflation? We could do that, if you don't mind exacerbating the problems posed by inflation. Remember that wages are a factor cost, and if you decide, willy-nilly, to just raise all wages because certain other prices have risen, well, you've increased the upward pressure on just about any price index you can come up with.

Frank said...

Anonymous “can you say slave labor.”

"Corporations really don’t care"

So what's the solution? Force them to care? Force them to pay the extra money that they don't wanna pay? There's a better option which everyone in a free country is free to do - educate yourself and get a better job. Besides, who in their right mind wants to have a McJob forever anyway? McJobs are the sort of jobs that are there to get you through school anyway aren't they? Or at least a stepping stone into something better in hospitality as it gives you customer exposure. I guess there are a few that get into McManagement perhaps...