Sunday, July 26, 2015

"Adjusted for inflation, the federal minimum wage peaked in 1968 at $8.54 (in 2014 dollars). Since it was last raised in 2009, to the current $7.25 per hour, the federal minimum has lost about 8.1% of its purchasing power to inflation. The Economist recently estimated that, given how rich the U.S. is and the pattern among other advanced economies in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, “one would expect America…to pay a minimum wage around $12 an hour.”


I hear people in the business world complaining about raising minimum wage. They say, "Get a better job if you want more money. Get an education." What I hear in that is fear that they're own position won't seem so lofty, that they want there to be a gap between where they are and where someone else doing a different job is. They want to feel they've been successful.

What many of these new employees in the business world don't realize is that their salaries (wage per hour) has slumped back to what the same job brought in twenty years ago. People looking for new jobs in their lifelong field are finding companies offering the salaries they began at twenty years ago. But younger employees don't have this gauge. They think making $17 an hour is, at least, well above minimum wage, so they should be satisfied.

Instead, they are making very little more than a minimum wage worker would be making if salaries and wages had kept up with inflation and management hadn't begun widening the gap with the majority of their workers making barely $8.00 an hour, while company leaders made $5,000 an hour and more.

If salaries were capped to something reasonable, imagine all the extra money that would be available to pay workers and offer benefits. Imagine a workforce that feels valued and valuable to their job, and has extra money to purchase washing machines, couches, TVs, cars, vacations, houses, and on.

To new businesses starting out, often management isn't making much more than employees. It's a struggle at the start and minimum wage is difficult. Yet in the past, it has been done. What if there were more incentives to starting new businesses? What if loans didn't have such high interest rates to feed the bankers? A business begins in the red and works its way out if loans are not designed to keep them in debt.

Through history, when people had more jobs and made more money, the economy thrived. If people would stop trying to keep each other down to raise themselves, maybe we could collectively stimulate all parts of the system. At the moment, I see a country clinging to whatever it has right now out of fear ... but I'd like to know what's so great about what they have. Simply that they're better off than the next guy?


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