Anne B. Walsh - Do you believe in magic?

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Anne's Randomness

Thoughts on a timely topic

Anyone who knows me knows that I try to stay out of politics, but I find I do have something to say about raising the minimum wage. This will not be a polemic (word for today: means a strong verbal or written attack) either for or against, but instead a question that seems to be getting ignored. Where does the money come from?
Honestly, that's my question with a lot of issues in the present day, and it doesn't get brought up as much as I wish it would. There is no pot of gold under the rainbow. We can't raise funds by clicking our heels or snapping our fingers or wishing on a star. Money always comes from somewhere. Earned, borrowed, donated, but somewhere.
Let's explore, just as a starting point, the money involved in raising one worker's wages by one dollar an hour. Doesn't seem like much, does it? (Echoes of my tenth grade musical, The Pajama Game, in which the workers at the pajama factory go on strike over seven-and-a-half cents an hour. Oh, the times, how they have changed.)
So if that worker makes eight dollars an hour right now, oh frabjous day, calloo, callay! Wages have risen to nine dollars an hour! But follow that dollar. One dollar an hour, makes eight dollars a full-time day, makes forty dollars a full-time week, and at fifty-two weeks a year, comes out to two thousand eighty dollars by my reckoning.
I don't know about you, but $2080 is not an insignificant amount in my books. And that's only for one worker. A business with ten workers, or one hundred, or one thousand... well, I assume you all have calculators on your phones or computers, and know how to use them, so I won't bore you with more math you can do for yourself.
Please note that at no point in this discussion have I raised any question of values, of good or bad ideas. I have only said that this is an idea with consequences, some of which I have seldom seen discussed, and I wish I would. That $2080, and its multiples, are going to affect a lot of people, and it has to come from somewhere.
And how can businesses come up with more money? Either they raise the amount coming in, by more sales, higher prices, etc, or they lower their costs, by becoming more efficient, cutting out waste, etc. Both approaches have good points. Both also have drawbacks. But as I've seen it said, if the game was easy, anybody could play.
So, that's about all I have to say on the topic. Just a few facts that seem to be left out of a lot of discussions. If you, too, wish to discuss it, all I ask is that you do so in a polite and adult manner, as I reserve the right to delete, unseen, any comment which does not obey this rule. Comes with being the author, and the blogger.
Was it a good or a bad idea to break my usual silence on political topics? Heaven only knows... but it will surely have consequences. Thanks, as always, for reading, and light thoughts on inconsequential things such as writing and fantasy and dogs resume tomorrow. Perhaps. Depends on how crazy a weekend it turns out to be.

2 Comments to Thoughts on a timely topic:

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Alicia on Saturday, March 01, 2014 9:38 PM
I admire your courage in bringing up a political topic at all -- there are a few specific ones I won't touch with a ten foot pole in my livejournal or Facebook, and I don't reach nearly the audience (or strangers) that you do. I like the way you put this, in asking a question rather than giving a specific for/against statement. Hmmm. My opinion is that there should be different minimum wage standards for jobs meant for breadwinners and jobs meant for kids/other students/etc. I spent a good portion of my college years and early twenties working at fast food places -- Burger King and then Subway. That job was not worth any more than minimum wage, I'll tell ya -- I still remember the one evening after the whole evening running out of stuff to put on the subs when all the customers yelled at me, then I threatened to quit and the boss said I'd saved everyone's job since I was the only one in the whole place with a food handlers' card. *rolls eyes* I don't think Subway is globally bad, either -- most of the restaurants are very clean and professionally run, I just got a bad apple which is now closed. My point is just that none of my coworkers nor I deserved any more money than we were getting, with the work ethic that we had and the way we goofed around when there were no customers to wait on. But then I've been on the other side of it too, where after more than two years struggling to support myself on well over minimum wage (but by myself with associated house and car bills and with student loans from a master's degree to pay) -- that dollar more an hour would have made all the difference. I think the main problem is that the economy itself isn't good so people tend to be overqualified for the jobs they take (with the resulting student loan bills), and people wind up attempting to support themselves on jobs that weren't designed to provide support, like the fast food places. I'm not sure what the answer is either. I think your point is a good one, that it's easy to be focused on our little individual worlds, and forget that corporations are made up of people, and all resources have to come from somewhere.
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Marc on Sunday, March 02, 2014 8:13 PM
It's a fair question & probably my biggest issue with populist economics and policy. I think the problem is that while it is very easy for people to "want more", very few of them have any solid idea of how to "produce more". And if they want more, but don't get it? Well than, surely its not because of any *lack* on their part & if they talk loud enough it'll automagically happen. It is very easy to find stuff that is broken; it is not so easy to actually fix it.
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