Senate rejects minimun wage hike

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Roger1, Oct 29, 2005.

  1. Roger1 macrumors 65816

    Roger1

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    #1
    Rich Senators Defeat Minimum-Wage Hike

    Congressional Pay Rises While Minimum Stays Same

    Helen Thomas, Hearst White House columnist
    U.S. senators -- who draw salaries of $162,100 a year and enjoy a raft of perks -- have rejected a minimum wage hike from $5.15 an hour to $6.25 for blue-collar workers.
    Can you believe it?
    The proposed increase was sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and turned down in the Senate by a vote of 51 against the boost and 49 in favor. Under a Senate agreement, it needed 60 votes to pass.
    All the Democrats voted for the wage boost. All the negative votes were cast by Republicans.
    Four Republicans voted for it. Three of the four are running for reelection and were probably worried about how voters would react if they knew that their well-heeled senators had turned down a pittance of an increase in the salaries of the lowest paid workers in the country.
    The minimum wage was last increased in 1997.
    Kennedy called the vote "absolutely unconscionable."



    More: http://www.wesh.com/helenthomas/5183628/detail.html
     
  2. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    #2
    Meh.

    Ask Helen Thomas how much she is worth.
     
  3. eva01 macrumors 601

    eva01

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    #3
    keep trying Ted, this is why MA > Rest of Country in jobs in my opinion, minimum wage i believe is 6.75 and i have not been in a job since i was 16 (?) that only paid me minimum wage. And that job gave me a 50 cent pay raise in 4 months.
     
  4. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #4
    Floriduh also has their own law regarding minimum wage so that it's higher than the federal law.

    It's sad that these people get so much that they don't understand how it is to struggle. In this age of high speed communications, they should probably all be in their own states, answering to their constituents on a daily basis, and voting and extolling each other's virtues over the internet, maybe with the new iMacs. Missed votes should be deducted from their salary.

    There is no reason for them to maintain a second home or waste fuel commuting to D.C. anymore. They need to work like anyone else.
     
  5. kuyu macrumors 6502a

    kuyu

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    #5
    Hey guys, just browsing this morning and this one caught my eye. I can tell you why the Rep's voted this thing down, but you must promise to treat my explanation as such. That is, explanation and justification are NOT the same thing. I'm not making a case for the other side, just giving the reasoning. So please, no flames.

    I work at a pizza place. We are a fairly profitable venture but no one is buying any yachts with the profits, if you know what I mean. Our two greatest expenses are food cost and wages. We use a Linux database that's updated realtime to monitor wage costs relative to sales. The target is about $44/person/hour. If this number hits $35 then there are people just standing around.

    Now, if minimum wage were to suddenly be $10/hour my employer would be in quite a pickle. They would suddenly have two options. One, they cut back the labor force by firing some of us or scheduling fewer of us for a shift. In this scenario, those of us who are at work will have to do the job of two people. And the service would surely suffer for it. The other option is to raise the price of the food and maintain the same workforce. This is good for us, but what good is all that extra money if stuff costs more?

    Odds are, they would use a mix of the two. Prices would rise and the workforce would be cutback to cover the new costs. That or they just maintain the prices, the workforce, and go out of business. Basically, the average worker is screwed either way.

    Generally, unemployment and inflation are negatively coorelated. But as the example above shows, creating an artificial wage floor actually increases both unemployment and inflation. If this is allowed to happen we could get stagflation, which is a very bad thing. Not to mention the huge advantage for outsourcing this presents.

    So you see, it's not the $1 something an hour the republicans are opposed to. It's unemployment and inflation. They see increases in minimum wage as a sort of 'slippery slope'. There is some research to support the idea that with no minimum wage, the average low-skill laborer would earn more like $7/hour. But, the current laws allow owners to pay them some arbitrary wage instead of paying them what they're worth.

    Now, I know that the elected democrats with Ivy league educations know this to be true. This begs the question, what is their motivation? Is it to actually help the little guy (which it won't, in the long term) or to help themselves get re-elected (which it will, in the long term). See, they're using the low skilled workers economic ignorance as a political tool.

    That being said, someone earning $5.50/hour is in poverty. It's not enough money to pay for rent, food, etc. But, raising the minimum wage is NOT the way to help such people. It does more harm than good. It's a great campaign slogan, but not a great solution.

    It's a complex problem and I suspect it requires a complex solution. Tax benefits, education, social services, daycares, and after school activities can all play a part. We can all agree what the endgame is though. Poverty has no place in a nation as wealthy as this one. I don't know what the answer is, but I know what the answer isn't.

    To be fair, at least the democrats are feigning interest, which is more than the republicans are doing.

    Hope this was informative.:)
     
  6. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

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    #6
    yeah but they aren't talking a HUGE shift like you mention (5.15 to 10) which surely would cause problems. raising it the dollar or should could easily be absorbed by most any business with slight price adjustments and minimal hour cuts if any needed
     
  7. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #7
    What's more, the wage increases would apply equally to every other pizza place in town, and so results in no competitive disadvantage to any one of them.

    Many (most?) states set their own minimum wages higher than the federal minimum wage, so this battle takes on mainly a symbolic quality. But as symbols go, it's a potent one. I hope the voters will remember which senators voted for huge transfers of public funds to a variety of industries over the past few years but denied even a dollar an hour to people on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder.
     
  8. watcher2001 macrumors 6502a

    watcher2001

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    #8
    I am so glad to see there is someone else out there that understands economics. While I have not worked for minimum wage in many many years I do feel for the people that do. I agree that we need to help the poor but giving them an extra dollar an hour is not going to help anyone at all. What we need to do is push that money into education programs so that they can learn skills for better jobs. then we can leave the minimum wage jobs to the teenagers who can live on minimum wage while they live at home.
     
  9. eva01 macrumors 601

    eva01

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    #9
    and what about the immigrants from hispanic countries that only have jobs at minimum wage? Where do we help them out since they really aren't into education and need a higher wage.

    There is ALWAYS going to be jobs that are minimum wage and people (read: not teenagers) are going to be doing the job. Do we just say "oh well" to them and not give them higher wage?

    Happened at a restaurant i worked at with immigrants, they were being paid less than the rest of us that were non immigrants.
     
  10. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #10
    Of the economic arguments for and against the minimum wage, none seems to prevail over the others. Just so we're clear on this one: "understanding" economics does not lead inexorably to taking one position over another on the minimum wage. That is why this debate tends to reduce to political symbolism, which is fine as far as I'm concerned. Congress has taken so many actions over the past few years with no regard for their economic utility, all favoring the favored industries in the nation, that I think it is worth reopening the question of who our government serves. Is it the business of Congress to comfort the comfortable, or to help those who struggle to survive on the margins of our society? We just got a roll call in the Senate on this question, one most people can understand. We need more of them.
     
  11. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #11
    kuyu -- after reading your explanation, i'd like to know why we need any minimum wage at all. is it economics or politics which demands it?
     
  12. kuyu macrumors 6502a

    kuyu

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    #12
    Great writing IJ. The problem is that when mainstream America envisions the "marginal" of our society, they don't see a single mother of three working two jobs to survive. They see yesterdays Jerry Springer guest; a welfare opportunist who doesn't have the money for books, but can somehow afford a $35 bag of weed every other day.

    I've been going to the 'projects' about twice a week for three years as a part of my job. 80% of the residents aren't there because they have to be. It's a choice they've made. I've witnessed a woman spend $30 dollars on food for her and the boyfriend, while her 3 kids sat on a bare floor eating raw hotdogs. I've seen 6-year old's walk to the dealers house to pickup Mom's drugs because she doesn't feel like going herself, only to go back because the sack was short. I've seen little kids hold the blunt while their parents pay for the food. I've seen children screamed at, hit, called stupid, and pushed down, all for attempting to talk to me.

    Unfortunately cases like this aren't the objection, they're the norm. For every honest person who fell between the cracks, there are 10 freeloaders waiting to rape the systems goodwill. They don't care about you, me, or the rest of the hard working people in this world. They don't even care about eachother, let alone themselves. It sucks, but that's the real world.

    The government should help these people, no doubt. But the current tactics aren't working. I wish I had the answer.:confused:
     
  13. kuyu macrumors 6502a

    kuyu

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    #13
    Politics. Mathematical economics shows that minimum wage is a drag on the economic welfare on those who earn such wages.

    In a truly competitive system, the mantra would read "From each according his ability, to each according his ability." Instead we get "From each according his ability, to each according an arbitrary estimation of worth tailored to fit the lowest common denominator."

    The guy who mops up crap and gets leaky trash juice all over him should make more than the cash register person. But instead they both make $5.15. Go figure...
     
  14. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #14
    Sorry but- being in corporate America I can tell you that you that people aren't paid what they're worth either- at least where I work. The only time people seem to get offered raises is when they threaten to quit, and by that time they've had enough and quit anyway.

    For example, this year I worked tons of hours on salary to get new business for the company I work for. I actually stayed overnight to get one pitch done and we won that account. Guess what? Come raise time? No raise. You know what they told us? "Only the top third of performers are getting raises this year". My question was- "After all the weekends and nights I've spent in this place, I'm wondering what puts one in the top third? Do I need to make this my permanent address?" Turns out it was all BS and the only people who got raises were- three guesses! Upper management. And after doing some asking around, I've found this is becoming more and more common. Your mantra is, sadly, wishful thinking because it fails to take into account human nature. It's human nature to get away with what ever you can.
     
  15. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #15
    Billions of our tax dollars for a dreamed up war, Billions to oil companys in a record profit year but raise the minimum wage? Republicans have again showed their true colors. They are shafting every working American but they have been doing it for years, whats new? People take notice.
     
  16. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #16
    I hope they do. After 12 years of Reagan and Bush, I thought people would get it, but no. Those who don't learn from history...
     
  17. kuyu macrumors 6502a

    kuyu

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    #17
    I make just over minimum wage. I would have gotten a mandatory raise if this bill had passed.

    $5.50 is better than getting fired or less hours.
     
  18. Chacala_Nayarit macrumors 6502

    Chacala_Nayarit

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    #18
    Alaska: 7.15, but most jobs in the low-end jobs start at 8.50.

    Washington: 7.35, but going to 7.65 in 2006, and most low-end jobs start at 8-9.

    It seems only the poorest states use the federal 5.15.
     
  19. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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  20. Chacala_Nayarit macrumors 6502

    Chacala_Nayarit

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    #20
    Wow, some of those states should be ashamed of themselves. Example, how dare they pay 2.65 an hour in Kansas, with no over-time until 46 hours. :rolleyes:

    Guess them folks ain't gonna be buyin' any of them there Mac computers anytime soon, ya reckon?

    This is why it's important to go to college. Even if it's only a two-degree from a community college, it's better than nothing. :eek:
     
  21. Chacala_Nayarit macrumors 6502

    Chacala_Nayarit

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    #21

    I package frozen fish, and sometimes pull guts when the freezer is down, and average 10.00 an hour. The base pay last year was 7.40 an hour, but I worked like 112 hour weeks, sometimes less. I would sign for my hours and have like 60+ hours of over-time a week. The average was about 10.00 and hour for the whole 6 months. Some months I cleared 3,700.00.

    The wages are going up next season, to at least 7.65 (plus over-time, room and board). Oh yeah, the only expenses on the boat are personal stuff like smokes for 35.00 a carton, toiletries, et cetera, from the ship store (tax free). There is always food and three buffet-style meals a day, all you can eat.

    The boat leaves Seattle in Febuarary and returns in late August. Most of the crew will not return, and speaking Spanish helps. :)

    http://snopacproducts.com
     
  22. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #22
    Everyone envisions what they will, but this doesn't change any realities. In any event, I'm not talking about the chronic welfare recipient. I'm talking about working. Working for the minimum wage.

    I have to wonder why so many people have come to think that their choices boil down to getting paid poverty wages or having no job at all. How did they get those ideas into their heads? I suppose it must have been the incessant drumbeat of conservative economic theorists and their allies in industry and the political establishment, not to mention, 30 years of steady downward mobility for the working class in the U.S.

    I think this level of demoralization is sad. It's beyond sad, it's tragic. So I welcome this debate, even at the expense of opening it in symbolic ways, such as talking about the minimum wage, and what it really means to survive on it. It makes a change from years of economic fatalism and social darwinism, which is all we've ever really gotten from the conservative side.
     
  23. generik macrumors 601

    generik

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    #23
    Anyway I have to say that $5 isn't all that bad really.

    In countries like Singapore, MacDonalds pay their counter staffs S$3.50 an hour, and probably $5 if you are "promoted"... now that's only... USD$2.

    Ironically contrast it with down under, where the same macdonald's cashier is paid A$10 a hour... approximately USD$7.

    Different places have it differently!
     
  24. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #24
    I don't think that arguement works because she's for the increase. :rolleyes:

    It wasn't that long ago I was working for minimum wage, or barely above. Some of us just take whatever job we can take when we can get it. Of course, I'm making a lot more than that now, but still... Remember this the next time you go to a retail store or fast food joint. You get what you pay for. ;)
     
  25. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #25
    I feel if they can act a " Minimum" wage then perhaps they should inact a "Maximum" wage. Almost every CEO is overpaid in this country and these guys are making millions a year, moving factories overseas and get stock options that are more millions. Its time to for a Maximum wage for all those greedy Ceo's. I say a million dollars max anymore is just waste & greed.:)
     

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