$15 Minimum Wage – The Great Facebook Debate

Super Size My WageEvery once in a while I’ll post something on Facebook that tends to hit a nerve with people. I’m not an overly political or relgious guy when it comes to social media because those are lose / lose topics in my book. Unless of course we’re talking about hokey religions and ancient weapons, but I digress…

Here’s a look back at a few recent  Facebook discussion that I’ve archived here on the blog:

Well, I posted THIS message a couple of weeks back… and boy did it stir up a conversation:

Minimum Wage Facebook Post

Below is the un-edited discussion that status solicited.  Only last names have been removed. The “discussion” lasted over 3 days which is an eternity in today’s social media ladscape. It brought together both my liberal and conservative friends and I have to say… I learned quite a bit. Links / photos included from the original discussion.

Sorry if this offends you, but $15 minimum wage is insane. 
Actually no… not sorry. That’s just insane.

  • Kelly – Maybe they should stay in school and get an education. Like most people do. Just a thought
  • Frank – They? Interesting. Anyway. Even myself, being “rather liberal” believes $15 is excessive. $35,000 a year is not a “minimum wage” salary.
  • Greg – Frank – LOL @ “rather liberal” smile emoticon
  • Frank – Hahahaha. Simply for laughs.
    Another Word For Republican
  • Allen – No better word for this than insane. I just don’t understand Obamanomics.
  • Peter – Give poor people more money so they vote for you?
  • Joe – You hoping for more?
  • Steven – speaking from my entirely moderate point of view…i think the crux of the issue has more to do with cost of living and the fact that a minimum wage job used to be something that could support an adult. that’s one of the reasons why the boomers were able to do so well. that’s also why most major corporations regularly allow for 3-5% cost of living increases every year. the same goes for congress voting on their own raises for their already 6 figure, all expenses paid, incomes.then there’s FDR who said:”A business in the U.S. that does not pay a man a living wage has no business doing business in the U.S. “i’m not saying 15/hour is a legit number, but considering inflation of cost of living since the inception of minimum wage, it’s probably not hard to get to it.
  • Greg – Steven – all fair points you ol moderate you *giggle*There’s a couple of different things going on here though… all of which are really above my intellecutal pay grade. (no pun intended)Long gone are the times when a min wage job could / should support an adult… not to mention one with a family.The cost of living increases that actually did what they intended to do (keep up with inflation) are also the way of the dodo.All of that being said… asking any company / corporation to base his pay structure on the basis of what an employee needs (rather than what they deserve to be paid for the job they’re doing) is sort of ludicrious.What if the single mother has another kid…does her pay go up automatically? I’m not saying you’re suggeting that, just making a point…Whether the McDonald’s of the world should be allowed to operate in the US is another dicsussion… but I fear that these sorts of min wage increases will lead to either A) automating employees out of a job or B) $12 Whoppers.
  • Doug – Just vote for Hillary and she will give you money for not working….you can sit home and talk to your friends on the phone that Obama gave you for free…..
  • Steven – obama phones…
    http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/Politics/myth-obama-phone/story?id=17507339
  • Steve – “All of that being said… asking any company / corporation to base his pay structure on the basis of what an employee needs (rather than what they deserve to be paid for the job they’re doing) is sort of ludicrious.” Excellent point!
  • Steven – The next devil’s advocAte question is, Is there any point in still having a minimum wage?
  • John – I agree that no one should be content to sit in minimum wage job and should always seek out more. That being said, in the Bay Area, where a lot of lower and lower middle class people live, you CANNOT survive on less than 15$ an hour. Maybe in smaller areas, or other economies but a one bedroom apt goes for easily 1000$ around here. You really don’t understand until you have been pushed out of your whole life by the greed of the landlords who feel morally just in charging someone over 2500$ for a 3 bedroom. All races and classes are being squeezed, even the middle class which is disappearing. It’s adorable how fast people blame the poor, but not many of you seemed to care that the cost of living in America is rising.
  • Greg – John – I certainly care… and I recognize there’s a problem to be dealt with. I’m just not sure that raising the wage is the way to fix it. I’ll come back to this: “Asking any company / corporation to base his pay structure on the basis of what an employee needs (rather than what they deserve to be paid for the job they’re doing) is sort of ludicrious.”And while it may sound rude / ignorant (insert more apporpriate adjective)… if living in the area is too expensive, then perhaps living in the Bay Area isn’t where they should be living…
  • John – Needs? Three years ago they were paying X rent, now a landlord raises there rent to Y. So because of a “company/corporation” wanting more money for there property, the person should just move? People making 6 figures can’t afford to live here.. I think what you are confusing is someone wanting an XBox with someone trying to pay for their residence, Internet, gas, food, childcare.. And by saying “if living in an area is too expensive why don’t they move”, you just solved poverty! Why didn’t anyone else think of that? Hey poor people move to Wisconsin cause nobody lives there and shit is cheap.. I agree that in Ohio, 15$ an hour would be ludicrous as a minimum wage, but out here that’s barely scraping by..
  • 15 Minimum WageGreg – John – we’re getting toward ” agree to disagree” territory here.I don’t live in the Bay Area (at least in part) because I can’t afford to live in the Bay Area. I live within my means. If I want to buy something or move to a more expensive place I don’t expect my employer to make up the difference. I either get a new job or make myself more valuable to my employer so they’ll pay me more. That makes perfect logical sense to me. If it doesn’t to you I’m not sure what I can say that will change your mind.And no, I’m not talking about folks looking to pick up an XBOX. I get that there are things that folks NEED to pay for that are way overpriced (though if I’m being nitpicky I’m not sure I’d throw “internet” into that mix).
  • John – internet is now considered a basic right.. and you are off base, about moving to the expensive area.. because I and many others grew up here, it is the only place we know, we didn’t move here. We are just getting priced out by the greed of man. I am not moving to the wealthy side of town, I live in a suburb 30 minutes outside of SF. Your solutions sound simple, but you are seeing them through rose colored glasses.
  • David – If the MW followed inflation, it would be $10.52. Put it there and tie raises to inflation.
  • Greg – A) the Internet isn’t a “basic right”. For you and me it’s a way of life. But to suggest that its up there with food/shelter is laughable.B) the fact that you grew up there is immaterial. You don’t “deserve” to live in an affluent neighborhood any more than people who grew up in Detroit “deserve” to live in a shithole.It sucks that you’re getting priced out and I honesty feel for you… I’m not sure what the answer is. But artifically inflating the worth of a worker doing a job that anyone with a pulse can do isn’t it.
  • Steve – Rental rates are driven by several factors, most of which far outweigh owner greed. While it’s true that a landlord will always try to get as much as he can get for his property, the price will always be driven by demand and occupancy. If you can’t fill the space, you’re dropping your rates.
  • David – That’s part of the problem. People think cable TV, Internet, cellphones with data plans, living in certain areas and owning a car are entitlements.
  • David – Also Steve, if you own a building in an area where rents are rising, so is your tax bill and maintenance costs. Owning properties isn’t a stagnant market where they throw out rental numbers and hope someone bites. The market bears what it bears. I see it daily.
  • Shawn – So rent rises because demand has outpaced supply (oddly in part some would argue because of zoning laws that artificially hamper the market) and those who have entered that field are greedy. Fast food owners are also greedy (with their 3-6% profit margins) though their price points do not tend to rise and fall based on the area’s cost of living nearly as dramatically. Yet, because those fast food workers have established themselves in an area where the rents are high, they should pay their staff more (though the staff is no more qualified to push a button there than in Findlay, Ohio) simply because the cost of the employees rent is higher?
  • Shawn – But it’s not greedy to feel entitled to internet. Got it.
  • John – You guys are high.. So if I want a job I should go pick up what? The newspaper and call them on my landline phone? Most companies don’t even have paper applications. Internet is about to become public utility, like water and electricity. And a house that was renting for 1900 is now 3000 is okay? Same house, same mortgage, landlord looks around and raises it, why? Cause the cost of taxes? Stfu.. You guys are being very tunnel vision with your responses. You guys sound like you were hired by the wealthy to keep them in business. What kind of jobs do you think people do? So your against people milking social programs, but if they have a job your against them making a “living” wage in the area they live?
  • Missy – I’m just gonna say in regards to the point that if the area you live is now out of your means and you should just move…It’s really not that simple. I lived in San Diego and was a single mother. I was not getting all my child support and working to provide a roof over my kids heads. I knew I needed to move, I was drowning and could barely afford the necessities never mind the luxuries. BUT move with what money? All my money went to keeping us afloat. There wasn’t any extra to afford a deposit/1st months rent/ transferring utilities and that would be me just moving to East San Diego where its costs “slightly less” Moving to another state that ultimately I would be able to survive seemed FAR out of my reach. Moving trucks/gas and or airline or just taking the basics then having to buy everything all over again. I was fortunate that I had some people who offered help and I moved to Washington. But truly not everyone has that. I agree $15/hr is insane and I thought that when it was first mentioned awhile back up here in Seatac. I agree with you there…but the “just move” aspect I see differently.
  • John – I think you guys don’t have a real picture of who is struggling. It’s not the welfare queens and drug addict criminals, or uneducated urban youth… These are families like yours and mine, who weren’t always afforded the privilege that maybe you guys were, or were in a situation where they had no other options but to work at fast food.
    Some of them work two jobs with no car to keep their children fed.. I hear a lot of condescension in your replies over people with aspirations and hopes similar to yours. It’s called compassion, it’s not just spouting your rhetoric and talking points.
  • Steve – 2 points. A couple of years ago, I sold the home where my kids were born and downsized to a place half the size. I also pulled them from private school and moved to an area with a good public school option. Why? Because my economic circumstances changed and I made a risky move to build a small company with someone. Home is where the heart is, right? wink emoticon And as for wages, I don’t think anyone here wants to keep people’s wages low. I would be willing to bet that most have been involved in their own business to varying degrees and understand that you pay what you can afford based on the economic value of the job. Of course, I am speaking of small business, but same principles apply for the most part. The real people getting the short end of the stick are the mid-level salaried folks who work more than 40 hours, contribute significantly more economic benefit to the owners, and are then not rewarded for their extra time.
  • Shawn – Yes, John it’s called a free market. If you want to avoid the volatility of a run on real estate then buy a property and take the ride. Otherwise as a renter you are subject to the risk that the city where you live becomes more attractive (heaven forbid).
  • David – I haven’t seen any condescension other than scoffing at the notion that any and every job should be paid $15 an hour. I even wrote that I am fine upping it to 10.50 and tying it to inflation. That’s fair. We used to pay my guys at Servpro $15 an hour but they were performing hard labor and worked odd hours. If they could make that same money flipping burgers, they probably would. Those burger folks have to be careful they aren’t also pricing their own skills/work habits out of a job.
  • Christina – Kelly Ann-that’s a rather antiquated idea. There are plenty of kids out there with educations that are underemployed. Come on-last I checked a degree wasn’t a guarantee of a high paying job
  • Joe – Look at this awesome conversation. Great. The truth is that we the public bare the burden of subsidizing the minimum wage earners already! Why should we do that when corporate profits are at an all time high? The actual cost of a “minimum wage” is a simple way to rob Peter and then rob Paul as well…
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/04/15/we-are-spending-153-billion-a-year-to-subsidize-mcdonalds-and-walmarts-low-wage-workers/
  • David – We were fed that same nonsense when being sold Obamacare and that’s now going to cost a trillion dollars. Fool me once…..
  • Steven – “If the MW followed inflation, it would be $10.52. Put it there and tie raises to inflation.”pretty sure that david and i have disagreed on a lot of greg’s posts before. however, his comment is well thought and considerate of the fact that the minimum wage is a standard.so i throw the question out one more time: should minimum wage even exist?at the time of its inception, it was about dignity and covering the cost of living. now it seems that a lot of people think it’s to ensure the part-time wages of teenagers.
  • David – At the time of its inception it did not apply to most workers.
  • Shawn – Oh right. The top 20% subsidized the 5% who earn minimum wage by contributing 80% of the federal income tax dollars, so we should raise the minimum wage to squeeze the profits from entrepreneurs who make slim margins to begin with. Got it. Seems completely insane.
  • Steve Smith Regarding the huge profit margins at WalMart… less than 6% operating margins and deteriorating.
    https://www.stock-analysis-on.net/NYSE/Company/Wal-Mart-Stores-Inc/Ratios/Profitability#Net-Profit-Margin
  • Brian – But, why? Who are we to decide what’s “fair pay” for a job we’re all overqualified for? Is it a self assurance thing? Like we need to know that we make more than what we have determined to be lesser professions? “I’m a teacher/roofer/mechanic that makes $35k/year and I don’t think it’s fair that a mindless job for dumb people ‘flipping burgers’ makes almost as much as me.” History has shown that raising minimum wage has no impact on inflation. And I understand we’ve never raised it by this much so it’s difficult to compare. But the fact remains inflation occurs regardless and wages have not kept pace.
  • Brian – Last point, aside from the gov’t interference into private business (which, as a Libertarian, I don’t like either), why don’t conservatives LOVE this idea? A more healthy living wage gets more people off of welfare, off food stamps and off government subsidies. All without costing taxpayers a dime. Your Big Mac might cost $5 instead of $3.50, I guess.
  • David – I’d be willing to bet a lot of those same people will just work fewer hours. There’s no evidence raising it saved anyone money either.
  • Joe – I won’t feed trolls so I’ll leave the healthcare comments alone. The cost of a minimum wage earner to our economy is hardly propaganda. Anyone who thinks a person making minimum wage, working full time and also gettinh food stamps doesnt directly cost us money is just impossible to have a real conversion with about the substance.
  • Steve – Give it a couple of years for the data to shake out, and you’ll have a great real world case from Seattle.
  • David – What’s trolling about mentioning health care? We were told that we spend billions on subsidizing health care at clinics and ERs. It’s the same tact being used to push the living wage argument. Trust me guy, I’m perfectly well-versed enough to make an argument without trolling.
  • Joe – I can tell just by your tone.
  • Greg – I have to say… I love it when I can bring my liberal and conservative friends together for a good conversation.
  • David – And we see who threw mud first.
  • Brian – Minimum wage would actually be at $21.72 per hour if it were tied to worker productivity. Meaning that the value associated with producing X number of goods was not tied to the worker. Now that goods can be more efficiently produced, the only one to see gains would be the business owner. This is one of the reasons for such a great disparity in income in our country.
  • David – I’ve seen that “worker productivity” argument but it ignores who paid the cost improve productivity. Workers don’t pay for machines or the cost to run them. That’s why I trust the inflation number. That accounts for what it costs to live. This article makes a good point that only 7% of people below the poverty line work full time jobs anyways. It also points out that the argument that raising it would get people off assistance doesn’t work because 42% of the people who earn those wages aren’t heads of household despite anecdotal evidence to the contrary.
    http://reason.com/archives/2014/09/13/dont-torpedo-opportunity-with-a-minimum
  • Joe – I’d just add to David’s above post. 1) the poverty line is $23k a year (a joke) and 2) people living below that level is the lowest it’s been in 50 years. It’s not that people don’t want to work full time, thy do. Many of them can’t get more hours from their employers. Some employers [Walmart] are slashing hours to avoid healthcare costs (putting them on our backs) which further adds to this issue of you and I subsidizing corporations. Peace and love.
  • Missy – Does the only 7% below poverty working full time take into account mutiple part time jobs working more than 40 hours a week or it is based soley on being on the books as full time?
  • David – I believe it’s those who work full time hours of any mix.
  • Joe – “Full time” is any combination equal or more than 35 hrs a week.
    http://m.stltoday.com/business/local/more-than-a-million-americans-are-working-multiple-part-time/article_2816e577-f735-5607-bd31-0343c7ab5ecb.html?mobile_touch=true
  • Craig – But on some counts, living way below the poverty level and people getting subsidized with government benefits isn’t insane either?With the minimum wage so low, the government is basically letting companies like Walmart and McDonald’s (just examples) the ability to pay their employees bare minimum wages. Those employees the. Are eligible to get welfare and food stamps. So the difference of just paying the employees $15 to begin with is paid by the U.S. Taxpayers instead of the companies themselves. The money not spent on employees is then pocketed by the CEOs and other executives.Look at that company that was just on tv where the CEO took his million dollar salary and divided it amongst his employees. Over 50% of the employees doubled their wages.
  • Shawn – Baseline question, is it okay for a 16 yr old to make minimum wage or should that 16 yr old earn $15/hour?
  • Greg – The 16 year old should be paid based on the value they’re providing. If that’s $15 so be it. If it’s more / less it should be based on the job they’re doing.
  • David – That belies the whole idea that the minimum wage is there so that people can make a “living wage”.
  • Greg – Presented without comment:“It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.”― Murray N. Rothbard
  • Arlo – Not to question a meme but what fire department on the planet pays 11 bucks an hour?
    $15 To Do This
  • David
    False All Memes Are True
  • Shawn – That meme has fewer misleading points than this article,
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/04/15/we-are-spending-153-billion-a-year-to-subsidize-mcdonalds-and-walmarts-low-wage-workers/
  • Steve – I have two friends who work for the fire department. Both are volunteers, love what they do, and earn far less than $11 per hour… $0 to be exact.
  • David – That’s less than $15, right?
  • Arlo – Apples / Oranges and special circumstances there. I mean Christ with that logic a kid running a 25 cent lemonade stand is making too much
  • Joe – A great summary.
    http://www.attn.com/stories/1436/majority-assistance-program-goes-towards-low-wage-workers
  • Shawn – I’m so glad you referenced this. A working family defied as working 10 hrs for 26 weeks? And who is paying these subsidies (top 20% pay 80% of fed income taxes)? No way that those folks get a tax cut of min wage is raised. This is research funded by unions to produce a narrative they want. Sold by media that want to do anything but present an impartial story. Greg was right, this is insane.
  • David – No, it isn’t unless you accept every single one of the pro-$15/hr arguments. The claim the MW would be X if tied to “worker productivity” continues to annoy me.
  • David – I meant that isn’t a great summary.
  • Shawn – Just an impartial academic report HA!
    http://freebeacon.com/issues/industry-critics-uc-berkeley-playing-host-to-union-funded-activist-research/
  • David – Shocker.
  • Joe – Thanks for sharing. Certainly both valid views.

So there you have it… I’ll update this post if / when additional comments are added but I have a feeling that at this point we’re all conversed out.

Dare I ask? Where do you stand on the minimum wage issue?

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