---- — Minimum wage is never a livable wage
In this country, we have what is known as the Minimum Wage Law. Not to put too fine a point on it, the law designates a predetermined amount, which is adjusted, usually upward, to keep pace with the current economy.
Unfortunately, this predetermined amount never manages to keep up with the current economy, and never has been able to provide a “living wage.” Some have speculated that a specific amount, some have cited $10 per hour and others have cited $15 per hour, as the solution to the problem.
So let us break the figures down. Based on a 40-hour work week, 40 hours times $10 per hour computes to $400. The question now becomes a matter of how far a weekly wage of $400 can be stretched. If one begins with $400, then deducts state and federal withholdings, shelter, groceries, vehicle payments and insurance, the paycheck soon becomes a shadow of its former self.
And that only covers one person. If one is to divide it down to cover a family of three or more, that $400 grows woefully inadequate.
And the source of the typical paycheck, the employer, is not much help. Employers have been known to reduce allotted hours to a point where they can reduce wages, reduce or eliminate benefits. It soon becomes a matter of saving money on payroll and benefits as opposed to the employer biting the bullet. Over the years the evidence tends to support these facts.
The minimum wage is periodically increased, allegedly to keep pace with the economy, which seems to keep pace with the minimum wage. Or does it? I’ll let you be the judge of that. The problem is that no matter how often the minimum wage is increased, it never seems to matter because it soon becomes inadequate.
To sum up, the biggest problem with the minimum wage is that it is never enough in terms of livability.
Capitalism is better than the alternative
This is a comment in response to the letter “Capitalistic greed must be reined in” of March 7.
Shortly after the breakup of the U.S.S.R. in 1989, my wife, Barbara, and I were on a Baltic cruise, and we took a side excursion into Moscow to see the Kremlin and the city. When we got there, our Russian guide was a young lady who gave us a great tour. Along the way we asked her how Russians were getting along in the new capitalistic regime. She replied the stores under big-government socialism never had anything to sell, and if you really wanted something you would have to bribe someone to get it. Under the new capitalistic system, the stores had everything you could want but nobody had the money to purchase it.
Then with a wry grin she told this story: She said that when Russians had difficult questions to answer, they consulted their great philosophers. In this case about which system was better. After many months the philosophers finally presented their analysis. They said under one system, man exploits man, and then after a slight pause they said, under the other system, vice versa. In my view the capitalistic system does pretty good compared to whatever comes in second place.
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