Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Purpose of a Minimum Wage

"When we increase minimum wages by legislative fiat, we kill jobs."

So, what is the purpose of a job, if not to provide for that which life requires?  When the minimum wage was conceived the idea was to provide a full-time worker with the ability to access food, clothing, shelter, health and dental care without relying on government relief programs.  Why shouldn't a person working full time be afforded mere existence?  What we need to understand is that by not paying a true living wage to full time workers, corporations are being subsidized by government.

Minimum wage affords a worker now, very little in the way of a living.  Depending on the cost of living in your area, in America, $7.25 an hour is less than $14,000 after taxes.  The average apartment rental rate across the U.S. is around $1,100 a month, so this often leaves those at the bottom of the capitalistic food chain at the door steps of the welfare and food stamp offices.  Why should government, i.e. we the taxpayer be subsidizing businesses?  Shouldn't businesses 'still' be required to pay a living wage?

So, imagine the high school couple who gets pregnant.  Should they be able to make it, as a three-person family, on one full time job?  Is that the standard, because if it is, we are well below it now.  The food alone for the average family of three is $800 a month.  This is to say nothing of clothes, water, and heat or outside communication, another $400 a month, and that's if he can get a job within walking distance of their 2 bedroom apartment.  To pay for all this, he'll need a job that can pay him overtime, or he'll need to get a second job, which means more time away from home, not helping to raise his child.  How much time should be spent away from your family, to pay for their existence? Does the term full-time mean anything?  What is the minimum wage intended to cover?

The biggest question this issue raises is, why should government do, what businesses were supposed to do?  If you are working a full time job, why should you also qualify for government aid?