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Minimum wage

I thought Jim Sinclair, president of the BC Federation of Labour was right to demand a sizable increase in the minimum wage but after seeing that the Fraser Institute was against it I knew it was right. The reason workers in McDonald’s and their ilk are paid so pitifully is because the owners can get away with it. The direct result of this state of affairs is that the grief that comes from downturns in the economy is passed on, disproportionately to the minimum wage earner yet there is no win for him/her when the economy is good.

That the Fraser Institute would take the position they do is not surprising considering that a few years ago, one of their “fellows”, Dr. Walter Bloch, stood for voluntary slavery! If you don’t believe it, go to Google and find out for yourself.

They also believe that all rivers should be private property and that somehow this would mean that they would be better cared for because owners would make the best possible use of them. Actually, I don’t doubt that’s true since the best available use of a river is as a sewer for agriculture or industry.

We have a long history in BC of caring for one another – the left and the old Socreds because it’s the right thing to do, the right wing, Campbell & Co. grudgingly because they must.

People who don’t make enough to live on, too often find other ways to make ends meet.

Frankly, I can’t understand why a dime extra on a burger would be a big deal and I rather expect that the public would cheerfully do this to give those kids a living wage.

8 Responses to “Minimum wage”

  1. jartann says:

    The easiest money to spend is someone else’s, which is why so many higher purpose people (HPP’s) support increasing the minimum wage, without producing much in the way of research to show that it does much good.

    Since Dr. Bloch is no longer a fellow at the Fraser Institute, Rafe’s ad hominem attack involving him has no relevance-but then that is how advocacy from HPP’s works-attack anyone who disagrees instead of dealing with issues on their merits. I couldn’t fine Dr. Block’s piece on voluntary slavery, and suspect there is more to it than meets the eye.

    First, if the minimium wage was to increase by 25%, from $8 to $10 as is being advocated, what would be the over all effect? Well, everyone else will want an increase too. If increasing everyone’s wage by government order produced prosperity, why stop at $10? Let’s go to $25 per hour and really improve things.

    According to stats Canada, 59% of minimum wage earners are between 15 to 24 years old, and 93% of such earners live at home with family. So, the old canard about the poor person living alone who can’t make it on minimum wage does not apply to most earners. And, a 25% increase in the minimum wage will not materially improve the wage earner’s economic position. Also, it appears that 80% of people earning minimum wage in Year 1, are not earning minimum wage by year 3. Temporary work.

    But what, as appears likely, if employers find that they cannot pass the cost increase on to customers? Fewer hours? Probably. So, more hours but higher hourly rate does not equal more money in the long run. Jim Sinclair really supports this because big labour in BC, and particularly big public sector labour, can then use this as a springboard to argue for higher wages for their members. And, as usual, it is big public sector labour who will benefit.

    Caring is great. But, no amount of caring can turn a bad economic argument into a good one. The road to hell, and high unemployment, has been paved with good intentions. If the higher minimum wage plan is such a winner, why is unemployment so much higher, and chronically so, in places in Eastern Canada where the rate is higher?

  2. Hixxville says:

    As to protection of rivers, the current method where they’re owned by everyone (and therefore no one) and are priceless (which has the same value as worthless) doesn’t seem to work all that well either.

    How about placing a real value on ‘priceless’ nature?

    You want to put 3 tonnes a year of sewage into the Fraser River? Okay, it would cost $XX,XXX to process that amount of sewage into it’s constituent neutral ingredients, that’s the price.

    Then you’d rather put it somewhere cheaper? Excellent, here are your options.

    In all these arguments I think we’re much better served to start from principles rather than warm fuzz homilies.

  3. J Evans says:

    I think the reality is an extra dime on a burger will go into the company pocket and not the workers. I am not sure what raising Min wage will do to help when I earn 50k a year as a single parent and still can’t afford to live in B.C.. I think jartann makes a good point on what the unions real goal of raising the wage is reflective of. But I question his stat’s as well. If you hit any fast food chain local to me. It is filled with elderly or minority workers and very little of this “15 to 24”. These workers will also be here 3 years later most likely.The great thing about stat’s is that they reflect what someone wants you to see and not the reality. I choose to use my own eye on this one.

    As for our rivers, unless they are given some kind of status such as our national parks and protected under that status. I don’t think they have a chance. Private or Government will both have the same result I think. Whatever makes the money happens.

  4. jartann says:

    The stats are from Stats Canada. But the essential issue with minimum wage is to ask: where is the evidence that it works? For so many people, feel good ideas should be implemented even if there is no research that it benefits the people it purports to benefit.
    If government has the power to set wage rates for some workers, why not all workers? Why not mandate a 25% increase in pay for everyone? Because it doesn’t work, and the people recommending it know it, but they are guilt tripped because they are buying burgers or latte or whatever from a minimum wage operation.

    Rafe’s point about the fraser Institute and rivers is a red herring because it has nothing to do with the minimum wage analysis. No one should agree, or disagree with their ideas just because it is the Fraser Institute. So, on the minimum wage issue, they are simply asking who would benefit, would they really benefit and what would be the impact longer term.
    When it comes to younger people, these minimum wage places are doing them a favour because they need job and work skills. And, they are less likely to get those if they are being paid more money than makes economic sense. Which is why youth unemployment is so chronically high in many European countries.

  5. admin says:

    jartann, Rafe’s point about the Fraser Institute is NOT a red herrring. “No one should agree, or disagree with their ideas just because it is the Fraser Institute.” Are you trying to tell me, or anyone else, what I should agree with or disagree with?

    Fact of the matter is, the Fraser Institute’s perspective (and the perspective of the creatures who fund it) about the relationship that human beings have to each other and the planet we live on is so fundamentally wrong that I have no reluctance in saying that I disagree with ANY idea that the FI puts forward.

  6. J Evans says:

    jartann
    “If government has the power to set wage rates for some workers, why not all workers?”
    I think a min wage actually does accomplish this in some way. A min wage is used by the work force as a comparision in diciding what is offered for non min wage jobs. By raising the min, you are raising the bar that the rest of the work force uses to decide if the pay compinsation recieved is in line with the market. Thus why I think the above point of the union’s support of it’s increase and using that as a bargining chip is valid.

    “When it comes to younger people, these minimum wage places are doing them a favour because they need job and work skills.”
    I agree with this. If not for what you express above, but also for the fact that this generation has some of the worse work ethics ever seen. 🙂

    I don’t have an answer to this by any means. But I do think that if min wage isn’t able to cover the basic costs of living in one’s area. Then it really doesn’t serve it’s reason for being there. Thus it should either be set at a rate that covers the need or look at being done away with. I think that B.C being an over inflated market place doesn’t help figure out what is fair either. I don’t want to see people going hungry, but I also am not interested in people getting any kind of free ride either. Enough for basics … not for toys and electronics.

  7. G Ruiz says:

    BC has the lowest minimum wage of all Canadian provinces. If BC were the cheapest province to live in, I could understand this. However, it definitely is not.

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