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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Increasing the minimum wage?

Since recently this has become something of an job hunting blog, I found this article via Newsalert quite interesting last night. At least here in Chicago there is a push by Chicago Aldermen to raise the minimum wage to at least $15/hour.

It almost reminds me of the fight to keep Walmart out of Chicago in the last decade. A city alderman proposed legislation for a living wage for big-box employees. That proposal was at least $10/hour with $3/hour in benefits. But imagine that fight and how it ultimately went back then.

It seemed while the politics kept Walmart from expanding in Chicago, it seemed Walmart wasn't going to lose. Ultimately the city has 3 Walmart Supercenters in the city and quite a few smaller Walmart stores dotted around the city. Although to make this expansion happened involved compromise between Walmart, the city, and even the unions.

Now the whole $15/hour minimum wage issue isn't new, there have been rallies for such a proposal and I showed a video of such activity last year. I can feel the ones who feel like they should be paid more, in fact I ought to be out there protesting with them. At the same time my feelings on this issue is conflicting.

Minimum wage is not supposed to be livable, it's a starting point. If you work hard or gain more valuable skills or even get educated then you can get beyond the minimum wage. Just because you work a low-wage job doesn't mean you're going to stay there unless you have little ambition to move beyond that level. Or at least that should be the idea.

In some of the articles I've seen on this issue many of these workers complain about not getting raises. I can feel them on that if they're performed at a level that their management expects of them then there's no reason to not give a raise. I also recognize that employers will put their priorities in other areas that might be taking care of the employees might not be high on the list of priorities.

I linked to two articles in talking about this. In the first article we see how a business complains about the push raise the minimum wage. They start talking about how they may not have as many entry-level positions to be filled as they did before any wage hike. And also how this might mean higher prices for consumers because those wages have to come from somewhere.

On the other hand, you have one of the Alderman who want to see a $15/hour minimum wage saying that the economy has never been harmed by a minimum wage increase. I'm sure this is justified by the many people who are working at the minimum wage and the many responsibilities such as food, rent, and taking care of children.

Well, I wish I knew an answer to this. To me raising the minimum wage isn't an answer it's a band-aid and certainly a political one at that. Hopefully when this is considered here's hoping business won't be forced to raise prices or stop hiring because of it.

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