Tag Archives: living wage

Thursday Evening Ramblings – 7/18/2019

I believe in the invisible hand. I believe that when market forces are allowed to function without excessive interference (like onerous regulations or protectionist tariffs) individuals will find an equilibrium for prices and wages.

One factor I’ve never quite understood, and maybe someone out there could explain it to me, is why we fixate on hourly wages for jobs in profit driven businesses. To me, an hourly wage is counterproductive for both the employer and the employee. It offers no incentive for an employee to work harder or be more productive in that position. As long as you show up and do the minimum required, you will earn the set hourly rate.

To me, it makes more sense to establish wage structures that are linked to productivity. If the business as a whole does well, both the employer and the employee earn more money. In the past, before computers were so prevalent, I can understand why this would have been impossible, but today, someone who is skilled at programming and math could easily tailor software for virtually every business that could calculate fair profit sharing wages.

This is an idea that both liberals and conservatives could find common ground on and improve the lives of just about everyone. I’ve worked in a broad range of businesses, and I could see this being applied everywhere I’ve ever worked. I once knew the owner of a repair shop who did this for his mechanics, and he said that his business absolutely exploded after he made the switch. Suddenly, those Friday afternoon jobs that normally were left until Monday morning weren’t quite as difficult to complete because the mechanic wanted the pay on this check.

If I were a person of influence, this would be my cause: to unite employers and employees in productivity-based wages instead of a set hourly rate.

That’s all for now.

Let Them Eat Cake

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I have no doubt that successful entrepreneurs have worked hard to get their businesses afloat and sustainable. I have worked in many different industries on many different levels and have witnessed firsthand just how hard many owners and executives work. There is no doubt that hands-on entrepreneurs put in long hours and suffer incredible levels of stress. I harbor no ill will for anyone who rolls up their sleeves, puts in the hard work, and reaps rewards for their efforts. Hard work and effort should always be rewarded.

However, where I bristle and when the fighting side of me comes out is when someone of means insists their hard work and effort is superior to others just because they have made more money from it. First and foremost, no one does anything alone. Unless you personally built the building, paved all the roads you use, grew or mined all your resources, and invented every piece of technology you utilize, you received help along the way. Unless you were a trust fund baby who decided to gamble your own wealth, somewhere along the way a bank extended you credit. Unless you personally handle each and every step of your day-to-day operations, somewhere along the way employees have helped you achieve success. Those employees who help you succeed, from the janitorial staff all the way to your second in command, deserve to be able to afford the basic necessities of life, have the opportunity to send their children to vocational school or college, and be able to save for retirement. And they shouldn’t have to hold down second and third jobs to do it, either.

I’ve never known financial success personally, but I’ve worked hard all my life, often juggling those two and three jobs just to stay afloat. As an educator, I typically┬áput in 12, 14, even 16 hour days during the school year, and then usually held down some kind of side job during off times from teaching. I’ve witnessed firsthand good, honest, hardworking people clock out from one 8 or 9 hour shift and hustle to their other job for another 8 or 9 hour shift. I personally once worked about a year and half, 12 hours a day, without one single day off except Christmas. In graduate school, we often put in 16 hour days, 7 days a week. We all work hard, and American workers are among the most productive in the world, even today. Yet our wages have stagnated for 30+ years while inflation has skyrocketed. The myth of hard work equating to success is just that: a myth.

If I live another million years, I will never comprehend the utter disdain some people of means hold for working people. I will never grasp how it’s okay for an executive to make $10,000/hr but unreasonable for workers to earn just a living wage. I’ll never understand how it’s good business sense for CEOs to outsource labor to foreign countries, but class warfare when a working person speaks out for rights. My mind cannot fathom the levels of contempt and pure hatred some people have for those “beneath” them. If you measure your self worth in financial terms, you truly dwell in a poverty stricken existence, no matter how much wealth you accrue.