Minimum Wage - Ground Zero

his idea has been around for quite awhile. It's opponents have always had an excellent argument against it. But it's adherents show little or no understanding of its significance or logical/ecomomic pedigree (neither do economists). So herein I shall set the matter straight so that you can speak with some sense of authority on the subject.

The argument against ......

"If you're going to give everyone $5.15 per hour minimum, why not give tham $20.00 per hour and be done with it? Let's eliminate poverty by putting everybody in the middle class.
Clearly, this can't work because it flies in the face of statisical expectations which are seen everywhere in nature. And, of course, it is a blatantly inflationary move which robs purchasing power from the upper classes and hands it down to the lower. (Absolutely un-American and would collapse the culture in a fortnight).

So why make it $5.15 ? Why a little inflation/robbery/un-Americanism?

Why not - Minimum wage = 0 ... (a perfectly 'round' number)?

I have to admit ... this is a good argument ...
I thought it was true ... but ...

The argument for ..........

Two parts ... Qualitive part 1st ... Quantitive 2nd
Remember I don't use the extra "ta" in /\ those words /\

OK ... qualitively speaking ... whose civilization is it anyway? To whom does it belong? Think about this for a minute or two ... what could any human being do in his entire lifetime which would warrant payment in the form of an automobile or, say, a computer?!

Answer: Absolutely nothing. There is no amount of work which is worth either of these two items. Yet there they are ... available to almost anyone. Why are they here? Who makes them?

One might say they are made by those who design, market, assemble them ... but that doesn't quite cover it. The people who currently work in the computer industry couldn't make anything at all were it not for uncounted billions of man hours of thought that went into the making of civilization (those people long since dead). We reap the profit of their efforts just as those in the future will reap profits from ours.

Civilization didn't grow free on a tree like a peach. It was paid for primarily by those who have gone before. So why should it be that all do not share in those profits equally? I mean here profits as coming from the dead ... not the living.

Clearly, those among the living who add new wealth to civilization ought properly to gain something extra for their efforts ... something more than they who merely consume what has been made available through the combination of present and past efforts.

But ... those who do nothing extra ... or nothing at all ... cannot inherit "the roundness of zot". They must get something. They are human beings ... earthmen ... there is a heritage ... I am here speaking on behalf of Leonardo, Newton, Aristotle, etc. I have no doubt that they would here agree.

Arguments on this score should revolve around the quantity of that 'something' not on whether it should or should not be supplied.

When I say "supplied" here, the astute Objectivist (re: Ayn Rand) will demur, "... supplied by whom?". And, of course, yours truly will never 'blank out'. It will be supplied by "men" ... the ones who do the actual work of maintaining civilization ... by their mutual consent ... as obtained by rightful charter ... so specified by the new Constitution I have given in the above sections (Proper Government).

On the quantity of the minimum wage

Ahh ... my favorite things ... How much? ... How many?

The ground floor for minimum wage must be set at or around the minimum cost of living, i.e. a "living wage". What constitutes a living wage is subject to much debate but certainly it is less than $30,000 per annum and more than $10,000 (in the USA ca.1998) all things being considered.

Of course, some people can get more out of 10,000 than others can get out of 30,000 due to superior judgement (hence the 'debate').

Why? ... What's a Living Wage anyway?

A living wage is one sufficient to keep the average, responsible "Joe" from having to live under a bridge two months out of the year (with his family).

When I propose a minimum wage it should not be taken as an endorsement for subsidizing 'men'. There is and can never be, by definition, a legal order to subsidize males. A man can have no right to an income since it is he who supplies it. Women and children can be subsidized by law (laws made by men), but not men themselves. If a man can, for instance, no longer work, he can apply for assistance from other men but only as a beggar.

What does it take to stay afloat? Well, there's:

    For family of four -
  • Housing - This requires ~ $400 per month rent minimum
  • Food - $200 per month minimum
  • Transportation - $200 per month (largely do to graft and criminal conspiracy on the part of state-insurance-lawyer scams) but could conceivably go as low as $100 some day.
  • Clothing - $50 per month
  • Medical/Dental - (impossible to calculate due to ever increasing scale of graft)
  • Entertainment - Food for the soul ... $100 per month
  • School - Public school ... already subbed.
  • Miscellaneous - $200 per month (based on experience)
So the ballpark here is around $1200 per month after taxes meaning you need to make something like $18,000 per annum to keep from drowning (of course, this assumes that you don't have a credit card ; ).

18,000 / 2000 hours = $9.00 per hour.

This is a reasonable minimum wage and doth comport rightly with mine own experiente'. Could be $7.00 per hour ... could be $11.00 per hour ... somewhere in there.

But there's more ... ! Check \/ this \/ out

The items listed above change drastically when plotted as functions of income in the form of percentages.

              @ $18,000        @ 50,000   

Housing            40%             20%

Tranportation      20%             10%

Food               10%              1%

Clothing            5%              1%

Medical              ?               ?

School              1%             20%

Entertainment      10%             30%

Misc.              15%             18%

Yes, this is horribly inexact ... just gross estimates ... but you can see that (in the way of necessary expenses ... both food and clothing drop out of the equation if you make good money. That's because you can only eat so much whether you are rich or poor. And though you may spend more on clothes if you are well off, it ceases to be a necessary expense of any consequence ... (I know, your wife "shops" your income into the ground, but that's not a necessary expenditure ... ok ... I mean necessary in the sense that you will freeze to death in winter).

income & surplus

Now you can spend more for the education of your children if you are doing well (college) and go on trips by jet to Beijing or Katmandu or Vale ... oooooooooooooooooooh ... and you can by that Mercedes or Lexus or Hummer!

Conversely, if you are doing poorly and get a speeding ticket it could amount to ~2% of your yearly income (a devastating blow if your Christmas allowance to buy presents for your kids is only $300).

$300 fine / 14,000 net income = 2.1 %

But if you're doing well, your X-mas budget might be $3000 so you're only losing 10% of it anyway. No big deal , your fine is the same amount.

$300 fine / 40,000 net income = .07 %

Car insurance is devastating to someone not doing well. It can amount to 20% of one's yearly net income (just liability) if you are young ... with one speeding ticket ... and one minor fender-bender. Whereas, if you are doing well, your teenager's insurance is still affordable even at $3000 (presuming here that the well off person is also frugal to some degree - not generally the case I'm sure).

If you are well off, no problema ... just a minor nuisance.

Calculating effects by percentage of income is never done by politicos or economists ... they are literally too "feebleminded" even to think at a superficial level.

Those ecos who win a Nobel in the dismal science make horrendously difficult calculations for "the economy" but never turn over the rocks to see what might be hiding underneath ... so none will talk about the devastating effects of the insurance-lawyer-pol thing which is silently becoming the greatest 'drag' ever placed on western civilization.

So ground zero is fairly high above that shrine in Hiroshima ... not actual ground level ... what we are looking for is maximal effect in both instances.

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