Minimum wage change, will SFNJ comply?

Sunday, August 27, 2006 2:24 PM
Sorry, SFGADV, Six Flags Great Adventure.
Sunday, August 27, 2006 2:24 PM

Right, so how exactly is being well educated not a choice?

Well, it technically is a choice, but some kids, just by virtue of the situation they are born into, don't necessarily get good advice or the right guidance to be able to make an informed choice.

Here's an example that I see ALL THE TIME. Young kid, lots of talent, offered admission at Michigan with a financial aid package that includes substantial loans. These loans are federally guaranteed, low-interest, with payments deferred until after graduation (and, potentially, even longer). The difference in potential income between having this degree and a high school diploma is staggering, and makes the loans well, well worth it. But, to the kid, and the kid's family, all they see is a five- to six-figure debt when the degree is completed.

It's a big jump for that kid to take on that burden, and when the kid's parents have barely finished high school, let alone college, well, it's hard for them to see why this is a good deal. Especially if that kid's parents worked in the trades or manufacturing. Even 15 years ago, it was pretty straightforward for an industrious high school graduate to take a job with some manufacturing firm, join the union, and have a darn good middle class life, with a secure retirement.

Those days are over. Period. End of story. But, still, kids turn this deal down and "make money" instead.

And, Gonch, I'm not at all surprised. Self-made men are even more enamored by the "work hard and your deams will come true" pablum than folks who've had success handed to them. The States is perahps the society with the most class mobility in the world, but even here, your parents (whom you did not chose) have more to do with your eventual success than anything you or they do after the fateful moment of your conception. There are always exceptions to this, of course, but in general it is true.

There are lots of formal studies confirming this, and some good pop economics too. One favorite of mine that looks at this and related questions is "Freakonomics"---both the book and the recurring article series in the New York Times. They are quick reads, and very accessible.

*** Edited 8/27/2006 6:25:26 PM UTC by Brian Noble***

Sunday, August 27, 2006 3:41 PM
At SFKK, most seasonal employees are paid between $5.15 and $6/hr, and they also get overtime after 40hrs/wk.
Sunday, August 27, 2006 3:43 PM
rollergator's avatar Trust me, when I come up with such a *ridiculous* concept, it's not without consderable thought and discussion. Do I realize that the "dollar menu" at Wendy's and McD's will jump up in price? Of course I do, I've been alive *and* paying attention for a long time....

Thing is, even though SOME stuff will increase for everyone, *relatively-speaking*, the cost of things EVERYONE needs, like, say, toilet paper and milk, goes down in comparison to the hike in wages.

Here's where it gets scary kids, so buckle your seat-belts. I'm going to use "the I-word", (to wit, inflation), so you might wanna make sure there are no children present....don't wanna frighten the little buggers too much. ;)

When you raise the wages of the "per hour" employees, yes, the cost of everything rises. That's called inflation. One thing economists from Keynes to Friedman DO agree on...that's the fact that inflation redistribues wealth, IN GENERAL, from the "haves" to the "have-nots". Completely unlike ANY legislation passed since the minimum wage went SKYROCKETING all the way up to $5.15. There were predictions then that the World would end if students and retirees were allowed to amass such great sums of wealth by making 206 dollars a week working full-time. I'm still waiting for Doomsday, along with the WMDs.... :)

Seriously, given the duration since $5.15 went into affect - that's 9/1/97 - it amounts to *about* a 7%/year COLA IF we were to go straight to $10. Minimum wage had its highest "purchasing power" in 1968 (almost 40 YEARS ago), when it was $1.60/hour... *
"The Center for Economic and Policy Research is an independent, nonpartisan think tank that was established to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people's lives. "

Economics is the ART (science?) of how things work ON THE MARGINS. Being an economist (and an amateur historian/political satirist) means I really DO think it's fascinating to watch grains of sand distributes themselves along the coastline... ;)

In a country that claims to be "one of the wealthiest in the world", is that really SUCH a horrible thing? (*ducks hailstorm of bullets from NeoCon NRA members*, LOL)...and whoever said that "unrestrained, unregulated capitalism is our God-given birthright, to be lost under penalty of your souls" - don't trust that guy. ;)

*** Edited 8/27/2006 7:58:27 PM UTC by rollergator***

Sunday, August 27, 2006 3:56 PM

rollergator said: Seriously, once I'm king (a title we never used here in the States until 6-7 years ago, LOL)..minimum wage for all full-time employees will be $10.

And the availability of "part-time" jobs will triple as "full-time" posistions are reduced to zero. ;)
lata, jeremy
--not a part-time satirist, but a full fime cynic

Sunday, August 27, 2006 3:59 PM
rollergator's avatar ^ If the solutions were easy, all the politicians wouldn't be lawyers... ;)

*Fairly* cynical myself... :)

Sunday, August 27, 2006 4:33 PM
matt.'s avatar

Brian Noble said:

Well, it technically is a choice, but some kids, just by virtue of the situation they are born into, don't necessarily get good advice or the right guidance to be able to make an informed choice.

For the record, I agree with most everything in your post, and I *do* want to clarify that I do believe there are monstrous cultural and socio-economic obstacles that many people have to overcome to be financially successful (whatever that means.)

I don't want to come off as some sort of hard-ass who somehow believes that every person born in the land of the free and the home of the brave has some sort of equal oppurtunity to succeed whoever they are or whoever their parents are. I just can't accept the notion that most people who work minimum wage jobs aren't there ultimately because of decisions they made. Obviously there are exceptions but I think the two options are to either accept your current status or do something about it if you're unhappy with it. Blaming it on cultural handicaps isn't going to help.

What I don't want to hear is how SF employees are somehow underpaid or unfairly compensated, and then hear the same groaners complain about paying $15 to park. ;) The bottom line is that a local amusement park is one of the best job opportunities a kid can have, despite the low wages. The only key is...*gasp* gotta work a bunch of hours to make it pay off. *** Edited 8/27/2006 8:33:59 PM UTC by matt.***

Sunday, August 27, 2006 11:02 PM
I don't know if this applies in all states, but at least in MD, you're only allowed to work so many hours if you're a certain age. So while the 16-year-old or younger person may want to work sixty hours a week, they can't.
Sunday, August 27, 2006 11:22 PM
matt.'s avatar Child-labor laws like that are extremely strict and relatively standardized amongst all the states, yes. I don't think anybody would be in favor of allowing people younger than 16 working 40 hour+ work weeks.
Monday, August 28, 2006 9:03 AM
Yep. There are reasons that CP under-18s and under-16s have different-colored name tags: one of them is to make sure that no manager asks the wrong kid to stay late to cover a shift, and run afoul of the labor laws in the process.

On a related-to-this-topic tangent: is anyone else really looking forward to the new season of "The Wire" coming up? This season's theme: inner-city schools. And, if any of you are already fans of The Wire, I recommend the book "The Corner", written by The Wire's co-creators. Very interesting book.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 1:21 AM
One problem with raising the minimum wage is the ripple effect. Sure you take people who were making 5 or 6 dollars an hour and raise them to 7 or so. But now the people who were making 7 or 8 are pissed because they're barely making above minimum, so they ask for more money.

On and on it goes, but somewhere along the way that 2 dollar an hour increase for the minimum wage worker gets re-interpreted (hey, they got a a 40 percent increase!) People making a few hundred K a year don't want a raise of $4,000, which is roughly what a 2 dollar per hour increase is. They'll get much more.

As a result, the definition of what most people consider a living wage will go up and the people making the new minimum will still be well below that.


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