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  #41  
Old 23 August 2013, 08:18 PM
RichardM RichardM is offline
 
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Skill versus pay: Who has a more critical job, a cariac operating nurse or an NBA 2nd stringer? Who earns more money?
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  #42  
Old 23 August 2013, 08:20 PM
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Skill and criticality are not the same thing. But I take your point.
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  #43  
Old 23 August 2013, 08:27 PM
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Skill versus pay: Who has a more critical job, a cariac operating nurse or an NBA 2nd stringer? Who earns more money?
That's not a fair comparison. NBA players are at the top end of the bell curve of their professions. You are comparing an average salary to a top-end salary. Also, the skill vs pay curve breaks down at the highest and lowest end. For an apple to oranges comparison, you should compare an average cardiac operating nurse to the average basketball player.
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  #44  
Old 23 August 2013, 08:37 PM
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Esprise Me Esprise Me is offline
 
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When I worked as a server/bartender, my take-home pay varied significantly because most of it was in tips. I tracked my income for a while, and discovered that when things were going well and I earned at least $15/hour, I could live comfortably even in high-rent Boston if I just worked enough hours. I had to pull some double shifts and miss out on a lot of things I wanted to do that coincided with lucrative weekend nights and holidays, but I was in my early 20s, with all the physical endurance and optimism that I wouldn't be doing this forever that that entails, so I made it work.

When my pay dipped below $12/hour, I found it difficult to make ends meet long-term. I could weather the off-season by not buying any new clothes or electronics or other periodic expenses until I was flush again, but eventually I would have holes in my shoes and my phone battery would no longer hold a charge and if things hadn't picked up, I'd be in a bad place. Anyway, I came to the conclusion that, at least in Boston or a city with a comparable cost of living (and San Francisco is even more expensive), one can't really get by on much less than $15/hour, no matter how many extra shifts you pick up.
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  #45  
Old 23 August 2013, 08:43 PM
Bill Bill is offline
 
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Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
Skill versus pay: Who has a more critical job, a cariac operating nurse or an NBA 2nd stringer? Who earns more money?
Good point, but still, you could say (similar to my earlier post) that the athlete earns his mega-salary because people are willing to pay for his services - the fans who go to basketball games, and the fans watching on TV that advertisers are willing to pay to reach.

Thanks.

Bill

Last edited by Bill; 23 August 2013 at 09:05 PM. Reason: typo
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  #46  
Old 23 August 2013, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Esprise Me View Post
When I worked as a server/bartender, my take-home pay varied significantly because most of it was in tips. I tracked my income for a while, and discovered that when things were going well and I earned at least $15/hour, I could live comfortably even in high-rent Boston if I just worked enough hours.
I don;t know if you are including saving for retirement in this. IMO, at the bare minimum, a living wage should mean that people earning the wage should be able to support themselves, and after they retire, they should be able enjoy a similar lifestyle. I don;t think $15/hour in Boston (or Seattle) is going to be enough.
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  #47  
Old 23 August 2013, 08:58 PM
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As horrible as the economic logic is in some cases, nurses benefit people tremendously, but only a handful of people at a time, while entertainers benefit people only a tiny bit each, but their influence reaches millions of people at a time. If you provide a few pennies worth of value to millions of people, that adds up quicker than if you provide hundreds of dollars worth of value to people one at a time. Nurses are retail, entertainers are wholesale. In a growing global market, the people whose work can affect some proportion of the entire population will continue getting richer, while those that are limited to working one on one with a limited number of customers will not. At least those that are at the very top of those "wholesale" fields. For people in the middle, growing globalization just allows them to be outcompeted, with all the work done by the very best. The average nurse still has a decent job, but the average basketball player can't get hired to do it at all and can only play as a hobby.

The free market is a useful, and powerful tool, but it's not something that we need to give free reign to solve each and every problem. There are problems that the unfettered free market won't solve in any fashion acceptable by humanity. You can't shackle it completely and demand by fiat that NBA players make less than nurses, but you can implement some basic common sense tweaks like a progressive income tax, social programs, and minimum wage, and those things aren't the end of the world.

Last edited by Errata; 23 August 2013 at 09:18 PM.
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  #48  
Old 23 August 2013, 09:06 PM
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Mickey Blue Mickey Blue is offline
 
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Personally I think everybody willing to make a go of it (which I'd define as willing to work full time at a job and willing to put time into bettering themselves) who is not disabled or otherwise saddled with heavy expenses*:

Basic necessities (food, utilities, roof over ones head, etc) if only at the meager level (maybe not buying lobster and caviar, probably not living in a 2500 square foot house in the trendy neighborhood, etc). Healthcare (which I'd define as a plan that has preventative care, affordable access to a PCP, and reasonable deductibles for emergency care), ability to better yourself through education, and ability to save at least some for retirement.

Some of these could be met through raw pay, some through social services (like reduced price schools, socialized healthcare, etc).

There will always be people who simply refuse to put in the time, we all know some of them, but a person who works full time should be able to meet all or at least most of these, the fact that right now they arguably can't meet any in many places is just wrong.

*There could be other social programs to handle such situations, but it should not be treated as the default.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
Skill versus pay: Who has a more critical job, a cardiac operating nurse or an NBA 2nd stringer? Who earns more money?
It's still skill vs pay, it's comparably easier to become a cardiac operating nurse than then near the top tier at basketball. If you decide to put forth, lets say five to ten years of school and work (probably less but depends on where you are starting from), you could probably become a cardiac operating nurse. If the average completely untrained person decided to start practicing basketball every day (while working, even that cardiac nurse in training still needs a day job) they probably would not get to the top level unless they are particularly gifted.. And even if they get their technique perfect their physical makeup (height, muscle mass, genetics, etc) may still hold them back.


Now the fact that society values throwing a rubber ball into a metal hoop so highly is a totally different issue, however the reason for the high pay boils down to the skill vs. the population; if it was trivially easy to become extremely good at basketball to the point that anybody who put in a year or two practicing could become perfect at it (or as good as a person could realistically get) I doubt it would pay very much.


Society has needs (some of them illogically valued, like entertainment) and as such it needs people to fill that needs, if you want to get paid big bucks you need to be in a field that society values highly but few people are able to become proficient at ideally, failing that something society needs but is still difficult to learn. If you are in a field that society values little (even if it's vital to it's function, societal value isn't based on logic) and is trivially easy to master then you aren't going to earn very much money.

Last edited by Mickey Blue; 23 August 2013 at 09:14 PM.
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  #49  
Old 23 August 2013, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Jay View Post
I don;t know if you are including saving for retirement in this. IMO, at the bare minimum, a living wage should mean that people earning the wage should be able to support themselves, and after they retire, they should be able enjoy a similar lifestyle. I don;t think $15/hour in Boston (or Seattle) is going to be enough.
I did have a 401(k) with a very small contribution that was matched partly by my employer; I did not include my employer's contribution in my calculations, now that I think of it. I also was not setting aside enough to deal with catastrophic medical emergencies not covered by my health insurance, though fortunately I had my parents to fall back on the one time that happened and I got stuck with a $10k bill I couldn't pay. I also just realized that I typed "San Francisco" when I meant to type "Seattle," because I am an idiot. Anyway, my point was not that $15 is definitely a sufficient wage for anyone to earn for a lifetime, but rather that less than $15/hour isn't really enough to get by, even in your 20s while you work toward that promotion.
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  #50  
Old 23 August 2013, 09:19 PM
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Also, for professional sports, there is a fame factor that isn't in most other fields. Generally, no one goes to a hospital because they have a nurse that is thought to be better than the rest of the nurses in the country. But drafting a star player can often get more people watching that otherwise.

I often wonder if that fame factor is part of the reason for the major rise in CEO salaries. Except that the fame is for investors instead of fans.
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  #51  
Old 23 August 2013, 11:23 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue View Post
If you can come up with better reasons why economically disadvantaged people would align themselves with a party that will always work against their best interests I'd be interested to hear them.
Hijack...
Kind of like poor southern farmers marching off to fight in the Civil War. Slavery hurt poor farmers since they couldn't compete with slave holding farms. But, slavery insured that the poor farmer was never the bottom rung of society. Though in a lot of BS about "honor" and "states rights" and you've got a couple hundred thousand dirt poor whites willing to stand in a line and get shot at while supporting something that hurt them.
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  #52  
Old 23 August 2013, 11:26 PM
Talleyrand Talleyrand is offline
 
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I wonder, in the history of Canada or the U.S., has the legal minimum wage in any area ever been enough to be considered a "living" wage?
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  #53  
Old 23 August 2013, 11:27 PM
Spud Sabre Spud Sabre is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickey Blue View Post
Personally I think everybody willing to make a go of it (which I'd define as willing to work full time at a job and willing to put time into bettering themselves) who is not disabled or otherwise saddled with heavy expenses*:

Basic necessities (food, utilities, roof over ones head, etc) if only at the meager level (maybe not buying lobster and caviar, probably not living in a 2500 square foot house in the trendy neighborhood, etc). Healthcare (which I'd define as a plan that has preventative care, affordable access to a PCP, and reasonable deductibles for emergency care), ability to better yourself through education, and ability to save at least some for retirement.

Some of these could be met through raw pay, some through social services (like reduced price schools, socialized healthcare, etc).

There will always be people who simply refuse to put in the time, we all know some of them, but a person who works full time should be able to meet all or at least most of these, the fact that right now they arguably can't meet any in many places is just wrong.
That's exactly what I think. It really bothers me how little my disability benefits are. To move out of my parents' house would require that I find at least two roommates (or one willing to pay 2/3 rent) and what's left would be small enough to make the whole ordeal pointless if I wasn't guaranteed a source of additional income. Then it becomes infuriating, when I consider that I'm receiving the same as everyone else on disability including those who for all intents and purposes have no chance of finding and holding a job. FTR, I don't feel particularly lucky that my situation isn't that bad.
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  #54  
Old 24 August 2013, 01:24 PM
Bill Bill is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickey Blue View Post
Personally I think everybody willing to make a go of it (which I'd define as willing to work full time at a job and willing to put time into bettering themselves) who is not disabled or otherwise saddled with heavy expenses*:

Basic necessities (food, utilities, roof over ones head, etc) if only at the meager level (maybe not buying lobster and caviar, probably not living in a 2500 square foot house in the trendy neighborhood, etc). Healthcare (which I'd define as a plan that has preventative care, affordable access to a PCP, and reasonable deductibles for emergency care), ability to better yourself through education, and ability to save at least some for retirement.

Some of these could be met through raw pay, some through social services (like reduced price schools, socialized healthcare, etc).

There will always be people who simply refuse to put in the time, we all know some of them, but a person who works full time should be able to meet all or at least most of these, the fact that right now they arguably can't meet any in many places is just wrong.

*There could be other social programs to handle such situations, but it should not be treated as the default.
This was the topic of discussion on the radio last night.

As you and another said, ideally someone willing to work full-time should not be poor. The question is whose responsibility that is.

Any increase in the minimum wage isn't going to come directly at the expense of the CEO who has money to burn. Regardless of what the CEO gets, employers are going to pay what someone is willing to do the job for. If you don't want a minimum wage job because it doesn't meet your needs, the employer will hire someone else (maybe someone working a second job or for discretionary income). That's only natural, just as you or I minimize our own costs, for example, by buying our groceries here instead of there because of their lower prices.

So, as you seem to suggest, it might be best to have government pick up some of the slack (including, for example, the EITC, as I mentioned earlier). It's appealing to look at the CEO salaries and say, "if they can afford to pay the CEO this, they can afford to pay another person a little more," but it might not work that way in real life.

Thanks.

Bill
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  #55  
Old 24 August 2013, 03:26 PM
Singing in the Drizzle Singing in the Drizzle is offline
 
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Another way to increase the poor's wages is to lower the cost of living. How many regulations and taxes are added to the cost of goods we buy every day. Some are added to make sure they are produced safely and safe use as well as other concerns. The problem all those cost are added to the final cost of the product and must come out of the buyers paycheck and the poor are most affected by higher prices. So how many lives does that regulation requiring milk tankers to only ship milk (requiring driving a empty non profit load back) vs. the number of babies dying or grown in with bad health because mothers can not afford enough milk. I do not know how much that regulation adds to the cost of milk and how many children of poor are effected, it is just the type of questions we need to ask when we add regulations.
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  #56  
Old 24 August 2013, 04:05 PM
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A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is offline
 
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Similarly, a lot of the regulation of house and apartment-building drives up the price of housing, and then there is a hue and cry for 'affordable housing.' Sure, every house should be safely wired and adequately plumbed, and I have no problem with such regulations, but there are a lot of restrictions that drive up the price without being a matter of safety and habitability.
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  #57  
Old 24 August 2013, 05:38 PM
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SITD, food is a relatively small percentage of a person's expenses, and the price of milk, meat, and many other goods is artificially lowered because of farm subsidies. I really don't think deregulation is in the best interests of the poor.

ATNM, you have a good point about housing regulations driving up the costs; it was the subject of a recent Slate article I found persuasive. Housing, unlike food, constitutes a cripplingly large proportion of a poor person's expenses.
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  #58  
Old 24 August 2013, 07:13 PM
Singing in the Drizzle Singing in the Drizzle is offline
 
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Esprise me, it was one example and it happen to be food. I'm sure if we wanted to we could come up with a very long list of thing were over regulation of different stuff is make the poor more poor and some type of things more than others. The question is does the regulation cost more that it benefits with the consideration that cost make the poor more poor.

The one example was the one that came to mind first. About 15 years back tanks hauling milk would save money by transporting other liquids back the other direction. They were cleaned and sanitized before milk was used in them again. Then the public found out about this practice and put a stop to it even though not one case of milk contamination was found. The result was a increase in the price of milk and thousands of people losing good paying jobs cleaning milk tankers all for a feel good regulation. The cost to the poor was much high because it is spread over a large population.
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  #59  
Old 24 August 2013, 07:15 PM
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Lainie Lainie is offline
 
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The cost to the poor was much high because it is spread over a large population.
I don't understand this sentence. The cost was higher because it was spread among more people?
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  #60  
Old 24 August 2013, 07:28 PM
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About 15 years back tanks hauling milk would save money by transporting other liquids back the other direction. They were cleaned and sanitized before milk was used in them again. Then the public found out about this practice and put a stop to it even though not one case of milk contamination was found. The result was a increase in the price of milk and thousands of people losing good paying jobs cleaning milk tankers all for a feel good regulation. The cost to the poor was much high because it is spread over a large population.
Cite, please? I would have guessed that most regulations of the type you reference vary by state. I would also guess that milk tankers have to be cleaned out quite often even if they are not carrying other liquids, since milk has a tendency to spoil.
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