We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Monday, May 2. 2016
But Mike Rowe points out another key part of the jobs equation. Jobs don't come to us. We have to go to them. If my best job option is going to be in San Francisco or Chicago, rather than here in NYC, then I should be prepared to go to it. If I don't, I really have no complaints about whatever job I wind up with, because I took what's available within the limitations I set for myself. The US has always been a mobile nation. Mobile as in able to move both physically and economically. People move up and down the wealth and income ladder, but they have also transport themselves to where the jobs are. It's been that way for years. After all, that's part of what Manifest Destiny was all about - following opportunity. It's why Horace Greeley supposedly said "Go West, young man." Today it may be better stated as "Go Weld, young man."
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"jobs don't come to us" How true. When I graduated from college I went where the job was...and did that all my career. Natural resources and the mining industry took me all over the world--a long way from my hometown.
I couldn't wait to get the hell out of the town I went to high school in!
After university I took the Queen's Commission in the Canadian Army which sent me hither, thither and yon for three decades. Great times - and all because the civilian prospects when I'd earned my BA didn't look too thrilling.
Funny though, but now whenever happen to be back in that Ontario town I couldn't escape from soon enough, I think: "Hmm... this is actually a pretty nice place."
I came from a working class family myself and I have mixed feelings about the concept of a minimum wage. I don't think business can be relied on to provide a fair wage - why would you pay any more than you have to? So there has to be some sort of baseline (we can probably quibble forever about what it should be).
On the other hand, blue-collar work doesn't have a sky-high wage ceiling either and workers can quickly price themselves out of employment if they aren't too careful (as unions have latterly discovered).
I worked blue-collar jobs until I graduated from college. Even during college.
I still do blue collar work on weekends, around the HQ. Outdoors and indoors. It feels good to do it. (Yes, I do at least half of our house-cleaning, but I aim for "man-clean.")
California recently passed into law an increase of the minimum wage to $15/hour. Governor Brown (D) made a speech after signing the bill saying that it was not clear that it was economically justifiable, but there was a moral imperative to increase the wages of the people at the bottom. He also said the increase would hasten the development of automation, and that the long term result would be more unemployment than there is now.
Those of us who have taken on 'blue collar jobs' learned why we do not want to do that kind of work for our entire lives. It's a good thing for a kid to take on a job like cashier, maid, etc. You appreciate those that do that work, for one, and you also work harder to NOT do that kind of work the rest of your life.
The 'go to the jobs' statement has been my comment for YEARS. Especially to friends of mine...one friend in particular got a Ph.D. in something and wanted to teach at the university level. This person told me it was very difficult to find work b/c the competition was fierce. Then, this person told me he would only look a handful of states in the midwest because that is where he wanted to live.
Talk about stupid. So, incredibly competitive field and then you narrow it down further by ONLY looking in 3 or 4 states??
I know many like this. Who don't want to leave their hometown. Or are worried about pulling their kid out of school. Or who 'like the weather' and just can't think of leaving to go anywhere else.
I have lived all over the U.S. I moved clear across the country to take a job during the recession. Best decision I ever made. People who won't go where the work is are just digging their own financial grave.
My freshman-year college roommate majored in English, because he always wanted to be a poet. After graduation, he tried several jobs but settled on housepainting, because in spite of the hard work and skill required, much of it was repetitive mindless work that allowed his brain freedom to think without the distraction of more critical work.
We've been trying to hire a housepainter, and those with good reputations earn more than I do, and have income that is more secure than my job.
I didn't make any more than 10% above minimum wage until I was 24. It was better to have a low-paying job than none at all. And some of the low paying jobs were pretty interesting.
So in my area of this blessed nation, a Hawaiian style pizza from a national delivery chain is $15.99 before tax. At the current minimum wage of $7.25, that is about two hours worth of work. Let us say that night stocker at the supermarket next door to the pizza chain starts as a minimum wage job. The associative property informs that one Hawaiian pizza equals two hours of work as a newbie night stocker next door. That valuation will not change except for either the night stocker becoming more productive or the costs to the pizza chain going down. It does not matter whether we call that two hours of work $14.50 or $145.00, the price of the pizza will move to maintain the same value. In the mean time, since inflation is not instantaneous, disruptions will occur causing some people to lose their jobs, some businesses to go out of business, and some prices for necessary items to go up before non-minimum wage wages increase.
Of course, you cannot explain this to a leftist. They would rather pretend to work while a broke socialist government pretends to pay them.
There are those who are insulting to people who have some low-status jobs, telling them that they are not valuable. Some do think it, and it fuels the resentment.
That most of us do not feel that way does not weigh very much when one feels the sting of a low-status job. Some who have been merely lucky trumpet their position as if they came there by skill and hard work. Those who do have skill and work ethic are often more humble about it, but you can't count on that either.
Life is harder for some than others.
In looking back at romantic relationships where I initiated the breakup, I worked out that the initial spark of dissatisfaction always came from seeing my partner being disrespectful of someone who was doing a service for us.
1964--summer job as a dishwasher and kitchen flunly at a boys camp in N.Wisconsin $125.00/month...worked out to about $0.35/ hour. 1965--summer and after school job delivering bakery $1.00/hour. 1966 graduated from high school--summer job peeling pulp in the woods...piece work at $0.09/ stick, One stick was a log 100 inches long and my job was to "peel" the bark off. No glory in this job but when I got it figured out I could do about 150 sticks a day. After that summer I enrolled in college. The next summer 1967, I pounded spikes on a railroad crew $2.50/hour and $2.00/day for room and board--we lived in boxcars and moved along the tracks as we progressed. (Gandy dancer for those of you who know the railroad) I did that for three summers. College looked pretty good compared to that alternative...That blue collar work taught me how to work--a day's work for a day's pay-- and most importantly to show up.
Boy, you got a lot more than I did as a counselor. I got $125 for the entire summer during the same time frame.
It goes without saying, but it I don't see it explicitly in the comments so far, that minimum-wage and sub-minimum employment (youth programs and jobs with tips) are (for the majority of those who take them) "gateway" jobs.
When you look at the data from the BLS (http://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/minimum-wage/archive/characteristics-of-minimum-wage-workers-2014.pdf) it is clear that
• it is a very unusual person who is reliant upon minimum-wage income as head-of-household or the only household income.
• as the percent of the workforce in minimum-wage jobs declines (as it continues to do) this is a marker for such jobs disappearing, and more people from disadvantaged backgrounds being excluded from their first job in the gainfully-employed workforce, and thus even more disadvantaged for life.
It is one of the many areas where it seems appealing as a matter of justice to support a "living wage", but if you account for the (rather obvious) second order effects that will result with the increases proposed, it means that many of the already disadvantaged will be left worse-off.
Knowing that the lobbying behind the push for $15 comes from unions with collective-bargaining agreements that peg their much-higher base-line wages to the minimum wage, I have a hard time seeing proponents of the $15 minimum wage as anything but evil.
It's not "value" of the person that determines the wage.
All people are equally valuable.
When working for a paycheck, it's the value of your skills and knowledge that matters.
If you know how to mow a lawn, that skill is worth certain amount of money.
If you know how to repair diesel engines, that skill and knowledge is worth considerably more.
It's funny that some of the same people who insist everybody needs a college degree as a job prerequisite also support a higher minimum wage. They have no problem with students paying big bucks to an educational institution for job training but an employer who offers the much superior real-world hands-on experience of OJT has to pay the students? How does that make sense? Low-paying jobs are often 'entry-level' jobs - once you've learned the valuable skill of showing up every day, on time, clean and sober and awake, ready to go to work you can advance to a job that better pays you what you're worth because you've demonstrated that you're worth more. How many hours would you have to attend college to learn that just showing up puts you ahead of a lot of the pack? And how much would you have to pay to learn that? McDonald's will pay you to learn that - but they're not running a charity and they're not going to pay unlimited sums of money to teach you. How many trades do you suppose might be willing to take on apprentices if the apprentices paid them the way students pay colleges but for one heck of a lot less money?
In a nutshell, the higher one's wages, the more incentive the employer has to replace the employee with a machine.
I am told the robot revolution is just around the corner and white collar jobs will not be exempt. It does not bode well for higher wages.
Despite the increased automation of work through the years, oddly there has only been more jobs created.
I have no fear of automation. It's fine.
Assume every job in the world was automated. Then what? Well, prices would essentially fall to zero and we could have everything we wanted for 'free'. But this, of course, is a pipe dream. The robots will need tending, servicing, and replacing. But the jobs they do will be jobs that are too expensive to pay humans to do (or that humans will decide they are not worth doing at all - which has started to happen).
Luddites have been around for years, and have always been wrong. They keep saying "next time..." but the next time shows them to be wrong yet again.