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Old 07-26-2019, 06:31 PM
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thorny locust is online now
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Location: Upstate New York
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Originally Posted by Scylla View Post
Not all jobs can or should pay a living wage, because some arenít meant to and arenít needed to. I worked in a deli after school while in High School, part time. It was a great job a high schooler could get, supplementing the two owners during peak times.
You know, after I posted last night I thought "I bet that bit about such jobs being meant for teenagers whose families are well able to support them is going to show up'.

And if that were really what was going on, there'd be something in that argument. But for there to be anything in that argument, then it would have to be in the ordinary course of events for nearly everyone to work such jobs as teenagers -- and probably for a while afterwards, because there's massively more poorly paid work than could possibly be done by teenagers, especially if they're supposed to have any chance to go to school; and then it would need to be in the ordinary course of events for nearly everyone, by the time they were old enough to start raising kids, to start being paid enough to support themselves and to support those kids.

But that's not what happens. What happens is that yes, some teenagers who don't really need the money take such jobs for a while and then move on to much better paid work; some other people never do the poorly paid work at all; and a whole lot of others wind up in such work as adults, because most of it is, after all, the basic work that needs to be done to keep the society going, so we need a whole lot of people to do it.

Originally Posted by Scylla View Post
If you raise the minimum wage, some of those jobs will just go away, depriving people of work. Some of those jobs will be altered, maybe combined with more skilled jobs or requirements raising the barrier for entry. Then too, what is a living wage. It is surely a different number in a small town in Montana, than it is in San Francisco. It is also a different number for someone on SS, or a single person versus one with a family to support, or a student working part time.

Or all workers the same? Or, are some better than others? Why canít a valuable worker command a higher price? You raise the minimum wage, you are pulling from the pool of cash which could potentially reward quality work, punishing high quality workers and rewarding the marginal.

Raising the minimum wage is making a very arrogant and dangerous statement: that you know better about what a business can afford to spend, and what their labor is worth than the business. You are also telling the worker that you know better what is good for them than they do.

Itís a dangerous thing with unintended consequences.
I'm 68. During my life ever since I became old enough to notice, every time that there have been proposals to raise the minimum wage I've seen those same arguments. And every time, sooner or later, the minimum wage gets raised; generally not enough, but far more than those people making the arguments want it raised. And every time so far the roof has not fallen in and society has not collapsed.

Alternatively, of course, we could leave wages where they are, but provide benefits to the people in those jobs so that they can still live decent lives -- and do so without giving them a hard time about qualifying, without making them worry every month that they won't have enough to manage, and in particular without complaining that they're not being personally responsible and therefore don't really deserve any help.

Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
your notion that property taxes are regressive. Can you explain how a person with a million-dollar home pays less in property taxes than a person living in an apartment? Rhetorical question, obviously, because you can't.
Theoretically, property taxes aren't regressive, because they're generally based on the value of the property, and rich people do indeed buy or rent more expensive houses than poor people do (though as there are multiple factors involved that's not a perfect match.)

But they are indeed often regressive in practice, because current value of a home is often drastically disconnected from both current income and overall wealth of its owner(s).

People don't pack up and move every year to a house or apartment commensurate with their current income. (If they did, not only would this be massively disruptive both of community ties and of individual lives, but it would be horrendously expensive.) It's quite common, in many areas, for people to still be living in property they purchased twenty or fifty years ago, or that their parents or grandparents purchased even longer ago. Many places that were cheap when they were bought have become horrendously expensive due to accidents of location -- lakefront property even if liable to flooding, for instance, is now often priced extremely high. And the tax assessments are based on what somebody -- almost anybody, including someone from a densely populated area on the far side of the country -- would pay for it. So people with almost no financial resources can wind up stuck with the same property tax the millionaire is paying.

Originally Posted by Scylla View Post
A lack of incentives would mean that everybody is so satisfied with what they are doing, they are unwilling to change jobs or move (in the context of our discussion). That is in fact, the evidence, the data is suggesting is occuring.

A lack of incentives means that people don't see any likely chance that changing what they're doing will produce any improvement. That doesn't mean that they're satisfied. It only means that they don't want to go through a lot of extra trouble and disruption in order to wind up no better off, and considering the costs of said trouble and disruption quite possibly worse off.

Originally Posted by Scylla View Post
Maybe people like being coal miners, working their Dadís job in their hometown making a halfway decent wage. They donít want to leave everything they know, the place they have been their whole lives, friends and family, and uproot and try to do something new somewhere else. Thatís tough scary, risky and unpleasant.

But maybe we need less coal, and the economy has moved on from coal because it is dirty and inefficient and destructive to mine.

How do you get that coal miner to give up what he has known all his life, the only thing, and abandon everything to go somewhere else and try something new?

There are three ways:

1. He is a natural adventurer and will give it a go.
2. You offer him something so incredibly awesome at such a high wage, that sounds so good, he canít say no.
3. Things get so unpleasant and difficult that he no longer stays.

1and 2 are nice those rare times they occur. The market takes care of #3.

If you interfere with that maybe you are helping him, but maybe you are just prolonging his misery in his current circumstances while depriving him of the better future waiting for him.

Sadly, people are stubborn, and oftentimes things have to get truly terrible before people will abandon what they know.

Do I like it or want it this way? No, but that is the unfortunate reality we must recognize.
No, that's not the unfortunate reality we must recognize. You've entirely missed possibility 4:

We as a society invest in plants manufacturing solar panels, windmills and windmill equipment, and whatever else actually is currently needed; site these plants in areas where coal mines and other obsolete or otherwise unfavored jobs are dying; and provide training and work in the area where the people losing their jobs are already living, so they don't need to move away from the places they've lived their whole lives, their friends and family, and not so incidentally the support structure provided by those friends and family, which is probably all that's keeping them going right now.

We could use for that purpose some of the $649 billion we're currently spending to subsidize fossil fuels.

Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
The problem with this is that if the market fairly values unskilled workers at a price below the minimum wage then either the employers altruistically pay them more than they are worth or do not hire them at all. The latter is much more likely. Thus those with the lowest skills are unemployable and have to be taken care of by everyone else instead of supporting themselves at a low paying job.
But the whole point being made here is that they're not supporting themselves at a low paying job; because those jobs don't pay enough for people to support themselves on.

Originally Posted by Scylla View Post
I did so earlier in the thread. It is the idea that respect for both the self and others means that one should strive to live their life diligently and prudently so as to minimize the chances of becoming a burden on others, and to maximize oneís utility both to themselves and other. It means you take care of yourself so that others do not have to. It follows from that naturally that you accept the consequences of your actions, but more importantly that you have the duty to be aware of them..
So you do need to be aware of the consequences, and are responsible for them, if the pesticide used to grow your grapes is killing children in the country in which the grapes are grown but you buy those grapes even though you could afford to buy ones grown without doing such damage?

I thought in post 88 that you were giving being aware of the consequences of which food you choose to buy as an example of something you thought was absurd to bother with. Maybe I was wrong.

And we are all a burden on each other. It's unavoidable. We should all do our best to carry our share of the burden; but claiming you can be entirely self sufficient requires a very narrow and temporary definition of "self sufficient." You are dependent, among other things, on the work being done by the people in those jobs which don't pay enough to live on.