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Question of the day

Tuesday, Jan 14, 2014

* These are not new arguments, but this is a new story

A coalition of business groups says that Illinois employers cannot afford another increase in the minimum wage.

Against the backdrop of minimum wage-related mudslinging in the Republican race for governor and the possibility that Democrats could push a boost in the minimum wage through the General Assembly this spring, the 18 organizations said an increase to $10 an hour is “far too drastic.”

“Illinois already has a minimum wage higher than all of our neighboring states, and we are tied for the sixth highest minimum wage in the country. If Illinois were to pass a $10 minimum wage, that amount would almost double the rate since only 2003,” the coalition said in a statement issued Tuesday.

* The Question: Should Illinois increase its minimum wage to $10 an hour, keep it as is or lower it a dollar an hour to the national rate? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


web surveys

- Posted by Rich Miller        


78 Comments
  1. - Smoggie - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 1:25 pm:

    I never go to McDonalds. I’m sort of tired of subsidizing their payroll.

    They need to pay their employees a decent wage and start providing health insurance. The employer should do so. The tax payers should not have that obligation.


  2. - Carl Nyberg - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 1:27 pm:

    Australia seems to do fine with a minimum wage that’s about $16 (USA) per hour.

    I suspect low wage workers tend to spend money on stuff that is produced by other low wage workers.

    In 2003 I had a conversation w/ the Rep. Deborah Graham. I expressed my support for increasing the minimum wage. Graham agreed. Her reasoning was that it would be good to get more tax revenue from low wage workers.

    I was shocked. She was living-up to the GOP stereotype of Democrats who don’t care about citizens but instead care about taking care of gov’t employees.

    Also, I suspect that a relatively small amount of state revenue comes from taxing people hovering around the poverty line.


  3. - Carl Nyberg - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 1:29 pm:

    What about passing a law that increases minimum wage to $16 per hour for businesses that get over $10K per year in subsidies from state or local gov’t?

    If you take the tax breaks and the subsidies you can pay workers more.


  4. - independent - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 1:37 pm:

    Businesses that cannot afford to pay a living wage should rethink their business strategy. If you cannot pay a living wage them you should stop, by supporting businesses whose employees must collect public assistance in order to survive, is supporting corporate welfare, and this should not be tolerated.


  5. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 1:38 pm:

    Raise it. The money would be pumped right back into the economy in the form of more demand.

    Consumers are the job creators, not corporations.


  6. - sal-says - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 1:38 pm:

    For another view:
    “Millionaire conservative backs Calif. minimum wage increase” at: http://tinyurl.com/lznf2ne


  7. - A guy... - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 1:39 pm:

    I said “stay the same” at least for the moment. Going backwards would be nuts. It really does wreak some competitive havoc when the state and the national minimums are different. A buck over isn’t a lot on a dozen employees, but it is on hundreds of them. Willie has pointed out often how different Illinois is than most of her midwest neighbors and that’s true. Things cost less in every state around us. We have to go to OH and PA to get a decent comparable. The next state west would be CA which is way more expensive than things here. I hope soon we’re all talking about better jobs that people can live and raise a family with. Oy.


  8. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 1:39 pm:

    Increasing the minimum will put more money into the economy because poorer people have to spend their money. with higher wages they can spend more or save a little. If staff reductions result at one place the increased spending should create jobs elsewhere. Higher paid employees are more stable, so the employers can also save due to decreased turnover expenses.


  9. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    Carl, government workers are citizens. And not all tax revenue goes towards pensions.

    The minimum wage should really be about twice what it is. And no one’s paying for healthcare should be tied to their job.


  10. - Ahoy! - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 1:42 pm:

    If raising the minimum wage would lead to job growth shouldn’t Illinois be in the top five highest job growth states since we’re in the top five highest minimum wage states?


  11. - countyline - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 1:43 pm:

    Any time the price of something rises, the demand for it decreases, therefore the higher the cost of labor, the less of it that will be demanded - simple economics.


  12. - Century Club - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 1:45 pm:

    According to the US Dept. of Labor, 49% of minimum wage workers are 25 and over. 20% of minimum wage workers are married. We can’t expect adults or families to support themselves on $17,000.


  13. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 1:46 pm:

    –It really does wreak some competitive havoc when the state and the national minimums are different. A buck over isn’t a lot on a dozen employees, but it is on hundreds of them.–

    What companies employs hundreds at minimum wage?

    WalMart? McDonalds? An increase will “wreak some competitive havoc” on them? From whom? They’re going to shut down in Illinois?


  14. - Chicago Bars - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 1:51 pm:

    Can we please digest the Affordable Care Act costs for small and medium sized businesses before kicking the labor costs further in the teeth? Of course that would require a plain English dummy’s guide to the ACA that most bar & restaurant owners are still looking for.


  15. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 1:52 pm:

    –Any time the price of something rises, the demand for it decreases,–

    That doesn’t make any sense.

    Prices will rise to take advantage of strong demand. As demand increases, so will prices.

    When demand is weak, prices will fall to stimulate demand.

    Simple economics.


  16. - RNUG - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 1:52 pm:

    Voted for increase. The fact is minimum wage workers spend every dollar they get their hands on, so it would overall be an economic boost. Yes, some small businesses will take a hit and may no expand as quickly or even hire but the fairly well run ones will survive. And the more the minimum wage people can support themselves, the less there may be taxpayer dollars spent.


  17. - Judgment Day (Road Trip) - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 1:54 pm:

    Keep it where it is.

    What needs to occur is:
    1) Keep unemployment benefits at 99 weeks.
    2)Fund the extension by permanently immdiately reducing the Federal Reserve QE program by another $10 bil a month and shift that ’savings’ to cover the cost of the UI program extension instead of feeding the hogs on Wall Street and the TBTF backs.
    3) Take care of Main Street - screw Wall Street.

    We need to focus on where the problem is, and it’s not minimum wage.


  18. - veritas - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 1:54 pm:

    How may replies is Rauner allowed to give to this question??


  19. - Juvenal - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 1:55 pm:

    Add an annual COLA to the minimum wage, just like Missouri.

    Tie lawmaker’s salaries to the median income.

    And require every company receiving government contracts, grants, and tax expenditures to pay a living wage.


  20. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 1:56 pm:

    Illinois should increase it and all of us should hope Congress gets its act together and raises it for the whole nation. From the NYT:

    “In the December jobs report, the average hourly wage for most workers was $20.35. That means that the minimum wage, at $7.25 an hour, is only one-third of the average, rather than one-half, as was the case historically. Raising the wage to $10.10 an hour, as Democrats have proposed, would help to restore the historical relationship. But even that would fall far short of the roughly $17 an hour that workers at the bottom of the wage scale would be earning if increased labor productivity were reflected in their pay, rather than in corporate profits, executive compensation and shareholder returns.”


  21. - countyline - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:01 pm:

    Try again Word…

    http://www.investopedia.com/university/economics/economics3.asp


  22. - PoolGuy - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:03 pm:

    “If Illinois were to pass a $10 minimum wage, that amount would almost double the rate since only 2003″

    so in 2003, not all that long ago, minimum wage was $5-6/hr? those workers were really living large back then huh? dumb logic.


  23. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:08 pm:

    countyline, are you still in high school? Did you stop your lesson at Chapter 4 or did you see that the next chapter was on elasticity (hint, look it up). Maybe you should read the whole book before you comment again.

    http://www.investopedia.com/university/economics/economics4.asp


  24. - Sir Reel - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:14 pm:

    Minimum wage jobs aren’t usually off-shored to other countries. We’re talking fast food, retail, etc. Raising it may increase prices but won’t hurt the economy all that much.

    Plus now all those minimum wage workers have more money to spend. That helps the economy.

    Finally, study after study shows most minimum wage workers are adults not teenagers. They deserve a living wage.


  25. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    47, you beat me to the punch there. Thanks for pointing that out.


  26. - Out Here In The Middle - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:16 pm:

    Increase the minimum wage and/or add a corporate income tax surcharge based on the number of positions that provide annual compensation that is less than 200% of the federal poverty level. If government programs have to subsidize low income positions then the “job creators” should provide more financial support for those programs.


  27. - Joe M - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:19 pm:

    Some of those companies make huge profits because of low labor costs. I wonder what the big retail companies that employ a lot of minimum wage workers would do with that extra money if the minimum wage was reduced? Would they:
    1. Reduce their prices.
    2. Increase their shareholders’ dividends
    3. Give upper management, especially CEOs large raises.


  28. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:21 pm:

    I voted to increase it. I know people complain that a minimum wage job shouldn’t be your “career” but the fact is that for some a minimum wage job is all they have.

    And, I hardly think $10 is “far too drastic.” In my opinion it’s not drastic enough.


  29. - Huh? - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:30 pm:

    Back when I was a sophomore or junior in high school (40 years ago), the minimum wage was $1.65/hour. If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation, it would be around $9.20/hour. $10/hour is still below the poverty rate for a family of 4.

    http://www.familiesusa.org/resources/tools-for-advocates/guides/federal-poverty-guidelines.html

    Here is a website for the historical inflation rates http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/inflation/historical-inflation-rates/


  30. - Pete - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:31 pm:

    If government programs have to subsidize low income positions then the “job creators” should provide more financial support for those programs.

    Why not eliminate the programs from the federal government? When a company wanted employees and the government didn’t support them, the company did the heavy lifting. Isn’t the whole Pullman District an example of building working communities without government in the middle?

    How about middle ground, Raise the Minimum Wage and reduce the subsidization. Take the savings and lower the debt and fund pensions.


  31. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:33 pm:

    ===Isn’t the whole Pullman District an example of building working communities without government in the middle?===

    It was more about the unions, I think.

    But there were very, very few Pullman communities in this country, so using it as an example is illogical. It’s the exception not the rule.


  32. - NewIllinoisian - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:33 pm:

    Okay, I’m diving into this with some trepidation, but here goes - Wouldn’t increasing the minimum wage by such a substantial amount lead to high cost of goods? Seems like people here are talking about fast food, but what about retailers - Wal-mart, Target - Woudln’t they just raise the prices? What about low wage healthcare workers at nursing homes? Farm hands in our rural areas? Office administrative workers? When I looked ath the Bureau of Labor Statistics information, it’s clear we’re not just talking about fast food workers, and we aren’t just talking about Big Businesses with profits to spare. All I see is that if minimum wages go up that fast, cost of goods and services will go up, too, meaning that the extra money those workers get doesn’t go that far towards making a living wage.


  33. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:35 pm:

    === Wal-mart, Target - Woudln’t they just raise the prices?===

    Or Medicaid and public assistance rates would go down.

    Take your pick.


  34. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:39 pm:

    Do you know anything about the history of Pullman? About the strikes because George Pullman cut salaries but not the rent on the houses his workers were not allowed to buy? About how he’s buried encased in concrete and under railroad ties so disgruntled workers wouldn’t be able to desecrate his body?

    Do you really think any of that was a good idea?


  35. - NewIllinoisian - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:41 pm:

    erp, now I need to eat my words at bit. I totally misread “increase to $10″ (from $8.25) as “increase by $10.” Going from $8.25 to $18.25 would indeed be drastic. going up $2.75 would have an impact but not the crazy one I was imagining.


  36. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:45 pm:

    –Why not eliminate the programs from the federal government? When a company wanted employees and the government didn’t support them, the company did the heavy lifting. Isn’t the whole Pullman District an example of building working communities without government in the middle? –

    Good Lord, the company town? Are you out of your mind? It’s 2014.

    You clearly have no knowledge of how companies towns operated.

    How did that Pullman company town experiment turn out? Everybody happy? Look it up.


  37. - Joan P. - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:47 pm:

    “Isn’t the whole Pullman District an example of building working communities without government in the middle?”

    Are you kidding me? Pullman used his clout with the federal government to have people KILLED, by the U.S. Army, because they tried to form a union.


  38. - frmrILSIP - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:48 pm:

    With respect, 47 and word, you’re both wrong to at least some degree. Word, in both Ch 3 and 4 of the linked article, there is no justification for arguing that the demand for a product should rise as the price rises.

    47, you at least have a better case in arguing that externalities and inelasticity of demand could have an effect on the demand for people to work minimum wage jobs - for example, a business needs at least a certain number of people to operate, regardless of the minimum wage. However, apart from what appears to be the random choosing of $10.10 on the national level for a new minimum wage, I have seen no arguments for raising the minimum wage to any level that rest on little more than feel-good assumptions about people being able to live better on $10 or $20 or more dollars per hour.

    Furthermore, any business that pays out more in employee costs will try to make up that increased cost elsewhere - typically (though not always) in raising the costs of the goods/services they provide. Hence, your McDouble goes up from $1 to $1.20. If you would like to discuss the reasoning for why businesses would not do this, and/or if their demand for labor is quite inelastic regardless of required minimum wage, please put forth your arguments.


  39. - countyline - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:51 pm:

    47th. I don’t have one of those gov’t jobs that affords me the time to read every word ever printed on a subject. My post still stands:

    A. The Law of Demand
    The law of demand states that, if all other factors remain equal, the higher the price of a good, the less people will demand that good. In other words, the higher the price, the lower the quantity demanded.

    Do you think that someone making the minimum wage is really going to spend more money if they get a raise ? If these people truly are on welfare/food stamps etc, then the raise in pay should reduce the amount of assistance they receive, leaving their net income about the same. But don’t worry, I’m sure more liberal feel good/do nothing legislation like this will pass just the same.


  40. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:55 pm:

    –Do you think that someone making the minimum wage is really going to spend more money if they get a raise ?–

    LOL, what do you think they’re going to do with it?


  41. - Mongo - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:57 pm:

    I said stay the same. I like being higher than the fed rate and neighboring states.

    And holy cow what rock did Countyline crawl out from under?


  42. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:59 pm:

    ===I don’t have one of those gov’t jobs that affords me the time to read every word ever printed on a subject===

    Lol. You don’t have to read every word on the subject, just the main chapters in the article you linked to would be a good place to start.

    Or you can just Google “Elasticity of Demand.” I’ll wait.

    FrmrILSIP, I don’t think $10.10 was plucked out of thin air, I think it’s about half the current average hourly wage. There are plenty of calculators out there that show how, if the minimum wage had been tied to inflation, it would be far higher than $10.10 today.


  43. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 2:59 pm:

    – Hence, your McDouble goes up from $1 to $1.20.–

    You’re pretending that labor is the only factor in a complex pricing equation. Also, McDonald’s is not a monopoly, it has competition. They don’t set prices in a vacuum.


  44. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:01 pm:

    ==feel good/do nothing legislation==

    I think the people earning minimum wage would disagree with you that’s it’s “feel good” or “do nothing.” I don’t seem to recall the doom and gloom you are claiming the last time the minimum wage was increased.

    ==Do you think that someone making the minimum wage is really going to spend more money if they get a raise ? ==

    That’s just a dumb statement. Yeah, people on minimum wage are living so high on the hog that they are going to put away that extra money they are getting. Give me a break.


  45. - Automated - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:03 pm:

    @Sir Reel “Minimum wage jobs aren’t usually off-shored to other countries.”

    Correct. They’re being automated.

    Meet the $10 an hour fast food worker

    http://www.brandeating.com/2010/07/review-jack-in-box-self-service-kiosk.html

    http://singularityhub.com/2014/01/11/burritobox-joins-growing-number-of-fast-food-making-robots/

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-11-12/biggest-threat-minimum-wage-restaurant-workers-everywhere


  46. - Third Reading - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:06 pm:

    I voted “yes” in Rich’s poll.

    Let’s set the Way Back Machine to 1968.

    “Adjusted for inflation, the federal minimum wage peaked in 1968 at $8.56 (in 2012 dollars).” http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/12/04/5-facts-about-the-minimum-wage/

    Heck, even the “generous” Illinois rate of $8.25 hasn’t kept up with inflation.

    Yet the Chicken Little types insist that raising the current federal rate of $7.25 is a jobs killer. That it’ll stifle growth. That it’ll be the ruination of employers everywhere, blah, blah.

    Uh-huh. Yeah. Right. Cry me a river.

    We’ve endured this sort of drivel ever since the federal minimum wage was introduced in 1938 (at the princely sum of twenty-five cents per hour.)

    Set the federal minimum at $8.56, index it to inflation, and spare me the histrionics.

    I’m outta here.


  47. - railrat - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:07 pm:

    good points being made on post, well done my concern is raising MW may appear to console but don’t we think employers will reduce hours worked and with the unskilled workforce make sure that when nearing the point of unemployment benefit or any fringe benefit minimum the employee will be laid off or unjustly terminated? I personally like a “livable wage” platform I think it paints with a broader brush. Just as in any employer vs. employee mandate, even in CBA’s there are ambiguities that allow for abuse and/or non-compliance. Who will police this? the IDOL …..right !! and I have a prevailing wage claim that’s older than dirt….


  48. - Out Here In The Middle - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:07 pm:

    ==Hence, your McDouble goes up from $1 to $1.20.==

    I’m fine with that if it also means that less of my taxes are used to subsidize fast food employment.


  49. - walker - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:07 pm:

    Let’s please stop arguing economic theories, e.g. what should logically happen, or what people or businesses ought rationally to do in some ideal market.

    What actually has happened in the real world, when we actually did raise the minimum wage, reflects little if any measurable impact on prices or hiring.

    Perhaps if the proposal were for a much larger increase, from a much higher base, we would see greater impacts, but not at these levels. Remember, the minimum wage since the 60’s has not kept pace with inflation.

    They didn’t call this field “Political Economics” until the 19th Century, for nothing.

    And from a political point of view, the proposal to lower it in Illinois is an absolute non-starter. Ain’t in the cards, so why talk about it?


  50. - frmrILSIP - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:09 pm:

    Word, that’s why I said “typically (but not always.” Of course, businesses would prefer not to have to raise their prices. However, a business that utilizes minimum wage workers has only a minimum number of alternatives to raising their own prices - skimp on maintenance (Sears being a recent example) or reduce the quality of their own products, perhaps. Either way, something has to give to maintain the same quality of goods being produced for the same price by a business in the long run.


  51. - Illiana - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:12 pm:

    I said stay the same. There are real problems with having state minimum wages due to the ease of commuting/migration between states that doesn’t exist between countries.

    I should add here that globalization & technological change has made antiquated the old viewpoint about low-wage jobs being starter jobs. On the federal level, I would like to see what levels of future low-skill immigration we are going to have before determining what minimum wage the US can afford.


  52. - Steve - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:13 pm:

    Here’s some disturbing evidence on the minimum wage from economist Walter Williams :
    “University of California, Irvine economist David Neumark has examined more than 100 major academic studies on the minimum wage. He states that the White House claim “grossly misstates the weight of the evidence.” About 85 percent of the studies “find a negative employment effect on low-skilled workers.” A 1976 American Economic Association survey found that 90 percent of its members agreed that increasing the minimum wage raises unemployment among young and unskilled workers. A 1990 survey found that 80 percent of economists agreed with the statement that increases in the minimum wage cause unemployment among the youth and low-skilled. If you’re looking for a consensus in most fields of study, examine the introductory and intermediate college textbooks in the field. Economics textbooks that mention the minimum wage say that it increases unemployment for the least skilled worker.”

    http://townhall.com/columnists/walterewilliams/2013/02/27/inority-viewby-walter-e-williamsrelease-wednesday-february-27-2013-n1519819/page/full


  53. - Automated - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:15 pm:

    @Third Reading “Adjusted for inflation, the federal minimum wage peaked in 1968 at $8.56 (in 2012 dollars).

    Flawed logic of a 1968 minimum wage hike
    http://www.aei-ideas.org/2013/07/joe-bidens-flawed-logic-of-a-1968-minimum-wage-hike/


  54. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:15 pm:

    Sears is not an example of anything in “the long run.” They’re busting it up and selling it piece by piece. There’s no investment going on there.


  55. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:18 pm:

    Steve, do you have any studies from the current century?


  56. - frmrILSIP - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:24 pm:

    Word, I apologize if my comment confused you. The quip about Sears is a bit of a hat-tip to recent articles (going back to 2011, which is admittedly less recent) about various Sears stores skimping on maintenance to save money and looking quite dingy and rough as a result. You can quibble about the applicability of that particular corporation to businesses as a whole, but my original point remains untouched.

    Any business must make decisions on where to cut to save money if their expenses go up, unless they raise their own prices.

    Again, I would like to hear your solution to this dilemma. From what I have read of your previous comments on issues, you are informed and intelligent, and I would honestly like to hear your thoughts on this subject. I have nothing against raising the minimum wage if you have a way to account for the additional costs for businesses that don’t hurt consumers, the businesses themselves or their employees.


  57. - RNUG - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:25 pm:

    frmrILSIP - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:09 pm:

    Actually, some manufacturers have at least one more choice: shrinkage. Make the product smaller while charging the same price. You may not have been paying attention at the grocery store, but net weight or quantity in pre-packaged product has been going down the last few year. Hence the 12 oz or 14 oz packages instead of the former 16 oz package. And, for some brands, the 24 can case of beer is now only 20 cans.


  58. - Steve - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:27 pm:

    47th Ward

    I’m not aware of any studies exclusive to post 2000 in American Economic Review or the Journal of Political Economy : the two top journals in economics .


  59. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:28 pm:

    Voted “Stay the same”, leaning “increase” in the discussion, but the climate all around this dictates a decrease is not good on any and all levels you want to choose.

    As for Pullman, “exception to the rule” is the best response to that road being traveled, and the union busting, the row housing, Pullman goods and stores… in the 21st Century… not good at all for humanity.

    Compelled for “raise”, and in practice, can see the argument. Knowing I need to know more about it, on practice for Illinois today, makes me want to read much more.


  60. - Smoggie - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:31 pm:

    For those screaming about job losses –

    Well, yeah.
    Of course, if you reduce the wage to $2 an hour, you are going to get an even higher number of people employed.

    Of course, all of them will be on some form of welfare. Taxpayers will be picking up the tab for them.

    Higher employment is not necessarily a good thing.

    It is good when it means that people are earning a wage they can live on.
    It is not good when those people are spending 60 hours a week in jobs with no future, and the rest of us are paying for food stamps and health care for them.

    When wages are that low, we are better off with them temporarily out of the work force and in school so that they can build the skills to actually support themselves.


  61. - frmrILSIP - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:34 pm:

    RNUG - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:25 pm:

    Thank you for the additional option, though I’m inclined to say that reducing the amount of product sold while too often keeping the price the same is raising the price on a per-ounce basis. This alternative still hurts consumers who have to stretch a 20oz can of chili (or food of your choice) where a 24oz can used to be.


  62. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:41 pm:

    ILSIP, I guess it would depend on the individual company and the many factors that go into their pricing model.

    WalMart had $17 billion in profits last year. McDonald’s, $5.5 billion. I’m guessing they have a little wiggle room.

    Sears lost $930 million. I don’t think the minimum wage had much to do with it.

    I’m quite certain, though, anyone making $8.25 an hour will engage in more stimulative spending at $10 an hour. They won’t be sticking the extra cash in their trust funds or buying shares in Berkshire Hathaway.


  63. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 3:55 pm:

    I voted to raise it, because the working class is struggling, and as wordslinger said, consumer demand makes a healthy economy.


  64. - frmrILSIP - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 4:00 pm:

    Word, I appreciate your candor on this subject. Until now, I haven’t really touched on the consumer side of the equation, as far as having more money to spend. If the prices of goods stay the same while a person’s income rises due to a minimum wage hike, I agree that they will likely spend more (though I would prefer that they try to pay off their existing debts first and possibly invest some money to prepare for retirement and so on…). That additional money, if utilized for spending on more goods, could provide economic incentive.

    Without accounting for the likely rise in prices of goods as a result of raising one of the components of their production cost (labor, in the case of a minimum wage hike), I have to question the amount of stimulative impact the additional money in the pockets of consumers would actually provide.

    At any rate, as I mentioned, I appreciate your candor and this discussion. Unfortunately, I have errands to run so I must say goodbye for today.


  65. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 4:08 pm:

    ===accounting for the likely rise in prices of goods as a result of raising one of the components of their production cost (labor, in the case of a minimum wage hike),===

    Maybe instead of raising prices they could pay their top managers a tiny bit less? CEOs are making 273 times as much as their average employee.

    www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/26/congrats-ceos-youre-making-273-times-the-pay-of-the-average-worker/


  66. - walker - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 4:20 pm:

    Happen to be part of an organization that shelters and helps feed many hundred homeless across the Chicago suburbs.

    Slightly more than half are working at minimum wage jobs.


  67. - 100 Miles West - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 4:21 pm:

    When we recently polled local businesses about starting wage, only ONE business was paying $8.25. The Wal-marts, Shopkos, Kohls, McD’s, Culvers, etc. were all paying $8.50 to $9.50 to start, some were higher.


  68. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 4:25 pm:

    There are corporations who are doing just fine, who pay their workers better than other corporations in the same industry.

    If this was the 1950s, with a strong middle class and high unionization, raising the minimum wage might be pointless and harmful, but because the wage earners in the middle and bottom are struggling the most in this economy, it’s time boost them up.

    We should also encourage fast food workers and other service industry workers to unionize and raise the declining unionization numbers. That’s the message I have for the IPI: We need more unionization or policies that are similar to unionization.


  69. - A guy... - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 4:53 pm:

    Word, there are a lot of seasonal, temporary positions that hire hundreds at a time for minimum wage i.e agriculture (detassling corn), parks landscaping, amusement parks, (I think you see what I mean) McDonalds and Walmart are in there too I suppose, but you’re not going to catch me defending either. There are fulfillment industry jobs like this too. My overarching point is that it would be helpful if the state and feds were the same. Those guys who walk around dropping pizza coupons, political flyers and other circulars are minimum wage type guys too. I really wish we didn’t need a minimum wage, but I know for a fact that we do.


  70. - Sunshine - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 5:24 pm:

    Everything is going up in the grocery store. Those on minimum wage need help. I’ll gladly pay a buck twenty five for a burger.

    Even air at the gas station is a buck these days. I’ve had to cut back on Snickers….oh wait, that’s because I’m fat!


  71. - Howard - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 6:12 pm:

    I’m all for $10 an hour for legislators and governors.


  72. - Just The Way It Is One - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 7:39 pm:

    Surely a hike of anywhere between 50 cents to a dollar more is justifiable and would help a whole LOT of hard-working, on-the-fringe fellow Illinoisans and their loved ones, but, $10 an hour IS a bit too steep for now–likely Pat Quinn is lobbing out that HIGHer goal darn well knowing it’d be a stretch at this point in time to get to it, so that maybe $9/hour instead would make for a decent, viable compromise wage for working folks who must rely on it to pay their bills…


  73. - CommoNooB - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 8:26 pm:

    =Everything is going up in the grocery store=

    According to the same people that advocate for a higher MW (i.e Krugman) and cheap money at the Fed, are ironically the same ones that admit that there’s no inflation.

    I understand monetary policy is not a state issue but it scares me that people are blind to the fact that the Fed is ruining our dollar. Yes, businesses probably could afford to fork over an extra $1.75 an hour. Yes, prices may raise (slightly) from an increase in the WM. But it’s the inflation thats’s the problem and not the MW. Restore value in our dollar and there is no need to raise the MW. Inflation is nothing but a tax on the poor and lower middle class, it hits that demographic “right in the teeth.”


  74. - Mr.Big Trouble - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 8:46 pm:

    Walker
    Your two sentences shared above took my breath away and brought the discussion to where it should probably be. thanks


  75. - Liandro - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 9:16 pm:

    Voted stay the same for reasons I’ve previously addressed. The focus should be on creating opportunities well above minimum wage, not feel-good populist increases to the bottom number.

    Minimum wage hikes are short-term and actually hurt those trying to get into the work force and potentially even hurt people who stay at those jobs for a long time. Our focus should be on tax reform and other policies that would actually address the disparity between the rich and poor.


  76. - mokenavince - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 9:51 pm:

    I voted to increase the wage. As I have said before the minimum used to be for teenager’s,
    not for adults. It was used by small business
    not by multi billion dollar companies.
    Now companies like Wal-Mart, Target and Kohls
    use it for people trying to raise a family.


  77. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 14, 14 @ 10:19 pm:

    –But it’s the inflation thats’s the problem and not the MW.–

    Inflation’s been under 2% for 18 months.


  78. - yinn - Wednesday, Jan 15, 14 @ 8:21 am:

    Yes, raise MW. It makes me sick to know people can’t earn a living in 40 hours a week without government assistance.

    As for the economy:

    “The money was all appropriated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy. Mr. Hoover didn’t know that money trickled up. Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night, anyhow. But it will at least have passed through the poor fellow’s hands.” ~Will Rogers, ca 1932.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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