Just read — okay skimmed over — an opinion piece by Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York about the need for raising the minimum wage — there is such a thing as a state minimum and a federal minimum.
I think the minimum wage may be an unfortunate necessity because of the stinginess of employers in general — well they call it competing in the market place, but I mean how many vacation homes and yachts do you need?
But I think the minimum wage is of only small value. It works as a kind of bench mark on the value of labor. People who gain raises at a much higher level get paid partially on the basis of how higher those raises are than the low standard of the minimum wage.
I’m a long-haul truck driver and I get paid primarily by the mile. Much to my chagrin trucking is exempt from a lot of the labor laws — the industry has a strong lobby and independents or gypos like to run the miles — hours mean little. Nonetheless the minimum wage I think has some effect on the hourly rate we sometimes get for waiting or doing short-haul work (although the bulk of the waiting is unpaid — it just comes with the program. I’ve accepted it).
But I said in another post that if your goal is the minimum wage, that is not much of a goal. I think minimum-wage jobs should be reserved for the young, for temporary workers, and for oldsters (like myself) who want to earn some extra bucks (although I have a full-time job and am not applying).
Unfortunately with the employment market being what it is a lot of over-qualified people are working minimum-wage jobs or ones not far above it. Also a huge number of people are simply stuck there because of a lack of training, lack of available work at higher levels, and other factors I suppose.
We really need to return to a full-fledged industrial economy, where there are more jobs and more jobs with relatively higher wages than there are now, automation notwithstanding.
We are being sold down the river by all of these trade deals I am afraid. Maybe trade deals are not bad, but maybe we need to make better deals.