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Forum Post: FAIR WAGES ARE ESSENTIAL. Not just because it's right but also because it's expedient.

Posted 2 years ago on Feb. 26, 2012, 8 p.m. EST by therising (6643)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Fair wages, living wages are essential. Not just because it's right but also because it's expedient. The 1% are going to run out of people to buy stuff if they keep driving down real wages. Silly of them. They're high on crack or something. Anyway, the point is that 1% can't rule 99% for long, especially if we, the 99%, start looking at what we have in common. Then we can make decisions from a position of unified strength instead of demands from a position of divided weakness.

Your position is laughable and silly. Capitalists are by nature greedy and need guardrails or they'll defecate in their own cage. That's how we capitalists roll. We need the guardrails, not just for the good of our workers and the community but also for the good of our companies. We treat people as commodities to our own detriment. Trust me. I know how this game works. I've owned a successful corporation that's been in business for over a decade and employs a fair amount of people.

Capitalists need guardrails. Just like the machines in their factories need guards on them. Do you think the capitalists came up with the idea to put the guards on there over the dangerous moving parts? Not a chance.

If you think the market can do no wrong, you're just flat wrong or you don't read much. Ask the son or daughter of a former slave whether the market can do know wrong. Their father or mother was up there on the auction block you see.... And capitalists were doing their thing.

Now they're doing the same exploiting the environment. The CEO of Interface Carpets (one of the largest carpet manufacturers in the world) is telling his fellow CEO's to watch out because he sees the handwriting on the wall. "They're going to start putting people like us in jail my friends," he told a crowd of elite business leaders. He's working to get his company to zero carbon footprint.

59 Comments

59 Comments


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[-] 3 points by vothmr (82) from Harrisonburg, VA 2 years ago

because most buisnesses could not afford to pay people a "living wage". you also must define living wage. without a clear concise definition, it is impossible to debate whether it is possible or not.

[-] 3 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

I've owned a corporation for 14 years and employ a fair number of people. I pay them a living wage (most much more than a living wage). Everyone wins. Employers who don't pay their employees are either lazy, greedy or both. Either way they and their community loses for all the reasons you might imagine.

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

I try to shop in places that treat their people well. Anytime I can, I fly Southwest, and I shop at Costco also because both places have good reps. Oops, I'm tired and I am getting repetitive now. I hear my bed calling me.

[-] 0 points by DanielBarton (1345) 2 years ago

really good for you but what about business that cant pay high wages to begin with

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

That's the business person's fault, not the workers. Paying a living wage is a bare minimum. You might also look to the corporate tax loopholes that allow giant corporations to get away with paying ZERO taxes while the small business person pays huge taxes. In many states, this is downright obscene. If the large corporations paid their fair share instead of parking offshore or in Delaware-type state, then all small business people would pay less than a third of the corporate taxes we are now. Want a tax decrease? Better vote out the people who maintain these loopholes.

[-] 1 points by DanielBarton (1345) 2 years ago

i completely agree i as saying that they can only pay 7.25 no more no less.

you could argue that places like Delaware and Texas who are loose on corporations have a wonderful economy. Texas has the 11th best economy on the planet so i do say that speaks for something

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[-] -1 points by Dell (-168) 2 years ago

your a fraud. you dont own a business you dont run a business you are a total fraud. either that or back up your assertions with specifics. what industry are you in? what do you pay a specific job compared to your competitors, what is your market share etc. back it up.

[-] 3 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

Wow, you'll do anything other than answer the question. You can't be an amateur. You must be getting paid. A normal person would actually engage in a dialog. You're just a fisherman provocateur.

[-] -2 points by Dell (-168) 2 years ago

you can say anything you want - prove it - all benevolent employer. Even if what you are saying is true - thats great - but you dont know every other employer's situation. The employee is always free to quit and go seek work for employers like you.

[-] 3 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

What's wrong with that? You don't want them to be free? If they want to work somewhere else I have no problem with that. Having people in a position and co Pant that feels right for them makes the entire country more efficient. It also drives me harder to pay even better , provide more benefits and have a better work environment so I can compete for the best enployees.

[-] -2 points by Dell (-168) 2 years ago

I'm done here - what a bunch of losers. If you want to provide more benefits to your employees by all means knock yourself out. Just dont FORCE anyone else to do what YOU think is best. Once you use FORCE the debate is over.

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

Who said anything about forcing anyone to do anything?

[-] -1 points by Dell (-168) 2 years ago

how else are you going to get employers to pay what you call a "living wage"?

[-] 3 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

The species as a whole has an innate survival instinct. Using people and throwing them away like uearerday's newspaper is not only morally wrong, it's also inefficient. Yield is much higher from employees who are satisfied. Immature employers use employees. Mature ones empower them. The mature employers will thrive. Intelligence wins in the end.

[-] -2 points by Dell (-168) 2 years ago

So we should have no problem with employers voluntarily paying what you call a "living wage". So why are we having this discussion? Oh - pass that crack pipe over here please.

[-] 3 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

You keep tearing down humanity and I'll keep working alongside others to do my small part to build humanity up. We'll see who comes out on top in the end. Oh, an be sure to be very careful how you measure yourself. Hint: money isn't it.

[-] 0 points by Dell (-168) 2 years ago

I'm not measuring myself by money far from it. I am measuring myself by freedom. Anytime I see force as the solution I reject it.

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

"Sooner or later but mus' The dam is going to bus' And everyone will break out Who will stop them? The force? What force can stop this river of people who know their course!" - Bongo Jerry - Rastafarian poet

You see, you misunderstand, the government is the people in this republic. You are afraid of the people. If the government of the people, for the people, by the people hadn't been hijacked by corporate interests, it is the that very government that could have prevented the financial meltdown. Deregulation made it easy for corporate interests to cheat American citizens and loot the treasury.

The thing you're paranoid about is the very thing that can protect you.

Most people outgrown your form of libertarianism by the time they hit college. They realize it's all about community, not an every man for himself Ayn Rand bullshit philosophy. Can't wall yourself off. We're all in this together.

[-] -1 points by Dell (-168) 2 years ago

I don't need the protection you speak of thank you. the protection you speak of is dependency like a drug addict. addicted to the government handing out free stuff confiscated from others in exchange for your vote. wake up man

[-] 1 points by Marlow (1141) 2 years ago

..Capitalism mostly thrives well when those involved in it's measure, are Honorable.

..Problem is, there is no more 'Honor'!

.. We NOW have to legislate it!

From where i stand, ... it makes me Ill to know we have NOTHING to rely on that is Secure and Above Standards.

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

Well, I feel your angst..and share it somewhat. However I also feel in my gut that Martin Luther King, Jr. was right when he said "Truth crushed to earth rises up.". There is a moral compass. And, as King put it, "The moral arc of the universe bends towards justice."

We're going to win this Marlow. I promise you this. Humanity is rising and nothing can stop it.

"Sooner or later but mus' the dam going to bus' and everyone will break out What can stop them? The force? What force can stop a river of people who know their course?"

  • Bongo Jerry, Rastafarian poet
[-] 1 points by factsrfun (6569) from Phoenix, AZ 2 years ago

If we can trun the Rs out then we can fix this within the system, if we don't we can't, it will take longer and the fix will be much worse.

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

We definitely need to push hard inside and outside. Both kinds of pressure are necessary.

[-] 1 points by factsrfun (6569) from Phoenix, AZ 2 years ago

If we can force the truth from people we can determine who stands with the people and who stands against them. Right now the entire GOP has moved to stand against the people, see what Snowe thinks:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/analysis-snowes-departure-may-fuel-anger-at-congress-that-puts-partisanship-before-solutions/2012/03/01/gIQAFT0tjR_story.html

Even the Washington Post sees that Rs are hopeless, they just put it another way.

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (21423) 2 years ago

Most definitely. A living wage would help our society economically, socially and spiritually.

[-] 1 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 2 years ago

I think the way to improve the wages of the mass of working people is to go back, or forwards, that is, to high tech production. We should have high tech, highly automated manufacturing as 20-30% of our economy.

This kind of worker really "earns" substantial income, which "bubbles up" rather than "trickles down" to the rest of the economy.

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (21423) 2 years ago

Nice idea. Interesting.

[-] 1 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 2 years ago

It's something that would be natural for the US also, if we put our minds to it. We used to be the greatest manufacturing country, and could be once again. We need a crash program, like a combination of the New Deal, with JFK's space program.

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

Right on!

[-] 1 points by shield (222) 2 years ago

First of all, I agree with you that fair wages are essential. But I disagree with the implication that people should be forced to hire others for mandatory minimum hourly wages (for the same reason that I am against mandatory minimum prison sentences -- not everyone deserves it). "Fair wages" to me means whatever the providers of jobs are willing to offer to whomever will accept it.

Your argument regarding the stupidity of the 1% "running out of people to buy stuff" ignores two things. First of all, the 1% are not the ones producing anything. They have nothing to sell except debt. The second thing is that selling things is not what they're interested in. They're not capitalists. They're not interested in making a profit. They're interested in the same things any other would-be world leader is interested in -- complete control of everything. Why? I don't know. And it is insane, from a human standpoint. But I do know that that is the only purpose which can be served by the methods they employ.

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

Why not pay a living wage?

[-] 0 points by onepercentguy (294) 2 years ago

because i dont have to, the market determines what i pay. the money my warehouse workers make me, i grow the business with. everyone wins.

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

With you not paying much attention to their interests, do you think your employees are paying more than a cursory bit of attention to YOUR interests? Think about it. Happy workers are productive workers.

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

Really? Everyone? Even the people who aren't paid a loving wage and need to work extra job to try to put their kid through college? Does everyone really win? And do really have so little power over what you pay your employees? "The market determines" what you pay your employees you say? Bullshit. That's a cop out and you know it. You can mark any little thing you want next to the payroll roster. Those wages could be higher. I know it. You know it. So let's cut the crap.

I've owned a successful corporation that employs a fair number of people and I pay them well -- and I decide what that rate will be, not the market.

[-] 2 points by onepercentguy (294) 2 years ago

Not my problem that they can't make more. Outside of my societal responsibility in paying far more taxes for social programs and my free choice to fund charities and education programs, I have no responsibility to bail out those for the misfortune in their lives, many of which is self inflicted.

If they don't like the jobs I offer, they don't have to take them. They should go back to school and learn a more marketable trade or profession.

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

You're an every man for himself kind of guy. You don't realize that we're all in this together. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. All of us are inextricably linked."

Dostoevsky seems to have addressed this when he wrote the following in the Brothers Karamazov (all of the following paragraphs are Dostoevsky):

"Today, everyone asserts his own personality and strives to live a full life as an individual. But these efforts lead not to a full life but to suicide, because instead of realizing his personality, man only slips into total isolation. For in our age, man has been broken up into self-contained individuals, each of whom retreats into his lair, trying to stay away from the rest, hiding himself and his belongings from the rest of mankind, and finally isolating himself from people and people from him.

And while he accumulates material wealth in his isolation, he thinks with satisfaction how mighty and secure he has become, because he is mad and cannot see that the more goods he accumulates, the deeper he sinks into suicidal impotence. The reason for this is that he has become accustomed to relying only on himself; he has split off from the whole and become an isolated unit; he has trained his soul not to rely on human help, not to believe in man and mankind, and only to worry that the wealth and privileges he has accumulated may get lost.

Everywhere men today are turning scornfully away from the truth that the security of the individual cannot be achieved by his isolated efforts but only by mankind as a whole.

BUT AN END to this fearful isolation is bound to come and all men will understand how unnatural it was for them to have isolated themselves from one another. This will be the spirit of the new era and people will look in amazement at the past when they sat in darkness and refused to see the light. . . . . . Until that day, we must keep hope alive, and now and then a man must set an example, even if only an isolated one, by trying to lift his soul out of its isolation and offering it up in an act of brotherly communion, even if he is taken for one of God's fools.

This is necessary to keep the great idea alive."

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

Does that include all of the corporations that were bailed out? They all deserved to fail due their self inflicted wreckless business practices in our supposed free market system. These same banks now foreclose on the very people who bailed them out.

[-] 1 points by onepercentguy (294) 2 years ago

yep, them included.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

I hope you do not continue to support them by banking with them.

[-] 0 points by onepercentguy (294) 2 years ago

nonsense. i love bank of america, they give me all kinds of free stuff.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

You know nothing is free. Someone pays for it. They will get it all back and more by hidden fees and the incredibly low interest they pay on your deposits. What rate do they pay you?

[-] 1 points by onepercentguy (294) 2 years ago

and i have no problem with the bank making some money off of me. i dont pay hidden fees, poor people do. my cash deposits are a small percentage of a my holdings with them. most are in stock and mutual funds through merrill lynch and i make a ton of trades that are free thanks to my account status.

the free wire transfers, free checks, free safety deposit boxes, free trades, free research ... all worth it.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

So who pays for all the freebies? You do. They are hidden and they have you convinced you don't pay for them. Salesmanship at it's best, enriching the worst.

[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

Yeah BoA is like eating hot dogs...as long as you dont think of the ingredients or their nasty way of screwing people...they are great.

[-] 0 points by gforz (-43) 2 years ago

Rising, although in theory your ideals are noble and the desired outcome desirable, unfortunately you cannot legislate morality and any attempts to do so undermine freedom. Yes, Mr. 1% up there could, to the extent he would either endanger the viability of his company or dip into his own pockets to subsidize the higher wages of his employees, pay them what he wishes. Rising, you have owned a company you say, so you know there is a limit on what you are able to pay your people, because otherwise it would endanger your own living. And the people you pay much more than living wage to, you do so because they are more valuable to you and they have options to go elsewhere should you desire to pay them less. You don't just "mark any little thing you want" on your payroll register. You pay what you deem a living wage, and will continue to, until such time as your own living is endangered, conditions change in your field, prices are cut, etc. at which time you will have to make a difficult choice: continue to pay the wages as before with no reduction in workforce, paying people out of your own pocket (after all, we are our brother's keeper, are we not?), cut employees, thereby saving your own skin and probably that of the company (you greedy capitalist you!), or keep everyone employed, albeit at a lesser wage so that you can preserve jobs and your own living. Unless you are a man of unlimited resources, over time the market decides what you will pay your employees.

[-] 3 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

Excuses excuses excuses. The business person grows a company with great and talented people. If he or she is innovative and smart, the company thrives. If he or she isn't, the lazy thing to do is cut employee benefits, reduce wages, squeeze out the people who helped you build the company. That's a cop out through and through. It's how boring inside the box non-entrepreneurs operate. They treat people as things.

I don't treat people as things so I don't have to wallow in the nihilistic (gosh what can you do) mindset. Instead, I innovate alongside my fellow employees and reward them instead of cutting them to the bone.

Yours is the lazy capitalist, the most boring uninspiring creature on earth. He or she exploits people, the environment, anything.... Anything but intelligence and innovation.

[-] -1 points by gforz (-43) 2 years ago

Well, rising, in this system of yours, it appears that being "innovative and smart" is critical to being able to continue to pay your employees well. I agree. This we would call the "winners in the capitalist system. You are talking about competitiveness, being intelligent and innovating. That is great. But not all of these entrepreneurs are going to be successful in doing this, and since you are so innovative and smart, your competitors are going to find it difficult to compete with you in the market, and as a result may indeed have to make difficult decisions like firing people, closing locations, changing strategies. What you're basically saying is that if you can't be innovative and smart enough to pay everyone full wages and benefits (regardless of business conditions) you just need to close your doors. You give no weight whatsoever to risk involved in running a small business. I'm fine with everything being all egalitarian as long as the employees are in it WITH the owner, upside and downside as well. It is when the employee is paid for his work along the way, and then start shouting "unfair" when times get bad and the owner has to make tough decisions. It is not always the owner who sucks in his innovation and smartness. Sometimes the workers suck, they have lousy salesmen, lazy floor workers, whatever. Most people call it "skin in the game", meaning everyone has something to lose and something to gain. There ARE going to be winners and losers in a capitalist system, that's how it works. Not everyone is going to be as smart and innovative as you in whatever it is that you do, so your competitors are going to find it difficult to compete with you and hence either get smarter and more innovative, or close their doors.

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

I think we capitalists can help one another. I help my competitors all the time. I need th to stay strong because it keeps our team on its toes. And yes, a business person who drops below that living wage ability should not be in business. It's like running a dangerous machine without the guards on it to protest person running it. You just don't do it, no matter how tight money is. It's a line you don't cross.

[-] 0 points by HarryPairatestes2 (380) from Barrow, AK 2 years ago

so your janitor is making over a $100k a year?

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

Nobody said $100k a year is a living wage. That way over a living wage.

[-] 0 points by HarryPairatestes2 (380) from Barrow, AK 2 years ago

"That way over a living wage"

Really? Family of four in L.A., New York, or San Francisco might disagree with you.

[-] 0 points by SteveKJR (-497) 2 years ago

Can someone please explain to me just how much is a person paid to constitute a "living wage" or "fair wage"?

The reason I ask is because everyone has a different "idea" about how much they should be worth or should make in order to provide them to maintain their lifestyle.

As an example a person who lives in a $90,000 townhouse would need less then a person who lives in a $200,000 home. Now lets suppose both are doing the same job.

Would the person who lives in the $200,000 home receive more in a living wage then the person who lives in the $90,000 townhouse?

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

Depends on family size, not on house. A living wage is one that allows a person to support himself an his family so try can have adequate quality food, quality shelter, some entertainment, and the luxury of some time to spend together. This whole thing where families never see each other because all the adults have to work multiple jobs.....that is just so damn wrong. All those family values folks who are voting for people who are push for legislation that allows corporations to drive down real wages, reduce employee benefits, weaken labor laws etc should take a good hard look at what they're preaching vs how they're voting.

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[-] 0 points by Odin (583) 2 years ago

What we have experienced in the last thirty years is capitalism unchecked, and for a long time THEY had us convinced that this was a good thing. What happen? We woke up and formed this beautiful movement

[-] 0 points by JuanFenito (847) 2 years ago

What would happen if we raised the minimum wage to $500 per hour? Why not? We'd all be rich in no time.

[-] 1 points by DanielBarton (1345) 2 years ago

and milk would be $300 a gallon the cost of living would just increase and we would all be in the same places look at pre-world war 2 Germany

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

That's a smart ass comment. You're an every man for himself kind of guy. You don't realize that we're all in this together. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. All of us are inextricably linked."

Dostoevsky seems to have addressed this when he wrote the following in the Brothers Karamazov (all of the following paragraphs are Dostoevsky):

"Today, everyone asserts his own personality and strives to live a full life as an individual. But these efforts lead not to a full life but to suicide, because instead of realizing his personality, man only slips into total isolation. For in our age, man has been broken up into self-contained individuals, each of whom retreats into his lair, trying to stay away from the rest, hiding himself and his belongings from the rest of mankind, and finally isolating himself from people and people from him.

And while he accumulates material wealth in his isolation, he thinks with satisfaction how mighty and secure he has become, because he is mad and cannot see that the more goods he accumulates, the deeper he sinks into suicidal impotence. The reason for this is that he has become accustomed to relying only on himself; he has split off from the whole and become an isolated unit; he has trained his soul not to rely on human help, not to believe in man and mankind, and only to worry that the wealth and privileges he has accumulated may get lost.

Everywhere men today are turning scornfully away from the truth that the security of the individual cannot be achieved by his isolated efforts but only by mankind as a whole.

BUT AN END to this fearful isolation is bound to come and all men will understand how unnatural it was for them to have isolated themselves from one another. This will be the spirit of the new era and people will look in amazement at the past when they sat in darkness and refused to see the light. . . . . . Until that day, we must keep hope alive, and now and then a man must set an example, even if only an isolated one, by trying to lift his soul out of its isolation and offering it up in an act of brotherly communion, even if he is taken for one of God's fools.

This is necessary to keep the great idea alive."

[-] 0 points by JuanFenito (847) 2 years ago

What do you mean smart comment? I am seriously wondering, what would happen? Why has it not been done? If small minimum wages move a small amount of wealth from the hands of the rich to the hands of the poor, why wouldn't a large one move a large amount on money?

[-] 0 points by gforz (-43) 2 years ago

Well, Juan, perhaps because it DOESN'T move any money from the hands of the "rich" to the hands of the poor. What do you suppose a business owner would need to do if he/she suddenly had to pay $500/hour to their employees? Do you suppose they would have to raise the price of their product or do you think they would still charge $4 for a hamburger and just eat the loss? You'd have one of two things: either they raise the price of the hamburger to $250, thereby maintaining the ability to stay in business and make the same amount of profit as they did with the $4 hamburger and $7.25/hour minimum wage, or..... they close their doors. Either way, the workers wouldn't be rich, because if they want a hamburger, they've got to pay $250 for one, if they want an oil change, they'll be paying $1000, a haircut, $400, etc., so their $500/hour goes pretty quick. Why don't you do a little exercise and say you're JuanFenito the entrepreneur and you're going to open a tiny little hamburger joint, where you'll employ 2 or 3 people to cook, handle orders, and handle restocking, etc. and you're going to pay each of them $500/hour on say, an 8 hour shift. Let's say you want to still be able to sell hamburgers for $10 each. We're going to do just the basics here, not worry about the cost of the product, insurance, real estate, food licenses, etc., just the math of labor and gross sales. With 3 people you have $1500/hour, or $12,000 total cost of labor for the 8 hour shift, with you getting a big fat zero in profit. Divide the $12,000 by $10 and you'd have to sell 1200 hamburgers in 8 hours to only take a minor ass whooping. That unrealistic number comes to 2.5 hamburgers sold every minute of the 8 hour shift, with one guy cooking. Think you could do that, or might you raise the price of the burger, or simply say, f-it, I'm outta here? You got the general idea now.