Minimum Wage

If you can work full-time on the minimum wage and still be in poverty, the minimum wage has FAILED. The Minimum wage first appeared in the National Industrial Recovery Act, but was called out by the Supreme Court. It would be defeated here, and reappear 5 years later in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

The background of the M.W. is actually fairly interesting. It was part of the N.L.R.A. in the beginning but was called out not due to the wage itself but due to the pressures Roosevelt was trying to put onto businesses for not conforming too the wage, because it wasn’t a required wage but rather one that if used would enable the businesses to have an edge in determining various aspects of business. The Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional.

But he’d get it through, by giving his suggested wage to government workers beginning in 1937, forcing private businesses to also begin to use the same wage in order to retain employees. He managed to get it in one state, Washington, and then a federal bill got passed.

F.D.R. once said : “In my Inaugural I laid down the simple proposition that nobody is going to starve in this country. It seems to me to be equally plain that no business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. By “business” I mean the whole of commerce as well as the whole of industry; by workers I mean all workers, the white collar class as well as the men in overalls; and by living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level-I mean the wages of decent living.”

F.D.R. believed that the Minimum wage was a living wage. And so do I. Do you?

Some sources:

We need to know the history and purpose of the minimum wage. We need to remember that history. The minimum wage is meant to be a living wage. Not a wage that entraps workers in poverty.

Minimum Wage

3 thoughts on “Minimum Wage

  1. Perhaps you should read a little more history of the depression era. Whether a wage is a “Living Wage” or not is a social judgement and not an economic one. The old saying that if wishes were horses beggars would ride illustrates this concept of reality versus wishful thinking. No one holds a gun to the head of a worker ands says he must accept the wage given. Indeed, a man or woman is free to find better work in terms of wage, benefits, and the like. If there is no better work available then we might ask why. This may be due to lack of skills that command a higher price in the market. If I grow apples and bring my bushels to market the price I might obtain is dependent on a number of factors. If the apples have been picked late and over ripe I have no right to asset that I must have a minimum price paid and that all my apples must be sold. So why should I be paid a premium for my lack of saleable skills on the open market? If I must compete with others like myself for positions that may number fewer than those who seek such positions, why should those positions be paid far more than they are worth? The higher the floor of the minimum wage the fewer positions that become available. We already face a time where not only have minimum wage jobs been outsources to foreign countries but robots are now replacing such labor cheaply. Your insistence on a “living Wage” dooms more unskilled labor to starvation than it does to solve the problem of hunger.

    FDR was trying to restore the economy by creating unions and corporate oligarchies, cartels that would set prices higher to assure profits and wage increases. The Supreme Court pointed out that his policies and laws contravened both constitutional law and previous laws passed against such abuses. Essentially FDR, like many liberals of the time thought that all that was needed to end the depression was to spend more money. You might call it spending your way to wealth. We face the same problem today with world wide depression about to crash on top of our collective heads. We have been spending our way to wealth with excessive credit turned to excessive debt. Debt is a claim on future earnings, if there be any. At the rate of spending it is unlikely that we shall see much i9n the way of future earnings. It’s a mathematical problem. Two plus two always equals four and never any other number no matter how good your intentions might be.

    Of course you will tell me I don’t know what I am talking about and that I am wrong and that morally you are correct. But moral positions don’t pay the rent or put food on the table. Its paid work that does that. And its the value of our skills that matter, not the morality of our thinking. Only time will tell if you or I are right. And if you are wrong, what then? If I am wrong, then all will be right with the world and everyone will see great economic growth and high living wages.


  2. I’d be interested in seeing statistics because many different studies have shown that having a living wage isn’t by definition an evil to be avoided because work is outsourced. That isn’t the case in actuality.

    “Your insistence on a “living Wage” dooms more unskilled labor to starvation than it does to solve the problem of hunger.” I don’t know… I’ve heard that before, but it doesn’t seem to be mired in reality. Plus if that’s the case, perhaps we could implement other alternatives, such as a social safety net for those who don’t reach the poverty line, or a supplemental guaranteed income (“basic income”) for everyone. What’s your alternative, if not raising the wage?


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