Being a New Yorker, I’m see the beginnings of passing a living wage. On September 29, 2014 Mayor DeBlasio issued an executive order raising the wages of commercial tenants getting more than $1 million or more in city subsidies to $13.13 or $11.90 with benefits. This is a big step as New York City is known for a high cost of living. It only makes sense that a living wage is paid in NY.
1. When people earn a living wage, those people do not need public assistance. You can either have people working for $7.15 an hour who survive with public assistance or pay people a living wage of $13-15 an hour and live without it. Try working a full time job on $7.15 an hour and pay the bills. Also having someone work 2 or more full time to make basic ends meet is inhuman.
2. The idea of people of getting an education and finding a good job is great in theory. However not everyone can afford an education and working a poverty wage doesn’t allow them to really save money to pay for school. Second issue is the fact that so many educated people are stuck in minimum wage jobs because of a supersaturated market of applicants and limited number of jobs. You have lawyers fresh out of 7 yrs of school barely finding a job that pays 40-50K (for 7 yrs of back breaking school and a bar exam+a mountain of student loans to pay off).
3. Cities that have living wage laws thrive. Seattle has made the commitment to have a $15 an hour minimum wage law. As per USA today June 3, 2014, Businesses employing more than 500 workers would be required to pay $15 an hour by 2017, or 2018 if health care is offered. Smaller businesses would have five to seven years to phase in the increase. Part of employees’ tips and benefits could be applied toward the higher minimum for as long as 11 years”. A similar plan would be a good idea. Washington already has the highest minimum wage of $9.32 and it’s doing better economically as a state than states with lower minimum wages.
4.A living wage not only improves the quality of life of the earners but improves the economy. A consumer economy requires that the majority have disposable income to spend. When Henry Ford opened up his plant, he revolutionized the auto industry by making cars available to the every man. He also paid his workers a living wage. Not only did he feel it was morally right, but he knew workers who had extra money after covering basic needs, could save that extra money and buy the very cars they made. So a good chunk the proud owners of a brand new Ford Model T were the very workers who put them together in Ford’s factory. My MMA gym owner makes a living because my job pays me enough so that I have the time and money to spend on his establishment.
5. Fast food and retail giants can afford paying a living wage with modest price increases at most. Theoretically, they wouldn’t need to raise prices and still make a profit. The problem is that these companies are overly greedy and don’t want make less than a %110 profit if they can avoid it. These companies wouldn’t go bankrupt if anything their profit margins would modestly shrink. Then again a modest price increase (pennies on the dollar increase) would get them to the same profit margins. And yes I’d buy a Big Mac more often if I knew I was helping support employees earning a living wage (even if I had to 50 cents for it) . Maybe I’d get fast food more often if the company was paying its workers a living wage.
With these points I present a case for a living wage.
The NY Times article about NY’s executive order