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  1. #1
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    The Living Wage and Moral Obligation

    It seems that there are three costs here:

    1. The free market value of low-skill labor - what a person's individual labor is worth given the current market forces.
    2. The minimum wage - the lowest amount that an employer is allowed to pay
    3. The living wage - what one needs to earn per hour in order to safely afford the basics of survival (food, shelter, health care).

    And it seems that each is higher than the next 1<2<3. Ideally 1 and 3 would be roughly the same but that's clearly not the case.

    And I currently don't see a "win" for workers given the current system. We keep the minimum wage where it is, most minimum wage workers are living in or near poverty. We raise the minimum wage to a living wage and many workers can't find jobs because employers can't afford to hire everyone who wants a job. If we do away with the minimum wage, more people can find jobs but it's going to be even more difficult to afford the basics with one's paycheck than if we have a minimum wage.

    So I have to question that notion that our ability to attain a living be so directly tied to our labor value in the market. If one's labor value cannot be used to earn a living even though one is willing to work and we agree that those who are willing to work should be able to afford a living, then we need to find a way for people to afford a living outside of the whims of the market value of their labor.

    One method to perhaps alleviate this problem is the Universal Basic Income (UBI), where everyone gets a certain amount of money regardless of whether they are working or not. Or another option is the government creates jobs that pays an living wage. I'm not directly arguing for either of these but I do think that leaving what one earns to the whims of the free market is untenable when the market value of labor is too low (and given the increase in automation, it's likely only going to go down).

    If certain people can't earn a living with their labor, then the ability to earn a living should not so directly tied to their labor.

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  3. #2
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    Re: Increasing the Minimum Wage hurts those most vulnerable in our society.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    It seems that there are three costs here:

    1. The free market value of low-skill labor - what a person's individual labor is worth given the current market forces.
    2. The minimum wage - the lowest amount that an employer is allowed to pay
    3. The living wage - what one needs to earn per hour in order to safely afford the basics of survival (food, shelter, health care).

    And it seems that each is higher than the next 1<2<3. Ideally 1 and 3 would be roughly the same but that's clearly not the case.

    And I currently don't see a "win" for workers given the current system. We keep the minimum wage where it is, most minimum wage workers are living in or near poverty. We raise the minimum wage to a living wage and many workers can't find jobs because employers can't afford to hire everyone who wants a job. If we do away with the minimum wage, more people can find jobs but it's going to be even more difficult to afford the basics with one's paycheck than if we have a minimum wage.

    So I have to question that notion that our ability to attain a living be so directly tied to our labor value in the market. If one's labor value cannot be used to earn a living even though one is willing to work and we agree that those who are willing to work should be able to afford a living, then we need to find a way for people to afford a living outside of the whims of the market value of their labor.

    One method to perhaps alleviate this problem is the Universal Basic Income (UBI), where everyone gets a certain amount of money regardless of whether they are working or not. Or another option is the government creates jobs that pays an living wage. I'm not directly arguing for either of these but I do think that leaving what one earns to the whims of the free market is untenable when the market value of labor is too low (and given the increase in automation, it's likely only going to go down).

    If certain people can't earn a living with their labor, then the ability to earn a living should not so directly tied to their labor.
    I am not sure your premises are valid in a dynamic economy. Is low-skill labor's free market value always less than the minimum wage? In fact, we see instances where low-skill labor makes more than the minimum wage. Your equality is based on what? I mean, how are defining living wage? The problem is that this is a subjective value, not an economic fact. A minimum wage law is concrete. Someone's value to an employer is, likewise, a calculable value and certainly the actual wage being paid is objective. The $5/hr my boss pays me is just that, $5/hr. The concept of a living wage is purely subjective and relative in value. Do the people living in the Bay Area expect the same living standards as people in West Virginia? If I have to share an apartment, am I not earning a living wage? If I earn enough to live on my own, share a small bedroom, and am able to afford a few meals a day, am i earning a living wage? How about if I am married and have 2 kids?

    I don't think, therefore, there is any objective evidence that people cannot live on a minimum wage. It is how they choose to live and the choices they make which determines the kind of life minimum wage provides. What about limiting the amount of time someone can hold any entry level type position? Force people to either relocate, train for better opportunities, or lose their jobs so other workers can gain the useful experience of an entry level job, which is by definition, not a job intended to be a career. Cashier jobs at McDonald's are not intended to be lifetime aspirations designed to provide for a family. They are entry level jobs intended for people just entering the job market and for temporary workers such as high school/college kids.

    I think most of us can agree that a basic public-provided safety net should exist to provide for people who are absolutely unable to participate in the free market. However, I do not believe, we have reached a point where this safety net needs to be extended to people in the work force or that are capable of working. Now, perhaps, at some point this paradigm changes. In a fully automated society, maybe we will need/desire some sort of universal wage. I don't know. I just don't think we are anywhere near that point yet.
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  5. #3
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    Re: Increasing the Minimum Wage hurts those most vulnerable in our society.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    I am not sure your premises are valid in a dynamic economy. Is low-skill labor's free market value always less than the minimum wage? In fact, we see instances where low-skill labor makes more than the minimum wage. Your equality is based on what? I mean, how are defining living wage? The problem is that this is a subjective value, not an economic fact. A minimum wage law is concrete. Someone's value to an employer is, likewise, a calculable value and certainly the actual wage being paid is objective. The $5/hr my boss pays me is just that, $5/hr. The concept of a living wage is purely subjective and relative in value. Do the people living in the Bay Area expect the same living standards as people in West Virginia? If I have to share an apartment, am I not earning a living wage? If I earn enough to live on my own, share a small bedroom, and am able to afford a few meals a day, am i earning a living wage? How about if I am married and have 2 kids?

    I don't think, therefore, there is any objective evidence that people cannot live on a minimum wage. It is how they choose to live and the choices they make which determines the kind of life minimum wage provides.
    While it may vary from area to area, one can calculate how much food, shelter, and health care cost for an individual.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    What about limiting the amount of time someone can hold any entry level type position? Force people to either relocate, train for better opportunities, or lose their jobs so other workers can gain the useful experience of an entry level job, which is by definition, not a job intended to be a career. Cashier jobs at McDonald's are not intended to be lifetime aspirations designed to provide for a family. They are entry level jobs intended for people just entering the job market and for temporary workers such as high school/college kids.
    I don't see how that helps someone earn a living. Unless the that person is forced into a higher-paying position within McDonald's, he's either going to have to find a similar job elsewhere or be unemployed (barring some very good luck).

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    I think most of us can agree that a basic public-provided safety net should exist to provide for people who are absolutely unable to participate in the free market. However, I do not believe, we have reached a point where this safety net needs to be extended to people in the work force or that are capable of working. Now, perhaps, at some point this paradigm changes. In a fully automated society, maybe we will need/desire some sort of universal wage. I don't know. I just don't think we are anywhere near that point yet.
    If there are people who are willing to work but can't earn enough to afford food, shelter, and health care, then we are there. How serious the situation is is just a matter of degrees.
    Last edited by mican333; April 27th, 2017 at 03:27 PM.

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    Re: Increasing the Minimum Wage hurts those most vulnerable in our society.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    It seems that there are three costs here:

    1. The free market value of low-skill labor - what a person's individual labor is worth given the current market forces.
    2. The minimum wage - the lowest amount that an employer is allowed to pay
    3. The living wage - what one needs to earn per hour in order to safely afford the basics of survival (food, shelter, health care).
    A small, initial correction. These aren't really costs, they are prices. It matters a bit because prices are determined differently than most people think. They aren't just "set" by companies that sell goods (we see this because employees are the ones selling the goods and aren't setting the price), but rather are a range of values based on the individual circumstances of the individual purchaser and individual seller.

    https://mises.org/library/how-prices-are-determined

    So employee 1 might not be able to live on a certain market wage for a certain skill set, but employee 2 can. Likewise, company 1 might have a productivity tool that makes a higher wage (and larger market share) possible.

    When we start defining a "living wage" (a term I would really recommend people consider not using given its eugenics origins and consequences) the term is relatively meaningless as a value applied to a large group of people. The minimum wage I can afford to work for is far higher than the minimum wage my 15 year old can afford to work for which is different than the minimum wage someone in Texas can afford to work for, etc. etc.

    To the extent we need to aggregate these values for policy sake then we need to look at the actual wage necessary to support someone who typically works in the "unskilled labor" market. Additionally, we need to consider non-pecuniary benefits (experience, training, flexible schedules, etc) that might be more valuable to someone working in that market than to others.


    So who actually makes the minimum wage?

    24% are teenagers, 50% are under 24. If you include those who are working part time as part of retirement, it increases even higher, perhaps as high as 75% of all MW workers.

    These are all examples of people with additional income sources (retirement savings, parents, etc) and who are looking for specific, non-wage benefits (flexibility, experience).

    So defining their "living wage" is particularly difficult or nearly meaningless.


    One interesting side point, the racial dispersion and HH income have skewed whiter and higher over time, which argues that the MW tends to substitute middle class teenagers for poor minority teenagers as a direct effect.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mican
    We keep the minimum wage where it is, most minimum wage workers are living in or near poverty.
    I'm not sure this is necessarily the case, not in any meaningful sense. A teenager living with their suburban parents is perhaps earning below the poverty level, but they aren't "poor."

    Hell, if we are considering only their income level, Bill Gates is in near poverty (subsisting solely on accumulated savings and capital gains).


    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    While it may vary from area to area, one can calculate how much food, shelter, and health care cost for an individual.
    Can we? What kind of food, based on what caloric standard, what of allergies, or religious requirements? Shelter in what area? How big of an apartment is necessary for you vs me vs someone with a disability? Healthcare is a completely subjective good. How much risk are you assuming vs what I am willing to assume? Do you have the same health conditions as me? What if one of us prefers home treatment to hospitals? How big of a deduction is "the minimum?"

    These are all subjectively answered questions that affect what a "living wage" would be. When the rubber meets the road this isn't really an answerable question. I'm open to a try though, how much should UBI be? Should it vary by region? Age? Health Condition?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mican
    I don't see how that helps someone earn a living. Unless the that person is forced into a higher-paying position within McDonald's, he's either going to have to find a similar job elsewhere or be unemployed (barring some very good luck).
    Except that virtually all MW workers do find better jobs within 10 years. As pointed out either earlier in this thread or in another thread (and I'm happy to pull the references again), only 8% of people in the lowest income quintile (which includes all MW workers) are there 10 years later. Of that 8%, the bulk are retirees working part time as well.
    Last edited by Squatch347; May 18th, 2017 at 12:51 AM. Reason: Clean Post/Thread Split
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
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    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  7. #5
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    Re: Increasing the Minimum Wage hurts those most vulnerable in our society.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    While it may vary from area to area, one can calculate how much food, shelter, and health care cost for an individual.
    Again, this is a subjective list. How are we defining shelter? Quality/Quantity of food? Quantity/Quality of health care? You also did not address whether the living wage includes costs for taking care of spouses and/or children.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    I don't see how that helps someone earn a living. Unless the that person is forced into a higher-paying position within McDonald's, he's either going to have to find a similar job elsewhere or be unemployed (barring some very good luck).
    The best way to move up economically is by getting experience working. The easiest jobs to get are low-wage entry level jobs. However, if these jobs are being ****-blocked, so to speak, by people using them as permanent careers, then we are preventing other motivated workers from entering the work force, creating a permanent unemployed class of people which I suspect is largely minorities and high school kids. If though, we enforce the transitionality (my own invented word I guess) of these jobs then we expose more people to the work force, creating more experienced workers who have greater potential for higher skills and higher wages. I think, currently, the bottom of the work force is facing stagnation where it is increasingly common to see adults working these jobs and holding them for long periods of time.[/QUOTE]
    There are about 2 million people or 3% of the work force who holds minimum wage jobs and per economists full employment is generally 5% unemployment. The best way to move up in the work force is to gain job experience. However, if the easiest jobs to get are unavailable due to lack of mobility, then there will be a large section of the unemployed who remain unemployed. I'd think this would impact young people and minorities the greatest. However, if you placed a restriction on the duration someone could hold an entry-level position, then you open that job up for someone else, potentially in the unemployed group, giving more people a chance to gain work experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    If there are people who are willing to work but can't earn enough to afford food, shelter, and health care, then we are there. How serious the situation is is just a matter of degrees.
    Is this an actual problem? Particularly among the employed where only about 2 million people earn the minimum wage or less. About 3% of the work force earns the minimum wage. So, really, how big of an issue is this? For the most part, people truly motivated to work, will find work. Of those who find work, almost all of them will be paid more than the minimum wage. Of those making the minimum wage, this is a problem only when they are making bad decisions, like having children, incurring credit card debt, trying to live above their means, etc. This idea that we need to subsidize them somehow or increase the minimum wage to some other standard seems like putting the cart before the horse. Matter of degrees matter. If an intersection incurred an accident every few years, you'd pay little attention. If that same intersection had an accident a day, most would agree something radically needs to change. A new stop light perhaps. However, if there was an occasional accident, then it would seem silly to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a new stop light. Maybe just a stop sign. Maybe just a sign warning people to slow down. However, we see a problem that really impacts very few people and you are proposing radical solutions. It just does not seem to scale with the problem.
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  8. #6
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    Re: Increasing the Minimum Wage hurts those most vulnerable in our society.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    When we start defining a "living wage" (a term I would really recommend people consider not using given its eugenics origins and consequences) the term is relatively meaningless as a value applied to a large group of people. The minimum wage I can afford to work for is far higher than the minimum wage my 15 year old can afford to work for which is different than the minimum wage someone in Texas can afford to work for, etc. etc.
    My central point is that a society should provide a way for everyone to be able to attain the "basics". If a young person is living at home then obviously he doesn't need to earn much to attain the basics but that's not really what I'm talking about. I'm saying that if adults who are willing to work can't find a way to earn enough to live off of, something's wrong and if the problem is the price of their labor is too low to pay them what they need, then their labor should not be the sole basis for how they receive the basics (food, shelter, health care). Obviously a high schooler who lives at home won't have much of a problem getting what he needs so what he is payed is a different issue. If every person who is not a dependent can earn what he/she needs, THEN there being other types of jobs that are set aside for teenagers who don't need to earn as much but benefit in other ways (job experience) is fine.

    But the fact that some who can work don't need to earn a living wage is not a reason to deny it for those who do need it.

    And as a side note, I'm not aware of the term "living wage" having an unsavory origin. That's not to say that I'm challenging your assertion that it does have an unsavory origin but I do observe that it's very much a commonly used term with no commonly-used alternative so in this day and age it doesn't seem to have an unsavory connotation (if people did feel that it was an immoral term, there would almost certainly be a politically correct alternative term) and also I would say that it's objectively the most accurate term to describe the wage that one needs to earn a living. So I choose to continue using it.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I'm not sure this is necessarily the case, not in any meaningful sense. A teenager living with their suburban parents is perhaps earning below the poverty level, but they aren't "poor."

    Hell, if we are considering only their income level, Bill Gates is in near poverty (subsisting solely on accumulated savings and capital gains).
    But again, my point is that every adult should have the means to earn what one needs for the basics so micro-focusing on just one measure of financial gain kind of misses the point. If Bill Gates gets what he needs despite not having what is technically an income, then he's doing just fine and isn't a person who we should be concerned about. The concern is with an adult who is willing to work but still can't attain the basics because the system doesn't provide a way for him to get it.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Can we? What kind of food, based on what caloric standard, what of allergies, or religious requirements? Shelter in what area? How big of an apartment is necessary for you vs me vs someone with a disability? Healthcare is a completely subjective good. How much risk are you assuming vs what I am willing to assume? Do you have the same health conditions as me? What if one of us prefers home treatment to hospitals? How big of a deduction is "the minimum?"

    These are all subjectively answered questions that affect what a "living wage" would be. When the rubber meets the road this isn't really an answerable question. I'm open to a try though, how much should UBI be? Should it vary by region? Age? Health Condition?
    I would the think the complexity of the questions you are forwarding regarding health are the types of questions that our current health care system already deals with so I don't see any basis to assume that they would be unanswerable in a different scenario. Nor is it a given that health care would be paid for by the UBI stipend. For example, if we went to single-payer health care, then what money one receives from UBI is pretty much irrelevant to their health care concerns since they wouldn't be paying for health care from the stipend.

    Nor do any of the other questions you forwarded seem particularly unanswerable. In a given area, one can estimate the cost of food and shelter and if it turns out that the UBI stipend is too high or too low (and it should be pretty observable if people are getting too much or too little money), the cost can be adjusted. And I can accept that there are other factors so perhaps it will be a bit more complex than I'm making it out to be but I see no reason to think that the complexity is insurmountable.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Except that virtually all MW workers do find better jobs within 10 years. As pointed out either earlier in this thread or in another thread (and I'm happy to pull the references again), only 8% of people in the lowest income quintile (which includes all MW workers) are there 10 years later. Of that 8%, the bulk are retirees working part time as well.
    But I'm referring to Ibelsd's suggestion that a person be FORCED out of a minimum wage job after a while. What you are saying would likewise be an argument against that as in it seems it would be better to let the person keep the job for years because that's his best shot at earning more eventually.

    And while it's a good thing if a MW job eventually leads to one earning a living wage, they should have had a living wage before the promotion.

    -----------------------------

    And while I mention UBI, I'm not forwarding any specific "solution" to the problem but really just pointing out that MW reveals a problem that needs to be addressed. It does appear that the MW is lower than what will generate a living wage for many people (40 hrs x MW < living expenses).
    Last edited by mican333; April 29th, 2017 at 09:26 AM.

  9. #7
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    Re: Increasing the Minimum Wage hurts those most vulnerable in our society.

    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    My central point is that a society should provide a way for everyone to be able to attain the "basics". If a young person is living at home then obviously he doesn't need to earn much to attain the basics but that's not really what I'm talking about. I'm saying that if adults who are willing to work can't find a way to earn enough to live off of, something's wrong and if the problem is the price of their labor is too low to pay them what they need, then their labor should not be the sole basis for how they receive the basics (food, shelter, health care). Obviously a high schooler who lives at home won't have much of a problem getting what he needs so what he is payed is a different issue. If every person who is not a dependent can earn what he/she needs, THEN there being other types of jobs that are set aside for teenagers who don't need to earn as much but benefit in other ways (job experience) is fine.

    But the fact that some who can work don't need to earn a living wage is not a reason to deny it for those who do need it.
    First of all, sorry about pending responses in other threads.. they are still on my mind and are on my to do list.

    I was about to start a thread regarding my take on the war on the poor as it relates to housing. As you reference the need for shelter here in relation to min wage, I hope this section can be seen as relevant.

    The idea of what one "needs" has created a kind of war on the poor ability to buy and have access to cheap housing. For example, while much of the worlds poor do not have electricity, or have access to very unsafe electricity. In America it is basically illegal to build a home with less than 4 plugs per room. (The code here says one every 12 linear wall foot.) So, If I wanted to provide a cheap home with only the most basic needs covered, like lights and maybe a single plug in each room, I could not do it. I know this may be a small thing, but there is a laundry list of others to add to it, and it all matters to the end price.

    As a comparison story, during the Great Depression I recall a story where a family with 12 children lived in a chicken coupe for some duration.... and they paid rent! Not only could I not legally do that today, the family would probably lose their children for trying.
    Basically, today it is illegal to be that poor or to live in those kinds of conditions.


    My point is that regulations powerfully effect a significant portion of the equation regarding the poor's access to housing. I think is tantamount to immoral to simply try and make illegal the plight of the poor, but that is what we are doing as a society. The plight of the poor here is a force of nature, it will always exist. Looking at min wage is the easy solution that doesn't really address the problems, because if today you raise the min wage, tomorrow they will add 10 more regulations to increase the base price.

    To me a real solution would be to create grades for housing. A house with plugs every 12ft could get an "A", where as a house with only lights, and a stove could get an "F". If you want to live in an "F" house, go right ahead. It will certainly be cheaper.
    To be clear, this particular example is a "Luxury", and a hard discussion on what really is a luxury and what is necessity should be had regarding any regulations. I guess this is a reference to your use of the term "basics".
    What is "basic" housing that you think of? Is it a shanty town house? A few bits of tin with an extension cord? Is it a brick house with fully finished interior and High energy efficiency? Whatever the description you put forward you just have to realize that it costs money and puts housing out of legal reach for certain income levels.
    I apologize to anyone waiting on a response from me. I am experiencing a time warp, suddenly their are not enough hours in a day. As soon as I find a replacement part to my flux capacitor regulator, time should resume it's normal flow.

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    Re: Increasing the Minimum Wage hurts those most vulnerable in our society.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    What is "basic" housing that you think of? Is it a shanty town house? A few bits of tin with an extension cord? Is it a brick house with fully finished interior and High energy efficiency? Whatever the description you put forward you just have to realize that it costs money and puts housing out of legal reach for certain income levels.
    While I won't get into the weeds and lay out exactly what qualifies as the "minimal level" of acceptable quality of housing, one can certainly come up with it and of course it being safe to inhabit is certainly a primary criteria.

    But I remember reading that right now there are more abandoned houses than there are homeless people (by quite a large margin, in fact) so it's clear that we already have enough acceptable houses to house every person that needs a house. Of course, one of the primary reason that those people are not in those houses is that despite being abandoned, those houses still belong to someone or some institution (I would guess banks own many of them) and we don't just take these houses from people/institutions and give them to someone else for free.

    But regardless, making sure that everyone has an acceptable shelter to live in is not an insurmountable problem. We can do it - the only issue is how do we make it happen? But we SHOULD make it happen. Every person in a society should have the ability to attain the basics of survival and that includes housing. If we need people to work in order to attain the basics, then put them to work and pay them what they need. If we don't have enough jobs for everyone to earn a living, then I guess we need to use a different method to get them the basics (which is where something like UBI comes in). If a person is incapable of working due to a condition or illness, then they should be taken care of. I really don't think this is something that we can't do (as in it's impossible). If one says we can't do it with the current system (and that may be true) then we need to change the system so we can do it.

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    Re: Increasing the Minimum Wage hurts those most vulnerable in our society.

    So, I certainly understand not getting into the weeds, on the regulation side.. it's all weeds. Even if we agree that regulations must change, that really leaves so much unaddressed. I mean even if you and I could target specific regulations. I doubt we could even asses how much of the problem (if any) would be fixed. I just raise it as a significant issue.

    Now.. as to bank owned houses that are not occupied.
    Now there is a strong argument to be made about ownership and what not, but we should recognize that banks are not people or individuals like you and I are. They have a special relationship to the gov. Namely, the gov gives them the right to INVENT money.
    So, it isn't as though the banks purchased that land with money they earned, rather they took that special gov power, magically (with a few key strokes) invented debt and assigned it to some builder.. who then defaulted.
    Thus, I think forcing banks to do XY or Z with that property is not unreasonable or unconst, or violating some right to property.

    So, I would propose that if the banks do not sell the house withing 12 months(or something like that), then they should be forced (yes forced) to offer it on the market as a low income rental. Not a subsidies rental like sec-8.
    Or it could be scaled, and there should be exceptions to all laws regarding quality. Such that the bank may have to put up a house with a whole in the roof, but they are not required to fix it .. after all, we are requiring them by force to put it on the market.

    AS far as I am concerned, everything the banks touch are basically part gov owned.
    --

    Another aspect, is that property taxes bring in enough to house everyone in America. .. i would love to see that tax directly connected to housing, especially with an overhaul of the school system as that is where the money currently goes.. generally.
    So I would say privatize education with vouchers, cutting educations costs in half, and take the remaining money and allocate it to funding section 8 housing. (I'd make a killing mwhahahahaha!!!)
    I apologize to anyone waiting on a response from me. I am experiencing a time warp, suddenly their are not enough hours in a day. As soon as I find a replacement part to my flux capacitor regulator, time should resume it's normal flow.

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    Re: Increasing the Minimum Wage hurts those most vulnerable in our society.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    My central point is that a society should provide a way for everyone to be able to attain the "basics". If a young person is living at home then obviously he doesn't need to earn much to attain the basics but that's not really what I'm talking about... But again, my point is that every adult should have the means to earn what one needs for the basics so micro-focusing on just one measure of financial gain kind of misses the point....Nor do any of the other questions you forwarded seem particularly unanswerable. In a given area, one can estimate the cost of food and shelter and if it turns out that the UBI stipend is too high or too low (and it should be pretty observable if people are getting too much or too little money), the cost can be adjusted. And I can accept that there are other factors so perhaps it will be a bit more complex than I'm making it out to be but I see no reason to think that the complexity is insurmountable.
    The level of complexity might be a bit more than you are giving it credit for. We can't simply "hand wave" these questions away. The reason a lot of us are pressing for specifics is because we are pointing out that this is more of a categorical error.

    When you say what they "need," you are implying a subjective term, but then arguing it like an objective figure. IE that there is some amount of housing that is objectively correct as the "minimum standard" for a given person in a given place. Like we could create a complex spreadsheet to calculate everyone's "minimum standard."

    We are pointing out that there is no such thing as an objective standard to measure what people are getting against. In order to argue that there is a gap between current wages and the "correct" standard, the latter would need to be defined. The questions asked were an attempt to point out that no such standard. There is no correct number of rooms for a family of three. There is no correct square footage, or correct food budget for all families with two kids. It invariably devolves into what you, or I, or whomever decides to give them. That means the existence of such a gap isn't taken for granted (especially in the US where people aren't starving to death).

    So we are asking you, what is the minimum standard? If we are incorrect and it is an objective standard, can you demonstrate to us how it is determined?


    Quote Originally Posted by Mican

    And as a side note, I'm not aware of the term "living wage" having an unsavory origin. That's not to say that I'm challenging your assertion that it does have an unsavory origin but I do observe that it's very much a commonly used term with no commonly-used alternative so in this day and age it doesn't seem to have an unsavory connotation (if people did feel that it was an immoral term, there would almost certainly be a politically correct alternative term) and also I would say that it's objectively the most accurate term to describe the wage that one needs to earn a living. So I choose to continue using it.

    Which is understandable, this isn't exactly a part of history that is often reviewed. The term living wage originated in largely the way it is used now and as part of the discussion you've been having. "What is the minimum amount someone needs in order to survive?"

    The next step is the same one you've also taken here, "how do we ensure that everyone gets that minimum amount?" IE what is the minimum wage?

    The problem is that historically the next step (and it seems a natural step given just how many people took that step) was to notice that "if we have people producing less than the amount necessary to ensure survival, aren't they a net drain on the system?" And from there, "what should be done with those people incapable of earning a wage necessary for living?" This was a large workstream within the early Eugenics movement that started here in the US before moving to Europe for actual execution.

    The term "Living Wage" was originally meant to mean "the wage that someone must be capable to earn in order to be allowed to keep living." It was the floor wage between those workers who were productive, and those who were "parasites."

    Begin on page 8 for a pretty good history of this term and its origins in Eugenics: https://www.princeton.edu/~tleonard/...ospectives.pdf
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
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    Re: Increasing the Minimum Wage hurts those most vulnerable in our society.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    The level of complexity might be a bit more than you are giving it credit for. We can't simply "hand wave" these questions away. The reason a lot of us are pressing for specifics is because we are pointing out that this is more of a categorical error.

    When you say what they "need," you are implying a subjective term, but then arguing it like an objective figure. IE that there is some amount of housing that is objectively correct as the "minimum standard" for a given person in a given place. Like we could create a complex spreadsheet to calculate everyone's "minimum standard."
    First off, we already use what you refer to as a subjective standard for an "objectively correct minimum standard" in regards to housing all of the time. There are minimum standards for dwellings and those that don't meet those standards are deemed uninhabitable and people are not legally allowed to live there (think of a house with a red tag). So there is ample evidence that it's not a problem to use subjective standards for an applied formula so this is really a non-issue.

    And welfare as it is currently practiced clearly uses some kind of formula to determine the "correct" amount to give the recipients and probably uses a complex formula.

    So I don't see how UBI is so complex that it can't be implemented when we already implement programs and standards that are similarly complex.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    We are pointing out that there is no such thing as an objective standard to measure what people are getting against. In order to argue that there is a gap between current wages and the "correct" standard, the latter would need to be defined. The questions asked were an attempt to point out that no such standard. There is no correct number of rooms for a family of three. There is no correct square footage, or correct food budget for all families with two kids. It invariably devolves into what you, or I, or whomever decides to give them.
    As far as I can tell, the ONLY reason that such standards do not exist is because the program does not exist. But if it did exist, then these standards would be created. Again, this does not seem more complex than programs that already exist.

    Of course I personally will not be the one running the program if it ever came to be and therefore my ability or lack thereof to arrive at what would be an acceptable standard has no bearing on whether or not it can happen at all. That's a primary reason that I'm not answering your questions - my answers would be irrelevant to whether either of us are correct on the primary issue.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    That means the existence of such a gap isn't taken for granted (especially in the US where people aren't starving to death).
    Maybe you disagree but I was kind of assuming that it's accepted that some people who are willing and able to work are having a hard time making ends meet. I'm sure I can provide you statistics and anecdotal support if needed (for example, people who work at Wal-Mart who qualify for government assistance). But I'm not sure that this is being challenged so I won't give more support for this right now.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    The problem is that historically the next step (and it seems a natural step given just how many people took that step) was to notice that "if we have people producing less than the amount necessary to ensure survival, aren't they a net drain on the system?" And from there, "what should be done with those people incapable of earning a wage necessary for living?" This was a large workstream within the early Eugenics movement that started here in the US before moving to Europe for actual execution.

    The term "Living Wage" was originally meant to mean "the wage that someone must be capable to earn in order to be allowed to keep living." It was the floor wage between those workers who were productive, and those who were "parasites."
    But that's not what it means now and likewise it is as accurate term to describe what one needs to earn to afford to purchase the basics of survival so again, it's the best term to use.

    So thanks for the edification but when a term is in common parlance and has no current ill-meaning, it's the right one to use.
    Last edited by mican333; May 2nd, 2017 at 05:00 PM.

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    Re: Increasing the Minimum Wage hurts those most vulnerable in our society.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    First off, we already use what you refer to as a subjective standard for an "objectively correct minimum standard" in regards to housing all of the time. There are minimum standards for dwellings and those that don't meet those standards are deemed uninhabitable and people are not legally allowed to live there (think of a house with a red tag). So there is ample evidence that it's not a problem to use subjective standards for an applied formula so this is really a non-issue.
    Well, that's a little bit of a "two wrongs make a right fallacy." But regardless, that really isn't the case for condemned houses. Those housing standards are based on professional engineering assessments of the likelihood to collapse passing an objective threshold. That finding can be appealed and the evidence for the finding must be presented to a commission of planning engineers and architects.


    As for welfare, it is based on the Federal Poverty Line, a number that is simply "three times the cost of a minimum food diet in 1963, updated annually for inflation using the Consumer Price Index." It has nothing to do with dietary changes, housing changes, medical cost changes, transpo costs, any state differences, or any other factor.

    That isn't exactly anything more than a swag at poverty. I think to really maintain that people are really earning below what they need to live, we need something a bit more robust than a number based on 1963 data, right?


    I think you response seems to be, "someone will create an arbitrary standard, so who cares?" The argument though is that determining that people are actually working below their cost of survival requires a bit more definition in order to support.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mican
    Maybe you disagree but I was kind of assuming that it's accepted that some people who are willing and able to work are having a hard time making ends meet.
    It is what is meant by "ends meet" that I am questioning. What exactly is meant by that? Having a hard time eating? "Poverty" is a relatively large range of conditions. The guy living on the corner in a tent is undeniably poor. But using US Census data:

    •80 percent of poor households have air conditioning. In 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
    •92 percent of poor households have a microwave.
    •Nearly three-fourths have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more cars or trucks.
    •Nearly two-thirds have cable or satellite TV.
    •Two-thirds have at least one DVD player, and 70 percent have a VCR.
    •Half have a personal computer, and one in seven have two or more computers.
    •More than half of poor families with children have a video game system, such as an Xbox or PlayStation.
    •43 percent have Internet access.
    •One-third have a wide-screen plasma or LCD TV.
    •One-fourth have a digital video recorder system, such as a TiVo.


    So I don't think it is quite the clear picture of struggle that has been suggested.





    Now...I think there is another take on what you are saying here that we need to look at. The question is, are there people who are willing to work who are having a hard time finding employment. That certainly is the case. However, the point of this thread was to point out that the MW exacerbates that problem by making certain work illegal.



    Quote Originally Posted by Mican
    But that's not what it means now and likewise it is as accurate term to describe what one needs to earn to afford to purchase the basics of survival so again, it's the best term to use.

    So thanks for the edification but when a term is in common parlance and has no current ill-meaning, it's the right one to use.
    Ok, obviously it is your choice, but it is a term with a racist and classist background used to murder millions. I wouldn't use the N word just because it is often used in common parlance in a positive way.

    ---------- Post added at 11:43 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:40 PM ----------

    Actually, this discussion seems more focused on the UBI or poverty reduction than the poverty creating effects of the MW. Mican, if you don't mind, I'd like to break some of these posts off into a separate thread.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


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    Re: Increasing the Minimum Wage hurts those most vulnerable in our society.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Well, that's a little bit of a "two wrongs make a right fallacy." But regardless, that really isn't the case for condemned houses. Those housing standards are based on professional engineering assessments of the likelihood to collapse passing an objective threshold.
    One can objectively determine the likelihood of a house collapsing. But when it comes to determining out how likely is "too likely" to allow someone to live there, it's a "subjective" judgement call. Obviously a house with a non-zero but .000000001 percent chance of collapsing within the next year is habitable. Likewise a house with a 50% chance of collapsing within the next year is not habitable So the correct percentage lies somewhere in between and one has to use subjective criteria to find that number - it's in part a judgment call. But having to use subjectivity to determine the standards did not prevent us from coming up with a workable standard.

    Or child neglect. How much time away from the house endangers a child to the point where punishment is warranted? Do we punish someone who leaves the child alone in the house for a minute? Of course not (even though it's not absolutely impossible that that one minute without supervision will prove fatal for the child). How about leaves the child alone for a week? Of course the parent should be punished! So where exactly is the line where one has left a child alone for too long? By the same standard you are using to say that we can't find a workable formula for UBI, we likewise cannot fashion a formula for how long a child can be left alone.

    So I think I've effectively rebutted the notion that we cannot come up with a formula just because we have to use some subjective standards and therefore this would not necessarily be a problem if we implemented UBI.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I think you response seems to be, "someone will create an arbitrary standard, so who cares?"
    I never said anything about arbitrary standards. Arbitrary and subjective are not the same thing.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    The argument though is that determining that people are actually working below their cost of survival requires a bit more definition in order to support.
    Here's my support:

    "Here's a stark number for understanding how low-wage employers are relying on the kindness of taxpayers: $153 billion.

    "That's the annual bill that state and federal governments are footing for working families making poverty-level wages at big corporations such as Walmart (WMT) and McDonald's (MCD), according to a new study from the University of California Berkeley Labor Center. Because these workers are paid so little, they are increasingly turning to government aid programs such as food stamps to keep them from dire poverty, the study found."


    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-low-...illion-a-year/

    If your wage is so low that you need government assistance to make ends meet, then your wage is under a living wage.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    It is what is meant by "ends meet" that I am questioning. What exactly is meant by that? Having a hard time eating?
    I have to think that you've heard the term used enough to know what it means. Whatever you think it means is probably what I mean.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Now...I think there is another take on what you are saying here that we need to look at. The question is, are there people who are willing to work who are having a hard time finding employment. That certainly is the case. However, the point of this thread was to point out that the MW exacerbates that problem by making certain work illegal.
    It depends on what specifically the problem is. That's really the basis of what I'm arguing. My argument is that anyone who is willing to work should have the means to earn the basics of survival and if society cannot do that, then things needs to change so it can and if it doesn't, THAT's the problem. So the problem isn't necessarily that some people can't find work. If everyone can find work but some of it doesn't pay well enough for people to afford the basics, providing access labor that pays even less does not solve the problem.

    And to be clear, I am not specifically arguing for UBI here. While I think UBI can solve the problem, I'm certainly open to other solutions - perhaps there's better solutions than UBI. But I think the whole minimum wage issue doesn't really solve the problem nor does raising it or lowering it. If we raise it, more people won't even have work so there's still a problem. If we lower or eliminate it, a lot of work won't pay enough to afford the basics so there's still a problem.

    I think MW is between the price of labor and a living wage. So the real problem is that the price of labor is below the living wage so no matter where the MW is, some people will not be able to use their labor to attain the basics of survival no matter how willing they are to work.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Ok, obviously it is your choice, but it is a term with a racist and classist background used to murder millions. I wouldn't use the N word just because it is often used in common parlance in a positive way.
    That's not a particularly good comparison as the N-word is VERY contentious in our current society. A better comparison is to imagine that the preferred nomenclature used to be derogatory. I commonly use the word "black" because it's the neutral term that I grew up with and black people take no offense at the use of the word (although some may prefer "African American"). So if were to learn that a hundred years ago "black" was considered derogatory, would I stop using it? I would not.
    And here is the dictionary definition of "living wage".

    "a wage sufficient to provide the necessities and comforts essential to an acceptable standard of living"

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dict.../living%20wage

    And I've found no dictionary that forwards what you are referring to. In today's language, what you are forwarding is basically a non-definition and one is perfectly justified in ignoring it when using the term, just like one can ignore the hypothetical outdated definition of "black" when addressing black people.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Actually, this discussion seems more focused on the UBI or poverty reduction than the poverty creating effects of the MW. Mican, if you don't mind, I'd like to break some of these posts off into a separate thread.
    That's fine with me. But I should point out that my primary point is that raising or lowering the MW doesn't really solve the problem of some people not being able to afford the basics. UBI was just offered as an alternative and it was your choice to focus the debate there.
    Last edited by mican333; May 4th, 2017 at 08:19 AM.

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    Re: Increasing the Minimum Wage hurts those most vulnerable in our society.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mican
    It depends on what specifically the problem is. That's really the basis of what I'm arguing. My argument is that anyone who is willing to work should have the means to earn the basics of survival and if society cannot do that, then things needs to change so it can and if it doesn't, THAT's the problem.
    I agree. The question is, as I think you point out, why? My argument is that part of the problem as to why someone cannot earn a wage is that the MW prices them out of finding a job. The actual MW is, of course $0, if someone cannot find work. The job destroying effects of a MW cause fewer people to have the money necessary to feed or clothe themselves, let alone pursue their dreams.

    The net effect both from the evidence and the economic theory, is that the MW puts those who are on the economic margin already, further in by preventing them to obtain work and reduces their ability at economic mobility so that they tend to stay poor.


    So what can we do about it is a somewhat larger set of policy questions. The point of this thread is to specifically point out that the MW causes those effects, and as such should be removed. That removal allows for economic development and upward pressure on wages as capital becomes more abundant. The problem (related to making people's lives better) with the UBI is that it doesn't create capital (economic growth) and thus doesn't actually produce GDP growth, the only proven poverty reduction method in human history.



    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    So I think I've effectively rebutted the notion that we cannot come up with a formula just because we have to use some subjective standards and therefore this would not necessarily be a problem if we implemented UBI.
    I'm not sure. You seem to have only offered that there are plenty of subjective judgements the government uses to intervene and override individuals. That doesn't necessarily mean that it is good or correct, or (most importantly) beneficial.


    I'm certainly not arguing that you couldn't create some arbitrary standard (2000 ft squared per human being per family), what I'm arguing is that when you say "prevailing wages are less than a living wage" you can't hold that as a true statement of any meaningful value if the "living wage" value is arbitrarily defined. [Side note, this is why I brought up the origins, this same discussion led the original proponents of the living wage to need to come to an objective standard, which they defined as the amount of productive work created by the average laborer].


    Sure, the prevailing wage is below letting us live in Bill Gates' house. But that isn't exactly a compelling moral argument. Especially given that there is no wage that lets us live in Bill Gates' house, because wages =/= resources.


    So the question is still, what is the level of wages that you are arguing is the level below which we should be concerned?


    Quote Originally Posted by Mican
    If your wage is so low that you need government assistance to make ends meet, then your wage is under a living wage.
    I think it is interesting (though not surprising) that the original work was simply released rather than published. Setting that aside, the argument presented is: "Because there are benefits programs that they can claim, they are not being paid "enough.""

    Now that enough is what I would take issue with here. Enough for what? The implied argument in the paper is "enough to not qualify for these programs."

    That is certainly a true statement, but I don't think it defines what you are arguing it defines. The program qualification metrics are simply arbitrary definitions established by Congress. They aren't purported (as I showed in my last post with the definition of the poverty line) to actually define "need" or ensure that someone doesn't fall through a social safety net. They don't cite any research or even objectively define "need." They are simply arbitrarily defined as "needed" benefits. I don't see any clear rationale provided why these base lines are "needed" any more than the tax breaks GE is issued are "needed" as defined by Congress.


    If your argument becomes "If your wage is so low that you can qualify for government assistance, then your wage is under a living wage." Then your definition of living wage simply becomes "the wage at which government decides to give you gifts."

    In fact, if we apply that definition, we really get that virtually everyone is living "below the living wage line." The article includes EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) as one of the "benefits." I claim the mortgage deduction, many people do or claim other tax breaks, many wealthy people claim a tax credit of some sort or another government loan program (such as the export/import bank) or other federal benefit. You might define those as not "anti-poverty" measures, but then many programs within the study aren't explicitly labeled as "anti-poverty" either, so I'm not sure that really gets us anywhere.




    Quote Originally Posted by Mican
    I have to think that you've heard the term used enough to know what it means. Whatever you think it means is probably what I mean.
    That's my point. I know the colloquialism for sure, but what does that actually mean in a real world application? When I hear someone tell me "I'm struggling to make ends meet" I don't, generally, think they are starving. When I hear the phrase I don't necessarily think, "oh that means you can't pay for X" or "you are in danger of Y."

    It could mean anything from losing your home to having your credit card bill for luxury goods going to default.

    There is, perhaps, a social safety net requirement for people who can't afford to eat, or a place to sleep, but that isn't the same thing as a social safety net for defaulting discretionary debt, right?
    Last edited by Squatch347; May 18th, 2017 at 12:51 AM. Reason: Clean Post/Thread Split
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


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    Re: Increasing the Minimum Wage hurts those most vulnerable in our society.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I agree. The question is, as I think you point out, why? My argument is that part of the problem as to why someone cannot earn a wage is that the MW prices them out of finding a job. The actual MW is, of course $0, if someone cannot find work. The job destroying effects of a MW cause fewer people to have the money necessary to feed or clothe themselves, let alone pursue their dreams.
    And what I'm saying that altering the MW doesn't fix the problem no matter how high or low it is. Things might be better than they otherwise would be if the MW is set at whatever is the most preferable rate but it will never solves the problem that some people who are willing to work will not be able to find employment that will allow them to purchase what they need as long as their ability to attain what they need is based only on the price of their labor (as long as the average price of labor is lower than the living wage). Whether they can't attain the basics because they can't find a job or the job that they can find doesn't pay enough, the problem isn't solved.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    So what can we do about it is a somewhat larger set of policy questions. The point of this thread is to specifically point out that the MW causes those effects, and as such should be removed. That removal allows for economic development and upward pressure on wages as capital becomes more abundant.
    And I argue that the problem will remain regardless. At best you might improve the situation, but I don't see how setting the MW at any particular level or removing it entirely will change the situation where some who are willing to work cannot afford the basics (food, shelter, health care).

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    The problem (related to making people's lives better) with the UBI is that it doesn't create capital (economic growth) and thus doesn't actually produce GDP growth, the only proven poverty reduction method in human history.
    Actually, that's debatable. People attaining more money to spend will result in them spending more money on goods and services. I work for a company that manufactures and sells non-essential items ("toys" would be the best one-word description) and if more of our potential clientele had more discretionary money, I'm sure we'd sell more items. If it goes really well, I'd probably make more money that I could spend.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I'm not sure. You seem to have only offered that there are plenty of subjective judgements the government uses to intervene and override individuals. That doesn't necessarily mean that it is good or correct, or (most importantly) beneficial.
    I didn't say it was. Let me repeat what I just said:

    "So I think I've effectively rebutted the notion that we cannot come up with a formula just because we have to use some subjective standards and therefore this would not necessarily be a problem if we implemented UBI."

    And I didn't say that the formula is necessarily good or correct. I just said that we can, and do, create formulas this way. You seemed to be saying that we can't come up with a formula for UBI based on subjectivity and I'm saying we already do it all of the time so there's no reason to think we can't do it with UBI. So again, I have supported my statement.

    And I don't claim that any particular formula is a good formula but unless you are going to argue that every single formula is bad, then we must agree that one CAN create a good formula from subjective reasoning. And I would say in many, if not most, cases, having the formula we have is better than no formula at all (I used Child Neglect as an example in my last post).



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I'm certainly not arguing that you couldn't create some arbitrary standard (2000 ft squared per human being per family), what I'm arguing is that when you say "prevailing wages are less than a living wage" you can't hold that as a true statement of any meaningful value if the "living wage" value is arbitrarily defined.
    I disagree that it's arbitrarily defined. I think what you might be doing is setting an artificial bar of specificity and considering anything outside of this bar to have no value at all (arbitrary). One can objectively observe when a person has a house and food and when a person is homeless and starving. And yes, there's a gray area in all of this. Is a wage that makes it difficult but not impossible for a person to have a roof over his head and a minimal level of nutrition so long as he doesn't have any potentially expensive health issues a "living wage"? Where EXACTLY do we set the bar? Whatever the answer might be, we can set a bar and we don't need to resort to arbitrary standards to set it. We CAN come up with a number.

    I'm not saying that I know what the number is or am capable of generating it myself on this thread, but I see nothing stopping the government from performing a function that is not much different than doing things that it already does.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    So the question is still, what is the level of wages that you are arguing is the level below which we should be concerned?
    I've made no such argument not do I have any burden to.

    I'm saying (and have supported) that the number can be generated, not that I can generate the number.




    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    the argument presented is: "Because there are benefits programs that they can claim, they are not being paid "enough.""

    Now that enough is what I would take issue with here. Enough for what? The implied argument in the paper is "enough to not qualify for these programs."

    That is certainly a true statement, but I don't think it defines what you are arguing it defines. The program qualification metrics are simply arbitrary definitions established by Congress.
    I disagree that they are arbitrary and ask that you support this assertion. Please keep in mind the definition of the word "arbitrary" (I'm not sure if you are saying what you mean when you use that word)


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    They aren't purported (as I showed in my last post with the definition of the poverty line) to actually define "need" or ensure that someone doesn't fall through a social safety net. They don't cite any research or even objectively define "need." They are simply arbitrarily defined as "needed" benefits. I don't see any clear rationale provided why these base lines are "needed" any more than the tax breaks GE is issued are "needed" as defined by Congress.
    Regardless, a quote from a source counts as support on ODN. You seem to be raising the bar of support based on what it would take to personally satisfy you.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    If your argument becomes "If your wage is so low that you can qualify for government assistance, then your wage is under a living wage." Then your definition of living wage simply becomes "the wage at which government decides to give you gifts."
    I set no standards. I'm using the fact that minimum wage workers qualify for the safety net as evidence that they aren't being paid enough to afford the basics. You can imply from that what you want from that but all I've actually done is supported my position that minimum wage, at least in some cases, is not enough.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    That's my point. I know the colloquialism for sure, but what does that actually mean in a real world application? When I hear someone tell me "I'm struggling to make ends meet" I don't, generally, think they are starving. When I hear the phrase I don't necessarily think, "oh that means you can't pay for X" or "you are in danger of Y."

    It could mean anything from losing your home to having your credit card bill for luxury goods going to default.

    There is, perhaps, a social safety net requirement for people who can't afford to eat, or a place to sleep, but that isn't the same thing as a social safety net for defaulting discretionary debt, right?
    I would think the context of my statement should make what I meant by the use of the term abundantly clear what I meant. I am referring to affording the basics (food, shelter, health care). If one isn't earning enough to attain those for himself and his family, then he is struggling to make ends meet.

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    Re: Increasing the Minimum Wage hurts those most vulnerable in our society.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    And what I'm saying that altering the MW doesn't fix the problem no matter how high or low it is...but it will never solves the problem that some people who are willing to work will not be able to find employment that will allow them to purchase what they need as long as their ability to attain what they need is based only on the price of their labor (as long as the average price of labor is lower than the living wage).
    Ok, so I think we have some agreement that raising the MW won't help because it does price people out of the market. We can at least agree on that point, which was the main thrust of the thread.


    We might though have disagreement on the other end, but maybe one. I think we need to define it a bit more to clarify.


    Your argument, for that group is essentially that their "Marginal Contribution" is less than their "needs."

    It is the final clause that I really don't understand. What are their "needs?" Are you defining that as poverty level (which is high) or starvation? What do you specifically define that as?


    I've taken a bit from your post and gathered it together to see if I can help define it a bit.


    the basics (food, shelter, health care).

    One can objectively observe when a person has a house and food and when a person is homeless and starving

    I would think the context of my statement should make what I meant by the use of the term abundantly clear what I meant. I am referring to affording the basics (food, shelter, health care).



    Ok, so it seems you are defining those three things as the basics. Food, Shelter, Health Care.


    Even these categories are pretty diverse. Do we have any reason to really think that the cost of these at basic rates is higher than wages? IE that 3000 calories (2000 for women) per day which costs about 200 (if food stamp amounts are to be trusted), say 725 for rent, and 200(or less since the younger who make up the lower income groups have fewer health care expenses) for health insurance

    That means we would need a monthly income of 1125 to cover the essentials you list.

    So we would really only need to initiate a UBI differential for works making less than $4.69/hour. Which is well, well below the minimum wage, and the average wage for laborers in the US.


    To what extent is that a problem in the US? The wage implied by the "living wage" you note is $9,755.20. The median wage for the lowest quintile of earners is $15,500. [Small note, this is Household data because the CBO records it that way, however virtually all of the lowest quintile, 89%, are single member households]

    There are 324,613,000 people in the HHs covered by the Census Bureau survey. There are 16,419,000 working less than 10K.

    That's about 5% of workers. Well below the "average" that you offered up in your comment (though I think that is too high of a standard for the argument you make)

    We can further break this down by age a bit. If we take out those who are over 65 (and retired making additional, non-reported income) and those under 18 (likely living with families), the number drops to about 2.3% of workers.


    So I think we can pretty safely conclude that MW is not less than a living wage and that the market wage is only less than a living wage for a very small percentage. Small enough that we should be considering individual details rather than bulk economic data to evaluate their situation (which argues that private charities are far more likely to be the correct solution due to their relationships being more relational than transactional).



    [Incidentally, you've more or less argued Marx's central critique of capitalism. He argued that workers could not afford to purchase all the goods they produced because profit was added to the value of their production to create a price. Without getting too far into the weeds of the economics, it was incorrect because Marx didn't understand the role of capital in production growth and development. I only mention it here because it is an interesting parallel between our discussion].












    Quote Originally Posted by Mican
    Actually, that's debatable. People attaining more money to spend will result in them spending more money on goods and services. I work for a company that manufactures and sells non-essential items ("toys" would be the best one-word description) and if more of our potential clientele had more discretionary money, I'm sure we'd sell more items. If it goes really well, I'd probably make more money that I could spend.
    What you are arguing here is that the velocity of money creates economic growth. We could certainly argue it and plenty of people support that position, but it has yet to ever create sustainable economic growth. If it did, if we printed $1M per person and gave it to those at the bottom of the income pool we would be fantastically wealthy tomorrow because the velocity of money would skyrocket.

    That isn't, obviously, what would happen. Money =/= capital. We can either consume or build capital. What is being argued is that if we consumed more capital, we would have more in the short term. This is correct. What it would cost us is capital and goods later.

    For example, if people had more discretionary income now and bought more toys from your company, your company would have more retained earnings to invest. Great.

    However, in order to get that discretionary income we have to take it from savings (savings and investment). Taking it from those sources raises the interest rate. IE there is less money to loan to people and thus the price of loaning money (interest rate) rises.

    So your company would have more retained earnings, but would also encounter a higher supply costs as interest rates rise and make developing new materials, labor, etc more costly. It also would have a higher discount rate and its costs of debt would increase. All of those would decrease its likelihood to expand production.

    At best the two forces even out. More likely, given that this is a change from the current equilibrium state, it would be a net loss on investment.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mican
    I disagree that they are arbitrary and ask that you support this assertion. Please keep in mind the definition of the word "arbitrary" (I'm not sure if you are saying what you mean when you use that word)
    Well, let's start with the definition of the word arbitrary. "Based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system."

    It was based on a personal value created by Congress rather than a set system of rationales or empirical evidence. The EITC (the largest set from the article) offered no rationale at all.


    This comes down to the basic question I have for you on this thread, and which was the basis of my first section. If we are going to say "market wages are below a living wage" how do we define the latter in a non-arbitrary way. IE a way that is developed via a clear system or reason that isn't just "what the Congress decides to give them."


    Quote Originally Posted by Mican
    Regardless, a quote from a source counts as support on ODN. You seem to be raising the bar of support based on what it would take to personally satisfy you.
    I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. I didn't mean to imply that you were in violation of the rules or anything like that, I don't even think we are at that level first. My point was that these don't really answer the question we are talking about at a fundamental level. We aren't really establishing "need" we are establishing "Congressional Gifts." Those are two different things.

    For example, if Congress mandated that anyone not having a yacht be provided one, we wouldn't argue that people who couldn't buy their own yacht are "poor," right?



    Quote Originally Posted by Mican
    I'm using the fact that minimum wage workers qualify for the safety net as evidence that they aren't being paid enough to afford the basics.
    Exactly. I'm pointing out that those are two different standard. Qualifying for Congressional gifts =/= not being able to afford the basics. Bill Gates qualifies for certain Congressional programs as well. As I pointed out in an earlier post:

    •80 percent of poor households have air conditioning. In 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
    •92 percent of poor households have a microwave.
    •Nearly three-fourths have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more cars or trucks.
    •Nearly two-thirds have cable or satellite TV.
    •Two-thirds have at least one DVD player, and 70 percent have a VCR.
    •Half have a personal computer, and one in seven have two or more computers.
    •More than half of poor families with children have a video game system, such as an Xbox or PlayStation.
    •43 percent have Internet access.
    •One-third have a wide-screen plasma or LCD TV.
    •One-fourth have a digital video recorder system, such as a TiVo.


    There is a difference between who Congress has decided to provide wealth transfer payments to, and what is defined, by you, as the basics.

    ---------- Post added at 02:29 AM ---------- Previous post was at 02:11 AM ----------

    Also, re-reading this, I'm sorry for the disjointed writing style in parts. There were quite a few people talking to me today so I lost my train of thought a bit. I apologize for any confusion or terse tone.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


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    Re: Increasing the Minimum Wage hurts those most vulnerable in our society.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    It is the final clause that I really don't understand. What are their "needs?" Are you defining that as poverty level (which is high) or starvation? What do you specifically define that as?
    Well, maybe my argument is not specific enough to your satisfaction but my argument is not incomprehensible. I am arguing from a general principle and therefore feel no need to abide by your request for what seems to me to be an artificial level of specificity.

    One can plainly observe that there are many people in our country that are having a hard time keeping up with paying for the basics, such as being able to pay their rent/mortgage and/or buy food. I have friends who are struggling to afford to keep their house (and it's not a very expensive house) despite being willing and able to work 40 hours a week.

    So my argument does not require me to be so exacting in what I'm saying. There are people who are willing to work who can't make ends meet and this is problem that raising or lowering the minimum wage isn't going to fix.

    Do you actually disagree with this? If so, then it your position to say that my argument is not true - in effect, that everyone will be able to earn enough to afford the basics (food, shelter, health care) if we lower or eliminate the minimum wage.

    But I certainly do not consider you saying that you don't understand exactly what I mean and asking for more specifics to be a defeater at all. I have to imagine you know what I'm generally saying.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Ok, so it seems you are defining those three things as the basics. Food, Shelter, Health Care.

    Even these categories are pretty diverse. Do we have any reason to really think that the cost of these at basic rates is higher than wages? IE that 3000 calories (2000 for women) per day which costs about 200 (if food stamp amounts are to be trusted), say 725 for rent, and 200(or less since the younger who make up the lower income groups have fewer health care expenses) for health insurance

    That means we would need a monthly income of 1125 to cover the essentials you list.

    So we would really only need to initiate a UBI differential for works making less than $4.69/hour. Which is well, well below the minimum wage, and the average wage for laborers in the US.
    But then your numbers are very rough and likely don't include a lot of things. Just because I only listed three things in a general argument does not mean that that is all that is needed (for example clothes, utilities, a phone). And what if one is raising a family? Obviously if one includes that, the required monthly earnings increase significantly with each child. So I don't consider these rough calculations to be good support that everyone does make enough to make ends meet.




    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    What you are arguing here is that the velocity of money creates economic growth. We could certainly argue it and plenty of people support that position, but it has yet to ever create sustainable economic growth. If it did, if we printed $1M per person and gave it to those at the bottom of the income pool we would be fantastically wealthy tomorrow because the velocity of money would skyrocket.

    That isn't, obviously, what would happen. Money =/= capital. We can either consume or build capital. What is being argued is that if we consumed more capital, we would have more in the short term. This is correct. What it would cost us is capital and goods later.

    For example, if people had more discretionary income now and bought more toys from your company, your company would have more retained earnings to invest. Great.

    However, in order to get that discretionary income we have to take it from savings (savings and investment). Taking it from those sources raises the interest rate.
    I'm going to stop you right here. I'm not an economics expert and therefore do not have the "tools" to debate this area with you and debates need to be had at a layman's level. My only point is that this area is debatable. Unless, you are holding that there is an economic consensus that agrees with your views on the matter, it is debatable.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Well, let's start with the definition of the word arbitrary. "Based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system."

    It was based on a personal value created by Congress rather than a set system of rationales or empirical evidence. The EITC (the largest set from the article) offered no rationale at all.
    So because you see no rationale, you conclude that there was no rationale?

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    This comes down to the basic question I have for you on this thread, and which was the basis of my first section. If we are going to say "market wages are below a living wage" how do we define the latter in a non-arbitrary way. IE a way that is developed via a clear system or reason that isn't just "what the Congress decides to give them."
    I think you are equivocating, as in conflating "subjective" and "arbitrary".

    Let's say, hypothetically, that it was up to me to come up with a living wage (this is hypothetical for the purposes of making a point regarding the definition of "arbitrary" so I am not actually forwarding a method that needs to be examined and questioned). The first thing I would do is determine what is an "acceptable" standard of living as in determine what I think a person should have in order to be living at a level that I think is minimally appropriate. Then I would figure how much it costs for the average person to live like that. Then from that I would determine what a person should be earning for his labor and if not everyone is capable of earning that, then I would consider implementing policies that ensure that they reach that level anyway.

    Now, I'm guessing you will ask how did I come up with the "minimal acceptable level" of quality of life. And to cut to the chase, my answer is somewhat subjective - it's what I think is the correct level based on some extent my morality (such as I would think someone starving is wrong so would set the level to where I think one could purchase a decent amount of food). But that is NOT arbitrary. If I arbitrarily came up with the minimal acceptable level, I would just make up a level on a whim and would just as likely say that someone living with no food on the street is minimally acceptable or living in a palace is minimally acceptable as I am to choose the level that I would actually choose.

    So I know whatever minimal level I came up with would be thought-out and not randomly chosen or just decided on a whim (I would think long and hard if it really were my responsibility) and would not be arbitrary. And likewise this would be the kind of thinking that whoever actually did come up with the standard would employ. It's subjective but it's not arbitrary.

    So short of saying that someone is doing something like pulling a number from a hat or just blurting out a number without giving it any thought, I ask that you not use the word "arbitrary".




    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    My point was that these don't really answer the question we are talking about at a fundamental level. We aren't really establishing "need" we are establishing "Congressional Gifts." Those are two different things.
    I didn't say they were the same thing nor is it a premise of my argument that they are. But again, I've provided support for my position and your question does not equate to a defeater of my support. Questions are not arguments. I think I know where you are going but I disagree with your argument and I'm certainly not going to help you make it so I have no response to this right now.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Exactly. I'm pointing out that those are two different standard. Qualifying for Congressional gifts =/= not being able to afford the basics.
    Not necessarily. But when someone qualifies for help, that is support that their finances are such that they need help and therefore they aren't earning enough on their own. It's not iron-clad proof, but it is support.

    And really, I think arguing this position is kind of arguing for arguing's sake. Again, I'm arguing more in generalities and whatever numbers and statistics and so on, it's pretty clear that there are people who can't earn enough to make ends meet. I feel that this is just plainly obvious and while one can muster an argument to the contrary, unless you SINCERELY disagree with me as in you think that EVERYONE who can work has access to employment that will support them and their families, we should be discussing how to solve the problem instead of bogging the debate down on whether there is a problem.

    So I ask you - do you SINCERELY think that everyone who wants to work is able to find work that can afford them the basics? That no one is homeless and/or hungry because they can't find work that will pay them what they need?
    Last edited by mican333; May 8th, 2017 at 10:59 AM.

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    Re: Increasing the Minimum Wage hurts those most vulnerable in our society.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Well, maybe my argument is not specific enough to your satisfaction but my argument is not incomprehensible. I am arguing from a general principle and therefore feel no need to abide by your request for what seems to me to be an artificial level of specificity.

    Your argument is based on a moral obligation. To whit, "that we owe a social safety net to those having a hard time paying for housing, food, and medical care."


    But the argument itself has a lot of hidden assumptions. Assumptions, rather than putting words in your mouth, I'm trying to evaluate by examining the details of your argument.


    I'll highlight one with a simple reduction ad absurdum. I doubt you mean that we owe a social safety net bailout for a single male making $85,000 who decided to purchase a $2.45M house, right?


    Name:  ISq9kf98awio9z0000000000.jpg
Views: 101
Size:  22.5 KB


    Obviously, there are other caveats in your moral argument besides income < Housing+Food+Medical Care.

    What those caveats are dramatically impactful on both the scale of the problem and the feasible solutions.


    Which is why, when confronted with actual income data you respond;


    Quote Originally Posted by Mican
    But then your numbers are very rough and likely don't include a lot of things. Just because I only listed three things in a general argument does not mean that that is all that is needed (for example clothes, utilities, a phone). And what if one is raising a family? Obviously if one includes that, the required monthly earnings increase significantly with each child. So I don't consider these rough calculations to be good support that everyone does make enough to make ends meet.

    Ahhh, now the details I asked for about a page ago are relevant. I asked what kind of other factors were relevant, you said "we don't need that kind of detail." So when I provided a general number set you change your mind and want the detail.


    You can't posit the argument both ways. Either we need the detail or we don't. If, as you claim, the average market wage is below the living wage, you need to support that with data. What is the average market wage specifically? What is the living wage specifically?



    Quote Originally Posted by Mican
    So because you see no rationale, you conclude that there was no rationale?
    Because no rationale was offered in the bill. In order for the conclusion to no be arbitrary, some kind of system or reason must have been offered with the conclusion. Congress offered none.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mican
    I think you are equivocating, as in conflating "subjective" and "arbitrary"....Now, I'm guessing you will ask how did I come up with the "minimal acceptable level" of quality of life. And to cut to the chase, my answer is somewhat subjective - it's what I think is the correct level based on some extent my morality (such as I would think someone starving is wrong so would set the level to where I think one could purchase a decent amount of food). But that is NOT arbitrary.

    Actually, it is. You are not basing your premise on a system or precise reasoning, but rather "on individual will or judgement." That fits the definition of arbitrary.

    When you say you "think" that someone should have X food, I think a better fit term would be "feel." You aren't saying "argument X, evidence Y, and Conclusion Z mean that it should be X food." Rather, you are saying "I feel that starving is bad, and therefore want there to be X food."

    Again, I'm not arguing that people should starve, obviously, but rather that if we are going to define a level of support for all Americans based on a moral obligation we have as a society it cannot be based on "individual will or judgement."



    Quote Originally Posted by Mican
    I didn't say they were the same thing nor is it a premise of my argument that they are. But again, I've provided support for my position and your question does not equate to a defeater of my support.
    Actually you did if you are using it as support for the argument you were making.

    If you argument is that qualification for government assistance is evidence that people are having a hard time "making ends meet" you are conflating receiving government assistance with economic need.

    Pointing out that they are not the same thing nor based on the same rationale serves as a defeator of that support.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


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    Re: Increasing the Minimum Wage hurts those most vulnerable in our society.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Ahhh, now the details I asked for about a page ago are relevant. I asked what kind of other factors were relevant, you said "we don't need that kind of detail." So when I provided a general number set you change your mind and want the detail.
    Did I actually say the words "we don't need that kind of detail?" I don't think so but if I did, I meant I don't need that kind of detail to support MY argument. I never attempted to make an argument required me to list in detail the kinds of things that should be accounted for or any specific numbers and was speaking in generalities in order to communicate the gist of my argument.

    I approached supporting my argument a different way (as you will see below).


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    You can't posit the argument both ways. Either we need the detail or we don't. If, as you claim, the average market wage is below the living wage, you need to support that with data. What is the average market wage specifically? What is the living wage specifically?
    I never argued that we need detail. And no I don't need to support it with data. I used a different method for my support. I will provide it again (and we are currently debating this with the "arbitrary" section of the debate:


    "Here's a stark number for understanding how low-wage employers are relying on the kindness of taxpayers: $153 billion.

    "That's the annual bill that state and federal governments are footing for working families making poverty-level wages at big corporations such as Walmart (WMT) and McDonald's (MCD), according to a new study from the University of California Berkeley Labor Center. Because these workers are paid so little, they are increasingly turning to government aid programs such as food stamps to keep them from dire poverty, the study found."

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-low-...illion-a-year/

    If your wage is so low that you need government assistance to make ends meet, then your wage is under a living wage.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Because no rationale was offered in the bill. In order for the conclusion to no be arbitrary, some kind of system or reason must have been offered with the conclusion.
    No, for it to not be arbitrary, some kind of system or reason must have been USED. If someone uses a system but doesn't show you what it is, it doesn't mean that they didn't use the system. And I'm pretty sure bills just provide the results of the process and don't include any information on how the process was done.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Actually, it is. You are not basing your premise on a system or precise reasoning, but rather "on individual will or judgement." That fits the definition of arbitrary.
    Wrong. Here is the definition again: "Based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system."

    There is nothing there that says "individual will or judgment" The only "personal" thing mentioned is "whim".

    And a "whim" is defined as: a capricious or eccentric and often sudden idea or turn of the mind

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whim

    So something that is thought-out even over ten minutes is not a sudden whim and therefore is not arbitrary. Plus all of English-speakers have to know that arbitrary pretty much means "random". That is the definition I am using and if you aren't using that definition as well, please don't use the term "arbitrary" in this debate as it will cause confusion and really looks like equivocation to me. I don't really care to bog this down in a semantic debate. We should use words that we both understand the same way for effective communication so if you don't define "arbitrary" as meaning random or on a whim, don't use the word when debating me. We've wasted enough time on this.



    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    When you say you "think" that someone should have X food, I think a better fit term would be "feel." You aren't saying "argument X, evidence Y, and Conclusion Z mean that it should be X food." Rather, you are saying "I feel that starving is bad, and therefore want there to be X food."

    Again, I'm not arguing that people should starve, obviously, but rather that if we are going to define a level of support for all Americans based on a moral obligation we have as a society it cannot be based on "individual will or judgement."
    As you seem to be defining the terms, I don't see how a governmental body can give public assistance without engaging in "individual will or judgement." Since I do support public assistance when needed, I have no problem with those making the policies to be engaging in "individual will or judgement" since as far as I can tell, any policy against starvation has to start with the individual judgment that people should not starve.

    If you are going to challenge what I'm saying, I think you will either need to demonstrate how a governmental policy against starvation can be created without personal judgment or argue that it's better if we don't have such policies at all.




    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    If you argument is that qualification for government assistance is evidence that people are having a hard time "making ends meet" you are conflating receiving government assistance with economic need.
    No, I am conflating qualifying for government assistance with economic need. If it so happened that tomorrow the government decided to give all of the people who qualified nothing whatsoever it would not change the fact that they were so poor that they qualified. What exactly they are getting for qualifying is entirely irrelevant to my argument.
    Last edited by mican333; May 10th, 2017 at 05:51 PM.

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    Re: Increasing the Minimum Wage hurts those most vulnerable in our society.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    I meant I don't need that kind of detail to support MY argument. I never attempted to make an argument required me to list in detail the kinds of things that should be accounted for or any specific numbers and was speaking in generalities in order to communicate the gist of my argument.

    The supporting statement, or the one that stuck with me was the that market wage < MW < Living Wage. I think we dismissed the first clause (Market < MW) for a couple of reasons, but the second clause is the one I'm trying to understand. How do we really know if the MW < Living Wage if we don't have a clear definition of what the latter means.

    We can offer generalities "what we need to get by" or "survive" but neither of those terms have a lot of useful information in them. Especially when we are confronted with the reality that people often make decisions about what is "necessary" that are different from ours. If we are really going to make a moral argument akin to "people shouldn't starve to death" we need a far more precise definition.

    Starve to death is a clearly defined phrase. You died due to lack of caloric intake. We can know exactly who that occurred to and who it didn't. We can evaluate if it is occurring in the US and to what extent.

    I know it seems somewhat unbelievable to you, but I really have no idea what you mean by that term. Let me add to that that it is likely because, being from Seattle, I have a wide variety of inputs of people using similar terms with vastly different meaning. With housing it can range from living in a permanent structure to needing 2 acres of unaltered nature (not kidding, that is an argument for the minimum space required for a human to live on). For food it can range for 3000 calories of any sort to a requirement for a balanced diet of organic food. Internet is variously on or off the list. Vehicles are variously on or off the list. Health Insurance is an obviously sticky wicket, see how hard of a time Democrats had coming up with a list of "minimum acceptable coverage" in 2009.


    So why do I bring it up? Because it matters a lot to the moral impact of the argument and the scope of the problem. If we define this as classical, bare minimums, as I did a few posts earlier, we get a really small segment of the population. If we make it a "Cadillac" definition we could get 70% of the US population, but with little meaning (I think it would be a much harder argument to argue for the necessity of organic lettuce over non-organic).


    Quote Originally Posted by Mican
    I never argued that we need detail. And no I don't need to support it with data. I used a different method for my support. I will provide it again
    The problem is, as I highlighted (and it is irrelevant to the arbitrary definition) is that "qualification for a government subsidy" is not the same thing as "living below the living wage." You've equated the two by using this as support. Or you are, at least, using that qualification as a proxy for living below living wage without offering a clear rationale as to why those would be 1:1 related.

    The reason we are having a hard time resolving the above claim is that you haven't offered a methodological definition of a "living wage."


    Quote Originally Posted by Mican
    No, for it to not be arbitrary, some kind of system or reason must have been USED. If someone uses a system but doesn't show you what it is, it doesn't mean that they didn't use the system. And I'm pretty sure bills just provide the results of the process and don't include any information on how the process was done.

    Well not really. Bills almost always have a "background" and "rationale" section. These sections are incredibly important because they offer the courts and agencies additional framework to understand the law. It pre-empts courts from asking "what did the legislature mean by this?" However, most of the "poverty" measures, as I showed before, stem from the federal poverty line. That number was shown to be an arbitrary definition of 3 times the food budget from 1964 adjusted for inflation.

    It might not have been arbitrary in the sense that it was a political negotiation, but in relation to poverty it absolutely was arbitrary. There was no system or rationale related to poverty or if this proxy measured poverty, it was based on the individual will or judgement of the politicians. (There is an argument also that appealing to politicans' definition rather than economists' is an appeal to authority fallacy as well I think).


    Quote Originally Posted by Mican
    Wrong. Here is the definition again: "Based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system."

    There is nothing there that says "individual will or judgment" The only "personal" thing mentioned is "whim".
    Please review post 464, where I provided this definition: "Based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system." From Oxford Dictionary.

    But let's also look at your Merriam definition:

    "existing or coming about seemingly at random"

    And

    " based on or determined by individual preference or convenience rather than by necessity or the intrinsic nature of something" (This is the most correct definition since it relates to a standard, which is what we are talking about).

    That second definition looks a lot like the Oxford definition. Individual preference is the determining factor, not an objective standard or definable methodology. Which was my critique of your position. That it is based on your internalized vision of something, not on a defined, methodological definition that others can read and accept or reject without comparing it to their own internal vision.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mican
    As you seem to be defining the terms, I don't see how a governmental body can give public assistance without engaging in "individual will or judgement." Since I do support public assistance when needed, I have no problem with those making the policies to be engaging in "individual will or judgement" since as far as I can tell, any policy against starvation has to start with the individual judgment that people should not starve.
    Because the measurement of starvation isn't based on their individual will or judgement. It is based on the caloric and dietary needs defined by medical professionals. The term "starvation" doesn't quite fit the existing argument we have here. Steve died due to starvation is an objectively true or false statement. The average American male needs 3000 calories per day isn't based on my judgement by a series of studies by medical professionals using systematic methodology.

    Now, I would personally argue that the optimum state is that there aren't governmental programs, which based on empirical evidence tend to prolong and expand poverty rather than reduce it. But that specific argument is beyond the scope of this thread.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


 

 
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