$16 living wage?

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jrose
$16 living wage?

Here is an excerpt of yesterday's article from the Star: (http://www.thestar.com/article/538716)

 "

Forget dreams of a $10 minimum wage lifting thousands of workers out of poverty. A couple raising two young children in the GTA would each need to earn at least $16.60 an hour to have a decent quality of life, says a new study to be released today. A single parent with one child would need to earn $16.15 an hour.

Ontario's minimum wage is $8.75. It will rise to $10.25 in 2010.

Employers and government must look beyond minimum wages towards the concept of a living wage that allows workers to raise healthy, happy children; enjoy recreation, culture and entertainment; and participate fully in modern life, says the study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

And living wages should be part of the broader effort to address poverty in Ontario and Canada, including poverty among employed people, the report adds.

"There's a big difference between having enough to survive and having enough to participate in the life of the community" said economist Hugh Mackenzie co-author of the report. "The living wage is the income threshold a family has to cross to avoid being marginalized."

The living wage described in the report is still more than $5 an hour less than the 2007 average of $21.70 an hour for the area, said John Cartwright, president of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council.

"We're not talking luxury," he said yesterday. "We're talking about an income that allows your kid to go to a movie or to the dentist before their teeth rot. It's about being able to afford to buy your 80-year-old grandmother a birthday present. Pretty basic stuff."

 

 

Any thoughts?

Issues Pages: 
jas

editing.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Absolutely right.

Webgear

I am surprised that anyone can live under 20$ per hour in the GTA.

Fidel

Pinocchio and his friends on Bay Street might agree to $16 per hour 10 or 20 years from now. I think in the mean time, minimum wage needs boosting somewhere $10 dollars an hour or above as of yesterday, and all incomes below poverty boosted in additional ways through child tax credits or income supplements for seniors etc. And all those mechanisms have to be indexed to inflation, or there is no point in feigning concern for the poor and their children.

Pogo Pogo's picture

When we discuss a living wage it is not just about dollars per hour.  It is the whole spectrum of things that affect our ability to live and participate in society.  We need to be working on affordable housing, national daycare, educational and training programs, access to proper food (and the list goes on).

Raising the minimum wage is just part of the puzzle.

 

Fidel

I think it was Whigs n' Tories who managed to stall enactment of Irish corn laws while a few million more people died of the economic long run there, too.

Viva La Revolución

Cueball Cueball's picture

Fidel wrote:

Pinocchio and his friends on Bay Street might agree to $16 per hour 10 or 20 years from now. I think in the mean time, minimum wage needs boosting somewhere $10 dollars an hour or above as of yesterday, and all incomes below poverty boosted in additional ways through child tax credits or income supplements for seniors etc. And all those mechanisms have to be indexed to inflation, or there is no point in feigning concern for the poor and their children.

 Yes, we have already established that the NDP is not offering anything substantive beyond the absolute minimum that the great majority of employers in Toronto already pay, and that they have no real interest in confronting this issue in a way that would have any meaningful effect. My sense was the reaction to the NDP offer of $10 an hour for working stiffs was met with a collective shrug, and had little impact therefore on voting paterns in the last provincial election.

It was a gimmick that fell flat. People are generally not interested in gimmicky election stunts like that.

Fidel

Ya we know, there's no child poverty or homelessness in Bates McGuilty's Toronto either.  Pinocchio's Bay Streeters voted themselves 25% more as of last year and 0% for the poor today, tomorrow, and the year after that. There's only one thing worse than a talking 22% wooden Bay Street puppet, and that's a sock puppet to a wooden Bay St. puppet.

Viva La Revolución

jrose

I find this particularly interesting because I do make exactly $16 per hour. According to the Toronto Star article, a single parent with one child would need to earn $16.15 an hour.

Now, I'm a 25-year-old unmarried (and childless) woman, with few expenses. At the risk of boring everyone with my budget, I have fairly inexpensive rent ($600), a student loan ($400), a train pass ($200), Internet and phone expenses ($60), and food, VISA payments, etc. etc, leaving me with a few hundred dollars a month, which either goes into savings or leisure.

However, throw a child into that mix, I don't know if there's any way I could survive on $16 per hour, while being able to feed and clothe a child, without assistance.

I chose to live quite a ways away from Toronto, knowing that I likely couldn't afford it on my own, which has reduced my expenses quite a bit, so I find it hard to believe that a single parent in the GTA could scrape by on $16.15.

Maysie Maysie's picture

jrose, thanks for this article. I like the idea of looking at "a living wage", which helps to fully round out that people in poverty are you know, actual human beings. I'm guessing the CCPA took the lowest possible figure, to put the idea in people's heads and to make it palatable to those who would object to the "lavish" lifestyle of going to the movies with one's child once in a while. Undecided 

(hey, no more rolleye smilie. Cueball got his wish!)

 

 

Ghislaine

Fidel wrote:

Pinocchio and his friends on Bay Street might agree to $16 per hour 10 or 20 years from now. I think in the mean time, minimum wage needs boosting somewhere $10 dollars an hour or above as of yesterday, and all incomes below poverty boosted in additional ways through child tax credits or income supplements for seniors etc. And all those mechanisms have to be indexed to inflation, or there is no point in feigning concern for the poor and their children.

 

Yes, Viva la Revolucion...when do you think Cubans will make anywhere near a living wage, as defined by the study?

jas

<>What mechanism would keep cost of living the same in a jurisdiction
where the minimum wage is raised by over 50%? What effect would that
have on the wages of workers who have spent 10 - 15 years in the
workforce to get to a similar or only slightly higher level of wage?
What does Living Wage say about how that jurisdiction will handle the
inevitable in-migration of workers from nearby jurisdictions, thereby
creating increased demand on housing and services? Isn't housing in
Alberta already an excample of what upward pressure on wages does to a
jurisdiction? 

DrConway

jrose wrote:

Now, I'm a 25-year-old unmarried (and childless) woman, with few expenses. At the risk of boring everyone with my budget, I have fairly inexpensive rent ($600), a student loan ($400), a train pass ($200), Internet and phone expenses ($60), and food, VISA payments, etc. etc, leaving me with a few hundred dollars a month, which either goes into savings or leisure.

Take-home is $2000 a month, then? That's not bad at all, but I can easily see how someone making less is all of a sudden down to $1500, $1200 take-home and trying to pay rent in a large city.

And the only answer right-wingers have is to wag their finger in the single mother's face and tell her she should get married and live like it's 1955.

Only....

In 1955 it was economically possible for a single wage-earner to support a family. These righties seem to have forgotten that little fact.

That's never stopped 'em before from flapping their gums about how immoral it is to raise a child on one's own. I must roll my eyes now.

jrose

Right, DrConway, about $2000 per month, which perfectly covers my rent, student loan, and ther expenses, without having to dive into my savings too often. But there's the difference -- I was able to move back home for a year and a half and save, save, save, meaning that I have a backup plan during those months where I have unexpected expenses (or buy a few too many pints at the bar). I'm not complaining. I live a very comfortable lifestyle, within my means.

I do however live in a city with affordable rent, which is becoming increasingly rare, and I don't have any dependents (not even a pet!), which would make it very difficult to pay rent in a large city.

To be a young gal, with relatively few strings attached, $16 is great and far better than the wages I made working retail, but I have my doubts that I could survive off it forever, especially once I move out of the confines of the city I'm in now.

madmax

My current experience of the past 18 months is a rapid decline in private sector wages. Wages are falling to levels people might be familiar making in the 80s or 90s.

People with skilled trades, or re educated, working in the same city in Ontario are watching wages plumment to $14. A Mechanical Engineer with 10 years exp, $44,000 and a Bsc with 10 years experience to  supervise 10 people in Quality Control, $47,000.

Licenced Industrial Mechanics are getting between $14 and $18, same for many millrights etc.

I am watching as places of all kinds are suggesting nothing less then 25% pay cuts and the elimination of benefits, and reductions to vacation time.

Essentially many wages are going below $30,000.

While there has always been low paying jobs, and places, there are plenty more of them today with few places offering higher wages.  And the pressure is on to reduce wages more.

Perhaps most concerning to me, is watching the disconnect of many public sector workers, who do not seem to have any grasp of what is happening outside their comfy atmospheres. Life is good. I have to admit I know of a few very strong Private Sector Union shops where this disconnect is just as strong, but it doesn't appear as oblivious as those I meet in the Public Sector.

$16 an hour is higher than most companies pay in my region and I am watching as a company that pays $16 is telling their workers to take a $4 pay cut.

Besides that, the temp agencies have kept wages artificially low for the person working for a living. The low wage that one receives through a temp, proves to other employers that people will work for less, alot less.

It is not unusual for me to watch as people who have lost their jobs in the past year, work for 40% to 50% of their previous wages. $9 is common and $11 is high.

The wages of newer jobs in the GTA is not that much better. I can't imagine how anyone is making ends meet with higher rent or housing costs.

The downward pressure on wages has been occuring through some very good times. I expect wages to fall more, alot more, down to minimum wage for many, as unemployment reaches new levels and any extra money is scooped up by Temp agencies.Cry

 

 

 

Fidel

Ghislaine wrote:
Fidel wrote:

Pinocchio and his friends on Bay Street might agree to $16 per hour 10 or 20 years from now. I think in the mean time, minimum wage needs boosting somewhere $10 dollars an hour or above as of yesterday, and all incomes below poverty boosted in additional ways through child tax credits or income supplements for seniors etc. And all those mechanisms have to be indexed to inflation, or there is no point in feigning concern for the poor and their children.

Yes, Viva la Revolucion...when do you think Cubans will make anywhere near a living wage, as defined by the study?

Counter-question: When, do you imagine, that half of Canadian women will have incomes of more than $20,000 a year? $20,000 is a king's ransom in Cuba, but here in Canada it's not enough to live well on. $20,000 is subsistence income in Canada, one of the largest countries in the world with unparalleled natural resource wealth siphoned off to the imperial master nation 24-7.

When will 80% of women in Canada break the $40,000 dollar a year barrier?

When will nearly 10.5 million men and women in Canada earn more than $20,000 dollars a year?

Brian Baloney (and Chretien and Manley, too) promised Canadians unspeakable prosperity and "jobs! jobs! jobs!" if Canadians were to trust them with phony-baloney majority governments in 1988 and 1993, 1997 and so on. The original Pinocchio didnt tell these colossal lies.

Sven Sven's picture

Ghislaine wrote:
Yes, Viva la Revolucion...when do you think Cubans will make anywhere near a living wage, as defined by the study?

 

About ten years post-collapse of the Communist regime in Cuba.  Until then?  Grinding poverty for all (except for the party big wigs, of course)...

 

 

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

Fidel

Sven wrote:

Ghislaine wrote:
Yes, Viva la Revolucion...when do you think Cubans will make anywhere near a living wage, as defined by the study?

About ten years post-collapse of the Communist regime in Cuba.  Until then?  Grinding poverty for all (except for the party big wigs, of course)...

36 million food insecure in the USA

Capitalism is a monumental failure

Sven Sven's picture

Fidel wrote:
36 million food insecure in the USA

Capitalism is a monumental failure

 

Let’s take your number as correct for purposes of this discussion. That means that about 90% of the USA population is NOT “food insecure”.

 

But, because there are SOME Americans who are “food insecure”, it would be better, in your eyes, for ALL Americans to swap places with the Cuban so that ALL would be equally thrown into grinding poverty.

 

Equality at all costs.

 

 

 

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

jrootham

My observation of Cuba was that no one was food insecure.

The fat cats in Cuba are not the Party brass, it's the tour operators.  I rented a room from the director of pediatrics of the regional hospital in Santiago who made more from that than his day job.

 I would expect that if Sven had his way with Cuba it would quickly look more like Haiti than it looked like Canada.  Not that Sven would want that, but that would be the consequences of what he would do.  Similarly to the consequences of not regulating mortgages in the US.

 

 

Sven Sven's picture

jrootham wrote:
I would expect that if Sven had his way with Cuba it would quickly look more like Haiti than it looked like Canada.  Not that Sven would want that, but that would be the consequences of what he would do.  Similarly to the consequences of not regulating mortgages in the US.

Because the Cuban people cannot manage individual freedom like Canadians can?

 

 

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

Fidel

Sven wrote:

Fidel wrote:
36 million food insecure in the USA

Capitalism is a monumental failure

 

Let’s take your number as correct for purposes of this discussion. That means that about 90% of the USA population is NOT “food insecure”.

That's more than three times the population of Cuba who are food insecure in the USA.

U.S. Opposes Right to Food at World Summit 

Capitalism is a monstrous ideology

 

jrootham

Sven wrote:

jrootham wrote:
I would expect that if Sven had his way with Cuba it would quickly look more like Haiti than it looked like Canada.  Not that Sven would want that, but that would be the consequences of what he would do.  Similarly to the consequences of not regulating mortgages in the US.

Because the Cuban people cannot manage individual freedom like Canadians can?

No, because the total wealth in the society would grow much more slowly than the maldistribution.  You might also note from my posts above that I am not a fan of the repressive aspects of Cubal (just something to consider when snarking).

 

Fidel

It wasnt Fidel who ducked flying shoes in Baghdad recently. Apparently the torture wasnt as bad under Saddam.

Quote:

"Our leaders are cruel because only those willing to be inordinately cruel and remorseless can hold positions of leadership in the foreign policy establishment. People capable of expressing a full human measure of compassion and empathy toward faraway powerless strangers do not become president of the United States, or vice president, or secretary of state, or national security adviser or secretary of the treasury. Nor do they want to."
William Blum

American woman gonna mess your mind Kiss my ass, Uncle Sam

Sven Sven's picture

Fidel wrote:
American woman gonna mess your mind Kiss my ass, Uncle Sam

The Unified Theory of Babble (all threads ultimately lead to the USA) is, once again, shown to be true. 

 

______________________________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

Le T Le T's picture

Sven, is it your belief that the government of Cuba is responsible for more poverty than the Embargo?

Is it fair to compare the economic conditions of Cuba to that of Canada? The land and resources per capita is much less in Cuba than in Canada. Canadian settler society has artificially inflated its wealth with stolen resources and land. Wouldn't a more acurate comparison be of one of the many Indigenous communities that Canada has blockaded into a reserve while putting up trade embargos on any form of economic activity that offends capital?

I think that blaming Castro(s) for the economic conditions in Cuba is a bit like blaming Phil Fontaine for economic conditions on some reserves. Just like Castro, Fontaine is better off than most of the people he claims to represent and the policies of both men might not be what would come from the grassroots. Just like Castro people question Fontaine's democratic legitamacy. But it would look foolish for someone to blame Fontaine and the 'AFN regime' for poverty in Indigenous communities, no?

Refuge Refuge's picture

I will start by saying that I agree with giving everyone a living wage in which they can participate fully in life including sending kids for lessons and sports.  I think everyone has a right to live not only exisit. 

That being said I have a quesiotn -who would make up the difference in wage?  I ask this because a friend of mine owns a small store and if he had to pay the employees $16 he would go out of business.

I am not very knowledgeable in the theories of economics but just on an intuitive level it has made me think.

If it is the businesses have to pay more we as a society would have to be willing to increase the amount we pay for everything ( which I would be more than willing to do because I don't "sell anything, buy anything or process anything" for a living ) but those who are making this wage also now need to pay more for what they are buying as well so then wouldn't the amount they need to cover even things like the basics go up? So again they would need to increase the wage?

I see the circular nature of the pay system in backing up bad pay systems- walmart pays almost nothing which means employees have to shop there because it is the only place they can afford which in turns helps to keep them in business so they can continue paying less.

Is there an equalizing period where it all works out where people are paid fairly AND can afford to live on their wage or can that only be done through tax equalization through the government or can it not be done at all?

 

remind remind's picture

Refuge wrote:
That being said I have a quesiotn -who would make up the difference in wage?  I ask this because a friend of mine owns a small store and if he had to pay the employees $16 he would go out of business.

If his business is that marginal he should have fewer employees, pay those few he has to have better, and work more himself.

___________________________________________________________
"watching the tide roll away"

Ghislaine

remind wrote:

Refuge wrote:
That being said I have a quesiotn -who would make up the difference in wage?  I ask this because a friend of mine owns a small store and if he had to pay the employees $16 he would go out of business.

If his business is that marginal he should have fewer employees, pay those few he has to have better, and work more himself.

___________________________________________________________ "watching the tide roll away"

 

That would cause great unemployment. It would also cause a far greater workload for the remaining employees.

Sven Sven's picture

Why not just make it $100/hour and be done with it? 

 

 

________________________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

Fidel

Sven wrote:

Why not just make it $100/hour and be done with it?

It was tried with executive pay for amateur golfers who double as CEO's and bankers on Wall Street and the Fed and realized they arent worth it.

The financial genies and politicos are realizing, once again, who really earns and spends the money in keeping the capitalist contraption  limping along at home, and it isnt the relative handful of incredibly greedy people hoarding money they take from society.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Sven wrote:

Why not just make it $100/hour and be done with it? 

Questions like this miss the point: how does one construct a business where you pay full-time employees a living wage? That should be your starting point; not glib dismissals and apologies for the capitalist status quo. How can you dismiss human dignity?

With that in mind, I have a question, but it's from a position of limited economic knowledge.  Presumably, the living wage would be for full-time, self-supporting employees. It doesn't make much sense to pay, say, high-school kids working pat time the same wage, does it? Or university students either. What would be the policy for paying both kinds of workers and how do you evaluate those kind of wages?

Ghislaine

Catchfire wrote:
Sven wrote:

Why not just make it $100/hour and be done with it? 

Questions like this miss the point: how does one construct a business where you pay full-time employees a living wage? That should be your starting point; not glib dismissals and apologies for the capitalist status quo. How can you dismiss human dignity?

With that in mind, I have a question, but it's from a position of limited economic knowledge.  Presumably, the living wage would be for full-time, self-supporting employees. It doesn't make much sense to pay, say, high-school kids working pat time the same wage, does it? Or university students either. What would be the policy for paying both kinds of workers and how do you evaluate those kind of wages?

 

At age 16 and 17, while in high school, I also was a supervisor at a Subway restaurant. Had the much older staff I was supervising been making more than me per hour for less responsibility, I would not have been very happy.

Michelle

No kidding.  Equal pay for equal work.  It's none of anyone's business why a teenager is working.  If they're doing the same work as a 30 year-old, they should be paid the same as that 30 year-old.

They used to use that same reasoning for paying married women less than men doing the same work - well, they don't HAVE to work.  Their husbands are the real breadwinners.  The men need more money than the women because they have families to support.

nussy

This may have nothing to do with the topic. The government is quick to inject billions into the Auto sector.

 

What about the people working and living below the povery level. What about all the homeless. 

 

 

remind remind's picture

Ghislaine wrote:
That would cause great unemployment. It would also cause a far greater workload for the remaining employees.

If he has that many employees that it would cause "great" unemployment, then he is not such a "small" business. All in all, it sounds like a excuse to have higher profit margins, by exploiting the workers working for an unlivable wage.

My parents were business owners, and they had seasonal employees, the minimum wage at that time in SK was 1.77 per hour. All their seasonal employees got 8/hr, plus tips, and this was at a time when 8/hr was unheard of in Canada for service industry people. However, they recognized these employees needed to have a livable wage, to carry them through until the next season, and that was more important to my parents, than my parents having higher profit margins and a huge savings account, when modest profits were still acheived.  It is social justice in action.

___________________________________________________________
"watching the tide roll away"

Ghislaine

remind wrote:

Ghislaine wrote:
That would cause great unemployment. It would also cause a far greater workload for the remaining employees.

If he has that many employees that it would cause "great" unemployment, then he is not such a "small" business. All in all, it sounds like a excuse to have higher profit margins, by exploiting the workers working for an unlivable wage.

My parents were business owners, and they had seasonal employees, the minimum wage at that time in SK was 1.77 per hour. All their seasonal employees got 8/hr, plus tips, and this was at a time when 8/hr was unheard of in Canada for service industry people. However, they recognized these employees needed to have a livable wage, to carry them through until the next season, and that was more important to my parents, than my parents having higher profit margins and a huge savings account, when modest profits were still acheived.  It is social justice in action.

___________________________________________________________ "watching the tide roll away"

 

yes, but how would they have reacted if the government came in and told them that theyhad decided a liveable wage was 10$ an hour and that they had no choice but to pay this?

 I did not mean that that that one small business would cause great unemployement, but that if all small businesses were forced into this, it would cause greater unemployment in Canada as a whole.

remind remind's picture

Ghislaine wrote:
yes, but how would they have reacted if the government came in and told them that theyhad decided a liveable wage was 10$ an hour and that they had no choice but to pay this?

I did not mean that that that one small business would cause great unemployement, but that if all small businesses were forced into this, it would cause greater unemployment in Canada as a whole.

 
If the government had decided that was the livable wage amount, I would bet my parents would have already been paying that, and would have lobbied the government to have said livable wage made. Again social justice in action by ethical business owners.

And I call BS on that statement of unemployment, because people would not have to be working 2-3 jobs in order to survive, so the extra jobs would be freed up for others seeking employment, and please do see the statement above about that excuse being used for women entering the work force. Profit margins are made from the backs of the employees, not the business owners, and thus excessive profits belong to the employees, not the owners.

___________________________________________________________
"watching the tide roll away"

munroe

http://tinyurl.com/3p2uw3

This links to fact sheets prepared by CCPA.  As noted (and confirmed in other papers) minimum wage increases have little effect on employment levels.  That is a Fraser Institute myth and when it comes to quality work, the CCPA trumps the Fraser Institute every day of the week.

Fidel

Ghislaine wrote:

At age 16 and 17, while in high school, I also was a supervisor at a Subway restaurant. Had the much older staff I was supervising been making more than me per hour for less responsibility, I would not have been very happy.

I'll bet you couldnt have been very happy knowing that most 16 and 17 year-olds don't have the same cost of living that "much older" Canadians do. Or as a 16 and 17 year-old at the time, perhaps you werent aware of such things. 

 

Pogo Pogo's picture

The focus shouldn't be on the minimum wage as the chief solution.  Other solutions are as important and may be more targeted.  If we provided adequeate levels of affordable housing, universal daycare, reasonable public transit, the contribution needed from wages would be a lot less.

 

torontoprofessor

Catchfire: "Presumably, the living wage would be for full-time, self-supporting employees. It doesn't make much sense to pay, say, high-school kids working pat time the same wage, does it? Or university students either. What would be the policy for paying both kinds of workers and how do you evaluate those kind of wages?"

In fact, the mininum wage for "Students under 18 and working not more than 28 hours per week during the school year or working during a school holiday" is currently $8.20 per hour rather than $8.75. This kind of differential minimum wage strikes me as inappropriate for a couple of reasons.

(1) I think that Michelle is right that it's none of anyone's business why a teenager is working. Some teenagers support themselves. Some adults don't. Many many university students support themselves (in response to Catchfire's suggested lower minimum wage to university students).

(2) The main argument for a lower minimum wage for students or teenagers or whatever is presumably that they don't need the money as much. But there are all sorts of people who have quite different financial needs: on the high end, for example, people with large families, people who are taking care of their elderly parents, people taking care of siblings, people taking care of friends; on the low end, single people with no dependents and no disabilities; people who have inherited assets; people who have wealthy and generous relatives. I do not think that it would be workable to have different minimum wages for each of these categories. This would force employers to engage in needs-testing, and would give them an incentive to hire employees, e.g., without children. Rather than differential minimum wages, we should have social programmes in place that make having children, or elderly parents who need care, etc., less onerous.

Fidel

England has a graduated minimum wage. Canada has the two old line party system in Ottawa.

KeyStone

Well, in terms of your calculations:

1) Generally, when making the calculations for a living wage, debt payments aren't factored in, since each individual has different debt structure. 

2) If you had a child, you would be paying less taxes and would also get a small monthly payment, however this doesn't do much to offset daycare and other costs of having a child.


However, if those are student loans. it brings up another huge problem in Canadian society. In order to get a job that pays decently above minimum wage, so that we can participate fully in society, we need to go to post-secondary. To do this, we need to pay large sums of money which often leaves us with a great debt.

The oddest thing is that while some of the cost of going to school is tax deductible, it's only deductable in the year that we go to school, which in most cases, is a year we aren't earning very much.

I think a first step would be to make student loan payments tax deductible. But, given the reality, North Americans need to get used to the idea of not leaving home as soon as they turn 18. Many other cultures around the world stay at home with their parents until they are either married, or they buy their own home. 

 

Fidel

KeyStone wrote:
The oddest thing is that while some of the cost of going to school is tax deductible, it's only deductable in the year that we go to school, which in most cases, is a year we aren't earning very much.
I think a first step would be to make student loan payments tax deductible.

In Manitoba,  unused post-secondary tuition rebates can be carried forward up to 20 years. The maximum lifetime rebate is $25,000 (equivalent to a 60% rebate on tuition fees of $41,667). (source)

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Michelle wrote:

No kidding.  Equal pay for equal work. 

Well, I don't think it's 'no kidding', I'm just trying to channel the spirit of a 'living wage'--which is not a dollar figure, but is based on how workers can enjoy life--thus, if you have support, 16$ is not a 'living wage', is it? I might also suggest, tentatively, that 'equal pay for equal work' is a capitalist concept; although I certainly appreciate how it has helped minority wage rights in the past. But shouldn't we be concerned about what people can make of a wage rather than what labour is 'worth'?

However, I will easily concede the point that it's likely not the employer's business what  a worker does with her money. I'm only playing with the concept.

 

torontoprofessor wrote:
The main argument for a lower minimum wage for students or teenagers or
whatever is presumably that they don't need the money as much. But
there are all sorts of people who have quite different financial needs:
on the high end, for example, people with large families, people who
are taking care of their elderly parents, people taking care of
siblings, people taking care of friends; on the low end, single people
with no dependents and no disabilities; people who have inherited
assets; people who have wealthy and generous relatives. I do not think
that it would be workable to have different minimum wages for each of
these categories. This would force employers to engage in
needs-testing, and would give them an incentive to hire employees,
e.g., without children. Rather than differential minimum wages, we
should have social programmes in place that make having children, or
elderly parents who need care, etc., less onerous.

This makes much more sense to me as to why my 'theory' doesn't work. Ideally, social programmes would solve this problem of different needs, and employers couldn't possibly do this discrimination for the state. But then, toward this point, if such programmes were in place, a 'living wage' probably wouldn't exist as the same concept, right?

Sven Sven's picture

If a living wage is the minimum amount necessary to provide a person with a basic income, then how would it be fair to say that a 15 year old kid living with her parents needs $16 per hour AND that a 17 year old single mom living on her own with two kids also needs $16 per hour?  Either one of those workers is being paid too much (the 15 year old) OR the other is being paid too little (the 17 year old)...if the concept is to ensure that a person gets a basic income to cover their needs...because these two hypothetical workers' respective living needs are DRASTICALLY different.

 

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Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

Sven Sven's picture

If an individual wants to shovel the neighborhood driveways and sidewalks as a full-time job, would the neighbors be required to pay that individual at least $16 per hour?  Which would mean the 85 year old living down the street who couldn't afford that would have to (1) shovel the walks herself, (2) let the walks go unshoveled, or (3) find someone who would do it for her for free.

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Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

It's not a bad question, but are you asking it knowing that a) such an individual is i) a teenager or worse and ii) making less than minimum wage anyway and b) in a socialist paradise there would be no need for driveways because public transit would be i) free and ii) convenient and c) the neighbourhood would find some way to shovel her walks free regardless because believers in a living wage have i) compassion and ii) more free time.

Sven Sven's picture

remind wrote:
...excessive profits...

 

Would anyone care to quantitatively define "excessive profits" versus "reasonable profits"? 

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Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

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