Quote: Originally Posted by taxslave
There is a huge difference in pay between different types of unskilled labour as well. Sweeping a floor doesn't require much knowledge or skill and except for union places doesn't pay well. Logging is classed as unskilled labour but in reality is highly skilled with a great deal of knowledge and pays reasonably well. Also many jobs are defined as unskilled because there is no university degree needed but require a great deal of knowledge and workmanship that is simply acquired on the job and can not be learned any other way.
Here's what I calculate.
Anybody who's willing to work 40 hours a week, eight hours a day for five days, should be paid enough to afford rent on a decent apartment, a new low-end car every six years, a decent diet, a six-pack of beer a week, a reasonable telecommunications and information package, a functional wardrobe, insurance, and two weeks vacation a year, and the ability to save 10% of their gross for retirement.
Anybody who wants more than that needs to work overtime, get skilled, or inherit.
I don't much care how that's achieved: market, government mandate, union, or a combination of these. I just want it to be rational. A national minimum wage is stupid, you can live pretty well in Miami, Oklahoma for what a studio apartment in New York City by itself would cost you. If you must have a national minimum wage, it should be indexed to cost of living by county or even postal code. Better for states and smaller jurisdictions to each have their own. That way anybody with a backpack and a thumb can "vote with their feet" and move to where they think it'll be better.
Unions are even better. Nothing assures a good outcome like two parties, equally powerful, each fighting for its own benefit. If your local businesses give too much, they go broke. Too bad, so sad. If your government gives the unions too much, they're idiots. If the people keep voting for them, they're idiots. Fortune favors the brave and smart.
For those whose skills are valuable enough to command high pay, they're better off on their own.
Here's the point. If the voters paid as much attention to this as they do to abortion or the color of somebody's skin, we'd have a better system. We live in democracies, ultimately. If you don't like something, change it. If you don't change it, that means one or more of three things. . .
1. Most folk don't think what you think is important is all that important.
2. You didn't work hard enough to get the job done.
3. You have lousy skills of organization and persuasion.