Sunday, February 12, 2012
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Raising the Minimum Wage 50 cents is another act of blind indifference to the real hardship being faced by working people - many of whom are struggling to live on two and more jobs just to keep their families housed and fed. The social consequences are only too obvious when you read the papers. Alas, it will get worse and will take a generation to correct it.
The minimum wage should at least be $20 per hour with time and a half for after hours and double time on Sundays and public holidays - with the youth rate at $12. At the same time, professional services would need to be capped at present levels for 3 years to hold back inflation (this would of course be offset by increased workload resulting in more overall income from better paid workers). Oh yes, there are many who would say that this would bankrupt the nation and greatly increase unemployment. Not so. It would push people to automate menial tasks and use labour efficiently. Polytechs would need to enlarge their intake of trainee technicians to man and maintain the machines.
Low minimum wages merely impoverish workers and increase social and financial inequality. They also entrench bad and wasteful behaviour from employers - plus fill the prisons and mental health wards with frustrated and disappointed people who should not be there.