The Cost of a Living Wage

I was driving to work this morning, reflecting on the fact that traffic is a lot lighter because school is no longer in session, when it hit me:

This is what life would be like all the time if companies paid a living wage.

See, it works like this… Those families lucky enough to be able to live on a single income, or unlucky enough to only have a single income even though they need more than one, with the kids at home, fewer people have a need to get up and be on the road at this ungodly hour.  What if… what if all families could make it on one income?  Fewer cars on the road means I get to work in about half the time, saving me time and…  GAS!

Holy cow, if the demand for gas dropped, the price of gas would be more affordable!  Whoa! (Plus the bonus of cleaner air, decreasing our funding of international terrorists, fewer oil spills…)

More kids would grow up with a parent present to guide them and help keep them out of trouble (decreasing the costs of  everything from juvenile courts to home repairs for damage done by delinquents).

Unemployment costs would go down… fewer people would be in the job market, meaning there would be fewer people actually unemployed.  Lower costs for welfare too… with fewer people in the job market, those who should be in the job market will actually be more likely to find employment. 

All of these factors actually LOWER the cost of doing business overall, and lower the cost of living for employees so that a living wage isn’t as expensive as it is now.


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5 Responses to “The Cost of a Living Wage”

  1. estherlou Says:

    Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Sometimes we the people can see things so simply, and wonder why the “powers that be” can’t figure it out. We can only hope.

  2. Katherine Says:

    One of my political rants. Thank you. I want the government to stop welfare, and instead allow one parent to stay home and get a living wage from the government. Want the same right extended to those who care for disabled or aging relatives. the wages could be taxed, money for insurance and retirement taken out, the person would be working 24/7,There would not be health or sick days off. The wage would not change if you had one or ten children. No one would have to take an outside job if providing full time care to a family member. Once children enter school, wage drops in half. Abuse,, neglect and fraud are separate issues.

    Wish an economist would consider figuring out the ramifications of such a plan.

    Any way, thank you again. We are of like mind.

    • politicallyme Says:

      To my understanding, that is one of the things that welfare is supposed to be – support for single parents who cannot work because they have children or others that require care, so I don’t see the value in ending “welfare”… to recreate welfare. Or maybe it is just me.

      My point was about EMPLOYERS providing a living wage to their employees so their spouses/partners/whatever could afford to stay home and take care of the kids. This would reduce the welfare roles by opening up job availability – if my spouse doesn’t have to work, the job she is doing would go to someone who needed the work, and would then not be collecting welfare (or unemployment, depending on their situation).

      Economists are not needed (except to validate the plan with numbers)… what is needed is for employers to get on board, for the reasons described, rather than wanting to depress wages for short-term “profitability”.

  3. Katherine Says:

    That was the original intent of welfare, but it is demeaning, and it also devalues work that provides much needed social capital. I call that the prostitution factor. We refuse to pay people to care–nurses and teachers used to suffer from that, but their unions have improved their lot. Now the hands on care-givers that are paid–nurse’s aids or home-health aids are for the most part underpaid. Foster parents and child care workers are also underpaid, Because most do the work because they care and somehow that means they cannot be paid even a living wage.

    All in my humble opinion.

  4. Andrew Says:

    Interesting post. I know that for my family, it would not require a doubling of one of our incomes because someone staying home would eliminate daycare costs.
    Aside from the traffic/enviromental savings, the stay at home parent would have time to shop for and cook fresher foods. It would pay dividends in terms of public health.

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