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Eric Hazelle

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A stepped minimum wage

In the U.S., minimum wage has come up again. If it is raised, employers say they'll have to lay off minimum wage workers to cover the extra expenses. Proponents say it will give minimum wage workers a "living wage".

How about this? Have a stepped minimum wage. (The following numbers are just for discussion sake, not proposals for definitive compensation.) Let's permit kids age 14-15 to get work permits, for something like Macdonald's, or Walmart. They'd be allowed to work, say, 15 hours a week flipping burgers or stocking shelves and getting, say, $6 an hour. It would give them an income, teach them to handle money, contribute to their family, and they'd be able to work as long as their school work didn't suffer.

When they turn 16, increase their hours and pay to 20 and $7 an hour. Again, subject to school performance. At age 18 permit full-time employment as long as they've graduated from high school at $8.50 an hour, unless they're married and have a family, then give them the proposed new minimum wage. (What is it? $10.50 an hour? Anyway.)

From there, put percentages on the number of employees in each category an employer could have. Say a MacDonalds could have 20% 15 year olds, 20% 16, 20% 18 and so on. Tweak the numbers so they'd be paying no more than what they're currently paying.

Benefits; kids off the streets and productively employed, contributing to the family's income and learning working skills. A system that employers of minimum wage workers could support, and not be out extra money.

As I say, this is just for discussion; tweak the numbers, percentages and ages to get a workable plan, then see if congress could go for it.

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    Mar 16 2013: You would then need a lot of people in the Department of Labor with a lot of calculators to oversee this system. In other words - bureaucracy.

    Why not let the free market decide the wage that each job is worth, and eliminate the minimum wage altogether?
    • Mar 17 2013: I am an under skilled worker and I hate when they raise minimum wage. Because then me and others like me are back to where we started grrrr. They should do away with it its a self correcting problem if employer wont pay enough the employes will go somewhere else or go back to school. Raising minimum wage solves nothing. Nothing. Because as soon as it is raised business raise there prices so that there bottom line dont change. All it does is devalue the dollar. And pretty soon the peso will be worth more
    • Mar 17 2013: ...because it is not working to cause people to receive the fair amount of money that reflects the value of their work products and services. Incompetent CEOs are earning 350 times what the worker is earning and making stupid management decisions that cause companies to fair. Then, suddenly, they start believing in socialism or communism and want the poor and middle class to bail them out of their incompetence so they can continue to be overpaid and receive bonuses they do not earn. It's called JUSTICE. Let's inject some of that and some TRUTH into the system. Maybe then it will start working to benefit everyone.

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