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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 22 2013: See this is where we lost capitalism, Why should somebody that got married or graduated be guaranteed a wage higher than some one that hasn't. Maybe we should guarantee $25 an hour for someone that has a bachelors degree. Should it not be what he/she is worth to the company and them selves for what they get paid. I don't agree with minimum wage because it doesn't help the poor obtain a "living wage". It interferes with business and the markets, people hire less making less wealth in are community for everybody including the poor. More Jobs equal more production which equals more wealth. With wealth the conditions of living will rise across the broad from poor to wealthy. There will always be inequality, we were born unequal with different skills and different families. Inequality has more to due with wealth mobility than minimum wage and we need to find out why we have lost are wealth mobility in the US and I bet government has something to do with it!!!
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      Apr 2 2013: Practically speaking the most efficient way to subvert the trickle down effect is to kill the person at the top and take his stuff. Not a bad option when the equilibrium wage lowers the standard of living below the care one would receive while incarcerated. Just a thought.
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        Apr 6 2013: Well that's what happens when we get more government, inmates and lower income citizens live better than the hard working lower middle class. We need less government power in are markets from schooling to prison. But yet some people think the government needs more power. They haven't learned that the government is the corporations. Are government is sold all the time, and it will always be for sale. The only way to fix the problem is to limit government powers by voting.

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