There are all the usual reasons behind the proposing of a $15.00 an Hour Minimum Wage and it has little to do with actual minimum wage. One of the standards for an increase in the minimum wage is and has always been the unions. Many unions have salary agreements based on the minimum wage. This means increase the minimum wage, and union salaries automatically get a boost. When union salaries get a boost, then union dues get a boost. If union dues get a boost, the union leaders get more money for their own wages and for political donations. As political donations go higher, then incumbents get support of more PAC monies and this cements their job for life. So, in the end the politicians raise the minimum wages and the donations to the parties and their own campaigns increase thus making it that much more difficult for some upstart young man with the dreams of repairing the system to ever have a chance and the system is comfortably maintained. But even more is at stake this time around.
The introduction of ObamaCare forced employers of minimum wage employees to cut their hours to thirty hours so many positions became four six-hour days or three eight-hour days thus producing a twenty-four hour workweek. With these hours it also made it easy to establish seven-day-a-week, twenty-four-hours-a-day coverage by employing four shifts of six-hours/four days a week, and three shifts of eight-hours/three days a week, and presto-chango the twenty-four/seven week scheduling was covered. This actually worked out cleaner and easier to now cover the twenty-four-seven workweek than it had been with the forty hours a week which left weekend scheduling which often had two twelve-hours-a-day weekend staff which led to poor performance as twelve hour shifts have proven to be overly taxing on the individual worker according to many studies. The twenty-four hour workweek solves that problem very tidily. This caused a different problem in that the forty hour a week minimum wage earner now being reduced to twenty-four hours per week part time work placed an undue strain on the finances of anybody attempting to live on a minimum wage salary. The solution, make a twenty-four hour workweek pay close to what the forty hour workweek had paid in salary. The current Federal Minimum Wage of $7.25 per hour making a forty hour work week pay $290.00 and if one were reduced to a twenty-four hour workweek one would need a salary of approximately $12.10 per hour and if working a mere twenty hour workweek would require a salary of $14.50 per hour. This makes a fifteen dollar an hour minimum wage a slight increase in pay and would actually cover a minimum wage using the twenty-four hour workweek of $9.00 per hour for a forty hour week. (For a list of minimum wages by state see here.)
Where this would be a nice explanation, there is even further reasoning behind this and that is the idea which has begun to be floated of a minimum livable salary for everybody. This idea is a guaranteed minimum annual salary paid by month which would be given every citizen of voting age regardless of their work status. This living wage would be based at, you guessed it, the $15.00 an hour minimum wage and be set just a mere $1200.00 per year less than working the forty hour workweek at $15.00 an hour. The worker at this imaginary line would earn an annual salary of $31,200.00 per year and the guaranteed monthly minimum would be $2.500.00 per month or $30,000.00 per year, a mere $1,200.00 less than the standard forty hour per week at $15.00 an hour minimum wage. Thus if you worked one of the twenty-four hour part time workweek at $15.00 an hour your salary would equal $18,720.00 per year thus you would receive a check each month of $940.00 each month bringing your salary up to the guaranteed yearly rate of $30.000.00 a year. Further, when this guaranteed minimum wage would be enacted ObamaCare would already have been amended into a single payer healthcare system exactly like those failing healthcare systems throughout Europe thus there would no longer be any need for the twenty-four hour workweek and employers could resume having forty hour workweek employers unless they found the part time system to their advantage. With the minimum wage at $15.00 an hour and working a forty hour workweek one would be being paid $31,200 per year, a dizzying $1,200 more than the guaranteed minimum salary. For that minuscule difference to make a difference there would need be a earned income credit for people not collecting anything on the guaranteed minimum salary making employment even at minimum wage for full time forty hour workweek more attractive otherwise there would be even more people forgoing working and just taking the guaranteed salary, something which would likely occur no matter what the incentives.
The libertarians and conservatives would likely gasp and potentially come close to having a stroke at this idea and it will be strongly resisted but in time reality would force some system similar in nature to this even if initially at a lesser guaranteed minimum salary. The reason will become evident in the near future as Wendy’s is going to provide stores with an automated cashier and likely when possible automated food delivery as well. We can expect as robotics improve and become less temperamental (known as more dependable in the automation and artificial intelligence community) there will be more and more positions worked by automated employees, otherwise known as robots. In industrial positions, the first to automate, the robotics need not resemble humans in any manner other than wielding tools, even should those tools resemble appendages. In human interaction the initial AI robotic interface with the public or other employees will likely obviously appear robotic even if their actions appear close to natural. Their mode of transportation is more likely to be wheeled for speed and stability but expect bipedal as walking robotics become more stable and safe. Their appearances will also go from R2D2 to C3PO to so human in appearance it may be next to impossible to tell the robotic organisms from the human employees except the robotic employees will not get all of the jokes and will be pranked constantly by those who feel a need to show their greater imaginations. Eventually the robotic organisms will even match or exceed us in these fields as well though they will likely only use such areas of their programs as a defense mechanism and in getting revenge on their human tormentors.
The future will present the problem that almost all low skill and even moderate and eventually all but the highest level requiring human traits such as imagination will be filled largely by robotic organisms. Robotic organism lawyers will have sued to have them referred to as organisms even if we lesser humans insist on using the robotic label in order to feed our egos and to make ourselves feel superior in some esoteric manner. There will be no reason why robotic organisms cannot teach school having a human reference person available to assist when a robotic organism has difficulty interacting with biologic lifeform students but such humans will be mostly bored and will probably be able to back-up many scores of robotic organism teachers. Waiters, stockroom workers, sales positions, almost any position will eventually be filled by robotic organisms such that we will eventually reach a point where humans will only need work if they so choose. All of this is dependent on our robotic organisms at the least being amused at our presence or needing us to be consumers for their products. Of course there is always the science horror possibility that they will perceive us as unnecessary and eliminate us. There is one position which will be legally restricted from robotic organisms being employed, politicians. There are already long-haul truck companies starting to look into automated tractor trailers for inter-city long-haul truck routes which is being fought against by the Teamsters Unions. No surprises there. There will be no preventing the use in more and more positions of robotic organisms even if at first it will be a bit of a novelty, it will soon thereafter become a necessity for doing business as the company using robotic organisms will have a large advantage over one using old fashioned human workers. Competition will lead to replacing human organisms with robotic organisms even to the point of their using robotic organisms as the supervisors until they realize that robotic organisms do not require supervisors, just repair technicians which can also be robotic organisms. It’s the future and that is part of the $15.00 an hour minimum wage which will lead to the $2,500.00 a month individual minimum wage. The only thing we would like to request is please do not kill the messengers as was the case in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Beyond the Cusp