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(The New York Times)   Why do so many people earn so little?   (nytimes.com) divider line
    More: Murica, Wage, Employment, Minimum wage, grocery workers, real minimum wages, Declining Worker Power Hypothesis, percent Hispanic, lower end of the spectrum  
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782 clicks; posted to Business » on 24 Jun 2020 at 11:27 AM (9 days ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



34 Comments     (+0 »)
 
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2020-06-24 9:55:51 AM  
Greed? Greed.
 
2020-06-24 10:47:07 AM  
NO idea. I cannot afford to subscribe to your virtual fish wrapper.
 
2020-06-24 10:52:51 AM  
This is normal in third world countries.
 
2020-06-24 11:32:46 AM  
Because capitalism is unchecked here, so all the money is sucked out of the system by corporations and the tax laws see to it that none of it is returned to the public. In fact, the few times corporations and banks could have seen a reversal of fortune, the low-income tax-base bailed them the fark out, and they used it to give themselves bonuses. So yeah, we done?  Oh wait, I almost forgot: Unions are Evil, because they allow a low-income worker to make only 10 times less that his CEO rather than 20-100 times less.
 
2020-06-24 11:33:22 AM  

darkhorse23: Greed? Greed.


I'd get the lights, but the shareholders didn't want to pay for those anymore.
 
2020-06-24 11:34:59 AM  
Because god/the gods isn't/aren't on your side.  If they were, you'd bank.

Others are better than you and chosen.  So just accept your unchosenness and trudge the path of a drudgy life with a smile, dammit.  Be glad the chosen don't make you into heating fuel or furniture.  A palace in heaven awaits.

Have a nice day.
 
2020-06-24 11:40:58 AM  
because you boss is only going to pay you the bare minimum to get you to do your job.
 
2020-06-24 11:44:22 AM  
In no particular order:
Globalization, service-based economy, loss of manufacturing, uncontrolled immigration.
 
2020-06-24 11:47:02 AM  
It's there in the "so many" part of the headline:  because we let them cheat us and our peers.
 
2020-06-24 11:50:51 AM  

some_beer_drinker: because you boss is only going to pay you the bare minimum to get you to do your job.


I tried explaining this to my coworker, that is why you work just hard enough not to get fired.
 
2020-06-24 11:53:47 AM  
Shareholders?
 
2020-06-24 11:57:54 AM  
Guys, it's simpler than all of this and you already knew the answer:

Because "fark You", that's why.
 
2020-06-24 12:01:03 PM  
In the smaller sense, it's because they lack the bargaining power to capture the full value of the marginal product of their labor.  Stronger and more universal unionization among low-skilled professions would increase their earnings, but there are limits to what this can achieve.

In the larger sense, it's the wrong question to ask.  It shouldn't be "why do these people earn so little" but rather "why do so many people have so little while others have enough to live like Croesus for a 1000 lifetimes?".  It's not necessarily wrong for low output jobs to pay low wages as long as the greater bounty of civilization is shared more equitably.  A UBI of $24K/year paid for by much higher taxes, particularly (though not exclusively) on capital returns would go a long way toward making the world a better place.
 
2020-06-24 12:06:29 PM  

deadsanta: Because capitalism is unchecked here, so all the money is sucked out of the system by corporations and the tax laws see to it that none of it is returned to the public. In fact, the few times corporations and banks could have seen a reversal of fortune, the low-income tax-base bailed them the fark out, and they used it to give themselves bonuses. So yeah, we done?  Oh wait, I almost forgot: Unions are Evil, because they allow a low-income worker to make only 10 times less that his CEO rather than 20-100 times less.


Only 20-100?  Is your zero key broken?
 
2020-06-24 12:26:47 PM  
I would say it's not an income problem so much as it's expensive to live in the US. Even with my house paid off it's still $250/month for taxes and insurance, and I'm in a cheap tax area.  In New Jersey it would probably be closer to $750/month.  Rent is basically that plus the mortgage payment.

If you need daycare that's an easy $1000/month/kid.  Food isn't cheap.  Utilities here are almost $100/month just for the base fees.  Then you add healthcare, transportation costs, and many salaries can't keep up.

In other parts of the world, if you earn $10/day you can easily make it.  It's hard to compete against that.
 
2020-06-24 12:27:10 PM  
Sloth and stupidity?
 
2020-06-24 12:30:05 PM  

vudukungfu: NO idea. I cannot afford to subscribe to your virtual fish wrapper.


Seriously, a buck a week is too big of a load to carry?

https://myaccount.nytimes.com/get-sta​r​ted/auth?OC=20000139620&campaignId=6WY​WY
 
2020-06-24 12:39:37 PM  

pdieten: vudukungfu: NO idea. I cannot afford to subscribe to your virtual fish wrapper.

Seriously, a buck a week is too big of a load to carry?

https://myaccount.nytimes.com/get-star​ted/auth?OC=20000139620&campaignId=6WY​WY


You have your favorite propaganda panhandler, I have mine.
Drew Curtis gets my spare change.
 
2020-06-24 12:39:50 PM  
that probably didn't come out right.
 
2020-06-24 12:44:54 PM  

OptionC: In the smaller sense, it's because they lack the bargaining power to capture the full value of the marginal product of their labor.  Stronger and more universal unionization among low-skilled professions would increase their earnings, but there are limits to what this can achieve.

In the larger sense, it's the wrong question to ask.  It shouldn't be "why do these people earn so little" but rather "why do so many people have so little while others have enough to live like Croesus for a 1000 lifetimes?".  It's not necessarily wrong for low output jobs to pay low wages as long as the greater bounty of civilization is shared more equitably.  A UBI of $24K/year paid for by much higher taxes, particularly (though not exclusively) on capital returns would go a long way toward making the world a better place.


One of the discussions in TFA was whether the EITC should be greatly expanded. It's an interesting idea, because we have a basic imbalance in the US economy: many people are too easily replaceable in the labor market. Society demands that everyone work for a living, and we expect businesses to employ people, but business does not actually have an incentive to employ people at wages necessary to provide what we describe as a reasonable living. The owner class simply has too many options available to it other than raising pay for easily replaceable workers. So if society encodes into law that a worker should make at least $X per year whether or not the labor market can support that rate, and tax high earners to pay for this redistribution, that would probably be an easier pill for businesses to swallow than forcing them to raise worker pay only to have the businesses turn around and leave the country or increase automation.
 
2020-06-24 12:51:56 PM  
Trusting that anyone in power, politically or otherwise, cares about you and will take care of you?
 
2020-06-24 1:16:12 PM  

vudukungfu: pdieten: vudukungfu: NO idea. I cannot afford to subscribe to your virtual fish wrapper.

Seriously, a buck a week is too big of a load to carry?

https://myaccount.nytimes.com/get-star​ted/auth?OC=20000139620&campaignId=6WY​WY

You have your favorite propaganda panhandler, I have mine.
Drew Curtis gets my spare change.


Oh, it came out right. The problem is that Drew Curtis has no propaganda of his own to offer, just pointers to others'. And the propaganda from NYT is of generally sufficient quality to make a sustainable business from people generally considered to be known as reasonable, so I'm happy to join in that crowd.

Unless you count TFD as content, which, having seen it, I'm not willing to concede. :)
 
2020-06-24 2:26:26 PM  
For the love of money is the root of all
Evil.
 
2020-06-24 2:34:01 PM  

Inyego: In no particular order:
Globalization, service-based economy, loss of manufacturing, uncontrolled immigration.


No. Nice try, though.

Republican policy.
Empirical reality says the cause is Republican policy.

Political creationism enacted into law would have also been accepted.

You receive no points.
Thank you for playing.
Don't come back.
 
2020-06-24 2:54:31 PM  
Because the decades-long campaign to destroy labor unions has been largely successful.
 
2020-06-24 3:11:06 PM  
Civilization is built on hierarchy. The history of human civilization has been a long line of large classes of poor laborers and small classes of rich people.

We certainly have the means to give everyone a decent life, but I don't know that we will ever get anything much better. The system works by enforcing desperation on those who won't work for or conform to the wishes of the elites, and always has. There are times when the masses have more power but they are fleeting (post WWII America, post plague Europe).
 
2020-06-24 3:14:09 PM  
Corporations discovered that artificially depressing wages offsets inflation. They have monopolized labor and will force you to compete with other country's slave labor.

/Also Union busting by Reagan.
// Also see "For Profit Prisons"
/// capitalism runs on blood
 
2020-06-24 3:45:10 PM  

pdieten: vudukungfu: pdieten: vudukungfu: NO idea. I cannot afford to subscribe to your virtual fish wrapper.

Seriously, a buck a week is too big of a load to carry?

https://myaccount.nytimes.com/get-star​ted/auth?OC=20000139620&campaignId=6WY​WY

You have your favorite propaganda panhandler, I have mine.
Drew Curtis gets my spare change.

Oh, it came out right. The problem is that Drew Curtis has no propaganda of his own to offer, just pointers to others'. And the propaganda from NYT is of generally sufficient quality to make a sustainable business from people generally considered to be known as reasonable, so I'm happy to join in that crowd.

Unless you count TFD as content, which, having seen it, I'm not willing to concede. :)


News aggregate website =/= News outlet.
 
2020-06-24 4:22:11 PM  

Raoul Eaton: Because the decades-long campaign to destroy labor unions has been largely successful.


This. And also racism and sexism.
 
kab
2020-06-24 5:56:34 PM  
Because risong tides dont lift all boats, they capsize the smaller ones.

If you were looking for a fair economic model, you're in the wrong aisle.
 
2020-06-24 6:08:29 PM  
Because every time we attempt to raise the minimum wage, Republicans pull out the same old lies about how it will kill small business and hurt big businesses and oppose the measure to their last breath.

And those same chucklefarks don't know how much a gallon of milk costs or what the average rent is for the people they're consigning to poverty.
 
2020-06-24 6:28:05 PM  
Why Do We Pay So Many People So Little Money?

Because we can.

Solution: make it so we can't.

You're welcome.
 
2020-06-24 6:40:45 PM  

buttercat: Because god/the gods isn't/aren't on your side.  If they were, you'd bank.

Others are better than you and chosen.  So just accept your unchosenness and trudge the path of a drudgy life with a smile, dammit.  Be glad the chosen don't make you into heating fuel or furniture.  A palace in heaven awaits.

Have a nice day.


And don't forget about our pledge drive, the church jet needs to be replaced because you wouldn't want the chosen to be flying around in last year's jet.
 
2020-06-25 4:01:17 AM  

TheGreatGazoo: I would say it's not an income problem so much as it's expensive to live in the US. Even with my house paid off it's still $250/month for taxes and insurance, and I'm in a cheap tax area.  In New Jersey it would probably be closer to $750/month.  Rent is basically that plus the mortgage payment.

If you need daycare that's an easy $1000/month/kid.  Food isn't cheap.  Utilities here are almost $100/month just for the base fees.  Then you add healthcare, transportation costs, and many salaries can't keep up.

In other parts of the world, if you earn $10/day you can easily make it.  It's hard to compete against that.


When I was trying to learn Hindi, I would hang out on language swap sites where basically you just have boring chats with native speakers of the language you're learning, to try to practice.
Anyway, these guys from India all dreamed of coming to America because it's "the richest country in the world" and they were shocked when I revealed that this didn't just mean everyone was rich; and also dismayed at my revelation that stuff costs more, as well as there being more stuff you are required to buy (you can't legally live in a shack with no plumbing for example.)
 
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