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Why does Wal-Mart/Sam's Club pay so low?
Posted 7/10/14
They do it so they can keep their prices cheap. The more you pay for labor, the higher your prices for items are.
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Posted 7/10/14 , edited 7/10/14



Even though they're at odds in some aspects, both your posts are full of sense. I am totally in agreement with Hayagriva on the subject of self education. The resources to self teach are becoming more numerous and accessible each year. I would encourage anyone to seek out those professions where demonstration of skill/ability trumps diplomas and certificates, and dig up the resources that will help you acquire the skill set on your own or for minimal investment. It doesn't have to be something that you love at first, just something that you don't hate, can stick with for a while, and will bring in more income than the back breaking min wage jobs that so many of us feel shackled to atm. I'm talking about starting off simple with learning stuff like how to use the MS office programs, Outlook and some Basic, or HTML/XML. You'd be surprised at the wage jump just for being able to demonstrate those skills. Honestly, I've worked with a lot of management staff that went to school to learn those things, and were hired to positions requiring frequent use of them but are just barely competent in using them. To me that speaks volumes about university training.

On the other hand, BlueOni's argument about tertiary education being covered by the state makes loads of sense as well. I just cannot understand why people insist on this privatized system that as Hayagriva stated "unnaturally over-inflates its programs to cost the students more". And what kind of education do most of these institutions offer? I can't tell you how many people I work with in my current service industry job that have a bachelor's or multiple associate degrees and still can't find employment that pays more than 3 or 4 bucks over min wage. They're saddled with compounding debt, but they're not doing any better than someone like me with just a HS diploma, self taught skills, and experience.

I also think internships and apprenticeships need to make a huge come back. I don't know who and how people would push for that, since that really would fall more to industry to bring it back, but it's clear that the U.S. labor force certainly needs it. There are way too many people occupying higher than entry level positions with 4 year degrees that have no idea how to properly do their jobs because they don't have much or any actual experience. I really hate the term "unskilled labor". I've done a lot of different work and there really is no such thing. There's a way to screw up on any job regardless of how educated or even hard working you are. And every job that results in some CEO raking in millions for themselves and their friends/business partners while taking up a considerable amount of that CEO's employee's time and energy should earn a livable wage.
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Posted 7/10/14
Well you guys earn more money a hour than I do in my country
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Posted 7/10/14 , edited 7/10/14

hyjinx17 wrote:

Yes, because I'm sure an employer will take my word for it when I tell them I can successfully be their IT guy because I self studied about computer hardware and software to learn everything I would have in school.

Fact is unless you have that piece of paper, you aren't getting hired, I don't care how much you know about doing said job.


Mine did, they moved me from a collections rep to a computer operator. I had dropped high school to get a GED, and dropped college after only 3 classes. The job they moved me into was basically just mindless work, where I had to watch the nightly processes and enter the right things at the right time. But, within a year, I had automated the job I had been given and had become the primary IT professional. Today I am a senior programmer, despite that I have not gone back to school or obtained any certifications. If my current employer were to have to hire for my job (though they would hate to see me go), then they would list a bachelors and 5+ years of programming experience. This is despite the fact that I was shifted from programmer I to senior programmer within 3 years, having had no other official experience as a programmer. Jobs always have a list of requirements that are not really hard and fast requirements. Hell, I was able to get the collections position that I was in because of my "prior work experience" of two weeks collecting funds from businesses to keep signs up in a local lodge - a job that some random guy offered me in a parking lot as I was grabbing applications for working at a department store.
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Posted 7/10/14

ishe5555 wrote:


hyjinx17 wrote:

Yes, because I'm sure an employer will take my word for it when I tell them I can successfully be their IT guy because I self studied about computer hardware and software to learn everything I would have in school.

Fact is unless you have that piece of paper, you aren't getting hired, I don't care how much you know about doing said job.


Mine did, they moved me from a collections rep to a computer operator. I had dropped high school to get a GED, and dropped college after only 3 classes. The job they moved me into was basically just mindless work, where I had to watch the nightly processes and enter the right things at the right time. But, within a year, I had automated the job I had been given and had become the primary IT professional. Today I am a senior programmer, despite that I have not gone back to school or obtained any certifications. If my current employer were to have to hire for my job (though they would hate to see me go), then they would list a bachelors and 5+ years of programming experience. This is despite the fact that I was shifted from programmer I to senior programmer within 3 years, having had no other official experience as a programmer. Jobs always have a list of requirements that are not really hard and fast requirements. Hell, I was able to get the collections position that I was in because of my "prior work experience" of two weeks collecting funds from businesses to keep signs up in a local lodge - a job that some random guy offered me in a parking lot as I was grabbing applications for working at a department store.


ishe5555, you were able to demonstrate the skill though by automating your job. While not all jobs require the "magic piece of paper" in order to make more money, they are often accompanied by a need to demonstrate that you possess the skills needed. Then again, there are some jobs where that piece of paper is a hard and fast requirement, as are the other things that they list. This really depends on each field and how they function, is there a union present, and how large is the organization.

As for all the talk about college debt, there are scales available that help you determine if the degree is going to leave you in debt or not. Currently, a 4 year degree in Nutrition is pretty much worth the paper it is printed on within the majority of the US, right away. However, that doesn't mean the education and degree are worthless. If you wish to become a Nutritionist, which is a field high in demand in some areas, you need to take that step and then a couple more. Where folks get into trouble is that they seek a degree whose profession requires a higher level of education, they don't budget or plan to get that higher degree, and are stuck with all the debt from the first step. Yes, sometimes plans go awry but I doubt that is the case for the majority of individuals.

Then again, you also have some folks whom are retired, want/need that extra income, and help to dilute the available workforce. They are then competing against the new graduates. Hiring an individual is an investment, and the ethics and morals of the different generations do affect things. Your younger job applicants are more likely to leave their first employer in a field than your older job applicants who have a record of long-term employment. Whom do you feel is the better investment based on this fact alone? Welcome to the headaches of treating people as a good. There is a lot which must be analyzed and major corporations invest heavily in developing better matrices for ranking applicants, then aligning the applicant with an expected cost. They want to minimize their cost per position (longer term means you don't have to retrain and retrain for that same position) while staying within the legal boundaries that prevent discrimination based on many factors such as age (can't deny a person a job because you think they will likely die in 3 years and you don't want to train a replacement for them).
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Posted 7/10/14
Compnies that pay minimum wage or almost minimum wage justify it by saying it is not meant to be a full time career. However reality is different. Walmart can get away with paying their employees so little because they qualify for food stamps. Thus the government is actually subsidizing these companies but if the government didn't give them food stamps those workers wouldn't survive and walmart would either not have workers or they would have to up their salaries. However you can't get rid of food stamps because their are people who actually need them. Basically the companies are taking advantage of the system...
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Posted 7/10/14 , edited 7/10/14

Assassinx89 wrote:

Compnies that pay minimum wage or almost minimum wage justify it by saying it is not meant to be a full time career. However reality is different. Walmart can get away with paying their employees so little because they qualify for food stamps. Thus the government is actually subsidizing these companies but if the government didn't give them food stamps those workers wouldn't survive and walmart would either not have workers or they would have to up their salaries. However you can't get rid of food stamps because their are people who actually need them. Basically the companies are taking advantage of the system...


So what would your solution be? Up the minimum wage? If you do that, Walmart will simply fire the workers to make up the costs. Then those people who were semi-dependent on food stamps become even more dependent on food stamps.

You say the reality of these jobs is different. No, it's not. If an employer pays you shit pay and you agreed to be hired on for that pay, then it stands to reason you both should expect it to not be fully sufficient for a decent living. This isn't the government's problem. It isn't Walmart's problem. It's the workers who are in that situation's problem. They should look elsewhere or find a second job.

It boggles my mind that so many people think upping the minimum wage is a magic solution. Even Paul Krugman, the most liberal and prominent economist in the USA, doesn't believe in laws for livable wage or minimum wage. Why? Because when laws are instituted that dictate wages, it winds up causing more harm than good. Wages should be determined by the negotiation between employer and the employee/union. Anything more is just asking for more problems.
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Posted 7/10/14
Walmart was bad for certain reasons back in the day. They fixed many of those due to lawsuits and such but in the last 7 years have found other ways to douche employees to improve profit. They've traded out decent full time employees for part timers and lowered standards. Hell they even tricked a whole lot of hard working full time employees (probably just because they were making a more decent wage) into part time positions that weren't worth working and ruining the "careers" these poor folk thought they'd made. More recently they doubled the work load on said part time employees that couldn't give half a crap and it shows.
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Posted 7/10/14

Hayagriva wrote:

I love how people ignore my (usually) carefully constructed posts.


I admit that I missed the critical word you boldened, but that was due to a speed reading error.


As for the rest of your post, I totally agree with almost all of it. The thing you have to remember is most people just pick things that "seem like a good idea" rather than being internally driven, and there is absolutely no way to account for people who are simply societal puppets in your data correlation. The difference between those individuals and people who learn and get better at things because they want to is night and day. There's not even a way to distinguish between people who are driven to become doctors for which they must go to college, and people who simply become nurses because America's getting fatter. This is why studies trying to determine the quality of demographics in the workforce are usually inherently flawed.


I can see the merit in an argument for rigorous standards for receipt of 100% state-funded tertiary education, and in fact there are a number of conceivable options you could impose. For example, in addition to the entrance examination I already mentioned you could establish a projected timeline for completion of each part of the program and a minimum GPA for retention of one's status as a tuition-free student (say 3.0 on a 4.0 scale or its equivalent). If you wanted to tighten things even more you could have applicants for the tuition-free program submit letters of recommendation, fill out secondary applications clarifying their intended area of study, and even conduct interviews. You might even establish a maximum age for application to complete one's first undergraduate program on a tuition-free basis which simultaneously accounts for the reality that not everyone will be prepared to go to college right away (or may have to take some time off) while still providing a substantial limit. I imagine that would fall somewhere around 25-30 years old.

To summarize, the strictest of my proposed tuition-free tertiary education programs would include an age cap for tuition-free undergraduate programs, a minimum GPA, a time frame for completion, and an admissions process which flows roughly as follows:

Entrance Exam -----> Application w/ Recommendations -----> Secondary Application ------> Interview(s) ------> Admission

To be honest, however, I feel that such standards are too strict (at least for the undergraduate level). I think that the examination, the minimum GPA standard, and a projected time of completion would suffice in that case, but I figured I'd present some options for making the process even more rigorous for your consideration.


Also, my sister changed her major four times, so she has "lots" of education completed, and while she earns decent money, it's with the least of her degrees. There's been no accounting for those people either, as far as I know.


Your sister presents an interesting test case for my proposed program. Let's hypothetically put her through it, assuming that she was able to successfully obtain admission into a tuition-free program at the outset of her tertiary educational career.

Once she decided to change her major the first time, unless it was to one entirely unrelated to her original field of study (such as from an art history major to a physics major, which would represent a shift from the humanities to the physical sciences) there would be no point in having her go through the application process all over again. That would be wasteful bureaucracy which served no constructive purpose. She'd simply have to stay within GPA standards and complete her new major within the time she'd already been allotted. Maybe if it were reasonably needed she could file for an extension of that timeline, but such wouldn't be guaranteed.

If she were to make a dramatic shift in her educational focus, however, she'd have to go through the application process again to retain her status as a tuition-free student. Now, it seems reasonable to allow the entrance exams' results stand for enough time for students to make these sort of changes or change schools at least once, so I'd imagine keeping them valid for 2-4 years would be acceptable. This means that unless 2-4 years had already passed your sister would simply reapply for funding for her newly intended major, and upon acceptance would have to complete it within a newly set timeline which takes her present academic record into account. Should she repeatedly dramatically shift focus in this way as part of the repeated major changes you've stated she's made, eventually her applications for tuition-free study and/or timeline extensions would simply begin to be denied.

Based upon my review I think sister would ultimately present no problem for the system I propose. She'd eventually have to begin shouldering at least part of the burden of funding her education if she just kept shifting majors, and by that point she'd have had ample opportunities to avoid that burden entirely.


And you actually debunked part of your own argument. Since tertiary education ISN'T covered by the state or federal government, it's basically a private enterprise which unnaturally over-inflates its programs to cost the students more. That has a significant effect on the time spent "being educated", and there's probably a study somewhere for that. I doubt that most, if any of these factors were taken into consideration in the study you mentioned, it was probably just a cross-section of total income and time spent in college. What a flawed way to look at things.


If I'm reading this correctly, what you're effectively saying is that my figures on the relationship between educational attainment and income are flawed because they don't take autodidacts into account and combine tertiary degree holders who could not have been autodidacts with those who "unnecessarily" hold Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, Professional, and Doctoral degrees (and which therefore could have obtained equivalent competences as autodidacts).

I will admit that the Bureau of Labor Statistics report I examined makes no mention of autodidacts and makes no attempt to sort them out at any level of educational attainment. But then, you've simply assumed that autodidacticism is capable of delivering comparable competencies to those held by degree holders at all tertiary levels in a significant number of cases, and also that separation of prospective autodidacts on each of these levels would significantly alter their earnings figures. You haven't really produced a study which does sort those groups out and shows these things to be the case, so I'm left to work with what I have.

Wipes sweat from brow

Phew! I hope that response was satisfactory, because it took a minute.
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Posted 7/11/14 , edited 7/11/14



Yes, because I'm sure an employer will take my word for it when I tell them I can successfully be their IT guy because I self studied about computer hardware and software to learn everything I would have in school.

Fact is unless you have that piece of paper, you aren't getting hired, I don't care how much you know about doing said job.


Funny thing is that happened exactly to me. Graduated high school turned around and started working in the I.T field at the age of 18. I hate to break it to you but in the I.T industry most jobs will take the person who has 10 years experience over the person who has just gotten a masters and has never touched a server or network. If you do not have any experience under your belt then I recommend you buy a few books and take some certifications which are probably wanted more then college experience.
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Posted 7/11/14 , edited 7/11/14
Where I live, those jobs are typically reserved for those fresh to the work force, looking to get job experience on their resume or some extra cash to supplement their allowance. If you start when you're sixteen, hopefully by the time you're eighteen you've used that job experience to either be promoted (should you choose to stay in that line of work), or have used the experience to move up the ladder starting at another company at a higher role.

When I was 16 I got a job in fast food making $5.75 an hour, then got promoted to a shift manager at $6.50/hour. Then moved on to something most people wouldn't consider when I was eighteen, a collections agent (bill collector) making $10.84/hour. I'm 35 now, so that is why the wages were lower as minimum wage was $4.75 or something like that back then. Everything was cheaper to buy though too, so it balanced out. Gas was 79 cents a gallon when I was 18 and had my corvette

Anyway, long story short, just keep an eye out for opportunities and keep breaking your back. I'm an analyst now at a software company and make a good living.

I would also like to add that university degrees are pretty much worthless (High School degrees on the other hand are essential, but GPA doesn't matter), unless it is a degree in law or medicine and very few others. Employers are more savvy now, and the good ones recognize IQ and knowledge much more so than a degree. This especially is true for the technical fields.
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Posted 7/11/14

BlueOni wrote:


Hayagriva wrote:

I love how people ignore my (usually) carefully constructed posts.


I admit that I missed the critical word you boldened, but that was due to a speed reading error.


As for the rest of your post, I totally agree with almost all of it. The thing you have to remember is most people just pick things that "seem like a good idea" rather than being internally driven, and there is absolutely no way to account for people who are simply societal puppets in your data correlation. The difference between those individuals and people who learn and get better at things because they want to is night and day. There's not even a way to distinguish between people who are driven to become doctors for which they must go to college, and people who simply become nurses because America's getting fatter. This is why studies trying to determine the quality of demographics in the workforce are usually inherently flawed.


I can see the merit in an argument for rigorous standards for receipt of 100% state-funded tertiary education, and in fact there are a number of conceivable options you could impose. For example, in addition to the entrance examination I already mentioned you could establish a projected timeline for completion of each part of the program and a minimum GPA for retention of one's status as a tuition-free student (say 3.0 on a 4.0 scale or its equivalent). If you wanted to tighten things even more you could have applicants for the tuition-free program submit letters of recommendation, fill out secondary applications clarifying their intended area of study, and even conduct interviews. You might even establish a maximum age for application to complete one's first undergraduate program on a tuition-free basis which simultaneously accounts for the reality that not everyone will be prepared to go to college right away (or may have to take some time off) while still providing a substantial limit. I imagine that would fall somewhere around 25-30 years old.

To summarize, the strictest of my proposed tuition-free tertiary education programs would include an age cap for tuition-free undergraduate programs, a minimum GPA, a time frame for completion, and an admissions process which flows roughly as follows:

Entrance Exam -----> Application w/ Recommendations -----> Secondary Application ------> Interview(s) ------> Admission

To be honest, however, I feel that such standards are too strict (at least for the undergraduate level). I think that the examination, the minimum GPA standard, and a projected time of completion would suffice in that case, but I figured I'd present some options for making the process even more rigorous for your consideration.


Also, my sister changed her major four times, so she has "lots" of education completed, and while she earns decent money, it's with the least of her degrees. There's been no accounting for those people either, as far as I know.


Your sister presents an interesting test case for my proposed program. Let's hypothetically put her through it, assuming that she was able to successfully obtain admission into a tuition-free program at the outset of her tertiary educational career.

Once she decided to change her major the first time, unless it was to one entirely unrelated to her original field of study (such as from an art history major to a physics major, which would represent a shift from the humanities to the physical sciences) there would be no point in having her go through the application process all over again. That would be wasteful bureaucracy which served no constructive purpose. She'd simply have to stay within GPA standards and complete her new major within the time she'd already been allotted. Maybe if it were reasonably needed she could file for an extension of that timeline, but such wouldn't be guaranteed.

If she were to make a dramatic shift in her educational focus, however, she'd have to go through the application process again to retain her status as a tuition-free student. Now, it seems reasonable to allow the entrance exams' results stand for enough time for students to make these sort of changes or change schools at least once, so I'd imagine keeping them valid for 2-4 years would be acceptable. This means that unless 2-4 years had already passed your sister would simply reapply for funding for her newly intended major, and upon acceptance would have to complete it within a newly set timeline which takes her present academic record into account. Should she repeatedly dramatically shift focus in this way as part of the repeated major changes you've stated she's made, eventually her applications for tuition-free study and/or timeline extensions would simply begin to be denied.

Based upon my review I think sister would ultimately present no problem for the system I propose. She'd eventually have to begin shouldering at least part of the burden of funding her education if she just kept shifting majors, and by that point she'd have had ample opportunities to avoid that burden entirely.


And you actually debunked part of your own argument. Since tertiary education ISN'T covered by the state or federal government, it's basically a private enterprise which unnaturally over-inflates its programs to cost the students more. That has a significant effect on the time spent "being educated", and there's probably a study somewhere for that. I doubt that most, if any of these factors were taken into consideration in the study you mentioned, it was probably just a cross-section of total income and time spent in college. What a flawed way to look at things.


If I'm reading this correctly, what you're effectively saying is that my figures on the relationship between educational attainment and income are flawed because they don't take autodidacts into account and combine tertiary degree holders who could not have been autodidacts with those who "unnecessarily" hold Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, Professional, and Doctoral degrees (and which therefore could have obtained equivalent competences as autodidacts).

I will admit that the Bureau of Labor Statistics report I examined makes no mention of autodidacts and makes no attempt to sort them out at any level of educational attainment. But then, you've simply assumed that autodidacticism is capable of delivering comparable competencies to those held by degree holders at all tertiary levels in a significant number of cases, and also that separation of prospective autodidacts on each of these levels would significantly alter their earnings figures. You haven't really produced a study which does sort those groups out and shows these things to be the case, so I'm left to work with what I have.

Wipes sweat from brow

Phew! I hope that response was satisfactory, because it took a minute.



The first part of your post is completely tangential. Since I already agreed with removing education from the realm of private enterprise, I'm surprised you spent so much time on it.

You almost have the second point. Autodidacts fall anywhere in the range of mostly incompetent to far exceeding competency instilled by degrees. The flaw in your argument is that your conclusion assumes something which is incorrect - that degree programs are the baseline reference for absolute competency. The blunt truth of the matter is that it highly varies not only based on degree, but on which school and even which teachers were involved. There is no study on that because there can't be, there are too many factors. We already talked about how the programs are unnecessarily inflated. If you couple that with the fact that teachers (in America anyway) are paid incredibly low, the flaws of standardize testing in order to be cost-effective, and the fact that 63 out of the 400 richest billionaires never went to college, I really don't have to produce any "studies" at all. There can be no question that high school education especially is geared towards producing people who will be nothing more than good employees, not innovators. It's common observational sense.

If that's not good enough for you, there are always places like http://collegedropoutshalloffame.com/ or http://elitedaily.com/news/business/100-top-entrepreneurs-succeeded-college-degree/ . Or spend 5 minutes on Google and look around. I'm afraid I'm not interested enough in people trying to justify their educations to hunt down more information.
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Posted 7/11/14

Rohzek wrote:


Assassinx89 wrote:

Compnies that pay minimum wage or almost minimum wage justify it by saying it is not meant to be a full time career. However reality is different. Walmart can get away with paying their employees so little because they qualify for food stamps. Thus the government is actually subsidizing these companies but if the government didn't give them food stamps those workers wouldn't survive and walmart would either not have workers or they would have to up their salaries. However you can't get rid of food stamps because their are people who actually need them. Basically the companies are taking advantage of the system...


So what would your solution be? Up the minimum wage? If you do that, Walmart will simply fire the workers to make up the costs. Then those people who were semi-dependent on food stamps become even more dependent on food stamps.

You say the reality of these jobs is different. No, it's not. If an employer pays you shit pay and you agreed to be hired on for that pay, then it stands to reason you both should expect it to not be fully sufficient for a decent living. This isn't the government's problem. It isn't Walmart's problem. It's the workers who are in that situation's problem. They should look elsewhere or find a second job.

It boggles my mind that so many people think upping the minimum wage is a magic solution. Even Paul Krugman, the most liberal and prominent economist in the USA, doesn't believe in laws for livable wage or minimum wage. Why? Because when laws are instituted that dictate wages, it winds up causing more harm than good. Wages should be determined by the negotiation between employer and the employee/union. Anything more is just asking for more problems.


I have to disagree with the comment about upping the minimum wage. Due to the nature of the US economy, raising minimum wages in response to an attempt to increase the number of folks earning a livable wage is most often just a temporary solution. The reason for this is not because folks lose their jobs, but because the industries that provide the necessities and most common luxury goods (e.g. cell phones and internet), will increase the prices. What you have to look at is a comparison of the value of the wage. Does that increased wage buy more, the same, or less than it did before. There is always a temporary increase in the value of the wage but within a relatively short time it devalues.

As for the claim that Walmart is able to pay so little due to food stamps, I would have to disagree. It is not like the majority of folks earning food stamps are Walmart employees who depend on that sole source of income. It sounds to me like you are stating those who earn low wages do so because they earn food stamps and are not looking for higher pay. I hate to disappoint you, but that is far from the truth with what I suspect are the majority of food stamp recipients. I can only pull up my area's local demographics but a large percentage of folks earning food stamps are not working a single job and/or are not working an entry level job. Some are unemployed, some are working multiple jobs, and some are working in a position that indicates some supervisory duties. There are also those households which are multiple income, but due to debt and/or family size qualify for food stamps.

Then again, my state is also one of the strictest about such benefits, but it doesn't mean that Walmart is to blame nor does it empower Walmart to pay less. Their wages and compensation packets are usually lower when compared to comparable positions, but they are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and that allows for it to be a viable second career. At the same time, the employees are willing to work for that pay and if not, then there is someone that is.
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Posted 7/11/14

Rohzek wrote:

It boggles my mind that so many people think upping the minimum wage is a magic solution. Even Paul Krugman, the most liberal and prominent economist in the USA, doesn't believe in laws for livable wage or minimum wage. Why? Because when laws are instituted that dictate wages, it winds up causing more harm than good. Wages should be determined by the negotiation between employer and the employee/union. Anything more is just asking for more problems.


The people who think raising the minimum wage is a great idea have never tried to lift a bucket while standing in it before.

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Posted 7/11/14
Dang this is an great post, it is good to see people that understand that the country needs to change direction when it comes to key issues; like education, public wealth fair and also creating a work force that will be competitive for the 21st century.

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