Costs keep going up
I agree the middle class has been taking a beating the last few years regarding wages while profits for large companies has gone up. I believe a lot of that has happened because companies, during recession, used that excuse to keep wages stagnant, and laid people off while continuing to raise the price of their product. I priced a dress shirt a few weeks ago that listed for $98.00 and made outside the U.S. where labor is very cheap. They say that is keeping cost down because they would have to pay higher wages in U.S.. I don't believe that. I think they are making a bigger profit on the shirt by making it overseas.
I don't think continuing to raise the minimum wage is going to solve anything. It just makes the cost of living go up. You are carrying more money around, but your buying power is reduced. A few months ago I wrote a letter about my first real job, which was at Plant Yates when they were building the third unit there in 1952. I was hired as an assistant time keeper over some of the construction workers. The highest hourly wage at that time was $2.75 per hour, and these were union workers, that was real money back then. Gas was 19 to 22 cents a gallon cigarettes 20 cents a pack etc. T
he first house we bought was $12,500 and that was on a acre lot, now you can't buy a nice automobile for that. If you are in business and say the minimum wage is going up 25%, that means your labor cost is going up 25%, so you are going to do one of three things: raise the cost of your product by 25% to keep your margins; reduce your workforce and have those remaining do the additional work; or a little of both. Companies are not in business just to provide you with a job, they are in business to make money just like you are there working at the company to make money.
The difference, as I see it today, is back when I was working everything was priced according to what people made. Now, wages are not going up, but the prices we pay for things continue to increase thus creating the larger profit margin for companies. I just believe in being fair to all concerned, the company and the employee. After all, without the employees companies could not make money, and workers could not make money without the company.