As an American living in another country, I can tell you it's a shameful embarassment to compare our minimum wage to that of other industrialized countries. Americans love to make fun of the French for never working, are they really wrong. We slave away usually well over 40 hours per week for companies who are increasingly finding more ways to hire on a contract basis to avoid having to provide full-time benefits and then we make fun of a country where the workers are willing to fight back whenever companies or the government try to make things worse for workers. (I'm in the UK, so I'm still an outside observer to the rest of Europe.)
Anyways, as you guys pass the 9 hour mark at your jobs (because American companies don't count your lunch as time worked, so everyone works at least 9 hours per day), think of me as I'm strolling home early. I'm still working for the same company, but they have to treat me better here. Oh, and be sure to vote for more government representatives who don't believe in all that "big government," social program, workers' rights stuff. Because those guys really understand the common man.
I always am amazed at how much rhetoric the issue gets, even as the raises are getting proportionately smaller! Figure it out, adding 10 cents to a dollar is a 10% raise, but adding 10 cents to $5 is a 2% raise. And the ******* and whining that goes on! Even as serious economists note that minimum wage increases don't have much effect on the economy. I agree with the spaceman: America really is starting to lag behind other advanced countries in many areas, including this one.
People raise the minimum wage without thinking of effects it will have on the economy. Sure, it won't all price jump, but it definitely will make a difference. When employers are paying all their min wagers a dollar more an hour, and that adds up to a lot of money a year, they are forced to increase prices.
Respectfully disagree, Tony. If you look in past history, you'll see that it's been like pulling teeth to get Congress to raise the minimum wage. So much so that the real buying power is less than in the past! (So this slo-mo process ends up benefitting employers, by the way). And labor is a somewhat fixed cost, and over time, other elements of expenses adjust as well. Interesting how no one's brought up Henry Ford so far, who believed that if he paid his employees a bit more, they would be able to buy his cars. The rhetoric of the past 10 years or so has made this issue one of those screeching Right vs. Left subjects, and throws distortion into how it really works. But check with what economists have said.