Monday, June 26, 2006

Politifickle Thoughts

Well, there goes my fervent hope that Alito and Roberts were going to be all-around pro-life. I guess there's an off-chance that it was just their desire to leave this sort of thing up to the states... but now I'm fearful that they're going to be very permissive when states want to execute their own citizens. That bothers me.

I'm also a bit bummed - though not at all surprised - about the recent defeat of a new minimum wage. I never really looked at all the proposals or anything, but it sounded like an across the board raise of the minimum wage, from $5.15 (or whatever it is now) to something around $7.

So yeah, I think it would have been good to raise the minimum wage. It's just set way too low, and no one could really live on $5.15/hr. But here's my question: would a higher minimum wage receive more support if it wasn't an across-the-board hike? What if we had a tiered system? And not one based on the type of employment, but rather one based on the type of recipient.

What if we said "$5.15 is the minimum wage for all persons under 18" and "$7 for all persons 18 and older". I mean, we don't really need to be paying every pimply-faced teenage burger-flipper $7 an hour. That's not the class of persons a minimum wage is really designed to help. The reason we want a higher minimum wage is to ensure that persons who are working to support their families are actually able to get by. You can't support a family on $5.15 an hour. It'd be tough to do it on $7, but a heck of a lot more realistic.

So maybe we should set up who gets a higher wage based on a factor like age. I mean, we determine all sorts of social privileges on that basis, so why not wage requirements? You can't drive until you're 16, or collect Social Security until you're 65, so how about setting our wages based on that same factor? It seems to make some real sense, and frankly I think it'll help garner even more support for a higher minimum wage. It would keep the overall cost of a higher minimum wage down, but still achieve the same results proponents want to see. Has this sort of thing been proposed in the past? Anyone know? Thoughts?

There are those
Spend the night under bridges


the marvelous patric said...

i support your idea of tiered minimum wage for people under 18. perhaps something else to add to it would be if one if married or has kids? or, could we do something like a D&D THACO scale? A baseline of 7 with plus and minuses?

Matthew B. Novak said...

Thought about the marriage/dependant status as relevant. Rejected it b/c then you have very big discriminatory hiring issues.

the marvelous patric said...

however, the marriage / dependent problem could easily be addressed simply by not allowing the employer to ask (much like age questions) before hiring and finding out after hiring via tax forms.

Thinking Fool said...

How dare Alito and Roberts refrain from ignoring the text of the Constitution in order to find the death penalty unconstitutional?

You may be against capital punishment, but you should take that up with the proper parties, i.e. legislators, not judges.

Amendment V clearly indicates that the goverment can take a person's life as long as the government provides due process of law. Given that the death penalty exists in a majority of states and is carried out in a manner that is relatively, if not completely, painless, it's hard to argue that it is both UNUSUAL and cruel. See Amendment VIII. Unlike abortion law, which was pulled out of a magic hat, the Constitution actually provides for a death penalty, liberal justices' contentions notwithstanding. Write your senator and congressman if you'd like to see that changed.

Matthew B. Novak said...

Ah, but I'd argue that in light of reason and experience we have come to understand that taking of a life is per se cruel and unusual punishment.

I do conceed, however, that the Constitution is pretty clear about it, and you'd have to go to the legislature as a way of fixing the problem. I guess what was troubling here was that this law said basically took the discretion away from the jury, and said when the evidence was in equipoise death was the result. Not leaning in favor of life in that case is significantly troubling. I wasn't hoping they'd jump up and suddenly say "capital punishment is illegal" but rather that they'd work to limit the scope of capital punishment, and eliminate some of the more cruel and unusual instances of the practice.

Jeff said...

There's geographic considerations also, and that is why minimum wage laws are so tricky... it may be perfectly possible to live on $5.15/hr in Minot, N.D. but certainly not in New York. Hell, $7/hr wouldn't even do it there.