a reply to: muse7
In an economy where there are a surplus of jobs which would be worthy of a living wage, your attitude is fine. However, those jobs are not broadly
available, and whether qualified or not, the fact is that individuals need work, and to have that work be of a decent enough wage that they can rent a
home, pay all utilities, pay for their upkeep and that of any dependents they might have, and have a reasonable expectation of being able to save
something worthwhile at the end of it. That is what is meant by a living wage.
When my grandfather left the Navy after the end of WW2 he had no qualifications what so ever. He managed to find a job at the Ford motor plant in
Dagenham, London. It did not pay a massive amount, but it did pay enough to live on for him, his wife, and his four daughters.
To get the same job now, would be impossible for an unqualified person.
And here is another thing... A persons ability to get a job which pays for their living, should not be dependent on any factor, but their willingness
to learn the job, and do it effectively. It should not be dependent on their level of qualification, nor on the type or complexity of the work they
do, but SOLELY on their willingness to show up every day, and slog it out.
If you want MORE than your living from work, that is when college comes into the picture. If you want to do law, if you want to be a doctor (both of
which should be things one takes up because they are a calling, not a profession anyway, but that's for another thread perhaps), or learn the science
of computing, or high level engineering, THAT is when the BIG money comes up, and qualifications should be a concern.
However, a degree should not be a route to merely getting by without assistance from government. It should be a route to much more than that. Gainful
employment of the regular sort however, should be capable of paying a working person enough that they do not require, nor receive, government
assistance. It should be capable of clothing and feeding that individual, and allow them to move through their lives with the regular things in place,
marriage, kids, grand kids, and so on, just because they work at all. People working thirteen hour a day cleaning jobs SHOULD be paid enough, and get
enough free time, that they feel as if they have achieved something, and actually get something out of what they do. People stacking shelves so that
people have produce to purchase at stores, should be paid for their time, their sweat. Those who scan those items at the checkout, those who take them
to the customers car, those who deliver them on haulage vehicles, those who pack the produce at the packing plant, those who contribute their time and
energy to making money for businesses, should be paid enough to LIVE on, not just exist.
As it stands, many working people, some of the hardest working individuals walking the face of the developed world, get paid less in a month, than it
costs them to live their lives, even though many of them live in sub standard accommodations with structural, and infrastructural problems. These
hardy people should not be in a position where their Herculean efforts do not allow them to live in an apartment which is safe for human habitation.
They should not be in a position where they have to pick between heat and light, or food and those aforementioned utilities.
All working people, should be paid enough that they can actually live a life, and pay their own way through it. Otherwise a number of things happen,
not least of which is that government have to step in, and hand out money to people who are actually employed to keep them afloat. The very same
people who often complain about governments subsidising the lives of the poor, are often those who bitterly object to a living wage, but these people
need to accept that one or the other scenario must always be the case.
Either the working poor are paid enough that they no longer need assistance, can save for their meagre retirement, and feed their families meanwhile,
or they will have to have some assistance with their living. It is very simple, and all that remains is to pick which of these two one happens to
prefer. There is no third option.