This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Universal Living Wage Essay

3494 words - 14 pages

The Universal Living Wage

In 1906 Father John Ryan, a renowned social and economic intellectual within the Catholic Church, published a book titled A Living Wage: Its Ethical and Economic Aspects. The book introduced to America workers the idea of a guaranteed minimum pay determined by the basic costs of living and set the stage for later minimum wage legislation during the 1930’s. Over the last decade, the idea of a living wage has resurfaced as workers have become more outspoken about the inadequacies of the federal and state minimum wage levels. Living wage legislation for government workers has taken effect in major U.S. cities such as Baltimore, Los Angeles, San Jose, Detroit, Boston, and many more. This paper will discuss the moral, social, and economic implications of instituting these laws as well as labor conditions around the world and the need for guaranteed living wages in countries such as India and Mexico.

First of all, a clear definition of the living wage should be established. The Universal Living Wage Campaign Organization says that if a person works forty hours a week, a living wage should provide the worker and his/her dependents with proper nutrition, health care, housing, clothing, and transportation. Some debate has arisen around this definition though for a few reasons. First of all, the number of dependents the wage-earner must support has a huge impact on the calculation of the living wage. A wage-earner who only has to support himself can survive with a much lower wage than a wage-earner who must support a family of five for example, so how should legislation take this into account? If the idea of the living wage is to pay workers based on need, a law that provides a wage capable of supporting a large family should not be paid to a worker with only very few or no dependents. Another problem with the legislation is the possibility of multiple wage-earners in one family. If a family has two wage-earners for example, and one of them makes plenty of money to support all the dependents, should the second wage-earner benefit from a living wage even though the family is not in need? These examples point out one of the most difficult obstacles for living wage progress – the struggle to target the people who really need the support the most. Many minimum wage workers who the living wage legislation would target are teenagers who are already being supported by their parents, so should they receive a living wage when they are clearly do not need it to support themselves? In “The Living Wage Debate,” Jesse Shapiro points out:

In the modern economy, many of the people whose wages are close to the living wage mandated by law may be teenagers living in fairly well-off households. Presumably it is not an aim of policy to redistribute income to this group, but ordinances that change wages without reference to income may do just that.

Another objection to the living wage, then, is that it is...

Find Another Essay On The Universal Living Wage

raising minimum wage Essay

1140 words - 5 pages oneself from living in poverty and assist the economy from disintegrating. After hearing Obama’s State of The Union Address of 2013 and reading many articles concerning the raising of minimum wage, I believe minimum wage should be raised because it would decrease poverty, keep individuals from under the table jobs, and cause a decrease in taxes. According to Gabrielle Karol’s article, “How Raising the Minimum Wage Would Help the Economy

The Pros and Cons of Abolishing Minimum Wage

1277 words - 6 pages pay set, these workers will be hired at a low rate, a rate that the company is willing to pay. Cost of living differences in various areas of the country make a universal minimum wage difficult to set. These employees will be paid for the quality of work and their value rather than one set rate. This can help improve work performance and work moral by getting paid for how you do your work, so that someone who goes above their job requirements gets

The Benefits Of Raising The Minimum Wage

970 words - 4 pages that would benefit the economy and society in general. A minimum wage was first established in 1938 to increase the standard of living of lower class workers. To discuss what is better for the country and its citizens, people have to understand what is a minimum wage and what are its effects. In the 2013 State of the Union, President Obama proposed raising the minimum wage from the current $7.25 to $9.00 by 2015. This has caused arguments

Raising the Minimum Wage: A Counter-Intuitive Solution

1026 words - 5 pages should consider the effects on the American economy as a whole, as opposed to just considering the wage at which certain individuals are paid. While some might argue that raising the minimum wage would provide for a 'living wage', the raising of the minimum wage would result in significant inflation, which, in turn, would increase the cost of living; offsetting any wage increase. According to the Wall Street Journal, economists struggle to agree

Living Wages

1843 words - 7 pages Living Wages Introduction Over the past decade, politicians have sought to reform the national poverty levels by lobbying for what is frequently referred to as a living wage. Living wages, on the most elementary level, are the absolute minimum a person must make per year or per hour to stay above the federal poverty level. While the number of people that receive living wages is still small, Wood (2002) suggests that this is a trend

Minimum Wage: A War on Business

1063 words - 5 pages . Proponents of raising the minimum wage suggest it would put more money in the hands of low income families and as a result, give them more purchasing power (Auerback). Certainly making more money is beneficial for any family. Nevertheless, the price of living would increase with the minimum wage. Prices for products and services would rise in response to businesses needing more money for paychecks. So in reality, the money supporters think would be used

America's Minimum Wage Problem

1322 words - 6 pages their work must go to education, which leaves little of their income left to pay for bills, fuel, healthcare, and other necessities. As a result, many workers must make the choice between shelter and food before education is even an option. By 2011, around 749 hours of work go to health insurance and these workers do not have money for the cost of living. Minimum wage workers salaries do not match up to the cost of living, especially if they are

Effects of Increasing Minimum Wage

996 words - 4 pages The idea of having a federal minimum wage is a good one. The idea is to protect low and unskilled workers and allow workers to earn a living wage. The recent debate on the floor, though, is whether or not to raise the minimum wage from the current $7.25 per hour up to $10.10. President Barack Obama made this proposal during his annual State of the Union Address, and after this there were many hot debates about it. The debates focused not only on

Minimum Wage

1817 words - 8 pages Poverty in the United States will keep increasing if Congress does not raise the minimum wage as living expenses continue to rise. With expenses such rent and food, millions of people in the US are struggling to afford the necessities to keep them alive. In order to help the working and middle class, President Barack Obama wants Congress to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9.00 an hour by the end of 2015. Unfortunately, CEO’s and


1107 words - 5 pages produce it, federal minimum wage costs the economy thousands of jobs and makes little sense due to cost-of-living differences throughout the country. People tend to believe a federal mandated minimum wage helps the poor, and counteracts poverty. Darius Ross, of the Rockland County Times, believes that “raising the minimum wage will put more money in the pockets of workers who most need to spend those dollars. It will boost consumer spending at local

Living in Minimum Wage

3552 words - 14 pages Virginia's poverty line and minimum wage, $15,080 yearly is what an individual income is in connection with the national poverty line of $14,570 yearly. As a reminder, this poverty line income does not include emergency situations that one may encounter throughout life. This income includes a standard of living. In looking within my own state Virginia there are many controversies of whether increasing minimum wage is beneficial or not to both the

Similar Essays

The Wage Rate And The Cost Of Living

618 words - 2 pages The Wage Rate and the Cost of LivingHere in the United States, the job market is not a very large one. The employers in most towns expect to pay their employees little to nothing for their services, not realizing how much it actually does cost to live in here. On the news the other day, I saw a story on the amount people are being paid, as opposed to the cost of living here in the U.S.; it said that in order to be able to make it you would have

Poverty In America: The Concept Of Living Wage Vs. Minimum Wage

2334 words - 10 pages Zina Barrow-Wilmer Instructor S. Denny English 1101 15 April 2014 Poverty in America: The Concept of Living Wage vs. Minimum Wage The value of wage and just compensation has grossly affected the quality of life among American workers. The concept of a living wage is founded on the belief that working people have an inherent right to a decent means of support and that wage labor is not only a permanent part of the social order, it

Cost Of Living Analysis The Gap Between The Cost Of Living And Minimum Wage Essay

1373 words - 6 pages Living in today’s society is quiet a struggle especially for those individuals who work hard but only earning minimum wage. Minimum wage in the United States is $7.25. Certain American territories or states offer a different minimum pay higher than $7.25 but nothing below this amount. There are many controversial arguments that arise while analyzing the gap between the cost of living and minimum wage. The major argument is can individuals who

19th Century England As Depicted In North And South, The Outcast And A Living Wage For Factory Girls At Crewe

1372 words - 5 pages painting The Outcast (1851) and Ada Nield Chew’s letter A living Wage for Factory Girls at Crewe (1894) critique the dominant attitudes of society, emphasising the importance of the individual to seek autonomy for social progression to occur as well as self satisfaction. Elizabeth Gaskell reflects the dominant philosophical ideology of patriarchy and gender dominance in Victorian society through her Bildungsroman novel North and South (1855