Streams

Win Win for Retail

Friday, November 30, 2012

Catherine Ruetschlin, policy analyst at Demos and the author of the study Retail's Hidden Potential: How Raising Wages Would Benefit Workers, the Industry and the Overall Economy, calls for higher wages for retail workers to spur the economy, as holiday shopping goes into high gear.

Guests:

Catherine Ruetschlin

Comments [12]

I find that even the "lovers of humanity" have
only a tepid embrace of the welfare of workers.
Why can't we set the minimum wage at $100,000.00 per year?

Dec. 01 2012 03:57 PM
Edward from NJ

vlodko, no need to attack me. I agree with you. My question was regarding the status quo not the guest's proposal. As a matter of fact, Gerlad also seems to agree with you. He was quoting someone to demonstrate the historical tides that a living wage movement fights against -- not personally advocating those attitudes. BTW, I have excellent eyesight. How's yours?

Nov. 30 2012 02:24 PM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

Even at $16/hr, Costco compensation is behind the national average which is roughly $21/hr. And if you really want to get mad, the 1973 minimum wage of $1.60/hr commanded more goods and services from the economy (1973 GDP=$1.37T) than the average Costco worker does today.

Nov. 30 2012 01:01 PM

Response to Gerald from Calif:

Someone who is working a "minimum wage" job is not necessarly at the job because of his/her choosing. We are currently in a Recession/Depression. More people have been out of work for more than 1 year and have given up looking for a job. Those that where lucky found jobs in retail (as I did 5 years ago after making over $70,000/year as a computer programmer). I did not want to be 'poor', I had no choice in the matter... and there are MILLIONS in the same shoes... Mr. Hearless Christian.

Nov. 30 2012 11:23 AM

Respnding to Edward:

Raising the "minimum wage" to $30,000 or more is not a Gevernment Subsidy because it would raise the low-wage workers out of the poverty levels and there would no longer be a need for Government Subidies such as Foodstamps, Medicaid, etc... By leaving things at status quo we are actually SUBSIDIZING Wallmart and the other retailers... are you blind?

One more point.. the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation which makes the Poor of today more poor than the poor of 10 years ago.

Nov. 30 2012 11:19 AM
Lynn Taylor


Unions are the only organized force in our society that can make this happen. Apitalism will not raise the standard of living since workers are disposable. Profitable warsor affordabe housing. .?Shareholders, investor, etc. are
Interested in profits now. Unions give workers a contractual say in their working conditions. Not by the
Momentary.
Largess of the owners for higher profits or holiday pr. largess of


Forces

Nov. 30 2012 11:18 AM
Vlad from Central NJ

If the Industry Avg is $10/hr and Costco's Avg is $17.50 and $20.50 after 4 years (Costco's turnover is 17 yrs/emp and Wallmart is 6 mo/emp) then why not use Costco as the 'recommended minimum wage'... All of the companys would still be making a profit, just a little less.... and the "Stimulus" effect on the Economy would be FANTASTIC.

Also, those employees that are at poverty or close to poverty level are also collecting 1) Food Stamps 2) Housing Aid 3) Medicade for their children and 4) Free Medical care at local Emergency Rooms.... The "increased wage" and benefits would LOWER THE DEFICIT and HELP PAY OUR DEBT.

Nov. 30 2012 11:08 AM
Public Takeover from Pahlewkaville USA

This is the first drum tap in a vast march forward across the full expanse of society. Inequality is coming to be understood as a systemic evil that must be avoided at all costs.

Likewise, much of the profit motive will be removed from industries that thrive by simply externalizing costs to nature, the public, or future generations, such as the fossil fuel, chemical, and food industries.

Nov. 30 2012 11:02 AM
Edward from NJ

How many retail workers also rely on government programs to make ends meet? Isn't this effectively a government subsidy for these businesses?

Nov. 30 2012 10:57 AM
Joel from Nyack

$25000 a year is, based on a 40 hour week, only $12 an hour before deductions. Hard to live on that, especially in expensive urban areas.

Nov. 30 2012 10:57 AM
Robert from NYC

You know 27% isn't the point. The point is if the salary is a living wage and $25,000/annum is NOT a living wage or barely a living wage for a single individual.

Nov. 30 2012 10:55 AM
Gerlad Fnord from Palos Verdes, Ca.

Please have your guests address the moral hazard implicit in treating the poor with 'decency' or 'sanity'---it rewards people for being _bad_, for as a great Nineteenth Century clergyman, the Rev. Russell Herman Conwell, put it:

<blockquote>
'I sympathise with the poor, but the number of poor who are to be sympathised-with is very small. To sympathise with a man whom God has punished for his sins…is to do wrong…let us remember there is not a poor person in the United States who was not made poor by his own shortcomings.'
</blockquote>

...which opinion seems to animate very many of us to this day.

Nov. 30 2012 10:32 AM

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