One Dollar An Hour.

What if minimum wage laws were eliminated, and folks could hire at will employees for $1 an hour? Would YOU work for $1? or a WHOPPING $40 a week? If that’s what you wanted to do, you would. AND.. you should be able to.

Its your time right? Nothing could be any more possessed or OWNED by a person than the decisions they make as responsible adults or even responsible children perhaps. (which is an argument for another time) As stated in the declaration:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

These words did not come with an asterisk, nor did they come with conditions of “government approval.” They were made as a statement of fact.

Is not your decision of how you allocate your time in the support of yourself or family a self evident truth? Does not the pursuit you seek bring into question the validity of restrictive actions by state such as artificial wage controls with punitive effect on those who disagree with those controls? As it stands, the minimum wage laws’ punitive measures are most certainly levied upon the business or employer which might offer less than the government mandates, yet it serves as an even greater punishment to the prospective employee as well.

What of the person whom we might consider homeless, that might not prefer to participate fully, has a limited ability (by choice or circumstance) to offer any (or a reduced)  demonstrable work value? They might well have usable talent, but because the risk to hire such a person at even the prevailing minimums can be enough to be prohibitive, they will remain without a means to naturally support themselves.dollar

Would a dollar an hour as a starting wage allow the needs of both the employer and the needy find each other more easily? Unfortunately, It currently cannot, because the government will not allow private individuals to contract with each other on such matters.

What about the first time job hunter?

My 17 year old niece in Battle Creek who this year graduated high school, explained she has filled out over 30 applications in the last couple of months. She just wants to get job experience. She attended the local career tech program in graphic design, yet is quite willing to take any job offered, including a fast food position, something that does not use her vocational skills.

She is frustrated that she cannot find a position. And while minimum wage as it is would certainly satisfy her income requirements, her desire for work rests more on that she wants the experience for the better positions later. She is smart enough to know that a firm which would consider hiring her for the field she is trained, will still have a better feel for someone who has a history of work to determine qualifications. Even if that history is in a totally unrelated field.

Again, the prevailing wisdom of the lawmakers is that the employee does not in fact have the right of ownership required to negotiate for anything less than the wage minimums set by a arbitrarily established set of numbers.

Would she work for $1 an hour? I doubt it. Would she take less than what is now the minimum? I am sure of it. She WANTS to work, but the state will not let her, or at the very least has set up a playing field which creates far fewer employment opportunities.

Many times I have presented this logic, and the thought of eliminating minimum wage laws entirely to people who presume themselves to be conservative, (or otherwise) they will say “but.. those people will be taken advantage of!” or “Unscrupulous employers will game people!”

My answers are, and will remain “they might,” and “they might..”

But what will also happen, is that in the face of full employment, business that needs help will pay whatever makes sense for their business model to pay for that help. In Michigan, prior to Granholm policies enacted, minimum wages already didn’t matter. If you paid minimum wages, you might not get the employee you wanted. In 2000, Traverse City entry level level positions were already paying $7 an hour. If you had hands, you were hired.

Consider that with an artificial bottom, you might never get the job in the first place if it isn’t created as too great an expense.  Surely a troubling thing for the the position that might produce output not even worth the minimum government mandates. A full spectrum of wage scale guarantees every person who wishes to contribute, can find work.

And for the person who simply needs bread in their belly, someone will ALWAYS be willing to pay $1 an hour.

9 comments for “One Dollar An Hour.

  1. Anna
    August 4, 2009 at 8:50 am

    I know how your niece feels. I’m 18 and recently finished high school. I don’t think I’ve filled out 30 applications yet.. but I have filled out a lot. I wouldn’t mind a dollar an hour if the job was within biking distance from my house. I just want a job!! Earning SOMETHING would be more than NOTHING. But if the minimum wage is raised to $10 an hour not only will fewer people be willing to hire me, but also more people will be laid off (increasing my competition)!
    Last year I had my first (and only) interview at a coffee shop. The lady interviewing me told me that she had already interviewed 75 other people for the job.. and had more to interview the next day!!
    And that was before this Obamanation!!

  2. Bill
    August 4, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    You would really work for a $1 an hour? Man, I’ve got some work for you–starting with cleaning out my rain gutters.

    Dead serious.

  3. Bill
    August 4, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Seriously, if you went door-to-door in your neighborhood and said you’d do odd jobs for a $1 an hour (carry garbage to the curb, cut grass, pick up sticks, wash windows, babysit, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc) you’d have so much work you’d be exhausted. Time to put match your actions with your words.

    The debate about the minimum wage is one thing, but I find this “I’d gladly work for $1 an hour if I could just find a job” to be a little, ahem, “curious” (let’s use that word ;)).

    • Jerry
      August 6, 2009 at 12:51 pm

      “if you went door-to-door in your neighborhood and said you’d do odd jobs for a $1 an hour you’d have so much work you’d be exhausted.”

      That’s not the point, obviously. We’re talking here about getting a foot inside a work place. Obviously, that’s got a value besides the buck you’re getting.

      Did you pretend that you did not get the point, or did you just not read the article?

  4. Anna
    August 5, 2009 at 6:50 am

    “if the job was within biking distance from my house”
    You wouldn’t happen to live in Dansville would you?? 🙂

    Earning a dollar an hour would be a whole lot more than I’m earning now(which is nothing). And I really want to start earning something.
    You see, I really want to go into nursing; but NOT into debt. My plan is to get a job… doesn’t really matter what kind… and save up for CNA classes. After the classes I want to find a job as a CNA and save up for college. (now I realize it would take a whole lot longer at a $1 and hour, but it would be a start)
    None of this, however, is going to work if I can’t find a way to start. And having had no “real” job my resume is a pretty sad little thing.

  5. Anna
    August 5, 2009 at 6:56 am

    It’s not really the money I’m so concerned about either. I know my nature and if I don’t keep busy I can become rather lazy. I want something to get me up and keep me going.
    And it would give me an opportunity to get out and get used to being around strangers. (I am a rather shy person)
    But more importantly it would be an opportunity to serve as a witness to others. I am a Christian and believe I am to “let [my] light so shine before men that they may see your good works and GLORIFY YOUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN.”

  6. maidintheus
    August 5, 2009 at 9:03 am

    Great article! The hypothetical buck an hour is just saying, we have a negotiating power that’s been stolen from us. Of course we usually wouldn’t be working for a dollar an hour! Look back to the Chrysler/Lee Iacocca contract negotiations. He went to the people (side stepped the problematic unions who were negotiating them into bankruptcy)and they agreed to work for less and save their jobs by saving the company they work for.

    The ‘taxman’ doesn’t like this kind of talk though, or anything else that has to do with freedom. Neither do today’s unions. They want our freedoms: Can anyone say SLAVE?

    If we ran our homes with such lack of negotiating and freedom we would be in poor shape. Try having someone come in and tell me the amount of allowance to provide my children. They’d be real happy for a while. As the allowance escalates, I would run into serious problems keeping their lights on. If perchance there was a bump in the road or an unexpected emergency, the kids would be out in the street, and I’d be filing bankruptcy.

    See, it’s not rocket science. It’s just freedom, this one being the freedom to adjust for facts/circumstances on the ground, and negotiate my time (ya know, the moments of my life/my experience/my talent)in exchange for money, goods, services…(I should be free to choose, it’s MY life remember). ‘They’ want to call this income. Bull, it’s a fair trade, an exchange of something deemed of value between the parties involved. Taxman don’t like that kinda talk though!!!

  7. Bill
    August 7, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    you do have freedom to farm yourself out to your neighbor for whatever price you can barter to do hundreds of jobs: cleaning, yardwork, babysitting, dusting, car repair, bingo chaperone, pet feeder, etc etc etc etc etc etc.

    why do teenagers think a real job has to have a check stub with fica taken out? there’s plenty of work to do. from what i’ve seen, very few teens actually want to do any manual labor, though. sell clothes at the trendy, hip and cool clothing store? sure.

  8. Paul Moore
    August 7, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Back in the early eighties, when Michigan was still reeling from the Carter malaise, I took a job harvesting Xmas trees for less than minimum wage. As farm labor,(One of my co-workers called it “convict labor” but I pointed out that cruel and unusual punishment was unconstitutional.) it was also exempt from laws requiring FICA and unemployment. The low wage was somewhat offset by the lack of deductions, and my family got to eat regularly.

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