Instead of Protesting for $15/hour Fast Food Jobs, Why Not Work in Construction?

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Here’s a dual problem which could be solved simultaneously.  For starters:

“A shrinking pool of homes for sale across the country and in the Cincinnati area is pushing up prices – exacerbating an already existing affordability gap for many buyers.”1

Then why aren’t more houses being built?

“’It’s just hard to find enough construction workers today to build more,’ [Issi] Romem [chief economist at Buildzoom] said. ‘The economy has lost a lot of young workers, and the construction industry is aging much faster than other industries.  There are far fewer construction workers available today than there were before the housing boom, which hurts the push to build more.’”1

Meanwhile, we see it frequently, and especially on the coasts, a demand for a $15 per hour minimum wage – even though costs of living vary greatly across the nation. Based on data for early this year, New York and California (where much of the noise emanates from) have the fourth and second highest cost of living for the fifty states.2  Therefore, it would be insane for a $15/ hour minimum wage to be forced upon the median state, South Dakota, where $11.03 per hour would accomplish the same as $15 in California.  Based on its lowest of all costs of living, only $9.38 would be needed in Mississippi.  How many jobs would be eliminated in that state if it was required to pay 60% more for the same work?

Back to the shortage of construction workers.  “Construction workers [in New York City] earn a median hourly wage of $18.68.  Hourly wages typically start from $10.93 and go up to $41.47.”  Also, due to the erratic nature of the work, average earnings for general construction workers was $35,750 in 2014. Carpenters earned about $10,000 more and iron and steel workers $17,000 more.3

Minimum wage for fast food workers in New York City was officially raised to $12.00 at the beginning of this year… a job not intended to be a career to support a family.  It will increase annually until it reaches $15.00 by the end of 2018.

Assuming fifty weeks of forty hours, the fast food worker would earn $30,000 starting in 2019 – if jobs aren’t eliminated because of the 25% increase over two years.

Maybe the construction workers will get a nice raise, too, buy maybe not.

This is not to say that fast food isn’t difficult at times, but compared to construction?
In the end, why work really hard in temperature extremes and be subject to erratic work schedules based on the weather for $35,750 as a general construction worker4 when big government says you should receive $30,000 for mostly indoor work?  (also possible as big government forces these businesses to offer 40-hour weeks someday)

Perhaps we’ve solved the mystery of why there’s a construction worker shortage.

 

1 – “Affordability Poses Homebuyer Challenge, by Randy Tucker, Kentucky Enquirer, 7/29/2017.

2https://www.missourieconomy.org/indicators/cost_of_living/, for Ohio readers of this blog, $10.20 per hour accomplishes the same as $15.00 in California (understanding, of course, it will be higher for the urban areas and lower for rural).

3https://www.sokanu.com/careers/construction-worker/salary/New%20York/

4https://labor.ny.gov/formsdocs/factsheets/pdfs/p716.pdf

Link

Many activists and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders have defined their version of a “living wage” to be a minimum of $15 per hour.Unfortunately, this cause gained some momentum last year as “Fourteen cities, counties and states approved a $15 minimum wage through local laws, executive orders and other means in 2015.”2

Cost  of  Living  Varies  Widely  Among  the  States

A national minimum wage of this magnitude makes the careless assumption that the cost of living is relatively equal across our country.  Not the case!

For 2015, the cost of living in California and New York was close to 35% above the mean for all states.3  For an “average” state such as Florida, it only takes $11.10 per hour to create the same economic climate for an employee as $15 does in California and New York.  Why should Florida be forced to effectively pay nearly $4 per hour more for the same work?

The absurdity is worse for states with below average costs of living.  Mississippi’s was 16.5% below the U.S. mean for last year.  A citizen of the Magnolia State would do as well on $9.28 per hour as his counterparts in California or New York would do on $15.  Requiring Mississippi to have a $15 minimum is as ridiculous as pushing California and New York to $24.25 —  a guaranteed method of raising machine employment at the expense of humans.

States  Are  Different  Despite  Simplistic  Liberal  Beliefs

For decades, the Left has confused equality with being identical.  The concept of a national minimum wage is just one of their futile attempts at creating fairness by legislating sameness among the inherently different.  Some national policies are unwise.  For at least two millennia, it has been shown repeatedly that the best policies result when problem solving occurs at the lowest effective level.4,5    

The U.S., with its diversity of geography, cultures, economic climates, etc., does not lend itself well to many across-the-board mandates because they can often be destructive.  A national minimum wage of $15 per hour is one of them.

1 – “Bernie Sanders is The Only Presidential Candidate Who Supports $15/Hour Minimum Wage,” by Jason Easley,  http://www.politicususa.com/2016/04/04/bernie-sanders-presidential-candidate-supports-15hour-minimum-wage.html, 4/4/2016. 

2 – “14 Cities and States Approved $15 Minimum Wage in 2015,” http://www.nelp.org/news-releases/14-cities-states-approved-15-minimum-wage-in-2015/, 12/21/2015.

3https://www.missourieconomy.org/indicators/costof living/

4 – “… Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative.  The teaching of the Church has elaborated  the principle of subsidiarity [emphasis retained], according to which ‘a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good’… The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to all forms of collectivism.  It sets limits for state intervention…”  — excerpts from paragraphs 1883 and 1885 of The Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition, published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana, March 2000.

5 – So as to avoid confusing the real meaning of “common good” with the one currently in vogue (that it’s whatever benefits the most, even at the expense of individuals):  “The common good comprises ‘the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily… The common good consists of three essential elements: respect for and promotion of the fundamental rights of the person; prosperity, or the development of the spiritual and temporal goods of society; the peace and security of the groups and of its member.”  Paragraphs 1924 and 1925, Ibid.