With ‘income inequality’, I think some of my crankiness / recalcitrance is the disgust of constantly being goaded into an argument that is not ‘the’ actual argument.
The President is going to raise the wage floor on federal contracts to $10 an hour apparently.
Fine. But this will not remediate income inequality. What the President and the Democrats want is significantly more income redistribution from modestly affluent households on up. This perhaps would remediate income inequality, given suitable scale and payouts. But the Democrats won’t acknowledge a debate on that premise, because it exposes them as fairly politically radical. So what we get is this insipid argument where the existence of low and minimum wage jobs = income inequality.
Being an “income inequality” skeptic I find is as difficult as being a ‘climate change denier’. People will slap you down with various Gini coefficients that are ostensibly backed by consensus research. The denier’s job of asserting that doesn’t mean much is very difficult.
I’ll take a shot at that here, with the breadth of some observation.
Minneapolis Punch Pizza was featured in the SOTU for paying its lowest workers a minimum of $10 / hr.
This is laudable as well, and the business owners get some props for being great guys. You read this article though, and you note there’s a potential for restaurant managers to earn $60k / yr and general managers to earn $100k / yr at Punch
For these workers, I would doubt that Punch is paying a premium wage over restaurants in its eatery sector. For full timers, that’s too big an expense for a class of worker they don’t need to overspend to attract (my wild ass assertion). Which is to say, I think those are representative wages quoted from the top of scale. So we’ll say restaurant managers are commonly earning $40 – $60k these days, with general managers earning $75 – 100k.
My knee jerk reaction: We think of restaurant workers as low paid, but $50k a year is professional money. An industry where restaurant managers earn $50k a year is not one that suffers from an inequality.
If restaurant managers earn $50k a year…. Then I don’t think we have a systemic economic mobility problem either. Restaurant managers are made on the job, not minted by universities. What we do have is an invalid premise. And the invalid premise we have is kind of obvious: that everyone needs to be a STEM worker. We don’t. STEM work is no more laudable than anything else.
Add as well (if I have my facts right…) these punch Pizza guys started this chain as young men, from nothing. It’s ostensibly a low 8 figure enterprise now. I don’t want to make the exception the rule here, so I’ll assert that I see this sort of thing go on often enough to say …. that this sort of entrepreneurship is also an example of there not being a systemic mobility problem.