Will Oklahoma get its first minimum wage raise in 12 years?

Oklahoma sure has changed over the last 12 years. Think about this: in 2008, Mary Fallin had not yet begun her reign of terror, Mick Cornett was putting OKC on a diet, and TLO was rounding out it’s first year as Oklahoma’s premier local obscure social blog by rating 1990s music videos and hot girls. Yeah, our world looked a lot different a dozen or so years ago.

But unfortunately, one thing that hasn’t changed is our minimum wage. Thankfully, a new bill may soon allow minimum wage employees at least afford to live in the year 2013.

Via KFOR…

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma state senator has filed legislation to increase Oklahoma’s minimum wage.

Senate Bill 1165, filed by Sen. George Young, would require employers to pay their employees a minimum wage of $10.50 per hour.

Oklahoma’s current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

“The spending power of a minimum wage paycheck has been significantly reduced since the last minimum wage raise more than a decade ago,” Young said, noting the last minimum wage increase in Oklahoma was in 2008 when the rate increased from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour.

The legislation states that employers must pay their employees at least $10.50 per hour. If the federal minimum wage is raised above $10.50 per hour, the legislation states that employers must pay their workers the higher amount.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for an increase in minimum wage. Those $7.25 per hour gigs are not just for neck-bearded teenagers flipping burgers for gas money. Many adults are raising families on minimum wage. So if we are going to increase it, we at least need to make it livable.

“Oklahomans deserve to be paid fairly so they can offset the rising costs of healthcare, housing and food,” Young said. “Closing the wage gap between the poverty line and middle class would have a tremendous impact on our economy by increasing consumer spending and generating more tax revenue for our municipalities and state.”

Yes, a 45% increase in minimum wage will make a huge difference in quality of life and financial security for lots of folk in Oklahoma. Someone earning our current minimum wage rate of $7.25 would have to work about 67 hours per week to make ends meet. With this proposed increase in pay rate, it would take a 47-hour workweek to earn the same amount. So yes, the proposed increase is significant. But it sure as hell ain’t enough.

Hayley’s first “adult job” in banking paid her $8.50 per hour. Follow her on twitter @squirrellygeek

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55 Responses


  1. Any “adult” job I’ve had expects more than a 40 hour work week (typically around 50). If I could make the same money flipping burgers for 40 hours a week I’d sure switch though. A lot less stress and work.


  2. Of course Sen. George Young is a Democrat. And his bill’s chance of becoming law is very close to zero in our Republican-dominated legislature, backstopped by the veto pen of our mortgage-tycoon governor. Capitalism, free markets, small businesses blah blah blah…

    In much Republican economic theory, the minimum wage should be zero – or less! An early boss of mine remembered fondly when interns had to pay the boss to work and gain experience. Supply and demand, baby!


    1. Although I didn’t pay to work an internship, I did work for free. Lived with 4 other dudes, worked a weekend job and a few nights. Alternated between 3 pairs of slacks, 3 shirts and 1 pair of shoes for a “semi-pro” wardrobe. Lost about 15lbs.
      The day after I completed the internship, I was offered a job with the same company making approx 20% more than the other entry level dopes. I figured it was a pretty good trade.


      1. How far did you walk to work in the wind and snow? 😀


  3. If the minimum wage from 1968 was adjusted for inflation and productivity it would be …$22 an hour. (For inflation alone $18 – $4 productivity for the stickler economists)
    So the answer in the question of the headline is of course: NO
    It is a carefully set number. The exact part of the misery curve where people are too desperate to quit but too poor and immobile to find anything else.


  4. I heard a radio story recently about a mother of three who makes minimum wage and has to use food stamps to barely get by. No raises for two years. These junk wages subsidize for-profit businesses and those businesses are eating up our tax dollars. Let’s eliminate the tax leeches and make them pay their employees a dignified wage.


    1. And yet…and yet…..and yet, Oklahoma’s mostly-grossly underpaid workers staunchly support the party of the people who are sticking it to them every day.


      1. Sad. But why would they support the party that insults and demonizes them? Democrats aren’t doing a very good job at winning over anybody.


        1. Interesting. How does the Democratic party insult and demonize people in poverty?


          1. “Oklahoma’s mostly-grossly underpaid workers” most likely support Republicans, not Democrats, unless you were trying to be funny. The Mascara Snake’s post isn’t very clear.


    2. Question – Why are you working a minimum wage job for 2 years? At what point is it the employees responsibility to say “this is bullshit. Maybe time to look for promotion or a better job”.
      I worked a minimum wage job for 1 summer when I was 15. When I went back the next summer, I was promptly given a hefty raise. Not an unusual scenario. My next summer, I took that experience and got a job on local freight dock, for 5x the minimum wage. With the unemployment rate currently sitting at around 4%, it’s a workers market. If you can’t do any better than minimum wage, I’ve got a few questions.
      In the US, if you feel that your labor is not being fairly compensated, you have the freedom to go and shop that labor to the highest bidder. And today, if you have a functioning prefrontal cortex, can tell time and show up, that’s not hard to find.
      Employers pay what the labor is worth. Only those who follow the Bernie Sanders theory of Economics think you can artificially inflate the bottom with no other effects. We have a fixed labor budget. When you try and artificially increase that budget, the 1st thing that will happen is that we will do more with less. That means fewer positions, fewer hours. Next come price increases on the goods and services provided, often times hurting those you’re trying to help. Then, we’ll automate what we can and cut those positions permanently. In cities and states where this is being tried, that’s exactly what’s happening.
      Minimum wage isn’t designed to support a family, never has been. It’s there to give young people and new entrants into the job market, a way to establish a steady work history and move up. If you’re a mom with three kids, just stepping into the job market, then that’s why SNAP is there. Now it’s on her not to stay there. The American career ladder is just that, a ladder. You start at the bottom and work your way up. Employers with those kind of positions expect turnover. If you find yourself continually hung on the bottom rung, if you’re working minimum wage for years at a time, you need to wake the fuck up and get it figured out. Probably gotta take that hard look in the mirror.


      1. Employers don’t “pay what the labor is worth.” They pay as little as they can get away with, like your free internship.

        CEOs have a different compensation plan.


        1. Well said, von Hugenstein….minimum wage pay is for entry into a job or career. It’s not a permanent solution. You’re not supposed to support a family on minimum wage. You’re not supposed to work your entire career at minimum wage. If you’re working for years and years, and still making minimum wage or bouncing from one min-wage job to another, then it’s time to look in the mirror.
          Graychin – employers DO pay what the labor is worth. If an employer offers me minimum wage, and I accept it, then that’s what my labor is worth.

          von Hugenstein – you’re not going to get very far with the majority of the TLO readership. They don’t want to work hard, reap all the benefits, and then gripe about the way in which they receive them. Yet still, not wanting to put any effort to make their lives better. They think America should make their lives better.


          1. keyword: single mother of three. one could be a mistake. three is a choice and there are consequences.


            1. Maybe she wasn’t single when she had three. Maybe her husband left her, or she was in a bad relationship and had to leave, or her husband died? If you’re more interested in promoting consequences than addressing the realities of economic burdens, then you’ll never actually have good solutions for the problems real people face.


            2. Typical single mother of 3 (just visit any of the many walmarts in town) is not a person you’ve described in your post. I’m not saying these people (yup, I said it) are not real, I’m talking about accountability in general. Believe me, a single mother of any kind has more than enough resources to get by (all heil the .gov). Now, single fathers on the other hand…or just men that fell on hard times, are a compete different topic.


            3. My wife was a single mom, and it’s cute how you think all this money was flowing into her when she had to decide between new clothes for her growing daughter, food to eat, and toiletries. Life is expensive, and it only gets more expensive even as support for those that need it is, at best, not adjusted enough for inflation and, at worst, cut in the face of ever raising prices. Thank God that I have a really good career, but your idea that there’s “enough support” is pretty ridiculous to me.

              As far as the rest of it goes, I don’t believe our economic system’s primary purpose should be enforcing consequences for mistakes we think others have made.
              It’s not only bad economic policy, it’s a very shitty way to develop society. Mistakes occur regardless of socioeconomic status, and the ability to weather mistakes depends almost entirely on how many resources we have when we make them (the rest having to do with luck). Would it be nice if people didn’t dig themselves into a hole with a bad decision or two? Sure. Should we look down our noses and say “You had too many kids for my liking, now suffer forever!!!” because of it? No. To me, it doesn’t matter if a person needs help because they were born with a major disability, or because they got in an accident and lost three limbs, or because they have some self-destructive habits they can’t shake. It’s purely heartless to me think that all three groups should suffer because people want to promote some arbitrary measure on consequences on the one (and yes, if you cut support because of the one, it will affect all the groups. You can’t isolate punishment to one without hurting the others).

              And that’s not just altruism, it’s bad economic policy to do it too. The lower tax brackets spend far more of their income than the upper tax brackets. Money that goes to them ultimately flows back into the economy. That’s why tax cuts never pay for themselves, because they’re almost always situated on the groups that don’t actually spend the money that’s going towards them at a high enough rate to pay for them. Higher minimum wages don’t kill the economy, they’re far more likely to boost it then going the other way.


            4. I wanted to stop reading your post at “my wife was a single mother…”, since this makes it an emotional debate for you. However, knowing that you’re in the top 0.1% of TLO posters with a functioning brain, I gave it a shot.

              Believe me, the American dream is well and alive for people that work for it. There are far more abusers of the system that screw it up for the hard-working Americans that want to break the chains of poverty. I have plenty of first-hand examples of such abuse. Example: small businesses (esp. service industry) that are full of part-time employees that are also collecting full benefit packages, not because they can’t go full time, but because if they do, those benefits will be cut drastically (especially for the single mother segment). Why should the “middle” class subsidize these deadbeats? Again, I believe there are far more deadbeat (able-bodied) poor people (esp. in OK) than hard working ones. Feel free to prove me wrong.


            5. If you can draw from the examples of abuse you’ve seen and not be considered emotionally invested, then surely I can use my experiences of people I care about struggling as well. It’s only fair.

              Whether the dream is alive and well depends on how you define the American dream. If you only want to wind up slightly better than your parents, then hey, yes, it is alive. If you actually want significant upward mobility, then it requires way, way, way more luck than people want to give it credit for because, in reality when you’re starting at the bottom literally anything can derail that dream.

              The Federal Reserve bank of San Francisco did a study that used 40 years of economic data. They found that 70% of people who were born in the bottom quintile of economic status never rose beyond the next to lowest quintile one generation later. We can either believe that only 30% of people weren’t “deadbeats” as you put it, or that, maybe, just maybe, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is almost as impossible as the saying itself implies.

              The biggest economic indicator of a person’s ability to advance is a college degree. The cost of college has increased almost 8 times faster than wages have, and the average student loan debt is over $26,000. So it should be no wonder why only 7% of the people in the study who were in the bottom quintile got a college degree. Of course, that is assuming that they even could get to college in the first place, given how education funding cuts tend to affect poor schools so disproportionately.

              Are there abuses? Sure. There are always going to be people who abuse whatever system you have in place. Some people even abuse it when they are in the upper tax brackets. And I agree that abuses are bad and we should ferret them out. The question is, should we fire a torpedo at the system because we want to punish those “deadbeats” in the lower tax brackets even if it’s ultimately also going to hurt those who aren’t abusing the system? Because, no matter what you might want to believe, it is impossible to make it harder for abusers without ultimately hurting those who aren’t abusing it (and, actually, because those who abuse the system make up a statistically small percentage, you’re going to hurt more people who aren’t abusing it than you are people who are abusing it).

              And even then, when you have those single mom’s who are working part time hours so they can keep their benefits, you still need to ask why? Why are they doing that? One of my favorite books is Freakanomics, and one of the things that really becomes clear when you finish reading that is that economics isn’t the study of money, it’s the study of choice and incentives. A person will usually act in what they feel is their best interest based on the incentives they have. Those mothers work part time and collect benefits because they will earn less at their $2.13 + tips an hour job than they will if they have benefits, and they’re the ones who have to decide if they can afford to buy clothes that fit from their kids or feed them that week. In that case, I’d do the same thing, and I suspect most dyed-in-the-wool Republicans would as well, not because they’re deadbeats, but because that is the rational choice for them to support their family. You want to point to the person as the problem rather than the $2.13 + tips (tips, by the way, are not consistent and are really hard to plan a budget around) that they are earning, but the best way to stop those people from doing that is to make working more more desirable, and you can’t do that if you’re only offering enough to have to pick between sacrifices.

              Do I like supporting lazy people who don’t want to work? Of course not. Will I help support 1 if it means that 9 other people who need help will get it? Yes, without question.

              And that’s not even getting into the fact that statistics don’t support the narrative that minimum wage hikes cause rapid inflation and destroy service industries, at least not on any wide scale.


            6. I don’t think the percentage of abusers is as miniscule as you think it is. Couple of articles:

              https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/when-welfare-pays-better-work

              https://thefederalist.com/2018/05/03/6-10-able-bodied-food-stamp-recipients-not-work-change/

              https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-food-stamps-work-requirements-20190306-story.html?outputType=amp

              Looks like orange man, as usual, is catching flack for trying to get the abusers off the .gov tit. Re: your accurate portrayal of why people abuse the system (duh, it’s easier and more profitable in the short term).

              As far as your theory on why not many children born into poverty experience upward mobility, I have a theory of my own. Those kids never had a chance to begin with. Their environment (especially parents, if they were lucky to have both present) shapes their future. Deadbeats will raise deadbeats (and sometimes hard workers will raise deadbeats and vice versa), so 30% is actually not that bad of a statistic. I’m more curious to find out how those kids overcame their environment/circumstances and succeed despite the cards they were dealt.

              Regarding college. Completely agree on the cost. .gov screwed up bigly by lending money for useless degrees. Supply and demand at work. Oh, and those useless professors wanting to get paid six figures while erecting yet another useless facility (UCO, looking at you). College is a scam. A hs graduate would be way better off financially going into a trade these days. It’s hard finding skilled labor as is, and it’s going to get even worse with all these avocado aficionados not being able to screw a bulb in.


            7. I’m actually not opposed to welfare benefits for able-bodied adults without dependents only lasting a limited amount of time. We should be encouraging work, and I think we should expand programs to . We’re not really talking about welfare here, we’re talking about minimum wage. The CATO story you posted really illustrates why raising it is the right move. If you can make more money on welfare than on the jobs that you can reasonably work, of course welfare is the logical option. If welfare is better than a $12 an hour job in that state, then minimum wage should be $12 an hour.

              But minimum wage has not kept pace with inflation because people keep pushing this narrative that it’s not for actual work, but it always has been the primary job for a lot of people who aren’t in school. And the reality is, that segment is more stuck now in those jobs than they used to be. Society has moved towards requiring degrees for jobs that don’t need them and didn’t require them before. Trades can be great jobs and should be promoted, but a lot of people can’t physically perform them and trade schools still cost money to attend. Manufacturing jobs aren’t available everywhere and even where they are, they might not actually be feasible options. And we might have people who want to work but are automatically cut off because of a past criminal history (and while I have no problem with someone going to prison for committing a crime, we shouldn’t continue to punish them in perpetuity by making it impossible to work a decent job, since that just encourages them to go back to crime). The labor market isn’t infinitely full of midrange jobs that people can move up from fast food to.

              As far as deadbeats raising deadbeats, generational poverty is extremely hard to break out of in the best circumstances. I don’t doubt that some people do raise their kids to not work, but that is really whitewashing the problem when it’s 70 PERCENT OF PEOPLE. That’s a huge huge huge number of people to just write off as “deadbeats” because that’s conceptually easier than believing that there are factors we can control in society that might decrease that.


          2. “employers DO pay what the labor is worth. If an employer offers me minimum wage, and I accept it, then that’s what my labor is worth.”

            That is a very, very optimistic view of employers, and capitalism in general.


            1. Desperate times call for desperate measures – like accepting a job that pays $7.25 per hour.


          3. By definition, employers wanting to turn a profit cannot pay what labor is worth. People are paid what they expect, not what they are worth. Profit is the difference between an employee’s expectations and the wealth their labor creates. Those in poverty expect to be paid below their worth because that is the way the system is/has been. This is why unions are so important for workers and is also why employers tend to hate unions.


            1. People are “paid what they expect”? No. They are paid as little as the business owners can get away with. Nothing more.


            2. Simply stated, your definition is ass-backwards and incorrect. “People are paid what they expect”. Really? You gonna go with that? If so, why wouldn’t I expect to be paid $100K/ for that minimum wage job? Why stop at $10.50? All I have to do is “expect” it?
              If I expect to turn a profit, that means I have to produce a product or service that others are willing to pay for. I can’t overcharge or no one will buy it. If I use cheap, substandard labor to produce this product or service, it isn’t desirable and I won’t be able to compete and sell it for a price needed to sustain. Profit is the difference between what it costs to produce that product or service and that price. Labor being one factor in the pricing model.Labors “expectation” is a zero factor.
              In spite of what the socialists tell you, you don’t get to determine what your labor is worth. The market tells you what you’re worth. I can go, at any time, and look for employment that pays me more, if that’s what I want.
              Riddle me this? If unions are so great, why is the participation rate less than 15% in states where it isn’t mandatory for employment?
              Again, this argument appears as standard fare for anyone wanting to hang at the bottom of the ladder and blame everyone & everything else for not moving up.


            3. I’d wager that it being really easy to fire someone in right to work states and employers being actively hostile to unions would play at least somewhat of a role in why unions have declined so much. Yes, it’s technically illegal to fire someone for wanting to unionize, but you can fire someone for no reason at all and actually winning a labor case is really hard and expensive.


        2. That’s EXACTLY what employers do. You’ve got a fundamental misunderstanding of economics, my friend. Your, my or anyone else’s labor is only worth whatever someone else is willing to pay. You’re gonna have a difficult time demanding that I pay you more when someone else, equally competent, is willing to do it for less. The government (or name-your-democratic-presidential-candidate) can’t simply, arbitrarily decide what labor is worth without consequences on down the line. If you don’t like what you’re being paid, indentured servitude ended long ago. There are plenty of jobs out there. I constantly have to evaluate and make a decision. When an employee comes in and asks for a raise or is offered a better position at another company, I have to decide. Are they worth more $ or is it more efficient and cost effective to replace them? If we need to keep them and their skills, we have to pony up. If not, and they’ve been a good employee, they get a great reference, we wish them well and send them to a better place. It ain’t hard.
          Comp plans are comp plans. CEO’s are EXACTLY the same. If a company hires a CEO, they know what kind of package they’re willing to put together to be competitive for the talent they want. If we want this guy, this is what it’s gonna cost to get him. If not, I’ll have to settle for another one and he’ll have to find another place. It’s really that simple.
          My “free” internship; again, you missed the point. Although I didn’t get paid at the time, I sacrificed in the short term for a long term gain. Ya know, earned it before it was given – 1,200 applicants, they hired 20. Didn’t have to do it. No one made me. I willingly traded my labor for something that was valuable to me. Maybe you wouldn’t have done it, but then you’d probably be one of the 1,180 other applicants that wished they had a job.
          Capitalism.


          1. Dog eat dog! Gotta love capitalism’s dismissal of people who live off their labor and not their capital. Too bad about those 1,180 others. But ViX got his, so no problem.


            1. You know zero about what I “got” and how, but zero is typical for anything of value that you usually contribute here.


          2. So the “worth” of anything is defined by its market value? Wow! Oscar Wilde defined a cynic as “a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” Sound familiar?


            1. That’s exactly what it is. Value and price are related, not equal. Consumers get to make the decision. You don’t get to tell them.
              Something’s “worth” varies. I would suspect that many things I highly value and pay dearly to obtain, are worthless to you, and vice versa. That’s ok. Where I disagree is when you (and govt) now tell me the value of these items.


      2. You must be a Republican that thinks that poor people deserve it, they need to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, work harder, bs, bs, bs. Your post is just wrong, go do some research on what kinds of jobs are available and what the economy is like since the 2008-9 crash, the entire economic structure in the USA has changed.


        1. Listening to Bernie too much.


          1. VH, I see your points…I cannot agree however.
            These talking points that you are parroting are, sadly, just that…talking points. “4% unemployment” only means anything if you tie the “economy” and “growth” to these unemployment numbers. Even then, the numbers are highly skewed due to a lack of full visibility into the jobs/person ratios. “Jobs” are relative to the people who are looking for them. If I, making $100k/yr, get laid off, are there going to be “jobs” in my range in OKC? Doubtful, as it was in 2016 when I got laid off from Sandridge. Took me 8 months to find another gig in okc…and taking a pay cut at that. Am I a deabeat because there aren’t any “jobs”, due to a non-diversified economy in OKC? Am I a deabeat because the market is flooded with people who did nothing but what was asked of them, got canned for the C-suite’s bad decisions, and are fighting for the same open positions? I would say, certainly not. OKC has plenty of “jobs”…if you want to work for far less than you command or are not in a place where a career is in reach. Don’t get me started on College either. I’ve been discriminated against for a lack of a college degree for years. To make it as far as I without one is most assuredly a rare, rare thing these days. Myopic views/policies from myopic people have damaged for more than the “American dream”.


          2. This concept was around when Bernie was a kid, the Republican “everybody fend for themselves, screw you if you want government assistance, you must be a criminal or defective to need it, so we’re not giving it to you” attitude has been around a lot longer than Bernie’s been running for President and it’s been wrong just about as long. Ask yourself why American Republicans are the only political party in the world that sees poverty as a personal failing and don’t want to give anybody a government-sponsored “safety net”.


  5. And yet again, another FAIL for the state of Oklahoma. $10.50 is a joke.


    1. Yes. But not as funny as $7.25. Baby steps.


  6. Hell no! ThAt’S cOmMuNiSm


  7. Most people that complain about the minimum wage are working a job meant for a 17 year old high school student. If you want to make a “living wage”, make yourself worth more money. Don’t flip burgers or be a waitress or work a cash register and complain. If I were your boss, I’d fire you and hire a high school idiot.


    1. Minimum-wage jobs are “meant” for unskilled people who want a job, any job, at any price. Sometimes those are high school students.

      Sometimes not.


  8. There are entry level jobs that are easily replaced with a machine. There are entry level jobs that the handicapped can do to supplement disability which is less than poverty that can easily go away. It’s human capital that determines value of a worker…not government meddling.


  9. The notion of upward mobility is nice, but it tends to be way more overstated than reality allows it to be, and modern economics hasn’t made it easier. Economic decisions are being made largely by people who played under a different set of rules than they themselves played under, and in many cases they changed the very rules they expect other people to follow, while touting their own story as an example of what is possible in the US. That’s not to say upward mobility isn’t possible, but it typically requires more resources and way, way more luck than Randian economists care to admit, and the reality is that that economic ideology is far more likely to lead to The Jungle than to utopia.

    You can’t force poverty out of existence with government policy, sure, but the blind faith put in capitalism is equally ludicrous, especially with how it’s continued to evolve over time. What worked 15+ years ago is about as relevant to the modern economy as the slide rule.


    1. Nice hyperbole and phrasing, but short on facts. Technology has made upward mobility easier today than it ever was. The rules for success are the same as they’ve always been: graduate from high school, get a job and keep a job, be dependable, work hard, don’t have kids outside of marriage (not a moral argument, just an economic fact), don’t use drugs & don’t abuse alcohol. If you want to get into the upper economic class, yeah, it often requires some exceptional skill, risk taking and some luck, but it seems that most people are more worried about assigning blame, pointing fingers, demanding handouts and complaining, then bettering their situation.
      I can offer an opinion, there’s no utopia, it’s all jungle. You’d be wise to quit looking and remember that everyday, when you roll out of bed and put your feet on the floor.


      1. +%100


      2. I know you said my post was short of facts, but I didn’t exactly see any in yours.

        That said, I agree with a lot of what you said. There are a lot of things that people can do to make it more likely. But that doesn’t change the fact that upward mobility is hard, and only gets harder the further you have to go. People born to middle class origins can, with all those those and more than some luck make it to the upper levels. People born in poverty will almost never. Since the entire discussion affects people in the latter a lot more than the former, then the ability to move upwards from the lowest levels of society is what’s relevant.

        Technology has changed things, but it hasn’t made it any more possible for a destitute family to become independently wealthy.


        1. You looking for a guarantee? It’s easy to run down the Forbes list and, time and time again, it’s the same story. People who had nothing and now they have something. These stories, and all levels of success in between, are the common. America the only place this is possible and capitalism is the mechanism. I would argue that being born into poverty is not a choice, but staying in poverty is the result of continuing the habits and lifestyle that keep you in there, and there’s 60 years of data, since the implementation of the “Great Society”, to refer. You don’t have any control over the environment you’re born into, you can control how you react to those circumstances. Expecting the government to mandate you into success is less than a pipe dream.
          So now you can get off your ass and get int he game or you can sit on the sideline with your hand out. It’s still a free country. Your choice.


          1. Do that, then, go down the Forbes list and list everybody that had nothing and now have something and did it by *themselves*, not by inheriting anything from anybody, ever. Be interesting to see the results (but not interesting enough for me to do the checking myself because I know it’s pretty much BS).


          2. It’s not about where you start it’s how you finish.

            It’s hard – very hard.
            It requires a great deal of effort. TREMENDOUS effort.

            When all my friends – I was poorer than most of them but not as poor as some – made conscious decisions to “have fun” and skip school or drop out all together, I studied harder.
            It didn’t cost me anything because library cards are free. Hell, with the access to virtually unlimited online information now, lack of learning is not an excuse.

            I simply didn’t want to be poor.

            Growing up, it really sucked wearing clothes with holes in them to school and not being able to afford, well, anything.
            It also sucked working 3 or 4 shitty part time jobs to pay for college while my buddies went to the lake for keggers.
            It was also hard working every summer and every break while my college classmates went to the beach to party. I saved my money and worked extra hours during those times because class was out.

            Now they’re all working unskilled low-pay jobs telling me how “lucky” I am that I make a good salary. Luck had nothing to do with it.
            They still work their 32 to 40-hour week while I’m still pulling 60+ hours every week.
            Its all about priorities. You either want financial security and are willing to do the work or you aren’t.
            I’m nothing special – I just fought the fight.


          3. Who said anything about a guarantee? No one is foolish enough to think there’s any guarantees. It’s not about the government “mandating you into success.” It’s about basing economic policy on the vague notion of consequences rather than doing things that would actually help the economy in the long term.

            And see, I’m not opposed at all to consequences for actions and freedom of choice. I think people should be able to buy cigarettes and drink at bars and shoot up drugs and drive without seatbelts and don’t think the government really has any place telling people no, as long as they have the information out there to make a good decision and choose not to. I don’t feel bad for NFL players who have generations of players with lifelong pain as examples and still choose to play the game. If someone commits a crime and is sentenced to prison, that’s their fault. No problem with those consequences whatsoever.

            I’m against promoting shitty policy out because people value “consequences” more than they value good sense and moving society forward, or, even worse, the idea that if you’re poor than it’s all because you didn’t have enough gosh-darned gumption when that entire premise is completely ridiculous. Because, no matter what anyone says, all this consequence-based economic policy is not about consequences, it’s about wealth consolidation under the guise of morality. Nothing more.

            You brought up the Forbes list, which is interesting. I have a feeling that how you define nothing is likely very different from how I define it. If you’re not in the lowest tax brackets, then you really didn’t start with nothing, you started with something. Sometimes, people who are on the middle rungs of the ladder really think they started at the bottom because that’s better for their own ego than recognizing that they didn’t have to climb as far as someone else, and they often really have no clue whatsoever what the bottom even looks like. The Forbes top 10 list doesn’t show people who really started with nothing, and while I think it’d be personally interesting to go beyond the top 10, I don’t have the time to do that at this time.

            Jeff Bezos dad was an engineer for Exxon
            Bill Gates’ dad was a lawyer and his mom served on a corporate board
            Warren Buffet’s dad was a Congressman
            Bernard Arnault’s father owned a civil engineering company
            Carlos Slim’s father owned a successful business
            Larry Ellison’s dad made a fortune in real estate
            Mark Zuckerberg’s parent’s were a psychiatrist and a dentist
            Michael Bloomberg’s dad was a bookkeeper for a dairy company who gave his family a middle class upbringing
            Larry Page’s dad was one of the pioneers in computer science.

            The only one of the top 10 that maybe started close to that bottom rung was Armancio Ortega, but like I said, I couldn’t really find a whole lot of information about his life. But other than him, everyone there started with, at least, something. A middle class upbringing at least (and despite what anyone says, how you start is very important).

            I’m not even talking about the .001% though, I’m talking about going from the bottom to the middle, because fewer people being in the bottom and moving to the middle will do way, way more to help the economy than keeping them in the bottom. Raising the minimum wage will help people move to the middle, and the cost of it to the rest of us is likely not nearly as much as the detractors want us to believe. In fact, the vast majority of us will actually benefit a lot from that movement. You can promote gumption all you want, I don’t necessarily disagree with you that you won’t be successful if you don’t work hard, but basing an entire economy solely on gumption when we really all start from such vastly different starting points is counterproductive to our growth. I’m all for a good success story, but policy shouldn’t follow it.


            1. Krakatoa…you’re/we’re arguing with someone who obviously has no intent on being open minded about the situation. My guess would be that VH has “made it” and is now afraid that “everyone wants to take his money”. This is a common issue, especially in the US. The idea that “I did all of this hard work (no one else did?!) and now you guys want to change the rules” is beyond pervasive. The american dream is utterly bullshit….unless, to channel Brian B., you have some neoptistic/financial advantage from the start. The issue in my mind is that the rules ARE different for people born into poverty, have non-anglo names or haven’t been able to afford paid entry (college) into the upper realms of the pay scale. It has nothing to do with a better civilization or promoting growth from the middle out….it has everything to do with “I got mine, so you must be a lazy bum for not having yours”.


      3. Disagree about technology making upward mobility easier. First the robots came for the no-collar jobs. Then the blue-collar jobs. That PC on your desk eliminated countless clerical jobs. Fewer places to start on that path to upward mobility thanks to technology. Robots still don’t flip burgers or bus tables – yet.


      4. Your statement about upward mobility being easier today than it ever was is bullshit:

        https://psmag.com/economics/new-research-debunks-the-upward-mobility-myth


  10. Good banter from both sides! Great responses!


  11. By vonH’s own definition, his unpaid labor while interning… was worthless! Price vs. value.

    Similarly, consider the labor of everyone who is paid $7.25 per hour. vonH might well argue that their labor isn’t worth even that little if they would be paid less than that but for the minimum wage laws.

    A restaurant owner who has no one to bus his tables would be willing to pay someone (anyone!) a lot more than $7.25 per hour to do that job – if he had to. A lot more. There is high value in getting restaurant tables bused. The owner might lose his business altogether if his dining room is always filled with dirty tables instead of customers. But the owner will pay as little as he can get by with for that busing. That’s only an effective way to generate profits, even when it’s exploitative.

    Price vs. value. vonH doesn’t seem to know that there is a real difference. “Knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing.”

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