Saturday, July 21, 2007

A living wage, or just welfare by another name?

I don't usually read Raising Kaine, but something popped up about the living wage resolution in Fairfax and it raised my curiosity.

After all, the new Federal Minimum Wage just kicked in, which was supposed to fix the under-payment problem. And we know most Democrats don't care about what poor people get paid, after all most of them supported amnesty for illegal immigrants, which would have pushed a lot more people down to the minimum wage floor.

So what exactly is a "living wage?":
A widely respected study by Wider Opportunities for Women leads us to estimate that level in Fairfax County of 2007 at $15.29 per hour ? about $32,000 per year for a full-time employee.
Anyway, the entire time I'm reading the post, I'm thinking "Who is it exactly that gets paid less than $15 an hour working for the Fairfax County Government. It could be the cleaning crew, although they are probably contractors, and as the post said:
While the Board, on advice of counsel, doubts its legal authority to ask its contractors to pay a living wage, no one disputes the county's authority to require that its own employees be paid a living wage.
But one thing was sure, I'm thinking -- if someone is working for minimum wage for the government, it's because their task is simple enough to pull in a large supply of willing workers.

But when I get to the end of the article, the poster lists those she expects to benefit from the new "living wage":
There is something not healthy about a place whose firefighters, police officers, teachers, and nurses cannot afford to live in the community they serve.
Police Officers? Teachers? They get paid less than $15 an hour in Fairfax? I had to do some research. And simply put, these employees wll NOT benefit from the living wage. In fact, they might lose out because the government will spend twice as much for the guy that collects the used paper for recycling.

Even the DAY CARE workers get paid more than the living wage, as a STARTING salary. Nurses? A high-school-graduate health care AIDE starts at $14.97 an hour. The part-time lady who helps kids find books and the bathroom at the library? $17.19 an hour. OK, the part-time school crossing guard starts at $12, but can work up to $20 an hour. Even the 911 dispatcher gets paid more than this "living wage"

Here's a list of jobs in the government, and their starting salaries (compare to $32,000). Many only require a High School diploma (But you CANNOT be a smoker!!):
  1. Day Care Center Teacher - $32,636
  2. Clinic Room Aide (High School Graduate)- $14.97 to $19.96/hour
  3. Public Health Nurse II (1 yr exp) - $47,217 to $62,955 (plus $2000 signing bonus)
  4. Children's Services Assistant - $17.19 to $22.92/hour
  5. Police Officer I - $45,740 to $52,952
  6. 911 Dispatcher (High School Graduate) - $34,495 to $41,929
  7. FireFighter / EMT (High School Graduate) - $47,472 to $54,953
Check out all the Fairfax County job openings at this site. If you look hard, you might find a job that actually pays less than the "living wage". But they won't be firefighters, teachers, police officers, or nurses.

BTW, it is absolutely true that it would be difficult to live in Fairfax on the actual salaries these people make. Fairfax costs way too much. People shouldn't live in Fairfax, OR work their. Move out where you can LIVE on your WAGE, rather than where they have to implement a welfare wage so you can afford the too-high expenses.

But the living wage won't make a difference for those listed. So why list them? Because taxpayers LIKE police officers and firefighters, and deceiving the taxpayers into thinking the living wage helps them will gain support. You aren't likely to get a lot of support for the living wage when you find out it only helps high school dropouts whose job it is to put the library books back on the shelf when the kids leave them on the tables.

Instead, the taxpayers would be thinking "That's a great job for some high school kids who want to make a few bucks an hour after school.". If they aren't properly thinking "How about we just make the kids put their books BACK THEMSELVES when they are done?"

1 comment:

Citizen Tom said...

Good post! Thanks for doing that research.