Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Top 10 Reasons Why Minimum Wage Should Not Include "Total Compensation"

1. The IRS doesn't count benefits as wages, so neither should we.
2. Unlike cash wages, companies, not employees, get to decide what benefits are provided, who provides them, and can change them at will.
3. Would require way more bureaucracy to monitor that companies are correctly calculating the value of benefits. 
4. Mostly we're talking about health care benefits, the costs of which are skyrocketing and out of consumers' control. We need companies to be a force for negotiating lower costs, not just passing them on to employees. 
5. The statistics that have led to the proposed $15 "living wage" are based on costs of living that are rarely if ever covered by company benefits -- i.e. housing, food, utilities, car, clothes, child care. So providing some of that compensation as benefits doesn't reduce the taxpayer burden for supporting underpaid workers. 
6. A big reason for increasing wages is to boost the retail economy by giving consumers more spending money. Compensation provided as benefits doesn't do that.
7. Benefits should be extras that companies use to compete to attract/retain the best employees, not part of the baseline minimum that applies to all employers and employees.
8. Although companies can often negotiate lower costs than individuals through group-buying, they can still do this and offer employee discounts without making it part of a "total compensation" package. 
9. Minimum wage should be based on the true cost of labor (i.e. what people to live in our country without taxpayer assistance), not what companies want to pay under their current business models. If they can't afford their true costs of doing business, they should change their business.
10. Ultimately, this is just about companies (some amazingly profitable) trying to reduce their total costs by pushing some of their labor costs onto taxpayers. 

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