Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] Wage-related political debate (was: "Made in the USA?")

  • FromJoseph Pate <jpate@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateTue, 31 Jan 2006 17:46:27 -0800 (PST)
Hi All:

Can we please move this out of the 'Made in the USA' thread?  While there
are likely several Rabbits who'd be happy to weigh in on this discussion,
it's too chock full o' politics for some rabbits, and it's not fair to 
them to keep the politics in this thread.

Start a new thread.  Then all who are interested can read & respond as 
desired, and the uninterested (or actively negatively-interested) can
just delete the emails from that thread.

While I think it's a good thing (as an American) to have an opinion on 
important political matter that affects a large cross-section of the US,
these types of discussions have a tendency to overtake the forum threads
that spawned them, and most often, that's not welcome.

If Kristin is interested in the politics of US minimum wage, outsourcing,
etc. as part of LL's manufacturing business decision, she can weigh in 
on this thread like everyone else  ;-)


My own $.02 on this issue is first, it's tricky.  Yes, the minimum wage 
laws in the US can make it hard for manufacturers to stomach the difference
between their perceived "market price" for goods and services, vs. what
they actually have to pay to get something made/done on US soil.  

The challenge with this perspective is that said "market price" is 
artificially driven down by common business practices like outsourcing.
Minimum wage laws were created specifically to prevent that kind of cost
cutting from happening within US borders -- it's not hard to create a
market where workers are desperate enough to work for continually less
pay.  Overseas, workers have little choice, and even less governmental
protection.  Here, so many jobs are being sent away, that the jobs that
remain are in increasing demand -- especially the ones that require 
less training/education/experience.

At one time, the US as a society, decided minimum wage is a good thing.
The current political debate would have you believe that has changed, 
but my personal feeling is that it has not -- i.e. pro-minimum-wage is
still the majority.  If you believe this, then to pay the manufacturing 
costs that such wage requirements entail, is by definition supporting
"the will of the people".  

Whether this is in fact still a majority opinion is open to debate.

Here's where I out myself as a leftie:

Consider a simpler question, Mr. Hickman:  if not for minimum wage laws,
how many people could afford to buy Treehouse at $9?  Or Fluxx, for that
matter?  Don't kid yourself that minimum wage laws are hurting the US 
economy -- the economy and the citizenry were just fine before Wal-Mart 
came along.  Put CEO salaries back to where they used to be, and suddenly 
there's plenty of money to pay US-style wages and still make plenty of

That's enough for now.


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> Christopher Hickman wrote:
> > Kristin asked for input on their problem.  Obviously they'll have to 
> > work around it for now, but when you have weeds in your garden, do you 
> > work around them by cutting the tops off or do you go for the root?  
> > This problem should be solved at its root, and federal regulation 
> > created this problem.
> You're right - tax breaks for companies that move jobs overseas where 
> they only have to pay people a few dollars a day is a huge part of this 
> problem.  If those countries didn't have the majority of their people 
> below the global poverty line, it wouldn't be as easy to exploit them as 
> cheap labor.  (This is at the root of Looney Labs decision not to take 
> their business to China.)
> Chris
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