Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Are You Paid What You’re Worth?

Most people would probably say “ NO”, but they would have trouble defining what their worth really is. A good definition of what is the right pay for a worker is: You don’t get paid for time you work, you get paid for the value you bring to the time you work. In other words, is your production worth it to the company or organization to pay you the amount they pay you? Many people today feel that they should be paid for the job classification, irregardless of what they contribute to it. Equal pay for equal work, is the rallying cry for years by the “ feminists” when they petition for getting more pay for women. Equal pay determination is easy if two people are doing the same or similar work. But, the objectivity blurs when you try to compare two dissimilar jobs. How do you compare a teacher with a truck driver, or a sales clerk with a carpenter etc., as other factors also enter into the determination of what a person should be paid? Due to physical differences in men and women, there will always be some disparagement in how men and women are compensated. Men, overall, are physically stronger than women, so therefore they are more prone to be attracted to jobs that many women shy away from such as, firemen, combat military, manual labor etc. That’s also true with women, who tend to be attracted to certain jobs that men won’t do such as, nurses, elementary teachers, checkout clerks etc. That’s not to say men and women don’t crossover to work at the jobs mostly held by the opposite sex, but, in the main, stereotypical job selection by men and women hold up as stated. The “ political football” of raising the minimum wage, is an area where the government gets involved when it really shouldn’t. To have the government set an arbitrary base pay rate for hourly workers without any consideration as to how that wage can be compared to production, as needed by the employer, generally brings “unintended consequences”. It generally means, mostly in the teen age group, that there will be fewer jobs available, thereby causing higher unemployment for those on the lower rung of the pay ladder. By raising the minimum wage, you will also cause a demand for an upward adjustment by other workers immediately above the newly set minimum wage plateau. Think of all the entry level positions that might be lost here in the Delray/Boca area, if we price these workers out of the market by artificially raising their wages without any thought of the economic hardship placed on the employer. That might seem beneficial for the worker, but if his employer has difficulty meeting that increase, that worker may be laid off or have his work week cut back. That’s an example of the “ unintended consequences” of trying to be “ generous” to workers without regard to the value that the worker brings to the job. Some use Europe as an example of putting into place higher minimum wages, but when you see that the unemployment rate, in most European countries, is twice that of ours, it should give pause for thought that artificially determining what someone should receive as pay, determined by the government, might not be in the best interests of the worker or for the country’s economy, as a whole. The demagogues, of course, will vilify those who would oppose a spike up in the minimum wage, but pure, simple economic logic, will win out in a serious debate as to its merit, but emotion seems to always trump logic, most of the time, so the pressure to constantly raise the minimum wage will be forever present and most likely approved by the pandering politicians. In conclusion, politicians should let the “ free market” determine the pay of the workers ( except in instances of coercion and fraud or exploitation), because the unintended consequences of arbitrarily setting pay scales, is more detrimental to the worker than letting the productivity of the worker determine his worth in the marketplace. Remember, you don’t get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour.
Written by Chuck Lehmann
"Chuck on the Right Side"
"Chuck on the Right Side"


Kirk said...

You made Great points. In conclusion, politicians should let the "free market" determine the pay of the workers.

Anonymous said...

Rght On Charlie. Keep up the great writting. I've been following your articles through G.C.
Love the website. (B.C. Ohio)