Labour MP David Clark’s member’s bill to raise the minimum wage from $13.50 to $15 is the latest chapter in a losing battle to use the minimum wage as a way to stem the widening gap between rich and poor. It’s a farce.
We need a minimum wage to prevent people being exploited by unscrupulous employers. While we have a welfare safety net, it is a targeted regime with a host of qualifying criteria that could quite readily see people slip through the net and be vulnerable.
In our rich society we have these folk having to work just to survive. On any measure of decency it is not acceptable that anyone could take advantage of them endeavoring to do that.
But hang on a minute, this is a rich country – a member of the OECD, hardly a poor person’s retreat or worse. If we’re so well-off surely we can underwrite a level of dignity for all our citizens?
There sure is enough income coming into the country, so to see anyone at risk of exploitation is not an acceptable situation – is it?
If we really were concerned about people falling off the ledge and falling prey to the wicked amongst our ranks why the hell don’t we provide everyone with an UNCONDITIONAL BASIC INCOME (UBI)??? Then we could actually GET RID OF THE MINIMUM WAGE. Only those keen to work would offer themselves up and if some unscrupulous lowlife wanted to exploit them, they would simply go elsewhere or just fall back on their UBI.
And if we get rid of the minimum wage then we can get low-skilled folk into work on a willing-employer, willing-employee basis. At last – by getting rid of our absurd targeted, “social-assistance”, welfare regime, we get rid of this farce around setting a minimum wage.[feature href=”http://garethsworld.com/book-store#ecwid:category=2577021&mode=category&offset=0&sort=normal” buttontext=Learn_more]Get “The Big Kahuna” and learn about a fairer way to run NZ’s tax and welfare system[/feature]