Hearing gripes about minimum wage have made me think. As is often the case, I have thought of these issues before, but sometimes one has to really live in the universe if a plight to really understand it.
The minimum wage is a fine way to keep workers safe from being paid too little. However, it is also a very easy way to organize the institutions if financial slavery. I notice that the minimum wage of an area and its cost of living are perfectly correlated. As a mathematician, I don't say those words lightly. In rural areas where the minimum wage is 8 an hour, it takes about half a paycheck to afford a place to live and the food and basic utilities will leave enough discretionary spending in line with a certain standard of life that is very well defined. In cities where the minimum wage nears 11 dollars, it still takes about half a paycheck to cover rent etc. Housing price norms are predicated by the amount the populus can pay. Having a unified amount the average person makes allows greater and easier market control. The system of minimum wage may or may not be designed to help the lowest earn enough to survive, but that same system IS being used to give the poorer EXACTLY enough to be worker bees and not much more.
Economic control, I like the sound of that. Let's control greed like they control growth. What if we institute a national maximum wage? Calculate what the most a person (note I use the word person and not human being as I would normally) could possibly need to not be hindered by it (minus growth projects) and say that anything more goes in as extra taxes unless donated to the charity of your choice.
It wouldn't be a perfect fix, I can see dozens if exploits just glancing at it, but it might help. With a maximum in place, the rest of the profits would either be donated or shared with the ones doing the legwork. What are most people going to do? As a business owner, I would hire friends and family and keep those profits my business is making where I can see them. If I am doing still that well and better, then I can feel joy knowing I am giving a little to charity too. But knowing business owners, I can foresee many charities opening up where other businesses would funnel profits through. I can also see entertainment industries like sports just simply imploding under their own excess, yielding a drop into ticket price and an explosion in growth projects and charity.
At the end of the day, I have to ask myself: if we did institute a maximum wage in order or protect or conserve a standard of living for a subset of the population, are we any better than them? If the minimum wage is designed to lock us in, and if I feel that sucks, then what right do I have to impose a similar doctrine on another person? None. I do not believe that a maximum wage would be the right thing to do. I DO believe it would go a long way to fix the problems we face, but my dear readers, I am not Adrien Dwight. I believe truly in doing what is right and not in doing what will fix the world.