The Instigator
Variable_X
Con (against)
Winning
1 Points
The Contender
NicholasJosephElizondo
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Resolved: Just Governments ought to require employers to pay a living wage.

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Variable_X
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/14/2015 Category: Economics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 575 times Debate No: 76529
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)

 

Variable_X

Con

Because, forcing employers to pay a "living wage" harm the very people it is supposed to help, I negate the resolution. Resolved: Just governments ought to require employers to pay a living wage.

The value is justice because the resolution questions the actions of a just government. Respecting human worth is the most important and fundamental condition of a just society, Arneson writes.

Several issues arise in considering Cohen versus Rawls. According to Rawls, a just society is a fair scheme of cooperation among persons regarded as free and equal. Each is free in having the ability and the right to develop and pursue a conception of the good and also the ability and the disposition to cooperate with others on fair terms. In any modern, diverse society that refrains from clearly unacceptable restriction of freedom, individuals will develop allegiance to different and opposed conceptions of the right and the good, and a conception of justice that can elicit everyone's reasonable acceptance must be acceptable to the different reasonable ethical views that individuals espouse. The moral equality of persons generates this unanimity requirement. To satisfy this requirement, a justice doctrine must be built up from ideas deeply embedded in the culture of modern democracies. To enable satisfaction of this requirement, reasonable citizens do not press as justice norms controversial, sectarian doctrines that some cannot reasonably accept. When we act together as citizens through the state, we act on the basis of shared reasons, a common ideal of justice. But each of us has different ultimate ethical allegiances, and no single idea of what demands morality places on us to promote justice in our private conduct will make sense to all of us. Moreover, it would be a form of tyranny to require that we generally act only on the shared reasons of justice throughout our lives rather than on the aims and ambitions that are uniquely our own. In a just society, individuals in their daily lives will decide from their own individual ethical perspectives what goals to pursue, including justice goals, within constraints set by the rights of others. There is no social consensus on this issue, so no particular view of the demands of justice promotion in ordinary life will be part of a conception of justice that all can accept (see generally Rawls 2005)" Egalitarian justice doctrines [which] rests on the fundamental premise that all persons have the same fundamental worth and dignity, which command[ing]s respect. An aristocratic doctrine that held that all lords are inherently superior to commoners and hence ought to have greater rights and privileges would reject the basic equal human worth premise.

Therefore, the value criterion is respecting human worth.

Prefer my value criterion additionally because all other ethical theories pre-suppose respecting human worth as the ultimate goal.

Contention 1 The living wage is counterproductive.

First, a living wage would cause an increase in the price of goods and services, Tolley writes.

Previous studies of the impact of higher wages show that higher prices are definitely one result. According to Kevin Murphy, professor of economics at the University of Chicago, one effect of an increase in the minimum wage is that "all of those whose wages and income are not increased by the minimum will be worse off, as the higher minimum raises employers" costs and the ultimate prices of products."6 The same conclusion was obtained from a study of New Jersey fast-food restaurants by economists David Card and Alan Krueger. Card and Krueger found that the price of meals at these restaurants increased when the state of New Jersey increased its minimum wage from $4.25/hour to $5.05/hour.7 Interestingly, price increases occurred at firms that previously paid most of their workers $4.25/ hour (direct cost-pass-through effect) and at firms that previously paid most of their workers at least $5.05/hour (indirect cost-passthrough effect). In other words, firms that did not experience much of an increase in costs as a result of the higher wage still raised their prices because their competitors also faced an increase in costs.

This means if we affirm any reduction in poverty is destroyed by inflation - people can"t afford any more than they could before and the economy suffers.
Second, this drop in employment is factually proven, not just speculative, Lammam writes.

As economic theory would predict and consistent with the broader research on minimum wage legislation, Professors Neumark and Adams find that living wage laws generally result in less employment for people at the lower end of the wage distribution. When looking at all living wage laws without discriminating by type, Neumark and Adams find that a 100% increase in the living wage (say going from a minimum wage of $10 per hour to a living wage of $20 per hour) reduces employment among low-wage workers by 12% and the impact is statistically significant. When looking at the separate effects of contractor-only and business-assistance living wage laws, they find a stronger adverse and statistically significant impact from the latter"likely because of the wider coverage. Specifically, a 100% increase in business-assistance living wage laws results in a 17% decline in employment. Indeed, the adverse employment effects of living wage laws seem to become more prominent as the laws cover a larger group." Other researchers have also found that living wages adversely affect employment. For instances, University of Kentucky economist Aaron Yelowitz (2005) examined the effects of Santa Fe"s living wage laws increased municipalities in New Mexico. He found that living wage laws increased Santa Fe"s unemployment rate by 3.2 percentage points and decreased the number of hours worked by those who remained employed by an average of 1.6 hours per week.

This means that the affirmative will throw countless people into deeper poverty because they have literally no means of supporting themselves.

Contention 2 minimum wage increases leads to exclusion of minority groups,

First, living wage furthers the gender wage gap, the facts say so , Middlesteadt writes.

The Census Bureau began keeping track of poverty by gender in 1966. Since then the Minimum Wage was hiked 16 times. In 11 of those instances (69%) the percentage of women in poverty went UP after the hike. In absolute terms it appears that women do worse when the Minimum Wage goes up, but the "gender wage gap" is a relative comparison, not absolute. Did women do better (actually, did they do less worse) than men? We have another coin flip. Half the time women fared better when the wage was raised, but half the time the men did. It"s a wash. There"s no evidence that raising the MW will close the gender wage gap.
Second, living wage"s racist policy results in more poverty for African Americans, Middlesteadt writes.

As with gender, the Census Bureau began breaking out poverty statistics by race in 1966. 9 of the 16 wage hikes (56%) since then saw the percentage of blacks in poverty go up. When we look at unemployment statistics below, the data will give a clue as to why this happens. But you can"t say raising the bottom wage will create racial justice if the historically most oppressed race does worse over half the time when the wage goes up.
Contention 3 is that there are better alternatives to a living wage.
Other alternatives instead of a living wage exist, and are more effective at reducing poverty levels. One example is providing a basic income instead of a living wage; Hiebert clarifies.
The idea behind basic income is to provide a floor of income upon which people can build other sources of revenue. Each month, every man, woman, and child would receive a check for a certain amount that should cover their basic needs. This amount would be non-taxable, but any income earned in addition to it would [be taxed].

And, in the places basic income has been implement it has achieved its goal of reducing poverty and providing other benefits, Lowrey writes.

The left is more concerned with the power of a minimum or basic income as an anti-poverty and pro-mobility tool. There happens to be some hard evidence to bolster the policy"s case. In the mid-1970s, the tiny Canadian town of Dauphin ( the "garden capital of Manitoba" ) acted as guinea pig for a grand experiment in social policy called "Mincome." For a short period of time, all the residents of the town received a guaranteed minimum income. About 1,000 poor families got monthly checks to supplement their earnings. Evelyn Forget, a health economist at the University of Manitoba, has done some of the best research on the results. Some of her findings were obvious: Poverty disappeared. But others were more surprising: High-school completion rates went up; hospitalization rates went down. "If you have a social program like this, community values themselves start to change," Forget said.

Because the living wage hurts the very groups it wants to help and because there are better alternatives, we should negate the resolution.
NicholasJosephElizondo

Pro

I think it is fine because stores that pay employees a living wage still make a lot of money that the employer is capabale enough to pay the living wage
Debate Round No. 1
Variable_X

Con

Because, forcing employers to pay a "living wage" harm the very people it is supposed to help, I negate the resolution. Resolved: Just governments ought to require employers to pay a living wage.

The value is justice because the resolution questions the actions of a just government. Respecting human worth is the most important and fundamental condition of a just society, Arneson writes.

Several issues arise in considering Cohen versus Rawls. According to Rawls, a just society is a fair scheme of cooperation among persons regarded as free and equal. Each is free in having the ability and the right to develop and pursue a conception of the good and also the ability and the disposition to cooperate with others on fair terms. In any modern, diverse society that refrains from clearly unacceptable restriction of freedom, individuals will develop allegiance to different and opposed conceptions of the right and the good, and a conception of justice that can elicit everyone's reasonable acceptance must be acceptable to the different reasonable ethical views that individuals espouse. The moral equality of persons generates this unanimity requirement. To satisfy this requirement, a justice doctrine must be built up from ideas deeply embedded in the culture of modern democracies. To enable satisfaction of this requirement, reasonable citizens do not press as justice norms controversial, sectarian doctrines that some cannot reasonably accept. When we act together as citizens through the state, we act on the basis of shared reasons, a common ideal of justice. But each of us has different ultimate ethical allegiances, and no single idea of what demands morality places on us to promote justice in our private conduct will make sense to all of us. Moreover, it would be a form of tyranny to require that we generally act only on the shared reasons of justice throughout our lives rather than on the aims and ambitions that are uniquely our own. In a just society, individuals in their daily lives will decide from their own individual ethical perspectives what goals to pursue, including justice goals, within constraints set by the rights of others. There is no social consensus on this issue, so no particular view of the demands of justice promotion in ordinary life will be part of a conception of justice that all can accept (see generally Rawls 2005)" Egalitarian justice doctrines [which] rests on the fundamental premise that all persons have the same fundamental worth and dignity, which command[ing]s respect. An aristocratic doctrine that held that all lords are inherently superior to commoners and hence ought to have greater rights and privileges would reject the basic equal human worth premise.

Therefore, the value criterion is respecting human worth.

Prefer my value criterion additionally because all other ethical theories pre-suppose respecting human worth as the ultimate goal.

Contention 1 The living wage is counterproductive.

First, a living wage would cause an increase in the price of goods and services, Tolley writes.

Previous studies of the impact of higher wages show that higher prices are definitely one result. According to Kevin Murphy, professor of economics at the University of Chicago, one effect of an increase in the minimum wage is that "all of those whose wages and income are not increased by the minimum will be worse off, as the higher minimum raises employers" costs and the ultimate prices of products."6 The same conclusion was obtained from a study of New Jersey fast-food restaurants by economists David Card and Alan Krueger. Card and Krueger found that the price of meals at these restaurants increased when the state of New Jersey increased its minimum wage from $4.25/hour to $5.05/hour.7 Interestingly, price increases occurred at firms that previously paid most of their workers $4.25/ hour (direct cost-pass-through effect) and at firms that previously paid most of their workers at least $5.05/hour (indirect cost-passthrough effect). In other words, firms that did not experience much of an increase in costs as a result of the higher wage still raised their prices because their competitors also faced an increase in costs.

This means if we affirm any reduction in poverty is destroyed by inflation - people can"t afford any more than they could before and the economy suffers.
Second, this drop in employment is factually proven, not just speculative, Lammam writes.

As economic theory would predict and consistent with the broader research on minimum wage legislation, Professors Neumark and Adams find that living wage laws generally result in less employment for people at the lower end of the wage distribution. When looking at all living wage laws without discriminating by type, Neumark and Adams find that a 100% increase in the living wage (say going from a minimum wage of $10 per hour to a living wage of $20 per hour) reduces employment among low-wage workers by 12% and the impact is statistically significant. When looking at the separate effects of contractor-only and business-assistance living wage laws, they find a stronger adverse and statistically significant impact from the latter"likely because of the wider coverage. Specifically, a 100% increase in business-assistance living wage laws results in a 17% decline in employment. Indeed, the adverse employment effects of living wage laws seem to become more prominent as the laws cover a larger group." Other researchers have also found that living wages adversely affect employment. For instances, University of Kentucky economist Aaron Yelowitz (2005) examined the effects of Santa Fe"s living wage laws increased municipalities in New Mexico. He found that living wage laws increased Santa Fe"s unemployment rate by 3.2 percentage points and decreased the number of hours worked by those who remained employed by an average of 1.6 hours per week.

This means that the affirmative will throw countless people into deeper poverty because they have literally no means of supporting themselves.

Contention 2 minimum wage increases leads to exclusion of minority groups,

First, living wage furthers the gender wage gap, the facts say so , Middlesteadt writes.

The Census Bureau began keeping track of poverty by gender in 1966. Since then the Minimum Wage was hiked 16 times. In 11 of those instances (69%) the percentage of women in poverty went UP after the hike. In absolute terms it appears that women do worse when the Minimum Wage goes up, but the "gender wage gap" is a relative comparison, not absolute. Did women do better (actually, did they do less worse) than men? We have another coin flip. Half the time women fared better when the wage was raised, but half the time the men did. It"s a wash. There"s no evidence that raising the MW will close the gender wage gap.
Second, living wage"s racist policy results in more poverty for African Americans, Middlesteadt writes.

As with gender, the Census Bureau began breaking out poverty statistics by race in 1966. 9 of the 16 wage hikes (56%) since then saw the percentage of blacks in poverty go up. When we look at unemployment statistics below, the data will give a clue as to why this happens. But you can"t say raising the bottom wage will create racial justice if the historically most oppressed race does worse over half the time when the wage goes up.
Contention 3 is that there are better alternatives to a living wage.
Other alternatives instead of a living wage exist, and are more effective at reducing poverty levels. One example is providing a basic income instead of a living wage; Hiebert clarifies.
The idea behind basic income is to provide a floor of income upon which people can build other sources of revenue. Each month, every man, woman, and child would receive a check for a certain amount that should cover their basic needs. This amount would be non-taxable, but any income earned in addition to it would [be taxed].

And, in the places basic income has been implement it has achieved its goal of reducing poverty and providing other benefits, Lowrey writes.

The left is more concerned with the power of a minimum or basic income as an anti-poverty and pro-mobility tool. There happens to be some hard evidence to bolster the policy"s case. In the mid-1970s, the tiny Canadian town of Dauphin ( the "garden capital of Manitoba" ) acted as guinea pig for a grand experiment in social policy called "Mincome." For a short period of time, all the residents of the town received a guaranteed minimum income. About 1,000 poor families got monthly checks to supplement their earnings. Evelyn Forget, a health economist at the University of Manitoba, has done some of the best research on the results. Some of her findings were obvious: Poverty disappeared. But others were more surprising: High-school completion rates went up; hospitalization rates went down. "If you have a social program like this, community values themselves start to change," Forget said.

Because the living wage hurts the very groups it wants to help and because there are better alternatives, we should negate the resolution.
NicholasJosephElizondo

Pro

How does a living wage hurt the people it needs to help. The Government isn't turning their back on the people who make a living wage. An employer makes more money than his employee. The Government isn't saying that we'll tell the employers to pay it, but at the same time we'll turn our backs on the living-wage employees
Debate Round No. 2
Variable_X

Con

My opponent hasn't provided any reasons in favor of the resolution and hasn't attacked any of my contentions.
NicholasJosephElizondo

Pro

NicholasJosephElizondo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Variable_X 1 year ago
Variable_X
Oops accidentallly posted the same thing for round 2
Posted by debate_power 1 year ago
debate_power
What makes a government "just"?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by TinyBudha 1 year ago
TinyBudha
Variable_XNicholasJosephElizondoTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: 1 conduct point for the ff