Friday, January 22, 2010

Time for a Maximum Wage

A maximum wage was effectively in place in the United States from 1942 until 1964 during which the highest tax bracket was taxed at a rate of 91%. Its time to re-enact a maximum wage law.

A wage of ten times the minimum wage sounds reasonable to me. How many minimum wage earners are you worth? Three, four maybe. You work long hours--you are worth more than someone who only puts in 40 hours a week. The quality of your work is far superior to your collegues--you are worth at least two of the guys down the hall or across the factory floor.

But is anyone (ANYONE) so productive that their work could possibly be worth more than 10 miniumum wage workers? Currently about 2% of the American workforce makes more than ten times the minimum wage. We should use the income tax code to impose a maximum wage. If a maximum wage was enacted, 98% of Americans would not be taxed at a higher rate--but the excesses of our most recent gilded age would be brought to an end. With all the griping about Wall Street executive pay in Congress, on the editorial pages and among taxpayers, the President set new limits on pay at financial firms getting government assistance. CEOs at companies getting the most help from the government saw their salaries capped at a half million dollars a year. This came after President Obama described the huge bonuses and perks on Wall Street as shameful. It is not, however, just banking and Wall Street CEO's, but anyone with income more than 10 times the minimum wage.

In England, the "Statute of Artificers of 1563" implemented statutes of fixed maximum wage scales; Justices of the Peace could fix wages according "to the plenty or scarcity of the time". We need a modern version of the "Statute of Artificers." We need a maximum wage.

To counteract the increase in prevailing wages due to scarcity of labor, American colonies in the 17th century created a ceiling wage. We need a new ceiling wage. We need a maximum wage.

No one's work is of such quantity or quality to justifiy the compensation recieved by the top 2%. Enough is enough. It's time for a maximum wage law.

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