Is it time for wage increases?

Purple

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I don't think the government should be providing social housing to every Joe Public on or below the median wage, that's half the working population and puts us well on track for some sort of bizarre form of socialism.
I've no problem with that as long as they are paying up to and including the market rate in rent and that the landlord can move people around after as agreed rental period (say 3 or 5 years) in order to maximise the utilisation of the social housing stock. In other words; no more live tenancies and no more inherited tenancies. If there was lots of social housing rents would drop for everyone.

Surely the aspiration here should be that somebody on or around the median income should easily be able to afford to buy a home in their lifetime?
It should be but a could on low wages could never afford a house in most parts of Dublin.
 

Protocol

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If GDP/GNP/GNI are high and rising in Ireland, and yet real wage growth has been subdued, then isn't it the case that profits are rising fast?

I don't have any data to hand on this.

But maybe profit margins are too wide?
 

newirishman

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A couple of interesting points here.

The same question can be asked of you though; why is low skilled people the same or less is an inherently good thing? But personally I think have the discussion this way is somewhat pointless, if you ask a few different people the question you'll get different answers, same as you do when you ask should we pay less, the same or more tax, should or shouldn't the government provide a health service etc. It tends to be based on subjective opinion rather than taking a look at the facts.

I think a more relevant and productive question, from a discussion point of view, is what do you think the minimum standard of living for Joe Public working a low skilled job should be, then go from there on where wages should be, what taxes should look like, how house prices should ideally look.
- Should Joe (or Jill) be able to support their spouse and say two kids on a single income to allow the kids to be raised by one of the parents? For me, ideally yes, certainly two parents commuting an hour each way and working 8 hours all their children's life is not leading to the best outcome for those childrens' interactions with society in future.
There's enough research out there that shows that this makes no difference. What's the point having one parent around if there's a lot of stress due to lack of money to clothe, feed, and house the kid?

- Should Joe be able to purchase a home and expect to have it paid off by the time he reaches retirement? For me, yes.
I'll probably never understand the obsession with owning a property. My parents are retired, and they rent. They have in fact rented most of their lives - simply because they were not in a financial position where they could have afforded buying a place. What's the point owning a one bed apartment if you want to raise kids? Rather rent a 2-bed that they couldn't afford to buy. The fact that this is a bit of a challenge in Ireland is of course a problem, not the least due to the obsession of owning a property, and if at all possible a house.

- Should Joe be able to purchase a house in the capital city and have it paid off by the time he reaches retirement? Absolutely not for me.
Agreed.

- Should Joe only be able to afford a house 2 hours commute from his job? No for me.
If you live and work in a large metropolitan area, what is the problem with it? Say you work as a porter (low paying job) in a major corporation. The corporation is probably in whatever main business district. Does Joe really want to live there?

- Should Joe be able to put a few quid aside beyond the state pension? For me, ideally yes.
Pensions are tricky - putting money aside when you are already on a low wage is almost impossible, even more so if you are trying to raise kids. I'd say that any state pension should be high enough to be that "living wage"

- Should Joe be able to afford a family health insurance policy or is relying on the public system OK? For me probably not.
Fix the public system to ensure it is actually OK. It is expensive enough already.

- Should Joe be able to afford to put away money to save for one budget family holiday a year, maybe to Spain or somewhere like that? For me yes.
My 2(!) family holidays when growing up where visiting friends or relatives and live in their house for a week or two. A proper foreign holiday (like going to Spain or Greece) would have been impossible. And that was only in the 70ies and 80ies.
Your budget holiday is only possible by having cheap labour keeping the costs down. So other low-paid people actually pay for it.

- Should Joe be able to buy a brand new car every 3 years? For me no.
Cars seems to be another obsession of many folks. I agree with you.

- Should Joe be able to build up a rainy day fund of 6 months income over a 5-10 year period. For me yes.
so 50% of net income saved over 5 years (=500% net income). That means, you need to put away 10% every month. Should be reasonable, could be tricky on a minimum wage.

- Should Joe expect to see higher-skilled workers etc. driving around in nicer newer cars, living in the affluent city centre and earning multiples of his earnings because of that extra skill level? For me yes within reason.
What does "within reason" mean? The only alternative I see here is a communist/socialist type structure where wages are defined by committee, not the market.
I mean, the question is: "Who are you to think you can define how much I am allowed to earn"?

Some of this is surely pie-in-the-sky, I get that, but I'd love to hear from those that think lower income earners should be paid less and contribute more tax, and whether they also feel that 'no' is the right answer to all those questions and are comfortable with that. Because with a median income of what, €25-28k, the answer will need to be no to most of the questions...
I think that everyone should contribute some taxes. I think it was about 50% of the Irish working population doesn't pay any tax. I don't think that this is fair.
 

Zenith63

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Thanks for taking the time to reply newirishman, lots of food for thought there. Some responses below!

There's enough research out there that shows that this makes no difference. What's the point having one parent around if there's a lot of stress due to lack of money to clothe, feed, and house the kid?
Yes to be fair it seems to be generally accepted that creche/pre-school is better for children than no creche/pre-school time. There's a fair bit of distance between a couple both working but dropping their kids off at 8 and collecting and 5, and the fairly common scenario now of kids being dropped off much earlier and being collected much later because both parents need to work and commute much longer to make ends meet.
On the second point, all my questions are asking whether Joe should earn enough money to make something financially possible, so where I'm saying "yes I'd like Joe to be able to be a single earner" then the implication is that the other parent is not sitting at home stressing about lack of money. But I see your point here, this one is probably more personal opinion.

What's the point owning a one bed apartment if you want to raise kids? Rather rent a 2-bed that they couldn't afford to buy.
Again when I say "yes Joe should be able to afford to buy a home" I'm assuming he can buy an appropriate home, not cram into a 1-bed apartment. It's probably fodder for another thread, but when it comes to renting in many cases the rent and mortgage repayment is similar, the difference is the deposit, which brings you to my points later about wealth inequality - for Joe I'd like him to have enough to be able to buy a modest home, maybe borrow from their parents to help with the deposit.

If you live and work in a large metropolitan area, what is the problem with it? Say you work as a porter (low paying job) in a major corporation. The corporation is probably in whatever main business district. Does Joe really want to live there?
Sorry I should have been clearer on this one. It was to be read in context of the previous one where I said Joe should not be able to purchase a house in the middle of the capital city. Joe certainly does not need to be in or near the business district, I'm saying a 30-60 minute commute is totally fine but over 2 hours is getting ridiculous.

I'd say that any state pension should be high enough to be that "living wage"
Fix the public system to ensure it is actually OK
I'm not up for a socialist state by any means, but I'd 100% agree with you on pensions and healthcare, make them sufficient and if high income peeps want to top theirs up then fine.

My 2(!) family holidays when growing up where visiting friends or relatives and live in their house for a week or two. A proper foreign holiday (like going to Spain or Greece) would have been impossible. And that was only in the 70ies and 80ies.
Your budget holiday is only possible by having cheap labour keeping the costs down. So other low-paid people actually pay for it.
Interesting point re. the cheap labour, Joe is off to Doolin on his holidays so :) ....

What does "within reason" mean? The only alternative I see here is a communist/socialist type structure where wages are defined by committee, not the market.
This is by no means easy to answer I get that, but you know it when you see it. Travel through various less developed parts of the world (India jumps to mind as an example) and you'll see fabulous wealth side-by-side with abject poverty. Ireland is one of the leaders in dealing with inequality so you don't see the same extremes here for sure, but inequality is worsening in most countries, so unless something changes we'll see more of it.
I don't think a communist/socialist structure is required at all. All you have to do is compare India (shocking inequality) to the US (pretty bad inequality) to Ireland (some of the best levels), there's no communism/socialism in the US/Ireland and yet we've made huge inroads.

I mean, the question is: "Who are you to think you can define how much I am allowed to earn"?
I wouldn't say you want to define how much people can earn, like come up with a number, but I think it's important to ensure that there are checks and balances in-place to ensure that a small number of individuals do not end up with a huge concentration of wealth.
To take a reductio ad absurdum, if I alone was to invent true AI, I would very quickly become the wealthiest man on earth, potentially sucking up the vast majority of the worlds generated income. I could pass all that money to my children along with the secret and we'd suck up all the wealth of the world for generations. Would that be fair, given that I only got to where I did because of thousands of years of scientific work and all of the income I would be earning would be generated by other peoples labour?
We've been here before with the aristrocy of the 1800s, so it can and does happen unless things are structure to prevent it, and all indications are that we are not doing enough to prevent it for the current times. There's no real benefit to society of these extremely wealthy people being more wealthy than they already are, but it certainly has a negative effect on those less well off because they are getting a smaller share of the output of their country.
Just to be clear, I'm not talking about people earning €100/200k and becoming moderately wealthy in their lifetimes through hard work and enterprise, I'm more concerned with large-scale generational wealth...

I think that everyone should contribute some taxes. I think it was about 50% of the Irish working population doesn't pay any tax. I don't think that this is fair.
Yep I'd fully agree, I think people are more bought into societies when they see a contribution to it from their pay check, always confuses me when you hear the govenment announce they have managed to take X thousand people out of the tax net as if that is an end in itself. I'd prefer to see Joe having a higher salary but being taxed more.
 
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