Posted by: mdmusingsie | June 29, 2010

Same Story, Different Country

I was listening to a radio program, about the minimum wage and immigration.  All you had to do was change a few words and it would be exactly the same arguments going on in the US. 

Currently the minimum wage in Ireland is €8.65 or roughly $10.50/hr (note: for complete accuracy there is a lesser wage rate for under 18 and people over 18 and in their first and second year of employment, but let’s stick with the norm).  They were saying it’s one of, if not the highest in the EU.  The argument was that the minimum wage stifles job growth, especially in low or un-skilled positions.  If people are willing to work for a lower wage, why shouldn’t employers be able to save money while increasing employment? Where have I heard that one before?

The other argument regarding immigration centered around jobs that “supposedly” no Irish person wants to perform – those lower end service industry jobs like in hotels (think housekeeping and such).  This is exactly the same argument going on in the US over American vs primarily Mexican workers.  It’s a small world after all.

An interesting article in the paper talked about how Ireland should be buying Irish goods and shame on the government for outsourcing things like printing to other EU countries because it’s cheaper.  Yes, the government may be saving a few pennies but at the expense of Irish jobs.  Go into most any department store in the US and see how many American made products you can find vs foreign.  You’ll likely have a rough time locating any significant quantity of “made in the USA” goods.  Echoes from this debate reverberate across the pond in both directions.

Right, wrong, or indifferent, it appears many countries are facing the exact same issues; especially in these difficult economic times.  No one seems to have the magic bullet answer, however.

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