Sunday, February 23, 2014

Switzerland doesn't have a minimum wage...

Start spreading the news... Via Da Mook.

Gary B. Smith of Fox News, via Crooks & Liars:
SMITH: I know Brenda and before people on the left say “My gosh, that heartless Gary Smith! How can you scrap the minimum wage?” I went around and searched to see if any other developed country scrapped the minimum wage. In fact, Switzerland has no minimum wage.
Now look, it's interesting. Switzerland's unemployment rate is 3 percent, so you say, well, surely then they have a high poverty rate. No. Their poverty rate is less than half ours, at 7 percent. Ours is at about 16 percent. In fact, California, which has a higher than the $7 per hour minimum wage at $8 has a 23 percent unemployment rate.
And oh, by the way, Switzerland has the highest wealth per capita in the world. My god, if Switzerland can do it, doesn't it make sense that we should try it?
Maybe Switzerland can't do it, though:
Neuchâtel is set to become the first canton in Switzerland to adopt a minimum wage with a rate of 20 francs ($21.75) an hour proposed by the cantonal government.

The rate, announced by the cabinet on Monday to take effect in 2015, translates into a gross monthly salary of 3,640 francs based on a 42-hour work week....

The cantons of Valais and Ticino are expected to follow suit with minimum wages, although voters have rejected similar proposals in Geneva and Vaud.

However, Swiss citizens will vote next year on a national initiative calling for a minimum monthly salary of 4,000 francs. (, November 11 2013)
That proposed national minimum amounts to CFR 22 or $24.80 per hour! And everybody has long gotten a 13th-month, not as a bonus but regular salary. The referendum is scheduled for May 18. In a poll last March, 76% of voters were in favor (38% very much, 38% somewhat). If we doubled our minimum wage we'd come close to catching up to where they are without one. My God, Gary, if Switzerland can do it, do we want to get left behind?
Berggasthaus Aescher in Appenzell, where your waiter is already earning around CHF 4,200 a month (but the waitress only 3,780; women will be voting a big YES).
Update May 22:

OK, so, they, um, didn't. They voted it down by a fairly decisive margin of, like, 76% to 24%. It remains the case that they did pass a law to limit CEO pay last year, and that 90% of Swiss workers earn more than the proposed minimum of $25 an hour already, and the median hourly wage is more like $37, so they didn't really need it.

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