Swiss to vote on $25/hr minimum wage

posted at 2:01 pm on May 4, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

Ah, Switzerland. In a nation which at times seems more and more like California, government by referendum is the order of the day. The same country which once planned a vote on giving everyone a minimum rate of “pay” whether they work or not, is now looking into raising the minimum wage to the equivalent of $25 per hour.

The Swiss will vote in a national referendum May 18 on whether to create a minimum wage of 22 francs ($25) per hour, or 4,000 francs a month. While about 90 percent of workers in Switzerland already earn more than that, employers say setting Switzerland’s first national wage floor would push up salaries throughout the economy. When adjusted for currency and purchasing power, it would be the highest minimum in the world.

This report focuses on the story of one small business owner who has already had to let her last full time employee go and won’t be able to afford to replace them at the new rate. That’s a sad story, and one which is repeated everywhere the government arrives “to help” in such matters. But the raw numbers are probably a little more startling than they need to be. Switzerland already has one of the highest minimum wage rates in the world, as well as one of the highest costs of living. (Are you seeing a pattern here?)

In a place where all the specials at McDonald’s are already featured on the Ten Dollar Value Menu the effect of a small bump at the bottom won’t be as pronounced, but you can’t drive up costs without making up for them elsewhere or closing up shop. Unfortunately, it’s always so very easy for politicians to vote Yes on feel-good items like this that it’s hard to stem the tide.


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why $25, was $10000000000000000000000000 out of the question.

phatfawzi on May 4, 2014 at 2:05 PM

The same country which once planned a vote on giving everyone a minimum rate of “pay” whether they work or not

A basic guaranteed income that replaces all other forms of welfare is a much better policy than legal minimum wages. Cf. Milton Friedman or Charles Murray.

That said:

The same country which once soundly defeated a vote on giving everyone a bizarrely high minimum rate of “pay” whether they work or not will now soundly defeat a proposal to raise the minimum wage to a bizarrely high level

FIFY.

joana on May 4, 2014 at 2:07 PM

Big Mac Index Jan. 2012
Switzerland $6.81
U.S. $4.20

No doubt will be $10 after this is passed

nemo on May 4, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Well, the Swiss appear to have a fix in for our illegal immigration problem.

Go East, young man!

Chuck Ef on May 4, 2014 at 2:11 PM

phatfawzi on May 4, 2014 at 2:05 PM

Should have gone for Avogadro’s Number of zeros. Now THAT would be a minimum wage…

Kraken on May 4, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Will they also ban all imports?

And about those exports…

farsighted on May 4, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Unfortunately, it’s always so very easy for politicians to vote Yes on feel-good items like this that it’s hard to stem the tide.

And while this is generically true, the Swiss government opposes the measure.

joana on May 4, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Ah, Switzerland

…is becoming Disneyland!

KOOLAID2 on May 4, 2014 at 2:13 PM

No offense, Jazz. But maybe you could take the pulse of this place and. Run with it.

You did attract joana, though. So there is that.

wolly4321 on May 4, 2014 at 2:15 PM

There goes what’s left of their ecomonic growth if they had any.

sorrowen on May 4, 2014 at 2:15 PM

push up salaries throughout the economy.

Yep and prices. People can be so naive.

CW on May 4, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Most recent poll.

63-28 for the “no”, with 9% undecided. I suspect it won’t even be that close.

The Swiss electorate is easily the most economically literate in the world.

joana on May 4, 2014 at 2:17 PM

Switzerland has been known for having tough naturalization laws.
And note:

But immigration has become a growing concern. In 2009, Swiss voters defied government advice by backing a ban the construction of minarets, and in 2010 they voted to automatically deport foreigners convicted of serious crimes.

Reuters.com

CW on May 4, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Anything less than $100/hr is racist.

Akzed on May 4, 2014 at 2:22 PM

If the U.S. really wanted to increase take home pay, they should just stop withholding income and social security taxes. Just send us a bill every April.

Racistanyway on May 4, 2014 at 2:23 PM

EIGHTY PER CENT SUPPORT TIGHTER CONTROLS ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION.
WRITTEN BY EDITOR ON 10 JUNE 2013.

In an exercise demonstrating how democratic their country is, the Swiss people were given an opportunity on 9 June 2013 to accept or reject the tighter asylum laws introduced last September.

Human rights and left wing parties had gathered enough signatures to trigger Sunday’s referendum, which they said were discriminatory.

The most recent opinion poll in late May found that 57 percent were in favour of the tougher asylum rules.

But according to the final results, 80% of voters have approved the changes. CANDO.ORG

CW on May 4, 2014 at 2:23 PM

Gov. Perry to Switzerland?

workingclass artist on May 4, 2014 at 2:23 PM

They’ll be able to buy a whole lot more of that cheese with the holes in it with that kind of moola. Oh yeah, and those cool knives with all the things that come out.

WhatSlushfund on May 4, 2014 at 2:25 PM

Ah, Switzerland. In a nation which at times seems more and more like California, government by referendum is the order of the day.

I didn’t notice this.

All these populist proposals -basic guaranteed income, executive pay, now the minimum wage- have consistently failed at the polls. Switzerland only resembles California as far as they use referendums to decide public policy – but they’ve been doing that well before California. However, they keep being one of the most fiscally conservative countries in the world and there’s no sign whatsoever that’s about to change, quite the contrary. Switzerland is like California with smart voters.

joana on May 4, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Switzerland is an excellent country to live in. I would trade my current passport for a swiss one any day of the week.

It rates much higher on Economic Freedom compared to here, quality of life is much better, the median citizen is much more educated, it has a much better immigration system (“work permit” isn’t a bad word), decision making and politics is as decentralized as possible with cantons (states) holding much of the power – yes cost of living is quite high but I think it is easily worth it.

uatu1878 on May 4, 2014 at 2:27 PM

Why have any wages. Just make everything free.

tdarrington on May 4, 2014 at 2:30 PM

They have the right general idea on bank secrecy though.

“What I’m asking, you Swiss d*ck, is ‘are you going to f*ck me over?’”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjewO-Hhno0

WhatSlushfund on May 4, 2014 at 2:32 PM

Why have any wages. Just make everything free.

tdarrington on May 4, 2014 at 2:30 PM

My wife would be happy with BOGOs all around. (Well, I would too).

**Great point though.

CW on May 4, 2014 at 2:35 PM

A basic guaranteed income that replaces all other forms of welfare is a much better policy than legal minimum wages. Cf. Milton Friedman or Charles Murray.

joana on May 4, 2014 at 2:07 PM

.
That’s not the way the politicians do it. They never reduce the price paid per vote. They are also, for the most, not economically literate. Cf. Joe Biden, Barack Obama.

ExpressoBold on May 4, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Entry level workers get a job at McDonald’s at 25 smackers an hour to start working.

Trade school trained mechanic, after a few years in the field, is earning that or not much more. Not only does his hamburger shoot up to about 10-12 dollars for a combo, all costs for everything slowly rise like boats in a harbor with the incoming tide. He asks his boss for a raise, because he deserves more pay than some entry level laborer, and the cost of his companies business goes up. And now, the 25 dollar an hour worker at McDonalds is paying more to Mr. Trade School Mechanic to get their car worked on.

This never works.

Entry level jobs were never meant to be bread-winner careers.

hawkdriver on May 4, 2014 at 2:46 PM

No poverty for Switzerland! That’s one way to get rid of the poor. Price them out of the market.

rickv404 on May 4, 2014 at 2:46 PM

Joana is all over the place. It must be an election year.

hawkdriver on May 4, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Entry level jobs were never meant to be bread-winner careers.

hawkdriver on May 4, 2014 at 2:46 PM

But they HAVE TO BE in the Obama economy.

CW on May 4, 2014 at 2:49 PM

I think Seattle’s proposal to raise the minimum to $15 will be more interesting to follow.

El_Terrible on May 4, 2014 at 2:53 PM

It shouldn’t pass, by all indications.

Schadenfreude on May 4, 2014 at 2:54 PM

Only hastening the bots.

CW on May 4, 2014 at 3:03 PM

But they HAVE TO BE in the Obama economy.

CW on May 4, 2014 at 2:49 PM

You didn’t hear? The economy is outrageously wunnerful.

hawkdriver on May 4, 2014 at 3:06 PM

Entry level jobs were never meant to be bread-winner careers.

hawkdriver on May 4, 2014 at 2:46 PM

That’s the Democratics’ great con-job, they are selling the notion that a minimum-wage job should be ‘a living wage’ which implies enough to support a person living on their own as well as some kind of family.

slickwillie2001 on May 4, 2014 at 3:06 PM

German Hyperinflation – 1914-1923

Though there are stark differences between what is occurring in Switzerland today, and for that matter the United States today, and what occurred during the hyper-inflationary period Germany experienced 1914-1923, there are also parallels in terms of attempting to artificially manipulate a national, or global, economy and the potentially disastrous result from ‘unintentional consequences’.

thatsafactjack on May 4, 2014 at 3:10 PM

Fewer entry level jobs for least skilled. Sounds like a recipe for success…

…At building the welfare state.

southsideironworks on May 4, 2014 at 3:11 PM

Switzerland–the country which had no moral objections to keeping the treasures the Nazis stole from the Jews.

vityas on May 4, 2014 at 3:11 PM

thatsafactjack on May 4, 2014 at 3:10 PM

Most people today are too stupid to understand that history or they only live in the present and think …

“If they raise my wage, I will be marginally better without having to change a thing I do to pull myself up economically, for at least a little while. Then come another election year, they’ll do it for me again.”

Why worry about being skilled at anything? Why go to college or a trade school if the push is always there to level the playing field regardless of talent or time in the job?

hawkdriver on May 4, 2014 at 3:16 PM

hawkdriver on May 4, 2014 at 3:16 PM

I understand.

Still, I offer up the evidence of history in hopes that some may yet learn through reading of the experience of others, rather than at the harsh hand of experience themselves.

thatsafactjack on May 4, 2014 at 3:20 PM

HotGas strikes again.

I live in Switzerland for about 3 months each year. Life there beats living in any blue state in the US by a huge margin.

Norwegian on May 4, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Switzerland–the country which had no moral objections to keeping the treasures the Nazis stole from the Jews.

vityas on May 4, 2014 at 3:11 PM

Hey they don’t let themselves get caught up in such things.
/

CW on May 4, 2014 at 3:23 PM

The price of Oprah crying ‘rassist’ just went up a bit. Oh, the humanity.

locomotivebreath1901 on May 4, 2014 at 3:30 PM

And the cost of living in Switzerland will go even higher than what is now which is very high to begin with. In fact Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world…

mnjg on May 4, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Switzerland is like California with smart voters.

joana on May 4, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Or, putting it another way, it’s the opposite of California.

The difference is that unlike Switzerland, California got flooded with leftwing immigrants, both from outside the USA and from within, and it sustained the heaviest brunt of the illegal invasion 18+ years ago, so the children of the early invaders are voting.

Guess what’s coming soon to a State near you?

fadetogray on May 4, 2014 at 3:37 PM

I understand.

thatsafactjack on May 4, 2014 at 3:20 PM

It was a great comment/point and mine wasn’t a disagreement. I just think few today will get it. The easy road is … easy.

hawkdriver on May 4, 2014 at 3:38 PM

This report focuses on the story of one small business owner who has already had to let her last full time employee go and won’t be able to afford to replace them at the new rate.

Just double prices and then go on the evening news and shame people for not shopping at your store so you can afford to keep that person employed. What’s the problem?

KMC1 on May 4, 2014 at 3:39 PM

Wow, those little red knives are gonna get expensive!

Galtian on May 4, 2014 at 3:40 PM

I gotta say, 90% of a labor force making $50k a year or more?

That’s pretty impressive…

JohnGalt23 on May 4, 2014 at 3:41 PM

How about “All Free”! Why even pay? Just give everyone what they want? /

LastRonin on May 4, 2014 at 3:46 PM

I gotta say, 90% of a labor force making $50k a year or more?

That’s pretty impressive…

JohnGalt23 on May 4, 2014 at 3:41 PM

Not impressive when you factor in the very high cost of living which is one of the highest if not the highest in the world. It is like making $ 50,000 and living in Beverly Hills where everything is super expensive… Despite all our problems, we still have the best standards of living in the world when you take the average of salaries in the US and the average of cost of living.

mnjg on May 4, 2014 at 3:48 PM

It’s Easy Politics.

Why are you against working people?

Moesart on May 4, 2014 at 3:49 PM

Unfortunately, it’s always so very easy forpoliticiansto vote Yes on feel-good items like this that it’s hard to stem the tide.

Don’t worry folks, this will NOT pass ! And, FYI, it’s the people who vote, NOT the politicians, it’s a referendum style vote.

Oh, BTW, I’m Swiss, and I’ll vote against this crap of course ;)

coolapic on May 4, 2014 at 3:49 PM

farsighted on May 4, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Oh, no! Not my Inspector Gadget Swiss Army Knife!

LastRonin on May 4, 2014 at 3:52 PM

An easy feat for a country with only 8 million citizens … NEXT!

kregg on May 4, 2014 at 4:02 PM

I’ve been saying this for years. If we would simply make our minimum wage $20.00 per hour, NO ONE WOULD BE BELOW THE POVERTY LINE!!! $20.00/hour is $40,000.00/year. With NO ONE in poverty, just think how many government departments we could eliminate! We could do away with every government department that caters to poverty cases and look how much our taxes would drop!!

I’m in favor!!

oldleprechaun on May 4, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Supervisor: Good news, everyone. You’re all getting a raise to $25 an hour. Ok? Now, lets count off by 2′s…one…two…one…two…one…two…one…two…Ok. Great.

If you’re a one, get to work. If you’re a two, you’re fired.

BobMbx on May 4, 2014 at 4:15 PM

I accussed Jazz of banning me. He didn’t. The problem was on my end.
I jumped the gun and falsely impugned him. To management, no less, wasting thier time.

I apologize. It was all my bad.

Jazz,, specifically,, sorry.

I was wrong.

I won’t let that happen again.

wolly4321 on May 4, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Feel like quite the dumbazz.

As I should.

wolly4321 on May 4, 2014 at 4:19 PM

By all means, Switzerland, do this. When someone in China is able to build the same quality goods as you build for $5 an hour, you will learn a very quick lesson on income inequality and standards of living, all wrapped up on one convenient lesson.

And, if you survive being Greeked, you might get back as much as a quarter of your previous economy….

unclesmrgol on May 4, 2014 at 4:19 PM

hawkdriver on May 4, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Thank you, Hawk. :) I didn’t think you were being negative.

I just thought it was a great opportunity to emphasize your point that people do have the opportunity to learn from history.

thatsafactjack on May 4, 2014 at 4:21 PM

Anything less than $100/hr is racist.

Akzed on May 4, 2014 at 2:22 PM

+1000 — but we ARE talking about the Swiss here — not Jamaicans.

Wow, those little red knives are gonna get expensive!

Galtian on May 4, 2014 at 3:40 PM

+1000 — better load up while they are cheap.

With NO ONE in poverty, just think how many government departments we could eliminate! We could do away with every government department that caters to poverty cases and look how much our taxes would drop!!

I’m in favor!!

oldleprechaun on May 4, 2014 at 4:06 PM

+1000 — I’m going to use this the next time I talk to a liberal.

unclesmrgol on May 4, 2014 at 4:30 PM

By all means, Switzerland, do this. When someone in China is able to build the same quality goods as you build for $5 an hour, you will learn a very quick lesson on income inequality and standards of living, all wrapped up on one convenient lesson.

And, if you survive being Greeked, you might get back as much as a quarter of your previous economy….

unclesmrgol on May 4, 2014 at 4:19 PM

Given Switzerland’s value proposition based on location, geography, neutrality, political and economic stability, the fact they control their own central bank they are not going to get greeked.

Switzerland does not try to enter into the fruitless race-to-the-bottom competition that we are trying to do and their citizenry are better off for it.

uatu1878 on May 4, 2014 at 4:35 PM

HotGas strikes again.

I live in Switzerland for about 3 months each year. Life there beats living in any blue state in the US by a huge margin.

Norwegian on May 4, 2014 at 3:22 PM

FIFY.

uatu1878 on May 4, 2014 at 4:37 PM

Not impressive when you factor in the very high cost of living which is one of the highest if not the highest in the world. It is like making $ 50,000 and living in Beverly Hills where everything is super expensive… Despite all our problems, we still have the best standards of living in the world when you take the average of salaries in the US and the average of cost of living.

mnjg on May 4, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Perhaps it is just me, but I don’t measure living standards purely based on affordability of material goods. When you take the whole package together, Switzerland is worth it for me. I just have to find out a way to stay their on a permanent basis and not on an 18 month project like before.

uatu1878 on May 4, 2014 at 4:40 PM

I remember when the dollar was worth more than francs/marcs/eurodollars.
sigh

dmacleo on May 4, 2014 at 4:46 PM

Given the dollar’s impending total collapse we may well have a MILLION DOLLAR minimum wage soon.

ConstantineXI on May 4, 2014 at 4:57 PM

Test. Keep getting logged off.

wolly4321 on May 4, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Unlike Kalifornians, the Swiss are smart enough to put curbs on immigration:

https://www.numbersusa.com/content/news/february-10-2014/switzerland-approves-limitations-immigration.html

bw222 on May 4, 2014 at 5:09 PM

uatu1878 on May 4, 2014 at 4:35 PM

Plus, name another country that hands you a sub-machine gun, a couple grenades, and a big knife and lets you keep them in your closet.

BobMbx on May 4, 2014 at 5:16 PM

An easy feat for a country with only 8 million citizens … NEXT! that’s over 90% Caucasian.

kregg on May 4, 2014 at 4:02 PM

bw222 on May 4, 2014 at 5:17 PM

Unlike Kalifornians, the Swiss are smart enough to put curbs on immigration: racist.

bw222 on May 4, 2014 at 5:09 PM

BobMbx on May 4, 2014 at 5:17 PM

Switzerland is the size of a postage stamp. It’s a ‘chocolate box’ country that relies on export of manufactured specialty goods and tourism for its economy. It is about the size of Connecticut and Massachusetts combined.

If Switzerland were to allow ‘open’ immigration, that is to say unlimited immigration, it would find itself inundated with more people than its very limited and finite resources could support.

Switzerland voted to limit immigration to preserve the nation and its resources for its citizens, which is exactly the purpose of well designed immigration law.

thatsafactjack on May 4, 2014 at 5:29 PM

thatsafactjack on May 4, 2014 at 5:29 PM

Racist.

KMC1 on May 4, 2014 at 5:34 PM

I wonder what the price of a good cigar will be with a $25 hr min wage. Or, do you have to go across the border into France if you want to smoke?

VALman on May 4, 2014 at 9:12 PM

I wonder what the price of a good cigar will be with a $25 hr min wage. Or, do you have to go across the border into France if you want to smoke?

VALman on May 4, 2014 at 9:12 PM

Have you bought cigars in the USA lately? My brand has gone up almost 100% since this turd took office.

Murphy9 on May 4, 2014 at 9:29 PM

We haven’t really addressed the question of why these overlords keep proposing this stuff even though it won’t go through?

Also, if the people reject such Socialist schemes, then how do said overlords keep getting elected? True, we do it over here, but for some reason I thought the average Swiss had more common sense nowadays than the average American voter.

I think what is being ignored is that there is, and has been for a long time, a large Socialist-Communist element that’s quite active within Swiss society.

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 4, 2014 at 9:50 PM

Also, if the people reject such Socialist schemes, then how do said overlords keep getting elected? True, we do it over here, but for some reason I thought the average Swiss had more common sense nowadays than the average American voter.

I think what is being ignored is that there is, and has been for a long time, a large Socialist-Communist element that’s quite active within Swiss society.

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 4, 2014 at 9:50 PM

Yep. I spend a lot of time in Europe, and the Socialism mental disease is deeply entrenched there. In the US, we’re effed too, but I think it comes more from low-info voters than ideologues, whereas in Europe I think it’s more ideological. European governments are also much more opaque than in the US, which may factor into the voting thing.

Europeans tend to politically behave more in accordance with ethnicity and culture than Americans do. The US is much more heterogeneous. In my view, in Western countries (which would, at least for now, include European countries), there needs to be a re-recognition of common interest — opposing Socialism and Islam.

At least the Swiss banned minarets, as I recall.

WhatSlushfund on May 4, 2014 at 10:31 PM

@Dr. ZhivBlago, WhatSlushfund

Some Collective Buy-In is more desired when there is stronger societal bond and homogeneity.

An explanation why CH reformed their health-care system to cover everyone:

http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/29/8/1442.full

Swiss Government is rated more transparent than ours. Futhermore their Cantonal power is much stronger than what states here have – decentralization and no tyrannical head of state as the executive office is held by council.

uatu1878 on May 4, 2014 at 10:48 PM

I wonder what the price of a good cigar will be with a $25 hr min wage. Or, do you have to go across the border into France if you want to smoke?

VALman on May 4, 2014 at 9:12 PM

They already go into France for that purpose, to buy cheaper goods. Annecy, in Haute Savoy is where you’ll find the most weekend Swiss shoppers.

jimver on May 5, 2014 at 2:39 AM

Have you bought cigars in the USA lately? My brand has gone up almost 100% since this turd took office.

Murphy9 on May 4, 2014 at 9:29 PM

I didn’t know this. I had to quit. Doctors orders. Although, Nov, 2014, and Nov, 2016 just might be, indeed I pray they will be, occasions on which to have one along with a nice Irish blend.

VALman on May 5, 2014 at 6:26 AM

They already go into France for that purpose, to buy cheaper goods. Annecy, in Haute Savoy is where you’ll find the most weekend Swiss shoppers.

jimver on May 5, 2014 at 2:39 AM

So, does this mean that even more will travel there if a $25 ph min wage is enacted?

VALman on May 5, 2014 at 6:29 AM

I don’t know about the economic policies in Switzerland, but I do know it is a geographically beautiful country. I visited Bern, the capital, several years ago and found it to be a wonderful place visually and aesthetically.

We have more important things to worry about in this country than what the Swiss are up to. Every house has a gun. That’s a good thing (OK, maybe not every house).

Know It All on May 5, 2014 at 9:05 AM

These people work half a year anyway.

RdLake on May 5, 2014 at 9:15 AM

A bunch of american rednecks convincing themselves that the Swiss don’t understand finances and the economy.

So hilarious.

everdiso on May 5, 2014 at 9:53 AM

What do you mean we mandated people get paid more, but they didn’t become more productive in the process?

I don’t understand…

/lib

BKennedy on May 5, 2014 at 9:59 AM

A bunch of american rednecks convincing themselves that the Swiss don’t understand finances and the economy.

So hilarious.

everdiso on May 5, 2014 at 9:53 AM

So there are liberals that support people using Swiss bank accounts, and suggesting therein that bankers aren’t part of teh evul one parcent – as long as they are foreign bankers.

Fascinating and Enlightening.

BKennedy on May 5, 2014 at 10:02 AM

It’s going to cost $7 an hour jobs. We can’t have that.

cimbri on May 5, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Now enjoy the map of the vote: All Red.
Most states with over 80pc No. All senates: No.

http://www.20min.ch/schweiz/dossier/abstimmresultat/story/Klare-Mehrheit-gegen-Mindestlohn-13203441

ajm on May 18, 2014 at 11:36 AM