I did not suggest the $25k/yr. interviewees not be hired, I merely pointed out that, depending on how they answered the questions, they may end up being problems.
Thanks for clarifying. I concluded that you would not hire them when you said
No matter which way you look at it, you're going to have problems if you don't pay your employees a living wage.
Sorry for jumping to conclusions. So, what would you do?
mk and thenewgreen refer to this conversation in the past tense, and if you feel it has run its course, please feel free to say so. I will consider askinghubski, though I am wary of the amount of effort it might take to understand a lot of different people's positions.
I haven't even gotten clarity on the terms "living wage" and "starvation wage" which you use as black and white categories. Here are the definitions you linked to:
That allows a family to meet its basic needs, and provides it with some ability to deal with emergencies, without resorting to welfare or other public assistance.
money paid to workers that is not enough to pay for the things (such as food and shelter) that are needed to live
So there is some ambiguity about who will be able to meet basic needs with a given wage. The worker, or the worker and family? Consider this scenario:
Alice and Bob work in the same office, with the same role, at the same level, with similar performance and seniority. As one would expect, their salaries are very similar. Bob is married to a doctor and lives in a paid-off single family home. They have a dog but no kids, and enjoy spending time in their vacation condo. They have no debt. Alice is a single mother of three. She lives in a rented townhouse. She has student loans outstanding as well as significant credit card debt because of chronic bad luck with the used cars she buys.
Alice is thinking about declaring bankruptcy. Bob is thinking about buying a Maserati.
As I said, their salaries are similar. Is it a living wage or a starvation wage?
Since public assistance in the United States is typically means-tested on a household basis, there should be nothing immoral about an employer hiring Bob at any salary while he is living comfortably. But if his circumstances change, say following a divorce, he may start qualifying for public assistance. Nothing has changed in his relationship with his employer; is the employer now acting unethically?