Megan Mcardle has a great discussion on the living wage nonsense:
n the popular mind, every blue collar worker in 1950 was pulling down a hefty wage at GM, but union membership peaked at about a third of workers, and most of those jobs were at companies that didn’t have the profits, or the freedom from competition, to support those kinds of wages. A lot more blue collar workers were people like the mechanics and pump operators at my grandfather’s gas station, who raised families on . . . the kind of money you could generate working at a gas station.
Read the whole thing.