My view: Labor secretary's coming war on jobs


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  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    July 25, 2013 9:25 a.m.

    Here's the real math truth. A company with employees who have health care and a livable wage, vs. a company with employees with no health insurance and are forced, even advised by their company to work two jobs just to survive. Which provides the best society to live in?

    If you favor the second scenario then you have to favor a society that taxes some of it's citizens in order to provide assistance to other citizens so that they can survive. Or you simply favor social anarchy which is what you will have if a substantial number of citizens of forced to work for a non sustainable wage with no other assistance.

    The rest of your "hate for CEO's, communist country comparison talk" is pure nonsense and has absolutely no relevance to the conversation.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    July 25, 2013 8:38 a.m.


    Your math doesn't work.

    1 in-n-out 10 employess at 10/hr


    dozens of mcdonalds with hundreds of employees at 7/hr and more

    Who is benefiting the most people?

    A company with many full-time employees with health benefits


    a Company with many part-time lower paid employees with no benefits

    Leftest policies do not work.

    They create more poorer less employed people

    they create fewer business with that benefit less people

    policies based on hate, like hate for CEOs or big business, create targets and fewer opportunities or and fewer opportunities for wealth.

    Why are there so many poor and so few rich, and so few opportunities in communist countries?

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    July 25, 2013 7:22 a.m.

    Coming to this thread late there is one glaring assumption made by all those who are against raising the minimum wage. That assumption is that the current ratio of revenues, cost, and profits, in any given organization is a fixed, constant, and almost holy structure. Therefore any shock to revenues or cost that affects current profits is at best unwise and at worst disastrous to the firm. Nothing could be further from the truth and it's what accounts for the variances specific case outcomes. It's why In n out burger can pay 10 dollars an hour and be just fine, and why one state with a high minimum wage can also have low youth unemployment. The second mistake everyone makes is the conflation of correlation and causation. Rooster crowing and the sun coming up has a perfect correlation, but no causation. The variables are mutable and to argue they aren't in support of a CEO making over 500 times what the workers make is needs to be shown for what it is, uniformed and misleading at best.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    July 24, 2013 10:38 a.m.

    @The Real Maverick

    ALL franchises are owned by small business owners.

    And yes some big business that depend on low skilled and unskilled labor would also be affected. There are very real limits on how much they can pay out for low and unskilled labor before they have to cut jobs and/or raise prices of their products. How much should be paid for their labor? There are many considerations, which the left conveniently ignores, that businesses must consider to remain financially healthy or to continue to exist at all. Which includes being able to handle the low points. And saved net profits are necessary if you are to be able to grow and expand and create more jobs. And expenses grow as business grow.

    Things are not so simple as leftist profit demanders would have you think.

    IS all there demands still a good thing for the economy? Have you not noticed prices rising up in the restaurant and grocery industry while everything is getting smaller?

  • wrz Pheonix, AZ
    July 24, 2013 12:32 a.m.

    It's guys like Thomas Perez and his boss, Obama who are what's killing this nation.

    Raising the minimum wage will cut business profits. To recover, layoffs will be required which will likely jump the unemployment rate by at least a percentage. Not very smart.

    "Labor unions have lost influence over the past 3 decades and so one of the vehicles left to help labor is a minimum wage tied to inflation rates."

    The economic acts of the issue are the raising wages has the net effect of raising inflation. About 90 percent of the cost of doing business is labor costs.

    @Larry Chandler:
    "Higher wages mean more purchasing power..."

    Higher wages mean higher costs of goods and services... which means increased inflation since inflation is a measure of the increase of the cost of goods and services produced by businesses. It's a vicious circle and a problem of which came first, the chicken or the egg.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    July 23, 2013 9:44 p.m.

    "Minimum wage increases would not affect the big companies and big CEOS much at all,"


    What planet are you from?

    Are companies like Walmart, McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, Olive Garden, (literally everyone involved in the food industry), JC Penny, Sears, Target, (literally everyone in retail) considered small companies to you?

    In fact, 2/3rds of those employed by min wage are employed by the 100 largest corporations. So contrary to your opinion, the facts prove that min wage increases actually effect the large corporations the most and the small businesses the least. In other words, your opinion is the complete opposite of reality.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    July 23, 2013 6:08 p.m.

    Minimum wage increases would not affect the big companies and big CEOS much at all,

    they would affect small companies and small business owners which is 70% of all jobs.

    Why in the world does the left want to hurt small business?

    Where does small business get the extra revenue?

  • RedShirtMIT Cambridge, MA
    July 23, 2013 4:27 p.m.

    To "RanchHand" the taxpayers are not subsidizing the businesses.

    The workers are abusing the system by seeking jobs that require no skills, and then remaining without skills. Why should an employer pay somebody $15/hr if that person is replacable by any teenager who walks through the door and has a pulse?

    The fact is that the workers are using the system to remove responsibility for gaining an education or learning a trade because the government will make up for their lack of skills.

    Because of the workers not wanting to take responsibility for themselves, we now have higher taxes to pay for their welfare.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 23, 2013 3:53 p.m.


    You conveniently ignored the bit where I mention paying the CEO more so you can pay the employee less.

    One of the consequences of the status quo is that it is taxpayers subsidizing business by paying for food stamps, health costs, etc. of the employees barely scraping by because the companies are allowed to get by with the status quo.

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    July 23, 2013 3:24 p.m.


    What you are describing is wage purchasing-power parity. Is the purpose of your anecdote to imply that the increase in wages is what caused the increase in fast food (and perhaps other) prices? If so, I would point out that correlation does not imply causation. It is at least equally likely that wages have risen to try to keep up, at least somewhat, with general inflation. Wage increases typically lag price increases, and real (inflation-adjusted) wages have been generally declining since the mid-1970s, fast food wage-price parity notwithstanding.

    There is also a lot more food in a combo meal today, versus that burger, fries & drink from when you were making $.35/hour (probably roughly comparable in size to a Happy Meal today).

  • RedShirtMIT Cambridge, MA
    July 23, 2013 12:52 p.m.

    To "RanchHand" if we force businesses to pay a "living wage" for unskilled labor, do you know what some of the unintended consequences will be?

    I am going to say that you probably haven't thought about the consequences.

    1. You increase the teen unemployment numbers. Fewer jobs for teens (they don't need to earn as much since most of their expenses are covered by parents) means that you have fewer people prepared for jobs as adults. With fewer adults prepared for the work environment you have decreased productivity.

    2. Costs increase or else few people are hired to work. Think of your next trip to the craft store. Now, instead of 2 nice ladies cutting fabric, the store has cut one job so that they don't have to raise prices.

    3. Liveable wage soon becomes unlivable because everything else is now more expensive. Now, you repeat the cycle.

    4. Higher unemployment. Economists have found that increasing minimum wage leads to more unemployment. See "The Minimum Wage Delusion, And The Death Of Common Sense" in Forbes.

    That is just the beginning. Are you prepared for the consequences of your desires?

  • Lightbearer Brigham City, UT
    July 23, 2013 12:03 p.m.

    It seems as if you could sum up the philosophy of some people like this: "The poor can never have too little, and the rich can never have too much."

    The claim is laughable that paying workers as little as possible is actually for their own good. I doubt that workers see it that way, or do CEOs receive letters from workers thanking them for paying the bare minimum, and asking them to pay even less?

    Apparently, many think that the rich are industrious and virtuous and deserve everything they can get, while the poor are lazy and immoral and only deserve the crumbs from the table, if even that. So I wonder how many people actually believe that "a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven" or that "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God"?

  • Just an Observer Salt Lake City, UT
    July 23, 2013 11:22 a.m.

    I'll add my two cents. I knew a manager of a unionized grocery store years ago. He said that because the union forced certain wages at certain numbers of years of employment (effectively a minimum wage), but because the employee's actual value to the store in productivity did not increase commensurately, the only way he could deal with the increased wages was to reduce the number of hours the higher-paid employees worked. It sounds to me like the same concept a couple of others here are pointing out.

  • Universal Truth Salt Lake City, UT
    July 23, 2013 10:23 a.m.

    One commentor facetiously said perhaps there should be no minimum wage, but that is frankly correct. What you will find is that when businesses need to pay more to their employees to keep them from going elsewhere, they will--including to unskilled labor like teenagers; nobody is legally requiring In-N-Out to pay their teenage workers a starting wage of $10/hour, yet they do, and you can be assured altruism has little to do with it.

    Has no one here ever lost their job because their company cut workers or moved operations to an area with lower wages? Conversely, does no one here make more than the minimum wage? Businesses have a balance to maintain between wages paid and revenues earned. That's why my national firm has increased operations here in Utah (lower wages) and decreased them back East. It works the same for the lowest wages. If a business relies on the lowest-skilled, they have a target for what one job should be worth. If they are required to pay more than that, they will then simply make one person do the work of two or three.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    July 23, 2013 10:19 a.m.

    There is a definite correlation between lower or no state minimum wage laws and lower unemployment rates. According to data from the BLS and DOL, of the 10 states with the lowest unemployment figures, 9 either have no state minimum wage law, or their law is lower than or equal to the federal statute. Only 1 has a higher minimum wage law. Of the 10 locations (states plus the District of Columbia) with the highest unemployment rates, half have higher minimum wage laws.

    Higher wages drive the need to get by with fewer employees.

    With more money in their pockets, the employees would still buy goods that cost less to make and therefore have a lower selling price, ie, imports. The analogy you try to draw is a fairly tale.

    If you want to drive up wages, create a business friendly environment as they have in North Dakota. There is a labor shortage and very few work for minimum wage there. but rather than actually stoking the economic fires, BO and his cabal are busy dousing them.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    July 23, 2013 10:05 a.m.

    Australia's minimum wage is double that of the US and their unemployment rate is half that if the US.

    Card and Krueger from Princeton University did a study comparing youth unemployment in states that raised the minimum wage compared to states with a steady, lower minimum wage. They found that youth unemployment decreased when minimum wage was raised.

    Berman, the author if this editorial, is familiar with the Card and Krueger study, but doesn't like the methodology which focused on number of employees not number of hours - although I am unaware of why that would make a difference if the rate per hour is the same. Berman has never provided any peer-reviewed studies that contradict the findings of the Card and Krueger study. The study he references in this editorial talks about estimates, not facts.

    The hard data argues against the conclusion reached by the speculation of this editorial.

  • KDave Moab, UT
    July 23, 2013 9:00 a.m.

    I started working for 35 cents an hour. At that time that would buy me a hamburger , fries and a soda. Now min wage is $7.25. What do you pay for a combo meal at a fast food business?

  • Larry Chandler CEDAR CITY, UT
    July 23, 2013 8:23 a.m.

    There may be some instances of downside to raising the minimum wage, but the upside is far more compelling. Higher wages mean more purchasing power and that benefits all companies including those who would pay millions to their CEO while trying to cut wages and benefits for the most impoverished of their employees.

    It is immoral to pay people so little that they cannot afford health care, food, and even a home without public or private assistance.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    July 23, 2013 8:23 a.m.

    When will people realize that without paying people liveable wages that we are slowly killing the golden goose? The people who really create jobs aren't the richies but the consumers/workers. If the workers aren't being paid enough to become consumers, then the economy fails. You don't save your way out of a recession but spend your way out of it. Have we learned nothing from the Great Depression or Europe's failed austerity policy?

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 23, 2013 8:15 a.m.

    When a businessman presents an argument for or against government action, you can bet your booties that the object of discussion is from the business perceptive. The notion of wage increases killing jobs is as phony as a 3 dollar bill.

    The fact is that our system of wealth distribution in our society, our nation and even the world is broken. Meaning; that it is not working properly to maintain the existence of civilized human society.

    The loss of balance between the creation of wealth between wit and physical labor can only be fixed by government. Private enterprise is not going to change in any direction that reduces their profit advantages created by the imbalance.

    A possible solution would be for the government to hire every unemployed person at a proper wage to secure the rights of people to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    There’s plenty of work to be done in our society so they won’t be sitting idle. The cost for such a program would be put directly on business. Business would have the choice of paying the tax or hiring the worker. In either case we get full employment.

  • FreedomFighter41 Orem, UT
    July 23, 2013 7:58 a.m.

    Out of curiosity, does anyone here know what wages are for restaurant workers? It is $2.13 per hour. Now we wonder why so many are on food stamps and up to their necks in student loans? And this joke wants to get rid of this set wage? So it can be even lower???

    If we want to destroy what little is left of America, then we should follow this guy's advice.

    I'm just so frustrated with today's "job creators." How much is enough? What ever happened to Henry Ford's logic, keep your workers happy and well paid and they will become customers? Today's capitalists see their workers as cattle or slaves. The more you can get out of them and the less you compensate them, the better.

    When will the right realize that we aren't struggling because the rich aren't rich enough but that the rest of us lack the buyin power to jump start this economy?

  • Edgar Samaria, ID
    July 23, 2013 7:42 a.m.

    Let's first acknolw;edge that Secretary Perez's job is to be an advocate for American labor. Let's also acknowledge that private industry has the right to psy wahtever it wants, as long as it complies with national and local laws. 19 states have now enacted living wage laws that require companies to pay workers more than the national minimum wage.

    We have seen CEO and senior management compensation continue to increase over the past decades to where the average CEO now makes more than 500 times what the average meployyee makes. If an employee makes $30000 per year their CEO will make $15M. Of course there is a difference in the job assignments of these two but you get the drift of the trend. You could hire 500 workers by eleiminating just one person.

    Labor unions have lost influence over the past 3 decades and so one of the vehicles left to help labor is a minimum wage tied to inflation rates. Companies have to hire workers to do the work so if they have to pay more for labor, maybe they will have to reduce executive compensation, at least by a bit. Seems fair to me.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 23, 2013 7:41 a.m.

    When all businesses hike the wages of their employees it increases their costs. It also puts more money in the pockets of their customers thereby increasing sales. The minimum wage needs to be $10.50 just to get back to where it was in the sixties.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 23, 2013 7:22 a.m.

    Giving your employees a living wage vs giving all the profits in the company to the CEO.

    Hmm, such a difficult choice.

  • E & EE Ann arbor, MI
    July 23, 2013 7:21 a.m.

    Did you read the article CPrice and Utahwoody? It's pretty clear in the article why a minimum wage causes unemployment. But to recap:

    Raising the minimum wage makes it more costly (for employers) to hire workers at that price. Since these employers have thin profit margins (i.e. they are not making much money) increasing costs can easily wipe out their profits. Why do business if you're losing money? So to make up for it, employers have to raise prices or cut costs. For these kinds of employers, cutting costs usually means hiring fewer people. Thus higher unemployment for those people. And Utahwoody, those hundreds of thousands of people with low-wage jobs would not be lifted out of poverty. They would find themselves without a job.

    And CPrice, those locations mentioned are often the only places that teenagers are qualified to work at with their limited experience. That's why the author focuses on them. And why would someone with an entry level job be paid more? They have less experience and are generally less productive. So they are worth less to an employer.

    Basic economics.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    July 23, 2013 6:44 a.m.

    This is preposterous.

    An editorial attacking efforts to raise the minimum wage written by the "Economic Policy Institute." And what is the Economic Policy Institute?

    It's a Washington, DC public affairs firm owned by Rick Berman, who lobbies for the restaurant and hotel industries. Googling this guy is the ultimate eye-popping experience.

    The author of this editorial and the "institute" they work for are shills for low wage employers.

    Berman and Company are the same guys the tobacco industry hired in the 1990 to write editorials claiming that smoking isn't bad for you but that regulation of tobacco was.

    Here's what must be remembered: Worldwide, other developed nations have managed to mandate a living wage _and_ maintain unemployment rates that are lower than in the U.S.

  • Utahwoody Salt Lake City, UT
    July 23, 2013 2:15 a.m.

    By this logic there shouldn't be a minimum wage at all. There are advantages to a higher minimum wage. Hundreds of thousands of people who have low-wage jobs would be lifted out of poverty and the economy would be stimulated because lower-wage people would have more disposable income. And they would spend pretty much all of it. This would then create more jobs.

    Apparently the author favors the ever-widening gap between highest income and lowest income. If this trend continues there eventually won't be a middle class.

  • CPrice Orem, UT
    July 23, 2013 12:55 a.m.

    I dislike that notion that by paying our citizens more we are hurting our society, how is it possible for anyone to think that anyone living in America, or more specifically Utah, deserves to earn less money simply due to the fact that they are in an "entry level job". I feel it is note worthy that most teens who want summer jobs will work where ever they are able to; not just in the locations mentioned in the article. Also, and I do speak from personal experience, teens have summer jobs to allow them to have a small degree more of independence from their parents. If parents are willing and able to financially support their children that is great, however we should not place more strain on those teens and young adults that don't have parents that are able to support them by lowering or keeping their wages low. Finally, the notion that not having a summer job will hurt a teens economic standing is ridiculous! Anyone who wants to go far, can go far; is that not the essence of the American dream? So says this young adult of 23!