Comments about ‘Letters: Minimum wage’

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Published: Thursday, July 25 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

When government messes with economic matters, they usually make things worse. Such is the case with minimum wage laws. They sound good, but end up putting many people out of work, because businesses have to raise prices, hire fewer workers, or close the business.

Unskilled jobs are meant to be entry-level, not long-term. And entry-level jobs are a springboard to higher-paying jobs. But minimum wage laws interfere and DESTROY that springboard for many younger workers.

Yes, I understand that some adults keep unskilled jobs for the long-term. But another silent effect of artificially raising wages by mandate is that it also raises PRICES all around. So the resulting inflation means that the promised “greater purchasing power” is a cruel illusion for those adults.

Promoting minimum wage hikes makes people feel good and compassionate, especially if they ignore the principles of economics. But in reality these mandated wage hikes do a lot of damage to a lot of people, and to the economy in general, while making no true long-term positive difference.

Samaria, ID

Excellent idea. Certainly worth discussing.

Salt Lake City, UT


Your argument that increasing the minimum wage will inevitably raise prices is not supported by any real evidence.

To the contrary, research both within the US and abroad shows that you can indeed have both a livable minimum wage _and_ a strong job market.

Moreover, adjusted for inflation the minimum wage from 1980 would be above $10/hour today.

Let's also recognize the significant public costs associated with keeping wages low - it forces many people who already work full time to seek public assistance with food, housing and healthcare costs because their minimum wage jobs simply don't pay enough to cover these normal, everyday expenses.

If you want fewer people on welfare and food stamps, then stop endorsing wages that drive workers into those programs.

Finally, look at where the arguments against a minimum wage increase are coming from. In the case of yesterday's article, it was a from a "think tank" that was in reality merely a PR firm representing the hotels and restaurant industry.

Provo, UT

If we have a two-tiered system that pays adults more than teenagers it's not hard to figure out who will get hired and who won't.

Help adults get an education so they can get better paying jobs.

Salt Lake City, UT

Re: Blue: Often the arguments against increasing the minimum wage come from average, regular people like me, who recognize the destructive effects and false promises of this misguided policy. I’m in favor of a strong economy and more opportunities for more people. Therefore I’m opposed to a minimum wage increase.

The Hammer
lehi, utah

The largest contributer to the income gap is the federal reserve policy of keeping interest rates artificially low. These rates help large corporations get rich and then sit on the cash because they know that those rates will inevitably go back up and cause some deflation to take place as the market readjusts to the correct equilibrium.

Low rates make it hard for low and middle income families that depend on regular wages to pay the bills as the prices of all goods especially those at the grocery store go up.

Changing the minimum wage will only help inflation but kill the buying power as people compete for goods. Its time to level the playing field for all people and stop the policy of helping banks and the uber rich with the interest rate.

Salt Lake City, UT

Giving a cost incentive to not choose those older workers won't help.

Salt Lake City, UT

You talk about people hiring fewer workers or giving less hours. Well even if a company chooses to go that route, they would generally keep the same payroll anyway (24 hours at 9/hr vs 27 hours at 8/hr results in the same amount being given to workers). Letting companies pay below minimum wage by getting rid of it just means a lot more people will need 2nd jobs. That doesn't help anything.

Brigham City, UT

People deserve a living wage whether they're "better educated" or not. Perhaps they're already doing the best that they can. Just because a person is poorly educated doesn't mean that his hunger or his need for clothing or shelter is any less than that of somebody with a better education. And it may not even be an issue of education. We don't know everybody's circumstances. There are many different kinds of people in many different situations working minimum wage jobs.

"No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the greater part of the members are poor and miserable. It is but equity, besides, that they who feed, cloath and lodge the whole body of the people, should have such a share of the produce of their own labour as to be themselves tolerably well fed, cloathed, and lodged" - Adam Smith, "The Wealth of Nations," Book I, Chapter VIII.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Companies that pay a fair wage, like Costco, are prospering mightily. There's a lesson in that.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

there is a difference between what you need and what you deserve.

You should quote your Adam Smith book to BO and his cabal. BO's trickle-up poverty is not good for anyone.

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

This idea is certainly worth discussion. First step, though, is simply to raise the minimum wage.

The Hammer
lehi, utah

@Irony GUy

Costco is a large company that has a competitive advantage in the market. Labor costs for them are not hard to meet when there is a low margin expectation.

Local grocery stores dont have the economies of scale luxury that costco does to offer those types of wages.

But you do make a good point that companies which do offer good wages usually keep better employees which usually helps their bottom line. The problem is minimum wage severly harm small business and start up businesses. There is no economy of scale there that they are able to draw from.

The minimum wage maybe a good idea for large corporations who try to abuse the economies of scale but would be bad for small business.

Cambridge, MA

TO "Larry Tippetts" that is a nice idea, but all it accomplishes is getting businesses to fire older workers in favor of teenage kids.

To "Blue" what do you mean there is no evidence supporting the claim that raising minimum wage makes things more expensive? Why do you think businesses look overseas for labor? Your ilk constantly says that businesses go overseas because of cheaper labor. Why would a company want cheaper labor if labor doesn't change the cost of things? So, either your liberals are wrong about why businesses are going over seas or you are wrong about raising labor rates making things cost more.

Brigham City, UT

Re: "You should quote your Adam Smith book to BO ..."

I'm confident that the President already believes that "they who feed, cloath and lodge the whole body of the people" - that is, that those who actually cook the burgers, clean the tables, and take the money at the cash register; those who sit at the sewing machines and serve customers in the department stores; and those who clean the bathrooms, change the beds, and carry the luggage in a hotel "should have such a share of the produce of their own labour as to be themselves tolerably well fed, cloathed, and lodged."

Somehow, those at the top deserve every supersized salary, every astronomical bonus, and every platinum-plated golden parachute they can grab - in fact, they should be congratulated on it - while the lowly employees at the bottom, who do all the dirty work, without which there would be no product and no profit, don't even deserve enough to live on, and if they do somehow manage to negotiate a decent wage and benefits, they are castigated for ruining the economy.

Cambridge, MA

To "Lightbearer" let me summarize what you are saying about the wages that you feel should be paid to people with little to no skill.

"From Each according to their ability, to each according to their need"

Why is it that somebody with no unique skills should be paid more than value that their skills contribute to profitability of the store?

Salt Lake City, UT

We would not need minimum wags laws if workers were unionized, or in other words had representation. Absent such employers will pay labor as little as possible, sometimes to the degree that survival of an individual or family is threatened. The market under capitalism has demonstrated that it cannot be trusted all of the time to give human beings what they need. If you need proof, just look at the last 5 years. The minimum wage was established during the Great Depression when an adequate wage was a matter of life and death. This is only a little less so now.

Cambridge, MA

To "marxist" workers do have representation. There is nothing stopping an worker from representing themselves and getting the best contract possible. Most unions do little more than extort money from the business owners to fill the union officials wallets.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

I believe minimum wage increases should be held directly proportional to increases in college tuititon.

That way a college graduate can always expect to earn more than his undereducated minimum wage warning peers, and less likely to default on ten's of thousands of student loans while STILL only making minimum wage.

They can then move out of Mom and dad's basement, buy a house, and contubute to the tax base and help build the economy.

But Republicans don't like increasing wages, taxes, OR education.

Cambridge, MA

To "LDS Liberal" I think the logic train is stuck at the station for you.

If minimum wage is proportional to college tuition, a college graduate with a less desirable degree will still make as much as "his undereducated minimum wage warning peers". He is no more likely or unlikely to default on student loans because, thanks to Congress and Obama, student loan payback is limited to a set percent of a person's income, then the loan is forgiven after 20 years.

Why continue to coddle them more by forcing government to pay them for doing nothing.

FYI, they won't be buying a house, which doesn't add to the tax base, but keeps taxes out of the hands of government through tax incentives on mortgages. Keeping them single and in their parents' basement is best because as a single adult they pay higher tax rates, have fewer deductions, and tend to waste more money than married people.

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