Comments about ‘In our opinion: Those without skills will always struggle, regardless of the minimum wage’

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Published: Monday, Sept. 2 2013 11:23 a.m. MDT

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LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

"...$7.25 an hour to $15. President Obama has proposed raising it to $9 an hour. The president's opponent in his re-election campaign, Mitt Romney, said he would support having the wage keep pace with inflation. Had we done that, the wage would now be about $11 an hour."

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Interesting...
So, why are the Romney supporters against ANY raise in the minimum wage.
When Romney proposed $2 and hour higher than Obama's?

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

This editorial is way off the mark.

There is zero evidence to support the belief that adjusting the minimum wage to give it the same buying power in real dollars that it did in the 1970's would dramatically raise the price of a Big Mac or a Whopper. What objective research there is does conclude that those items might cost an extra 15 to 25 cents with a $10 minimum wage.

What is missing from your editorial is any mention of the impact that low wages are having on the health of our economy. They force more people to rely on food stamps and other forms of government assistance. Your super-cheap goods at Walmart are in effect being subsidized by tax dollars. I'd just as soon pay the extra buck and know that my desire for a low price isn't driving the working poor even farther into poverty than they already are.

I urge you to Google an August 19th Washington Post Business article, "The U.S. has a $7.25 minimum wage. Australia’s is $16.88" and read-up on this subject for yourself.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Overall, I agree. Increasing skills is the way to go. But some have few options because of intransigent issues. Do we raise wages for them but not the others? If we give it to all, do we really feel that most not in such a predicament (the teenagers and such) are really worth $15/hr.?

One point from the article "Congress, which can't seem to agree on any economic issue, is in no danger of acting on this any time soon." There is an understatement.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

"Those without marketable job skills will always struggle no matter the minimum wage"! If the opposite were true, it would do no good to obtain an education, learn any skills, put forth any effort for self improvement or strive for a better life because those who do not will get the same rewards as those who do and our society, our economy and our nation would collapse. Can't produce wealth from the government printing presses forever! Someone has to produce something of value! N. Korea, Cuba, Somalia, Detroit, et are examples!

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

Here we go again with the same old, you can't raise the minimum wage or you'll either wreck the economy or destroy millions of jobs, argument. Somewhere today you'll see the "well why stop at $15, why not $30, or $100". Yet over time the minimum wage has been raised either in response to labor pressure or some other agreement such as inflation, and yes there have been some individual specific adjustments by particular businesses or industries, but here we are in 2013 and there are still millions of minimum wage jobs, and an economy that hasn't been destroyed because a fast food worker makes $6 an hour. In fact we have an economy that now thrives on most getting nothing (sort of) and others getting it all (sort of). What an increase in the minimum wage actually harms is that paradigm, and it actually seems like a good thing. Conservatives long everything in the good old days except an economy where the wealth was shared.

micawber
Centerville, UT

Of course those without skills are going to suffer economically. But our economy needs some unskilled laborers. Someone has to perform those tasks. The [working] poor will always be with us. We should treat them better than we do.

Also, the editorial recognizes that there are economists on both sides of this issue, yet on its key premise, cites only James Sherk of the Heritage Foundation.

There probably are better ways to help the working poor. Let's carefully explore them. But until we figure that out, let's pay our unskilled workers a little better.

KDave
Moab, UT

If we double the minimum wage, in reality we just cut the value of the dollar in half. We would need twice as many dollars to buy everything from a hamburger to a gallon of gas.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The middle class jobs of the 1940's, 50's, 60's, 70's etc. were not high skilled jobs. They were routine jobs that paid enough for one average high school educated man to earn enough to buy a house, and support a family on one income alone. They paid that much because our political and business leaders had determined that having the U.S. be a middle-class nation was the best way to avoid the fates of Germany, Italy, Russia, China, etc. People who are economically desperate will follow any demagogue who offers them a better life. Prosperous middle class people will support their moderate democratic government.

We are losing our middle class which puts us at risk for all of those dangers that the post war generation of leaders tried so hard to avoid.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

What did we read in the news the other day? Unemployment among teenagers is about 75% in America, an all time record high! And some of you can't figure out why? Well, let me help you. Minimum wage jobs are for entry level people will no demonstrable job skills, like teenagers and every time the minimum wages are forced up, the unemployment numbers for teenagers goes right up with it! Duhhh! Where will your teenager get any work experience?

Gildas
LOGAN, UT

Actually it is by doubling the money supply that we cut the dollar in half. an increase of $2 in the minimum wage would not double the amount of money in circulation, but would likely raise it by a more modest amount.

Then there are possible unintended consequences: people who cheerfully thought they were at least getting a couple of dollars an hour in excess of the minimum wage, suddenly find out they are minimum wage employees. Then they think they had better get a raise or go elsewhere for work. Wages would go up in other jobs then, and that raises inflation another notch.

I find it hard to either support or oppose a national minimum wage. It is a pity that any full-time working person is living at or below the poverty line, not having enough to support his family. At the same time there is some inflationary effect which hurts everyone not on minimum wage. Then again minimum wage may be sufficient for people in some regions, more than sufficient in other parts, and inadequate in areas with a high cost of living which then leads to a higher (state) minimum.

Gildas
LOGAN, UT

Yet there are other inflationary forces at work that are not so readily regarded.

While we need a certain number of accountants, teachers etc whose productivity does not directly create any material product, any superflous job, any extraneous employee, any topheavy administration, unproductive or counter-productive worker does have an inflationary effect on the economy. Whether it's idle hands in a factory or a superflous bureaucrat (a certain number are of course necessary), a mishievous lawyer, or any other category of economic superfluity or hindrance. We must produce profitably and have a basic minimum of support personnel. The wages and salaries of superflous persons produce extra wages but no valuable contribution is made to the economy.

Anticipating a possible argument that the retired are in the category of "superflous" we must always remember, and retain in remembrance, that on retirement they receive back their own, with interest to protect the value of their contribution, through employer and government programs, that they might otherwise have received in higher wages in their working lives.

Mike in Cedar City
Cedar City, Utah

Yes DMN, and the "poor will always be with you"... Was that a prophecy or an indictment? The minimum wage is not in line with todays costs. And, the economic mobility that used to he a hallmark of the American economy is almost a fond memory. So, what do we do DMN, let them eat cake?

Roger Terry
Happy Valley, UT

"government-imposed wage levels lead to unintended consequences."

Are you saying that the government-imposed $7.25 minimum wage leads to unintended consequences, or that a government-imposed $9.00 minimum wage would lead to unintended consequences? What consequences? And how do they differ? Or are you implying that allowing the market to dictate wages would lead to intended consequences? Intended by whom? By those who already rake in the lion's share of the wealth?

"Either the price of fast food would rise substantially, or restaurants would find ways to cut costs through automation or other means."

But fast food prices have risen substantially while the minimum wage has remained constant. Perhaps those "other means" might include not paying CEOs far more than they are worth. McDonald's, for instance, just tripled the pay of its CEO in spite of falling sales. But they can't afford to pay their workers an extra buck an hour? Or two? Right.

And telling low-skill workers to get a better education and improve their marketability is disingenuous. There aren't enough high-skill, high-paying jobs to go around. But there are quite a few low-skill, low-paying jobs.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

It seems like the local police always side with the business operators when there is a conflict with people, especially workers. Could it be that local police are predisposed to favor the people who control their pay.

The really big falsehood in this case is that there is such a thing as a free market in employment by business operations. A market that is ripe with obstacles to fair competition such as skills that can only be gained by the rules of businessmen, and a population of workers beyond the territory of the business operation cannot be called a free market.

Further, even the voices of business operations say that a person on welfare has greater wages and benefits than the current minimum wage. Why should a person take a lower pay when a greater pay is available.

FreedomFighter41
Provo, UT

Yawn.

More of the promoting of the same myths about min wage despite being debunked time after time after time.

Raise the min wage.

RBB
Sandy, UT

It would be nice if everyone made more. However, if you raise wages without raising productivityn someone has to pay. Some business owners are making plenty and can easily afford to pay more. Others are struggling to keep thier doots open. If you have 10 emploees, a $2/hr raise is $40, 000 a year. That will put some companies under. So some will benefit making $9+/hr and some will lose their jobs.

A better approach is to get the economy going again. Demand raises pay but not artificially like the minimum wage. High demand increases productivity and everyone wins. Of course this requires undoing most of the current and former administrations' policies.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The only way for America to survive the onslaught of internal trauma such as poverty and economic oppression is to find a new way to distribute the wealth created by the people. The old way of just robbing the people by commerce is not working. People all over the world having reached the bottom of the barrel are faced with the choice of fight for change or die of starvation.

A benevolent government of the people would calculate the true cost of the American dream and propose a minimum wage to achieve that goal.

A smart and proper government would not impose the minimum wage to be paid by private business but would lead the nation by example.

The government would simply hire every citizen who wanted a job, at the minimum wage. There’s plenty of work to be done in keeping our society alive and up to date. The probable result of a zero unemployment and proper wages would be a thriving economy with great benefit to business operations and persons of skill.

Business would fulfill its true mission to society and still provide opportunities for business and people to prosper from their own efforts.

Steve C. Warren
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT

The Deseret News observes that more than half of those receiving minimum wage or less are age 25 and younger. Fair enough. But let's be more specific about who are the people who are age 25 and younger in Utah: They are young marrieds, college graduates, returned missionaries, members of the armed services, young construction workers, etc. Is it really OK to pay these people $7.25 an hour or less?

Lightbearer
Brigham City, UT

Re: "... if you raise wages without raising productivity someone has to pay."

The minimum wage hasn't kept pace with productivity.

According to a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (March 2012):

"If the minimum wage had continued to move with average productivity after 1968, it would have reached $21.72 per hour in 2012."

Senator Elizabeth Warren asked Dr. Arindrajit Dube, "a University of Massachusetts Amherst professor who has studied the economic impacts of minimum wage":

"'So my question is Mr. Dube, with a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, what happened to the other $14.75? It sure didn't go to the worker.'

"Dube went on to note that if minimum wage incomes had grown over that period at the same pace as it had for the top 1 percent of income earners, the minimum wage would actually be closer to $33 an hour than the current $7.25" (Huffington Post, March 18, 2013).

KJB1
Eugene, OR

Oregon's minimum wage has been among the highest in the nation for as long as I've been working (I attended Ricks College in the early '90s and remember blowing away my classmates when I told them I earned $5.25 an hour at my summer job.) We've been subject to the same economic up and downs as the rest of the country, but our burgers still get flipped and our shelves still stay stocked. Our minimum wage went up to $8.95 at the beginning of the year, and we haven't fallen into the ocean yet.

The idea that raising minimum wage hurts anything is a Heritage Foundation myth designed to make business owners feel better about making their employees eat cake. Unless the CEO of McDonald's is willing to start working a cash register himself, "low-skill" workers are absolutely necessary for "job creators" to grow their wealth. Maybe there was a time when minimum wage workers were mainly teenagers saving to buy their first car, but times change and the minimum wage needs to change along with them.

Hate to break it to you, DN, but we can't all be Mitt Romney...

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