Comments about ‘Will the real minimum-wage worker please stand up?’

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Published: Monday, March 4 2013 4:55 p.m. MST

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Provo, UT

Arguments over who benefits the most from an increase in the minimum wage are irrelevant to this issue. Jobs at McDonalds' and the Gap arent intended to support a family. Thats is the cold hard reality. Those that take such jobs to support a family on need to look for better employment and consider other options.

The issue can be phrased as follows:

Should a single 16 year old kid or a 20 year old single adult earn the amount of money it takes a single mother of 4 to provide for her family because he works at the same business she does? This issue is being distorted by proponents of increasing the minimum wage.

Of course less than 17 percent of minimum wage earners work less than 20 hours a week.

First, because employers dont have a financial interest in employing multiple employees for less than 20 hours a week. Employing two employees at 10 hours each instead of one employee at 21 hours costs them more money. Second, because part time employee wont or cant work less than 4 hours or more than 6 hour shifts several times a week. Thats common sense.

Barstow, CA

What about the High School graduate who wants to go to college, but doesn't want to do it by going into debt and who isn't given more than 15 hours a week? There are so many different scenarios...

Barstow, CA

@dwayne: you wrote "Employing two employees at 10 hours each instead of one employee at 21 hours costs them more money."

I have always believed that, however, my daughter's employer keeps hiring more people and gives them less than 20 hours. The reason we found in the employees handbook: when an employee works more than 20 hours, they accrue vacation time and sick leave. Hiring multiple employees and giving them less than 20 hours saves them money. They know they can get away with it because people will take the job. A lousy job is still better than no job.

Iowa, Iowa

Whenever you increase the cost of employees you increase the incentive to automate and get rid of employees.
Think of the auto industry--robots everywhere because of the labor costs. Make it too expensive to have people and they will invent more machines to get rid of them.
That does not even begin to address Obamacare and limiting hours so they don't have to offer healthcare.

Centerville, UT

It's really simple. Raise the minimum wage, businesses hire fewer workers. How can the President of the United States of America know so little about economics??? Does he think that businesses have a vault with cash in the back room that they are just selfishly hoarding? Honestly!

On a much larger scale, the President and the American Left constantly aim so low. Does the server at the diner in Cleveland or the cashier at the grocery store in Bakersfield really want to be secure in THAT job? Or do we still aim for something better in America? Does the server maybe want to own their own diner one day or the cashier their own grocery store?? How about focusing on creating opportunity instead of trying to keep people hemmed into jobs that will never make the financially free?

Murray, UT

What's better, pay a man/woman a fair wage, or let the taxpayer pay them through the earned income credit. A higher minimum wage helps to increase everyone's wages. The only way wages will come into line is through a raise in minimum wage. We have to much surplus labor for a labor shortage to force wages higher.

South Jordan, UT

The myth that businesses will hire fewer workers is just untrue. Businesses will hire as many workers as they need to meet the demand of their product or service. No more, no less. And if they have to pay them more, they are still going to hire them, because that is what it takes to meet their demand. Maybe that means less profit at the top. Maybe it means higher prices for consumers. But one way or the other, the demand will get met. Because some profit is still better than no profit.

All honest work deserves a living wage. And I don't care if it is a teenager wanting some extra cash for designer jeans and electronics. Those things boost the economy, too! Raising the minimum wage is a good thing for everyone who is in the economy.

Salt Lake City, UT

It is always interesting, in discussions on this topic, to observe the wide range of rationalizations used by employers who are determined to constantly tap-dance around the real issue: their own Greed. "Minimum wage is only meant for teenagers," they dumbly assert. "If you're a teenager, and you're working at or near minimum wage, it's because you are lacking in ambition." Bla Bla Bla. The fact is, there are more college graduates working at or near minimum wage than ever; more than half of those working minimum wage are adults, and more than half of these are older than 25. Those numbers may not agree with Mark's Wilson's statistic, but that may be because they don't have children -- how could they, at minimum wage?

Albert Maslar CPA (Retired)
Absecon, NJ

As to differing groups looking at statistics with differing assumptions, figures don't lie but liars figure to make their case. The point is that if more jobs were available, the market would correct itself upward or downward without undue government interference. A low paying job beats no job. I paid my way through college by first working and saving for two years 1947-1949, and then worked on various jobs while in school and took mainly labor intensive summer jobs from a previous employer to keep the ball rolling. My tuition and board came to about $2,000 a year, with no debt. Today's annual college costs for the same thing could reach $40,000 a year, requiring college loans that without jobs might never be paid off. This circumstance is too debilitating to our young. College courses by computer while working may be something to take more seriously.

Say No to BO
Mapleton, UT

Busboys, chamber maids, laborers, lawn mowers...will all tell you a minimum wage law won't help as long as people are willing to hire someone without papers and pay them under the table.
Not that such a scenario would ever happen here in the United States. No sir. Homeland Security will tell you that doesn't happen. Too much enforcement for such a thing to take place here.
Besides, low-skilled Americans wouldn't stoop to do those jobs.
Blinders on - narrative firmly in place.

Barb Wire

The minimum wage worker here in Utah is the high school teen working for extra money, but it is also a dad or mom working 2 jobs on minimum wage to support their family. They have to work two jobs because the business owners keep their hours down as to not have to pay benefits. Alot of the people in the small town that I live in (more than half) also receive financial support from the LDS church. So everything is not hunky dory as we are lead to believe...I think Utah business owners believe that a family can survive on minimum wage and the LDS Church.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Just raise it already. No credible study has showed that it hurts the economy. While there are several credible studies done which have actually showed the opposite.

Say What?
Bountiful, UT

Flat Tax is the Answer

The best way to increase the income of the lower class is not to raise minimum wage, but to raise taxes on those earning minimum wage and close to it, and at the same time lower taxes on the top 1%. This is called a flat tax. This will make the poor so miserable and being super rich so sweet, the poor will then aspire to become super rich themselves.

Taylorsville, UT

Re. Kathy at Iowa:

You raise a good point: higher wages lead to greater efficiency, and vise versa. And this may hold true whether due to a natural labor shortage or one artificially induced through legislation. High unemployment is a byproduct of an upwardly mobile economy. Through economic stagnation Soviet Russia was able to eliminate unemployment, while Cuba was not.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Until someone can repeal the law of supply and demand, all of this is social engineering feel good nonsense.

If a worker is really good, they will be paid more, or find a better paying job. If an employer needs more workers, they will pay more.

Government mandates that a warm body must be paid $[x.xx] per hour may temporarily raise wages for some workers, but other laws of economics mandate that the costs of those higher wages will be reflected in higher costs for the products they make, and the net benefit is zero.

A lousy economy is what you get when you have lawyers and social workers (and outright socialists) meddling in business instead of letting the free market work.

"We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us" was the mantra of the Communist countries and we see how well that worked out.

Minimum wage laws should be repealed, not revised.

Sandy, UT

Why don't we just set $20.00 as the new minimum wage? That should solve all of our problems. Of course, in a year or two, $20.00 will buy the same amount or less than $7.75 does today. To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction

Centerville, UT

Some of these comments surprise me. Somebody has to work at McDonalds and the Gap and be the server at the diner in Cleveland or the cashier at the grocery store in Bakersfield. They may not have the ambition you think they should, but we should still treat them fairly. It does no good to say they should get a better job. I imagine that if they could get a better job, they would. And if they did, somebody else would have to fill their dead-end job. How we treat people who don't have the skills to get better jobs says a lot about who we are. This is about us, not them.

And A1994, the economic conclusions you hold to be self-evident are actually much disputed.

SLC gal
Salt Lake City, UT

The thing is adults - especially those with families - shouldn't attempt to support their kdis on min. wage. It's basic economics that if your current job doesn't pay you enough, look for a new one! It's not hard!

Funny thing is the more wages go up, the more everything else increases in price too.

Dietrich, ID

Minimum wage raises will cause prices to go higher. Why should a business be forced to pay someone 10 dollars for 5 dollars work. Are you willing to pay higher prices with minimum wage increases?

Provo, UT

Barb Wire,

Theres a famous line that goes like this, "cry me a river." A dad or mom working two jobs just to provide for their family should be embarrassed and ashamed. They likely need a lot more humility and less pride combined with common sense. Working 2 jobs shouldnt be a permanent state and it definitely shouldnt be a situation for someone with a family. Its time for them to look at their options and get their life in order. It may studying for their college degree, relocating or taking a job that they find beneath them but they made their choices in life and they need to live with them and handle them the best they can. As for your small town. Thats anecdotal and mostly irrelevant except to point out that instead of moving to where they can find jobs they would prefer a religion to care for them like their parents did. They need to grow up and stop acting and thinking like children.

Businesses dont think a family can survive on minimum wage. Businesses dont employ people at a wage families can live on. They pay them what the job is worth.

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