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Comments about ‘Minimum wage workers can't afford their rent’

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Published: Wednesday, March 20 2013 5:45 p.m. MDT

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Gr8Dane
Tremonton, UT

Guess what? Minimum wage was never meant to be a "living wage!" It s a starter wage. If we made entry-level jobs "living wage" jobs, then a Big Mac would cost $10. Sorry, but that's reality. Minimum wage folks need to recognize the value of education and training. And take advantage of the myriad programs out there that help poor people get education. It's the middle class (the middle class curse) that is struggling with paying for school; the poor seem to have all kinds of Pell Grants and gov't provided assistance.

spring street
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

Gr8dane
So these people that cannot put a riff over their families heads and/or feed their families need to concentrate on getting a higher education? Do you have any sea what it means to live with shelter and food insecurity for not just you but your children?
As for the Big Mac comment the only reason they would need to go to10.00 would be due to coporate greed that tells them they deserve grand sums of profit.

spring street
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

Sorry for the misspells. Trappings of using a phone it was suppose to be roof not riff and idea not sea.

Gr8Dane
Tremonton, UT

Corporate greet? Yea, that's the only reason a Big Mac cost would swell to $10? No, economics 101 is that a company must make a profit or go out of business. If their labor costs triple, then the cost of their product must do so as well. They're already reeling under the forced costs of Obamacare. Five-Guys hamburger chain, for example, has said it will have to increase the costs of its burgers by as much as a dollar apiece in order to cover just the new costs of Obama care.

We can rail against those big, nasty evin corporations all day long (you know. those same entities that provide jobs and products we all use and need). But it won't negate the basic law of economics.

I'm sorry for those who struggle making ends meet. I've been there myself. But I don't feel sorry for myself, but try to better my situation with the tools the Good Lord has given me. And that is self-respect primarily.

spring street
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

@gr8dane

Basic economics do not dicttate that. Coorperations pull in record level profit (the money they pocket after paying their business expenses) while flattening out the wages of their workers (also known as consumers). We have seen time and again what happens when corporate greed leads to high concentrations of wealth, it inevadibly leads to recession. It's simple cause (less people with the money to buy your products) and effect (decreased profit) to which corporations respond by further cutting or flattening wages and cycle goes on.

Say No to BO
Mapleton, UT

The free market will punish those who make too much profit. If McDonald's tries to charge more, Dee's will be there to entice the customers. Or Sonic. Or Hires. And the market creates the winners and losers.
Enter government, telling them how much they will pay their people, adding taxes and mandating health care programs....and viola!...prices go up.
The USA has the highest corporate taxes in the world (tied with Japan).
Corporations don't pay taxes; people do.
The narrative is that those big-bad-fat cats are getting rich on profits.
Well, take gasoline for example. The oil companies get around 4% profit...but they never talk about the motor fuel taxes you pay on every gallon. That puts the corporate barons to shame.

dalefarr
South Jordan, Utah

I do not understand why the comments on minimum wage jobs often display their dislike for workers who can only earn a minimum wage. These people work hard and to not have the personal connections that many of us used make a living. Further, they do not have investment income or surplus funds so that they can make money by doing deals in the free enterprise system. Raising the minimum wage increases the cost of a Big Mac by a little but not much and higher wages means more Big Mac's are purchased.

killpack
Sandy, UT

dalefarr,

I do not hold minimum wage earners in contempt. They don't make federal law. I hold politicians who want to maintain or raise the minimum wage in the HIGHEST of contempt. Minimum wage HURTS the poorest individuals in this world the most. Because of minimum wage, many who are willing to work for less than the minimum wage, now cannot work at all. It is an evil practice used by corrupt politicians to gain cheap approval points from the ill-informed masses at the expense of the poorest individuals who walk this earth.

m.g. scott
LAYTON, UT

Believing as I do in the free market, I think that when a service or product is good, people will pay a certain amount for it. The better the hamberger, the more they will pay. Just like with cars, people will pay more for a better car, even if it really does not do anything that the cheap car won't, namely get someone from one place to another. Therefore, the cheapest hamberger chains probably can't pay more than minimum, whereas the better quality food resturants will pay more per hour for good employees. And that's the key, GOOD EMPLOYEE. A good employee won't stay at a minimum level for long unless they have absolutely no ambition. Simple as that. Let the market place decide wages, not government.

Danish American
Payson, UT

Spring Street just doesn't get it. I would try to explain again but it would be hopeless. I would suggest reading Dr. Thomas Sowell and Dr. Walter Williams for very good, comprehensive analysis of minimum wage. As for greedy corporations, I have a retirement account which if it wasn't for greedy corporations would be worthless. These large corporations are owned by individuals, retirement plans, and others. And if you look at most corporations financial statements very few make more than 10 to about 30 cents after taxes for every dollar they earn. So Spring Street, educate yourself and get out of the low information profile.

killpack
Sandy, UT

Danish American,

Thank you for making what I feel to be a very excellent point. A large, for-profit enterprise that has 10% profit margins is considered a well run business. It is very difficult in the extremely competitive business environment in which we live, despite government protections and regulations attempting to lessen that competitiveness, to beat 10% as a large business. The oft vilified Walmart earns 6%, before taxes, of every sale it makes. That means 94 cents of every dollar that goes into a Walmart register goes to someone other than Walmart shareholders. The six cents left over are then taxed at the corporate income tax rate. And who are those shareholders that get all of the leftovers? As you've pointed out, they are millions of individuals trying to save up for retirement, investing in pensions, mutual funds, etc. Yet, for some reason our society vilifies these individuals for not blowing their money and investing it instead in things like Walmart so they can retire a little sooner. Unreal.

spring street
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

@danish

It's not a lack of understanding it our argument it is a lack of being convinced by your weak reasoning that is the issue.

George
New York, NY

@danish american, Gr8dane

it seems to me spring street is not having trouble understanding your "101" explanations as much as they have advanced beyond swooning over overly simplistic theories that fail in practice. trickle down like all other theories look great on paper but fall for short of their lofty aspirations when applied in the real world.

not here
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO

Re: say no to bo :

If you were to some checking, and not just start spouting off things not real sure of, then you would no that the gas tax go's to the state and the feds. And from that tax it is used to fix and build roads. But hey it's your story tell it like you want.

statman
Lehi, UT

Not too many economists here...

Creating an artificial price floor for labor is the LAST thing in the world the 'working poor' want. Doing so does one thing - it makes employers hire fewer of them. What economics ACTUALLY tells us about wages is that businesses are willing to pay workers only up to the amount that the worker can produce. When an employer faces an opportunity city to hire a worker who can produce $9 worth of output in an hour, but has to pay that worker $10 per hour, the employer declines to hire the worker. He'll make do with workers he already has, and he'll force them all to be productive enough to create $10 in output per hour. If they can't he starts laying people off...

There's a Latin phrase 'reductio ad absurdum' that describes way to test the logic and validity of an argument. Take it to an absurd extreme and if it still makes sense you might be onto something. If higher minimum wages simply equate to better conditions for the working poor, why stop at $10? If more is better, why not make the minimum wage $1000 an hour. That'd be better, right?

jrgl
CEDAR CITY, UT

Why is no one here talking about the real issue of rents increasing?
Instead the comments are only focusing on minimum wage.
Wages are flat and productivity has increased.
We get it, corporations aren't in the business of creating good paying full time jobs with health benefits. They are in it for the bottom line and to satisfy their investors.
All of you whining about how the cost of a burger will increase if minimum wage is increased stop to consider the stratospheric rise of CEO pay compared with those earning minimum wage (or even $8, $10, $12 or $14 an hour wages). The minimum wage, if increased to what CEO pay has increased to in recent years would be $33 an hour!
Rents are just too expensive for many in America! People are doubling up or moving in with family or never moving out of the family home in the first place.

Fred44
Salt Lake City, Utah

Say NO to BO,

The American Petroleum institute says that earning in 2011 were 6 cents on every dollar of gasoline purchased. That is the profit on the retail end and does not account for the profit on the production end which most experts say is significantly higher. Don't feel to bad for the oil companies they are not going broke anytime soon.

The real issue that the far right never likes to talk about is the % increase in management wages in the last 30 years to the % increase in other employee wages. Corporate profits are at there highest levels in years, and wages are flat.

The old business model was to provide a good product, hire good people and take care of them and you can make a nice profit. This model is being replaced by a model where you pay only what you have to employees and squeeze every dollar out of the company you can for yourself. Providing a quality product and taking care of your employees is bad business because it cuts into your profit.

Not every business operates this way, but the old model is quickly disappearing.

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

...and when Park City has a lovely shanty town just outside city limits to provide workers like they do in South Africa, rent shouldn't be a problem anymore. Conservative economic paradise.

dwayne
Provo, UT

Let's summarize this article. Rent for a one bedroom have gone up from an average of $735 to $1,100 or in other words rent is such a single person could afford rent at minimum wages and either have between $142.40 and $505.60 left over after paying rent.

The $505.60 is based on the minimum wage and $735 rent and them working full time and the $142 is based on the fact that a person would stupidly choose to rent a house at $1,100 a month while earning minimum wage but being single they could easily do this and live off of $4.58 a day for food and other essentials including utilities. It would require the fool to budget more strictly but if they want a really expensive one bedroom all to themselves than so be it.

As for married people. They need to both get jobs and then they would be able to have upwards of $1,011.20 in wages after rent (excluding taxes). If they have children they need to reassess. One works, other learns and vice versa to improve income or they move in with relatives until they improve incomes.

Danish American
Payson, UT

George: Certainly the great state of New York is a shining example for the rest of us. If the "new" economics that New York espouses and forces onto companies worked, you would certainly be in better shape. The only thing that saves you is the financial industry is too entrenched to move.

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