Comments about ‘In our opinion: Don't raise the minimum wage’

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Published: Monday, Dec. 9 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Raising the minimum wage will not have the effect that proponents think. For most service businesses wages are the highest variable cost and to maintain their profitability those services will simply have to do the same amount of work with fewer people. Most profitable businesses that employee minimum wage workers make only 7 to 15% net profit and will have to adjust the employee count to continue being profitable. So, if minimum wage goes up 40% they will have to lay off 40% of minimum wage employees AND ask the remaining employees to do 40% more work.

I think it is crazy for people to complain that they are not being paid what they are worth. Of course employees are generally not paid what they are worth! Think about it, if a business paid you what you are worth then there is no sense in having you as an employee because you generate NO profit!

Mainly Me
Werribee, 00

I'm an American living in Australia and I can tell you that the high minimum wage doesn't work. Most casual workers make $21/hr, but it simply isn't enough. The average cost of living is very high and it still takes two incomes to rent a home, let alone own one. Food is astronomical (for 4 people I spend $1000/month and I don't eat junk), gas is $6/gallon, rent in Sydney averages $2800/month for a 3 bed home, etc., etc. When you raise the minimum wage, you get a corresponding raise in the cost of everything else, so it makes absolutely no difference in buying power.

Raising the minimum wage simply doesn't work.

Murray, UT

"In market economies, wages are determined by the productivity of labor."

Sadly, the market has been flooded with legal and illegal immigrants (1 million green cards a year, plus 3.2 million work visas, good for 3-6 years)during a recession when over 26 million were looking for full time work. It's no longer supply and demand, wages have been depressed.

According to the CRS report for Congress, the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation since it was established in 1938. To equal the purchasing power of 1968 our minimum wage would need to be increased by $2.87 (36%). Australia, France, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and Japan all have higher minimum wages than the US. If we want to close the gap between rich and poor, this would be a good start.

Michael Matthews
Omaha, NE

Well... I was hoping for some article that gave some solid reasons for why we shouldn't raise the minimum wage. Unfortunately this one seems to say "because experts say so." Not good enough argument for me.

Salt Lake City, UT

Since you see fit to mention comparisons of the minimum wage from the past, you should also note that the inflation-adjusted minimum wage of 1968 was $10.50 and yet the economy did quite well.

By arguing to not raise the minimum wage you are in reality arguing to force millions of people to live on incomes so low that they must turn to public assistance programs in order to keep a roof over their heads or feed their children. The government thus has to provide what these workers' wages cannot. You are quite literally using public tax dollars to subsidize corporations who make their money from the labor of low-wage employees.

Corporate profits, cash reserves, share prices and executive salaries are at record highs, yet the real-world wages of poor and middle class Americans has been declining for decades.

A national minimum wage of $10 would make a Big Mac cost an extra 25 cents, but would work miracles in the lives of employees.

logan/cache, UT

Minor technicality: The article implied that some states have passed min wages as high as $15/hr. A quick google search showed that Washington had the highest rate of $9.19, but recently Massachusetts voted to increase the minimum wage in their state to $11/hr. So, no states at $15, maybe a city or two.

West Valley City, Utah

Symbolic acts of compassion towards the poor and less fortunate has left Europe in an overall disaster and has left the U.S.A. with a stagnant economy for 5 years. Time for a plan that will actually help our country rise as a whole. Enough of the propaganda of division.

Here, UT

"But a worker demanding a higher wage is different from a worker proving to his or her employer that his labor is worth more money."


That's right. The employee doing the actual labor is never worth the money, but the CEO can have his salary doubled or tripled by the company.

Lets just keep the lowest paid people down at the bottom, shall we?

This editorial is quite simply, disgusting.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

Raising the minimum wage is a great way to help out low wage workers stay off food stamps and welfare. It also encourages college students to work more so they don't have to drop out of school, or take onerous student loans.

You would think that conservatives would be all over a plan that ENCOURAGES WORK?

Dietrich, ID

Where is minimum wage for business owners since the American dream is to own your own business. On they will have more spending money, Thing is people can earn more than minimum wage without government help. Prices will go up if minimum wage goes up. Raising minimum wage takes money away from a business owner.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

For more than thirty years, I have owned and operated a business whose purpose it has been to build process control computers that reduced the need for "minimum wage" people in businesses. In 1982, several businesses approached me and told me that labor costs were higher than the value of that labor. I developed electronics that enabled each of their machines to produce 1,500 units per hour instead of 250 units per hour. The electronics cost $6,500 per machine. Labor, per employee, with benefits was $10 per hour at that time. They were paying approximately $20,000 per year per "entry level" employee. The electronics reduced their need for more than 50% of their unskilled labor.

If the minimum wage is raised, companies will replace unskilled labor with machines. We rent movies from Redbox. We get cash from machines. We buy many things from Amazon. We WILL be using touch-screens computers to order from McDonalds. McDonalds will reduce employees by 50% or more.

Technology will replace workers when technology is less expensive than wages.

People need to increase their value if they want higher wages.

Jefferson, Thomas
Bluffdale, UT

How about it hurts the very people it was suppose to help. The raise in minimum wage has sent the unemployment rate for teenage workers and those on the bottom pay scale through the roof. The tried and true way for making more money is increasing skills. PERIOD. Works 100% on the time. People should be paid whatever the economic value of what they produce is, not some government workers' definition of living wage.

Murray, UT

In essence the Deseret News board are proponents of Economic Darwinism. The question that the Editorial Board has completely missed is the economic benefits employers have gained by not providing an income that can sustain a modest lifestyle, which forces the employees to enroll in government programs to make up the difference. We as taxpayers are providing a direct subsidy to employers who then pocket the different. No, reasonable, person is suggesting $15/hr is an actual national minimum wage, it's merely a number to begin negotiations, whereas most interested parties would probably settle for 10-12 an hr.

City, Ut

As long as we're addressing the need for further higher education to get people our of these "beginner" low-paying jobs,
we should also address the terrible student debt many end up with, by following the "you need to get higher education" mantra.
There should be a way to get an education without ending up with the disheartening,unending,inescapable 're-payment of student loans' cash drain on young families.

I know many young mothers who should and want to be home with their babies and young toddlers, but who HAVE to work to make enough to pay off those albatrosses of debt hanging around their necks. :(

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

"....In market economies, wages are determined by the productivity of labor...."

That may sound great in theory but it’s a false premise. The minimum wage is very minimum indeed and those who most vociferously oppose raising it are much better paid people who would not want to have to live on it themselves.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Okay. But has the nature of unskilled work changed? Isn't a fast food worker today just about the same as one 30 to 40 years ago?

Using constant 1996 dollars, the current minimum wage is about $4.87. Throughout most of the 60s and 70s it floated between $6 and $7 (again in constant dollars).

Why was it okay to pay a much higher minimum wage 30 or 40 years ago than now?

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I agree the government should not raise minimum wage to $15.00. Employees should raise their skills so they are qualified to make more, or move on to better jobs.

grocery bagger and other unskilled jobs are not intended to be a career. They are a source of inexpensive help for a business... and a starting place for young unskilled workers who want a place to prove they can handle the responsibilities required to hold a job, and prepare them to hold a better job in the future.

My first job (Janitor at the Elementary School when I was in Jr High) taught me 2 important things.

1. How to be responsible and reliable, and willing to work hard.
2. Convinced me that I wanted to go to college and NOT be a janitor all my life.

IF we have to pay kids who want to earn gas money the same salary required to support a whole family... many employers will stop hiring kids (who are inexpensive but usually marginally necessary help). So there will be very few after school jobs for kids to start out in.

People who expect to make bagging groceries or flipping burgers a career... need to rethink that plan.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

This piece is bunk. Wages have ceased to have any relationship to worker productivity, a fact that even conservative economists admit. It wasn't always so. Up until 1980 productivity increases and wage increases went hand in hand. All of sudden, in 1980 that stopped. Productivity has continued to increase through that entire period, yet wages flatlined. What happened in 1980 that changed the relationship between worker productivity and wages?

Orem, UT

If you are going to set the minimum price of labor at some arbitrary value whether that value is $7.25, $10, $15, or $50 then you must also set a corrosponding minumum "productivity level" at some percentage above that.

If a worker is making $15 an hour, then they must produce about $20 an hour in real value to their employers. No business is going to stay in business if it pays its workers more in salary and benefits than those workers produce. That math only works in government.

Los Angeles, CA

Perhaps if the D-News editorial board were to live on minimum wage for a while there would be a change of position.

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