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Published: Friday, Feb. 21 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

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Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The standard of living in America requires more money than in foreign countries. So, foreign workers can work for less pay than American workers. Even when the foreign workers come to this country they will work for less. At least until they find the joy allowed by the American standard of living.

Businessmen operate business for the reason of having a profitable income. It is natural and expected they will use the least costs and the greatest prices to maximize their profits. It is unlikely that we can change that.

Early on business had to operate on the labor and prices of the area where they were located. Wages and prices had a direct relationship. In today's world, technology and distance has thrown the balance out of the direct relationship.

Business will not voluntarily reduce their profits so that others can have a better life. They have to be forced by government. Or we have to lower our standard of living to better compete with the foreign countries.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

Or I will throw this out. There will be a time when the masses say enough is enough. Then the whole system crumbles down. I'd rather not have this happen.

The way it doesn't happen is through responsible and moral capitalism. That is the examples of Costco and In and Out Burger noted above. These aren't great paying jobs but they pay more than other places with similar jobs. There is more caring toward the employee but there is still a good profit margin. To me that is responsible capitalism. I'm also sick of tired of saying calling my cable company and being put on hold for an hour. Hire more people so you can serve your customers better. How many restaurants does one go to and there aren't enough servers? You pay a pretty big dime for the food and the service is lousy, not because people there are not working (very) hard, but because there aren't enough of them and people are overworked. I recently was in a McDonald's that was a pig sty. This was unsafe for the public at large. Not good capitalism.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

Okay, Mike and his conservative friends, here's the deal. You can sit in denial only so long (same as with global warming). We have a growing inequality problem. This is not just a political football. You conservatives are very efficiently painting yourselves into a corner defending the tactics of multinational corporations. Early in our Republic, corporations were not trusted by government. They were chartered very infrequently, and then only to serve a public purpose. The Founders had learned a lesson from dealing with British corporations (such as the British East India Company). The corporations they chartered were given a temporary life-span, generally 20 years of less, and were then disbanded once they had served their purpose. The Civil War and the development of a national railroad system changed all that. Court decisions, after decades of lobbying by corporations, finally declared corporations "persons" that can exist "in perpetuity." Over time, corporations increased their power, turning the American workforce into wage labor, a commodity, a cost to be minimized. The tail is now wagging the dog, and a good portion of Americans think this is a good thing. You know who you are.

spring street
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

@wrz
yes Bill created all those jobs by himself. it certainly had nothing to do with the labor of all the workers here in the US both high paying and not so high paying jobs and those not so high paying jobs in sweat shops in Mexico and overseas. I do not think it is wrong for the Bill Gates of the world to have some wealth from their hard labor but just like the rest of us there needs to be some sense of a moral compass that say, Hey, maybe I need to act responsibly towards those that have helped me accumulate this wealth.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Are we slaves, or do we have feet? I have walked away from jobs that didn't pay enough, but I made certain that I was well qualified for a better job before leaving. That's supply and demand in action. Many people in my field, including me, spent at least two hours a day learning about the advances in computers and how to implement those advances. I've been doing that since I started in 1976. That means that I didn't have time to watch TV, but those hours have kept me 'valuable' to the people who pay my fees.

The first thing I did for my teenage boys was to get them a job cleaning horse stalls. It didn't pay much. It stunk. It was hard, heavy work. Everyone of them knew that he didn't want to work for minimum wage after shoveling manure all day long. They all have advanced degrees that they funded. They have marketable skills. They command a good wage, much higher than average. They are worth their "cost" to their employers.

Sob stories don't add value. Complaining doesn't add value. Skills and work ethic adds value. Try it.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Why are U.S. CEOs and Wall Streeters not subject to foreign competition? They make hundreds of times more than their foreign counterparts. The reason is that they are the ones setting the wages for themselves and for their workers. Wages are not determined by a free market. They are determined by employers having vastly more power than employees.

If you have a rare skill and you can demand premium dollars from your employer, your employer will run to congress saying he can't find any Americans to fill your position. What he really means is that he wants to pay manual labor wages for a high skill job. Since he is the guy making all of the "contributions" to congress, they give him what he wants.

J Thompson
SPRINGVILLE, UT

There is too much talk of the government FORCING businesses to pay an "American Wage". What nonsense. If the government has that power, then what are you going to do when the government tells you that no family needs more than 750 square feet of housing and because you have twice that amount, you are going to house another family - at no charge - because obviously, you have too much money, too much house and too little compassion for those that the government wants to keep on the voting rolls.

We are not chattel as employees, and we are not chattel as business owners. If employees aren't satisfied, let them walk out the door. If they're as valuable as they think, they'll have no trouble finding a better job.

The 5th Amendment requires that we be paid by the government for anything that the government takes from us, including our businesses, our property, our patents - anything. The government owns nothing. It never has owned anything. Business owners pay all taxes and all taxes are included in the price of anything that you buy. Without profits, there would be no taxes.

Tolstoy
salt lake, UT

I find it interesting that the same people that always try to claim a moral superiority so easily wash away any need to act responsibility by saying its simply supply and demand and therefore I have no ethical or moral obligation towards others or society.

Shaun
Sandy, UT

@Mike Richards. Why do you think everybody is lazy? Why do you think nobody has any value?

Better yet why do you think the United States Government should subsidize huge corporations like walmart, mcdonalds, etc in the form of welfare for their employees? You say these people should get an education and become more valuable. Well, I agree with you but the truth is there is not enough good paying jobs in the U.S. If every person got an college education all it would do is drive down wages.

The key component in this wage argument is the government should stop giving tax deductions and incentives to companies that pay poverty wages. The government should only provide incentives for companies that provide good paying jobs. I say if walmart and other companies like them want to pay what they pay, fine. But their is no reason the government has to subsidize their business and hide the true cost the companies product and services.

Nunn24
Salt Lake City, UT

@Mike Richards -

"Try it."

You are denying the reality of employer Greed and the way this surely and adversely affects the hardest-working and most ambitious workers in the world -- namely, the typical American worker, including many who, in fact, have diligently trained in STEM fields, in vain. I wonder how your sons -- or their sons -- would fare if starting out today.

"Work ethic" is not about working hard only to be taken advantage of. Alarmingly this "ethic" apparently has been passed on from one generation to another!

No, "work ethic" is about diligent and faithful work, of course. But ALSO it is about a fair and adequate reward for such time and labor. No one is saying anything about paying anyone any more than that. True "work ethic" is a TWO-WAY street.

After all, the worker is making an investment, too -- a major, personal investment, in that employer's business.

@wrz

"Just the facts of life."

No, it is Greed -- "Capitalism without a Conscience" -- a moral disease persons can rid themselves of, if they choose, but don't.

Thus Jesus foresaw that Greed would be a major problem in our day. "Camels, and Eyes of Needles."

Tolstoy
salt lake, UT

@j thomas

two thoughts

first don't forget we are "the government." It is both easy and dangerous to dismiss responsibility for what "the government" does bur ultimately it is simply a reflection of our collective will, if we allow it do otherwise it is our own fault.

second I do think business have an ethical obligation to act responsibly towards those that help them generate their wealth, again that doe not mean they do not have the right to accumulate wealth just do so responsibly. I do however think it would be best (though maybe not realistic) to get Business to do so through social influence rather then more laws for them to ignore or find ways around. Ultimately the best way to get someone to act responsibly is by getting them to understand why it is important rather then trying to force them to do it through the force of law.

SLars
Provo, UT

The surplus labor created by illegal immigration and record legal immigration has depressed the wages of America's workers the past several decades. We are not dealing with a fair market value. It's been dishonestly manipulated by the business lobbyists.

Business doesn't want to deal with fair market value, they want surplus labor to drive down wages like agriculture did in the seventies. How would business like it if their customers were allowed to artificially set the prices they pay?

L White
Springville, UT

Now we're talking! Someone mentioned "greed", but that poster said that employers are greedy. Can you believe that? The (so called) workers are demanding that the owners give them their wealth and then they tell us that the owners are the greedy ones! Isn't greed just another word for coveting? Is it easier to covet what someone else has or what you already own? If we replaced the word greed with the words work ethic, maybe we would find why the rich are rich. Of course not everyone has equal opportunities but I do not know anyone who works hard that is complaining about not having enough. My hubby works hard. He always has. He doesn't complain about how little we have. He tells me how blessed we are to have exactly what we need to do the things that we need to do.

He moved from a town where there was no opportunity, started at the bottom and worked hard until he was the worker that the business owners went to when they needed something done. You will not hear him complain about wages or jobs. He's a doer, not a talker.

intervention
slc, UT

@L White

So what does the (so called) workers) mean?

Why is it greedy for the workers to want a share of the wealth they help create but not greedy for the business owner(who does also help generate the wealth) to concentrate that wealth to the determinate of those around them? Again as others have stated it is not so much that people do not deserve to have wealth but you can do so responsibly.

Curmudgeon
Salt Lake City, UT

L White: Is it any more greedy for workers to want a share of the profits they help create than for the employers to want cheap labor to generate those profits? Greed works both ways.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Roland Kayser,
RE: "Why are U.S. CEOs and Wall Streeters not subject to foreign competition?"...

Do you assume they don't have CEOs in China, Russia, Germany, Japan, London, Venezuela, etc??

Do you assume they don't have banks, stock markets, wall streeters, etc, in these countries?

How do you assume there is there no global competition for CEOs? Obviously there is.

But not to the level of unskilled labor. Those jobs are more highly contested and more easily exported (or workers to do them more easily imported).

But to pretend there is no global market for these positions (just because they are in what the Left consider to be "vilified" groups)... is just absurd.

Do you assume CEO jobs never get sent overseas? Hint... most large US tech companies actually claim their headquarters is overseas, or are incorporated overseas (for tax purposes). Many CEOs live and work in Europe, Asia, etc. There is global competition.

wrz
Phoenix, AZ

@spring street:
"Hey, maybe I (Bill Gates) need to act responsibly towards those that have helped me accumulate this wealth."

Well, Bill and his wife have given away millions to charity. Does that count?

@Roland Kayser:
"Why are U.S. CEOs and Wall Streeters not subject to foreign competition?"

They are subject to foreign competition. And they can't beat them. So, they moved their business overseas. 'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.'

@Shaun:
"Better yet why do you think the United States Government should subsidize huge corporations... in the form of welfare for their employees?"

Government subsidy is needed because the government lets in huge numbers of foreigners thus depressing wages... requiring the government to provide benefits like food stamps. Send foreigners packing and keep the government out of business and things will normalize.

@Nunn24:
"No, it is Greed -- 'Capitalism without a Conscience'"

You can't take 'conscience' to the bank. It's worthless in our economic system.

@Tolstoy:
"second I do think business have an ethical obligation to act responsibly towards those that help them generate their wealth..."

They act responsibly... they pay a wage. Besides, who's supposed to define 'responsibly?'

Tolstoy
salt lake, UT

@WRZ
well I suppose if you think paying a wage that does not allow the people that assisted you in accumulating vast amount of wealth to even meet the basic needs of them and their families is ethical then we do have different ideas about what is ethical. You seem to believe that when it comes to business simply because someone can they should regardless of the consequences to those around them, shall we ably this same reasoning to all aspects of our society?

mark
Salt Lake City, UT

Haha, that's too funny, 2bits thinks that because USA companies incorporate offshore so they can scam the tax system, or because they live wherever they want, that somehow indicates the same sort of competition that depresses American workers wages. Too funny.

And you have somebody else that thinks workers are greedy because they ask for better wages or benefits. Too funny. You have somebody that says her husband is a great example of what a worker should be: keep your head down, work as hard as you can, and be thankful for whatever the corporation gives you. My dog does the exact same thing. Then you have others who talk about all the risk these rich people take. People who create businesses take risks. These are mom and pop shops, and I absolutely respect what they do. No CEO of a corporation takes a risk. They make money even if the company loses money. For example, no CEO of McDonalds has ever had one penny of risk since Ray Krock.

I love business creators. They are the life blood of our economy. Big Corp CEOs, like the Waltons, are not.

spring street
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

@WRZ

I think it is great that the Gates have donated money to organizations they support but it does not excuse their responsibility to those that helped them accumulate their wealth. Simply claiming that you are absolved from your responsibilities over here because I did something right over there seems a little strange. Let me give you an example of how that would look if we applied that logic in other parts of our society. "its alright that Bill hit someone while drinking and driving because he volunteers at a detox center on the weekends.

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