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Published: Wednesday, March 5 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

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Mountanman
Hayden, ID

Ben, you are spot on but brace yourself for a barrage of criticism from the left that believes wealth must be re-distributed not earned!

E Sam
Provo, UT

In short, you believe raising the minimum wage is inflationary. Sadly, no evidence suggests such a conclusion. So, perhaps you should rethink your argument.

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

@ E Sam. If raising the minimum wages are not inflationary, why would it always be necessary to continue to raise them. If not inflationary, a one time increase would last forever, right?

Stalwart Sentinel
San Jose, CA

In fact, the opposite of what the letter writer says is true. Inflation occurs w/out minimum wage increases so purchasing power for a minimum wage earner is less today than it was a year ago. Neither Utah nor the US live in a bubble so there are a multitude of externalities that affect the cost of goods, etc....

Mountanman (sic) - Almost without exception, the most-productive cities and states in the US are left-leaning while the poorest, least-productive cities and states are conservative strongholds. Stop perpetuating falsehoods.

Further, liberals do not want a redistribution of wealth, we want a redistribution of opportunity. We want a return to a free market where people are paid what they are worth. It is undeniable that since Reagan, worker productivity has soared while worker pay has flatlined. America is working harder for less money. We have allowed corporate lobbyists to highjack our system and change the rules in their favor. We do not live in a free market due to legislation that favors the wealthy over the working class. If you feel the need to lie and misrepresent our side, shouldn't you consider your argument to be patently incorrect?

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

Stalwart. You forget about Detroit as one of your most productive, left-leaning cities. The most productive states in the nation are Texas, N. Dakota and N. Carolina with the lowest unemployment, the best economies and the lowest taxes, hardly left-leaning states. The most left-leaning states are those that carry the highest burdens of debt, i.e. California, Illinois, Vermont and Washington among others who incidentally have the highest taxes and some of the highest unemployment!
If liberals do not really want to re-distribute wealth that is certainly news to them! Why did they give us Obamacare which is the largest wealth re-distribution scam ever forced upon America?

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Let's follow the logic of this letter. The buying power of the minimum wage is 30% lower today than it was in the 1960's. So why aren't prices lower? Also, if you examine inflation adjusted per capita GDP, you would find that the U.S. is twice as wealthy today as we were in the 1960's. So why do workers earn less now?

Nate
Pleasant Grove, UT

@E Sam

Yes, measured against the whole economy, its inflationary effects are negligible...as are its benefits. Raising the minimum wage is a feel-good measure in an election year, nothing more. Its purpose is to divert attention away from the slow-motion train wreck of Obamacare.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

Roland Kayser, You have a strange way of measuring wealth. The national debt is now about $17.3 trillion and growing. The GDP as of its last estimate was about $16.2 trillion and growing by less than 1% per year. From that ratio, we are now a debtor nation. We owe more than we can produce which is not twice as wealthy as we were in the '60's. Sorry to bring you the bad news!

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

Increasing the minimum wage isn't going to remove the motivation from anyone receiving it to look for opportunities to increase their earning capability, if they want to. That's because any proposed minimum increase will be modest. It will still be minimum wage.
On the other hand, businesses are exploiters. Left to their own, labour costs are what they will exploit most, and we see that all the time. Fast food and big box retail can, and should, pay more, or they simply devalue labour for everyone.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

This letter is a thinly veiled advertisement for economic Darwinism. Even if a few people lift themselves up by their bootstraps, get a better education, or find more motivation, that will not decrease the total number of minimum-wage jobs in the economy. In a macro sense, nothing changes.

And Roland is right again. The minimum wage, in real terms, hit its peak in 1968, when it was worth $10.75 in 2014 dollars. Today it is $7.25, a full $3.50 per hour lower in purchasing power. It took its biggest hit between 1980 and 1990, during the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations.

Of course, even though this is a systemic problem, conservatives still find a way to blame the poor for circumstances beyond their control. The GOP's war on the poor is as relentless as it is cold-hearted.

Lew Scannon
Provo, UT

Mtnmn:

You are the one twisting statistics. The government debt is indeed higher, but the wealth we as a people produce, as measured by GDP, is also much higher. Our debt, though, is still smaller, as a percentage of GDP, than after World War II. We are a wealthy nation. We just don't have the will to institute a progressive tax system like our parents and grandparents did to bring their national debt under control. We certainly have enough wealth accumulating in the coffers of the upper class to make our debt irrelevant, if not nonexistent. They benefit most from the system. Shouldn't they pay to keep it up and running. They will be the ones with the most to lose if they kill the golden goose. But they can't see beyond their short-term profits to understand that they are driving us off a cliff.

Gildas
LOGAN, UT

Yes, wealth must be redistrubuted but it must be voluntary.

In the Millenium:

"One man will not be able to lord it over another and take possession of more than he needs; but all will have a fullness.

George Q Cannon: Gospel Truth: Chapter Eight, The Millenium.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

@Thid Barker: According to a study of labor productivity conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland which measured labor productivity by state, the five most productive states are: Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. The five least productive are: Alaska, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Kentucky. Productive = Blue, Unproductive = Red.

If you examine unemployment rates you find no real correlation between Democratic vs. Republican states. Some Democratic states are doing great, some are not, same with Republican states.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

Corportions will not be satisfied until America is equal to Communist China.
Republicans push this agenda.

Who's responsible for re-distributing America's wealth to Communist China?

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

When I was a teenager, earning $1 per hour after taxes, it took about one-half hour of work to buy a burger, fries and a soda at Dee's. Today with many Utahns earning about $15 per hour after taxes, it still takes about one-half hour or work to buy a burger, fries and a soda at McDonalds.

When I was first married, rent cost $75 per month. I made $1.75 per hour, so rent was roughly 25% of my income. Today the same apartment is renting for $750 per month, which still takes about 25% of a typical workers wage.

Government causes inflation. When the value of the dollar drops, it takes more dollars to buy the same item. Only government can affect the value of the dollar. When it prints billions of dollars per month to prop up the economy, it is devaluing the dollar as it runs those printing presses.

The only way to get a bigger slice of the pie is to give more value and to be paid more for that increased value. Minimum wage hikes only push people into the next higher tax bracket.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

"Yes, wealth must be redistrubuted but it must be voluntary."

Perhaps that would work in a world where everyone is selfless. But we happen to live in the real world. We redistribute wealth all the time. In the past 30 years, since the Reagan revolution, we have redistributed wealth from the lower and middle classes to the upper class. I pay taxes voluntarily. If I don't, I go to jail. That is the consequence if voluntarily choose to disobey the law. We can adjust laws so that our voluntary contributions to the general welfare are more consistent with our desire to create a just, equitable, and stable society.

Currently, with a system of business and taxation that funnels almost all the wealth to the top tier, we are promoting an economy that is sustainable in the intermediate term. We can choose to change this. If we do not equalize the initial distribution of wealth (and, I might add, ownership), our society will disintegrate, as it is beginning to do right now. So, conservatives, you can have it your way in the short term, but in the intermediate term, you have no leg to stand on.

Gildas
LOGAN, UT

" But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefre the world lieth in sin."

Doctrine and Covenants 49:20

We know that some are lazy and we also know that some will not impart of their substance to the poor and needy. The ingenuity of man, politically, is able to come up with systems that would distribute based on true principles with adequate safeguards against abuse but the corruption of man prevents it. We could build up and protect our own industries by tariffs; we could have a system of "Workfare" in place. Somehow nothing ever seems to get done.

We had a system of Co-operation here but the people did not support it in sufficient numbers.
Every individual is able to help his neighbour to the extent he pleases. Government doesn't do it well and individuals don't seem ready to step in, in sufficient numbers. Those in work could hire unemployed neighbours who have skills and offer a fair remuneration - or do our various public administrations erect obstacles to such things?

Schnee
Salt Lake City, UT

Let's say the average American wage is 50k a year. Let's also say there's 125 million workers. Do the math and that's 6.25 trillion.

Now, the CBO says that the increase in the minimum wage will increase wages of 16.5 million workers. This would be anyone working for between the current minimum wage and 10.10 (and some above it). So let's say the average increase is 2 dollars an hour for these people. Multiply that by 16.5 million people, 35 hours a week (after all most are part time), and 52 weeks a year. You get 2x16.5milx35x52 = 46.2 billion.

So what percentage increase of wages is this that we can might think (but not necessarily) go to inflation? 46.2 billion / 6250 billion = .007 or 0.7%.

So, .7% inflation is what we might see from this (give or take a couple tenths of a percent) so basically .5%-1% inflation. This would be a one time thing and the minimum wage would presumably be good for another half a dozen years.

Do you think inflation will only be 1% combined the next 6 years? No, so something else contributes most inflation.

Schnee
Salt Lake City, UT

Now, let's take that .7% increase in labor costs and assume all of it is passed on to consumers. Now what you're saying is that you're opposed to people getting around a 20% increase in wages... because you're concerned about a 1% increase in costs paid for by consumers. So that argument that the poor don't benefit from a minimum wage increase because they'd have to then pay more on products... that's not an issue.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

"History has shown us that the best societies are those in which wealth is most evenly distributed."---Brigham Young

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