Comments about ‘Letter: Raising minimum wage’

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Published: Tuesday, April 1 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

"Reducing the number of people near the poverty line requires increasing the capacity of the private sector to create jobs and equipping people with the skills necessary for those jobs."

Yes, but where will capital create those jobs? Our experience of the last 30 years suggests those jobs are likely to be created in Mexico, China, Southeast Asia or India. That's why labor has no guarantee its efforts in retraining will benefit them.

Look, capital and labor have fundamentally different interests. Capital wants to pay labor as little as possible. Labor wants to survive if not thrive. Capitalism rests on this contradiction.

Of course in grinding labor down capital threatens the whole system because profits are mostly made from the exploitation of labor. Labor has to survive for profits to be made.

Nobody at the Deseret News thinks Marx has any relevance. In time you will see that he does.

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

Also: "Raising the minimum wage in an effort to increase living standards is like taking water from one end of the bathtub and pouring it in the other in an effort to raise the overall water level."

But in the case of minimum wage, the reason for raising it is not to raise the overall water level, rather the reason is to shift some wealth from the wealthy end of the tub to the poor end of the tub. And the real minimum wage has declined severely over the last 30 years. The rich end of the tub can afford it.

But, to continue your physical analogy to economics, the rich (capital) end of the tub wants all of the water. This is not possible but continuing to demand it threatens the entire system. Should the rich ever get it all, there will be a tidal wave back the other direction. So your analogy has some value after all.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Corporate America has already drained most of the water out of the wage end of the pool and redistributed it into the profits end. It's time to rebalance the pool.

airnaut
Everett, 00

Shill and Shrill.

I seriously doubt that.

Let's ask the citizens of the State of New Jersey,
or those living near Seattle --

minimum wage was raised to $15 and hour,
I do not hear one peep of complaint,
nor do hear of one single business going out.

Rather than the "opinions" from those living 1,000 to 3,000 miles from either of them.

Karen R.
Houston, TX

For some years now I have watched companies outsource departments in order to reduce overhead/maximize profits. Sometimes this did not involve a change in personnel. An arrangement was made for the affected individuals to be hired by the vendor. Nothing changed except the name of the company issuing their paycheck - and of course the amount of that check. The amount missing from it could be found in the pockets of their former employer.

I don't have a problem with this when it's done to keep a company viable, but when it isn't - when it's done merely to increase one's share of the pie - it smacks of the powerful taking money from the pockets of the powerless.

So I don't have an objection to increasing the minimum wage. In some instances this may amount to restoring to the individual the money that he/she was once earning.

Also, if our minimum wage places people below the poverty line, they then qualify for government assistance. So we pay for it one way or another, don't we? If we want people off the dole, then let's pay them a livable wage.

GaryO
Virginia Beach, VA

"Raising the minimum wage . . . is like taking water from one end of the bathtub and pouring it in the other in an effort to raise the overall water level."

Oh good. In other words, at the very worst, it doesn't hurt anything.

. . . Might as well raise the minimum wage substantially then. Why not?

VIDAR
Murray, UT

The writer of this letter is correct in pointing out that business views its labor force as a commodity. Just like rice, sugar, corn. Something to be bought at the lowest price possible. And then expected to yield the highest return. I would suggest that those businesses that wish to do business in the United States be required to maintain a certain level of pay for its workers. Limit those at the top to no more than 20x the pay of their lowest paid worker. Sure the business could try and pass the cost on, what if we just told them they could not. The wealthy businesses like capitalism when it serves them. And socialism when it serves them at other times. Private profits and shared risk seems to be their attitudes. Let’s all remember this during this tax season. Many multi-billion dollar companies pay little or no income tax. Yet they expect to sell their goods and services in this country. How about we not allow those businesses that do not want to pay their fair share in taxes. And pay their employees a good wage. The privilege of doing business in this country.

ECR
Burke, VA

Many thanks to Kyle Scott for stating the obvious – when wages of workers goes up it has some kind of impact on company profits. The question we need to ask ourselves is what kind of impact should that have and who should be impacted.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont recently gave an eloquent speech in a Senate sub-committee meeting about this very subject and the Deseret News covered the story, including a video, in an article on February 22. Senator Sanders makes a strong case that the Walton Family of Wal-Mart fame, which has more wealth than the combined wealth of the lowest 40% of all Americans, is, in fact, the largest recipient of welfare in this country. Because they pay their workers minimum wage and only allow some of them to be part time workers, the only way their workers can stay healthy and do their jobs is by receiving government welfare for food and medical care. Does anyone think that is a healthy state of affairs for what is considered the most benevolent country in the world?

ECR
Burke, VA

With every right comes a responsibility. Individuals, or groups of individuals, have a right to start a business in this country and they have a right to make a profit. But they also have a responsibility to give back to the community and country that grants them that freedom. There is vast evidence illustrating that many of those companies have failed to give back and have, instead, squandered that wealth on their own decadent lifestyle. And so their failure to act responsibly should be met with consequences. Significant taxes for excess profits have been used in the past during times of war. Today such proposals face strong opposition from businesses and some economists, who argue that it would create a disincentive to capital investment. But they are not making capital investments, they are hoarding their profits and creating a third world nation here in the U.S. Who in the Congress will have the courage to take a stand against such aristocratic arrogance.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

Many economist feel that moderate raises in the minimum wage have very little impact on employment. When low wage workers gets a pay hike it goes straight into the economy, and has a stimulative effect. In addition it eases the burden of government by reducing food stamps and other social program costs. For example, many of the people who work at low wage jobs, at places like Wal-Mart, are also consumers of public services, so increasing the minimum wage reduces payments to them.

airnaut
Everett, 00

How about setting a MAXIMUM wage?

You hit say - $1 billion - and you win the game.
Then step aside, and let someone else have a crack at it...

Your life-style isn't going to change one iota,
and everything after that is just funny monopoly money anyway.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Why not cut YOUR wage to pay those who make less than you? If you think that the "system" is unjust then why don't YOU give up something to make it more "just"? Of course you won't do that. You've EARNED your money. You worked hard for it. You deserve it. But, you think that the "businessman doesn't deserve his profits. You think that his capital should not earn him a profit, even though you watch your 401K fund grow - through no effort of your own. You watch that "investment" grow, month after month, as the stocks that back your pension fund grow month after month.

Why not give away those 401K "unearned profits"? You don't deserve them, if the businessman doesn't deserve the profits that he made on his investments.

When a State changes its "minimum wage" and other States do not, those employees might think that they're better off, and in relation to other States, they are; but, at what cost? What is the cost of living in Seattle compared to Jackson, Mississippi?

Costs go up when wages go up. The consumer pays. Always.

Esquire
Springville, UT

Raising the minimum wage creates additional economic activity, whihc is good for everyone, including business. Despite the theories, reality shows that it is effective. A well run business will make adjustments and do what is necessary to be profitable. Besides, more money in customer pockets means more sales. And don't forget that wages are deductible (and there are other tax code incentives) and the result is a lower tax burden on business. It is not a zero sum game like opponents of a higher minimum wage seem to think. When people are paid much less than in 1960 (adjusted for inflation), we should ashamed of ourselves. This is a country driven by greed and selfishness, and a system that serves those who already have.

Stalwart Sentinel
San Jose, CA

The letter writer, in the bathwater example, completely ignores the multiplier effect which means that person lacks even the most fundamental understanding of economics. Why does the DesNews publish such drivel? Why not publish informed positions?

Mike Richards - Many of us who support increasing the minimum wage do so realizing that some of our wage, in the form of stock, may actually be affected in the short term. However, rather than suffer the current boom and bust lifestyle of hyper-inflated stock prices that are exclusively driven by quarterly reports, we'd rather have a healthier business sector in the long term and that requires having a healthy working class. Raising the minimum wage and pegging it to inflation rates is the most effective way to ensure that people who work will have expendable income to purchase more product.

Further, your assertion that costs go up when wages go up is demonstrably false. Nearly all the cities in Silicon Valley and the SF peninsula have already raised minimum wages above state/federal levels and, almost without exception, the products we sell consistently get cheaper and more accessible over time.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

marxist,
I hate to inform you of this but... the "rich" don't eat at McDonalds.

So this won't take from the "rich" and give to the poor.

===

Who mostly eats at McDonalds in America (not just in SLC)?

You guessed it... the poorer people (not the rich people). So let's do a little economics 101.

Raising the wage of McDonalds workers has to be passed along to the customers (no... the owners are not going to take it out of their pocket) they will increase the cost of the product (the food) to pay the higher wages (ever noticed what a Big Mac costs in Seattle or NYC)? So guess who gets to pay more for their food? You guessed it... the poor (not the rich).

So your pretense that this will take the money from the "rich end" of the pool, and re-distribute it to the "poor end" of the pool is a logical fallacy. And the author's analysis is more correct... it will take more from the "poor end" of the pool (McDonalds customers) and re-distribute it to the "poor end" of the pool (McDonalds workers).

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Sentinel,

What you said is false. The cost of living in "Silicon Valley" is much higher than the cost of living in Barstow, California. The cost of products that were created in "Silicon Valley" have become cheaper because of the lost cost of assembly and/or distribution. The cost of development is amortised over millions of sales. Automation keeps the cost of assembly down. (Have you seen Apple's assembly line?) How much human labor is involved in Internet sales?

Pegging minimum wage to the inflation rate is a sure-fire way to increase inflation. Look at the cost of a meal at McDonalds. Every time minimum wage goes up, the price of a meal goes up. Labor is the largest cost at McDonalds. They have to raise prices when they increase wages. The "laborer" ends up paying more for the essentials of life, so he does not gain.

There is no multiplier effect when expenses drive up prices. The only one who gains is the Government when they raise taxes on the middle class, which also gets a wage increase to offset the higher cost of living.

KDave
Moab, UT

The only winner in a minimum wage increase is Govt. as they collect more in taxes. The biggest losers are pensioners. The best anyone else can hope for is to stay neutral.

airnaut
Everett, 00

When the WORKING poor rely on Government Food stamps, the tax payers pay for it -- NOT the Corporations who are exploiting those they employ.

If WallStreet had not been making insane Profits over the last 10 years -- I would hesitate to increase wages, but they are making more money than ever, and Trickle Down Ain't happen'in!

With a minimum wage increase,
Romney's 47% drops in half instantly,
Making them tax Makers and no longer tax takers.
[isn't that what conservative want?]

FYI -
Ironically enough, Mitt Romney was FOR a rise in the Federal minimum wage - and keeping it adjusted automatically for inflation.

He increased it in Massachsetts to $8.80 almost 10 years ago.

Either Raise the minimum wage for the works/producers,
or
Increase Taxes on the Wealthy and their Corporations.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Raising minimum wage doesn't solve the real problem.

Marxist hit the REAL solution in the quote in his first comment.

"Reducing the number of people near the poverty line requires increasing the capacity of the private sector to create jobs and equipping people with the skills necessary for those jobs."

Just increasing minimum wage (to yet another wage that can't sustain a family) doesn't solve the problem. It's a temporary "feel-good" patch, that solves nothing. It just keeps you on the treadmill.

Who can raise a family even on $15/hour? You can't! That doesn't fix the problem. These jobs were not intended to be careers for parents. They are short term, entry level jobs, for young people who may have no job skills, but want to enter the workforce, earn some spending money, and develop job skills so they can move up when they graduate (not necessarily make a career of working at McDonalds).

Like the article said, "Reducing the number of people near the poverty line requires increasing the CAPACITY of people... and equipping people with the SKILLS necessary for.. better jobs." (not minimum wage inflation)

airnaut
Everett, 00

I have like 1 more comment --

This is about the WORKING poor,
not the "lazt free loaders" the right-wing is endlessly harping about.

If Corporations are unwilling [becasue we all know they they are indeed financially able] to raise the wages for their workers,
then it is the Governments duty to step in and force the issue upon them.

Wages -- Just like taxes,
Corporations will only pay them if the HAVE to,
not because they want to.

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