Comments about ‘Letter: Let wage take its course’

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Published: Tuesday, May 27 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

"...if it turns out to be a good idea, other establishments would begin to follow suit..."

But they won't, and here's why: Greed results in myopathy.

That is, the Greedy will only see an equation of lower wages with higher profits, whereas an authentically Christian outfit, for example In-N-Out Burger, sees the Big Picture -- HIGHER wages, LOWER retail prices, AND higher quality product, equals lots and lots of happy customers, and, hence, lots of cash flow, and thus everyone wins.

But, again, in their myopathy, the Greedy are incapable of grasping such a paradox.

Sorry, Mr. Anderson, but In-N-Out Burger, alone, proves your thesis false.

And Greed -- along with its accompanying sophistries, and rationalizations -- is a major problem in our day, just as Jesus envisioned it would be.

"And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Matt. 19:24)

Burke, VA

It’s a nice theory but we really don’t have to wait to make the comparison. And it would seem to be good business for all retail outlets to look at the comparison between Walmart and Costco such as (according to Business Week, NBC News and Glassdoor:

Average Cashier Salary
Walmart: $8.53
Costco: $15.60

Average Pay For Low-Level Managerial Position
Walmart: $44,774
Costco: $53,956

Number Of Employees Receiving Health Insurance Coverage
Walmart: "more than half" of employees
Costco: 88% of employees
Turnover Rate
Walmart: 37%
Costco: 24%
Position On The Minimum Wage
Walmart: Supported raising the federal minimum wage in 2006, but has remained mum in the recent debate.
Costco: Supports raising the federal minimum wage to over $10-an-hour. CEO Craig Jelinek wrote a letter urging Congress to do so.]

Percent Of Workforce That Is Unionized
Walmart: 0
Costco: 15

CEO Compensation (2012) million ($1.3 million
Walmart: $19.3 salary
Costco: $4.9 million

Most Recent Quarterly Year Over Year Earnings
Walmart: Up 1.1%
Costco: Up 19%

The last item is most telling for other companies, or should be. And so, based on these numbers, which one will you support?

Murray, UT

You set up your experiment to fail. How about we look back at other raises in minimum wage, and see if it drove up prices? You will find that Americans supported the raise by still shopping in the stores that paid the new minimum wage.

Salt Lake City, UT

How about another experiment? The owner pays its employees more, keeps prices the same, and takes a little less profit?

E.g. Costco vs. Sam's Club. Costco seems to be doing quite well, yet pays its employees more than the competition. Go figure.

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

One the myths about the "free market" is that somehow if you just let the market run free, competition will prevail to the benefit of everyone. That's the theory and the values espoused by many conservatives.

The reality is that businesses work to kill off the free market competition through various strategies so that business can distort markets to work in their favor.

This is done via acquiring competitors (e.g., Comcast's acquisition of Time-Warner), raising switching costs on consumers so that they don't have freedom of choice (e.g., cell phone contracts that lock customers to plans for two years), forcing fees on trapped customers trying to switch (e.g., Rocky Mountain Power forcing its monopolized customers to pay $50 a year for the privilege of generating their own solar power), passing laws to keep competition out (e.g., cab companies lobbying to reduce the number of taxis in a community), etc.

In sum, companies use "free market" tools to eliminate the free market.

When it comes to low skill labor, we have powerful oligopolies (e.g., Walmart, McDonald's) forcing wages down. Government policy is one mechanism to counter that anti-competitive trend.

Everett, 00

an OK comment, except one thing....

"Fast Food" isn't the only industry relying on minimum wage.

MOST jobs in America are now minimum wage, so the idea fails.

Salt Lake City, UT

I wonder if the writer took note of the recent settlement between a large group of engineers and their prominent employers: Intel, Adobe, Google, and Apple. It seems these prestigious outfits were "wage fixing," having a "gentlemen's agreement" to not hire each others engineers. These outfits saved a bundle by settling out of court.

But the big issue is the matter of price fixing, or in this case wage fixing. The virtues of the market are often touted in these blogs. But this was a case of a market not really existing. The same is true of fast food - whose vendors have an understanding as to what their respective employees should be paid. Wage fixing goes on at the low end as well as the high end.

The writer's piece is fatuous and silly.


So the question for me is this: When you raise the minimum wage to $15/hour you will get $15/hour workers. What will you do with the skil-less workers?

Here, UT

How about instead of adjusting the cost of the meal upwards, we adjust the amount of the profits that go to the CEO downwards and use that to pay the people who are actually doing the work of serving the customers their wages?

Burke, VA

Interesting comments marxist. I worked at Marriott in the late 80's in their Architecture and Construction Division and it was common knowledge that the VP at Marriott in charge of A&C had an understanding with Disney that he would be notified of any Marriott employees applying for jobs at Disney. He would give them the OK and they would not move forward until they received that OK.

By the way, I think you last sentence is redundant, or contains redundant terms.

Springville, UT

With all due respect to the previous commenters, this is not a good idea even in theory. Even at a basic level it won't work. There is more to consumers selecting a particular fast food franchise than just price. If a McDonalds in location one charges 20 cents more for a Big Mac, mot consumers won't go out of their way to patronize another one unless it is convenient to them. Just this fact alone supports the idea that an increase in the minimum wage would barely be noticed by consumers, and the increase in wages for the workers would have tremendous impact in their lives, in terms of quality of life, job satisfaction and ability to contribute more to the economy.

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

Has it ever occurred to you Wal-Mart bashers that if not for Wal-Mart poor people could not afford goods they enjoy? There is a reason poor people don't shop at Nordstrom!

Everett, 00

@Thid Barker
Victor, ID
Has it ever occurred to you Wal-Mart bashers that if not for Wal-Mart poor people could not afford goods they enjoy? There is a reason poor people don't shop at Nordstrom!

8:04 a.m. May 27, 2014


And by that same token,
Has it ever occurred to you anti-Communist, anti-Socilaist, Free Market 'Merkin Wal-Mart supporters, that if not for places like WalMart, that the Communists in Red China would still be a backwards, cow plowing, rice patty, 3rd world nation would we would have no need to fear?

Yes -- Ironic that YOU right-wingers are the biggest supporters of Communism in the World.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The only way to get business to hire people at the proper wage is to compete with them for employees. If the government would hire all unemployed workers at a minimum wage, all business operations that needed employees would have to follow. There's plenty of work to be done that ordinary people could do.

Doing so would end poverty, welfare, and the thousands of scams in government and business that feed on poverty. It would cost less than the present system.

No need to do away with private enterprise capitalism, just give them some real competition.

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

airnaut. So according to you, everyone who shops at Wal-Mart is a Communist? lol

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

Thid Barker said: "Has it ever occurred to you Wal-Mart bashers that if not for Wal-Mart poor people could not afford goods they enjoy? There is a reason poor people don't shop at Nordstrom!"

They used to shop somewhere before walmart. Lots and lots of places in fact, with products made in places besides china.

What better business plan than paying your employees so little that, they'll come back and spend their food stamps where they work, and hey the feds will even pay the medical benefits if they cheat the system a little more, by not allowing any but a few work full time.

Yes thid a shining example the free market.

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

Happy Valley. If you don't want to shop at Wal-Mart, don't! Problem solved! No one is forced to work there or to shop there, its called freedom!

LOU Montana
Pueblo, CO

Eating fast food has become ridiculous! Two milk shakes for seven dollars! Two hamburgers, fries and drinks - nearly twenty dollars! Good reason not to eat fast food.

Stalwart Sentinel
San Jose, CA

This "experiment" has already been done, read the Card and Krueger case study. They examined the fast food industry on the border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania in 1992 when New Jersey increased it's minimum wage. Their findings rebut every single talking point that comes from conservatives - in fact, when New Jersey raised it's minimum wage, the fast food industry saw less turnover, lower unemployment, and prices remained steady. This same case study has since been replicated countless times with virtually the same results.

The Card and Krueger case study, along with the many others that replicate it, took naturally occurring, real world minimum wage disparities and found conservatives' claims regarding the minimum wage to be completely unfounded. There is nothing more definitive than the real world proving conservatives wrong over and over again.

Provo, UT

How is it fair that Walmart's CEO just triple his pay while over half of his employees are subsidized via food stamps?

Why should I subsidize Walmart because their CEO refuses to pay its workers a decent wage?

To me, this is a great moral threat to our society than gay marriage or abortion! CEOs using and abusing their employees and our system. Cheating us all out of billions each year!

It's a "light" version of slavery.

How can conservatives condone this?

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