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Greg Bell: New minimum-wage laws — Government as provider

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  • Utefan60 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 20, 2014 7:45 a.m.

    Mr. Bell gets free health care from PEHP and a government pension from his job as Lt. Gov. Sure seems incongruent that he takes from the public dole and then slams those who are working as hard as they can to survive. But that is the GOP reasoning. Poor people don't deserve it, but the "hard working politician" does.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 4:40 p.m.

    re:Noodlekaboodle

    your confused. Minimum wage is NOT for working adults - it is a stop gap for students and young people who are WORKING in college to get off of minimum wage by getting a degree. The whole idea of going to college is to be self sufficient and not have to rely on the government. For those minorities who work for minimum wage the idea is to incent you to get training from a community college or a trade and get out of the minimum wage dead end. Minimum wage will NEVER be something to support you over a life time and it isn't intended for that purpose. This whole idea of social welfare is destroying America and turning us into a lazy dependent people over generations. Why work when you can get something for free? Really - that is the question that people ask and the free-bees are so much more than what you can get via working with zero skills. Would you want your own son or daughter to be a freeloader? Why then is that somehow good for the nation? People need to get away from the government or this nation is doomed.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 19, 2014 4:14 p.m.

    High wages or a liberal immigration policy. Pick one.

    When labor markets are tight, the price of labor goes up. When labor markets are kept flooded with low-skill labor, the price of low-skill labor stays low.

    There is a reason the Chamber of Commerce faction within the Republican Party loves mass immigration.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 19, 2014 4:10 p.m.

    To the leftists who think that American unions have been "stomped out," please point to one single major piece of national labor legislation since the golden era of unionism that was not in labor's favor.

    Labor's share of American industry didn't decline because companies de-unionized. It declined because the unionized industries died, invariably with the union flag still flying from the masthead as the ship went under. Pay above-market wages long enough, someone will come along, paying the market price and pricing his product accordingly, and take your place.

    Like it or not, reality bites.

  • CBAX Provo, UT
    Aug. 19, 2014 3:14 p.m.

    As far as I am concerned, the bottom line is this. If you have no skills then nobody is OBLIGATED to take care of you. There are some FAITHS that will take care of their own and those around them.

    SOME employers have found business models where they pay lower skilled employees more. If that works for them then great.

    If I am a poor college student making 16 bucks an hour, then how does raising the minimum wage help me? I have skills that I have worked on in my spare time that allow me to get half decent "college kid" jobs.

    No business or person is responsible for your welfare. It's just you. Sorry. If some business or organization helps out through various different ways. That's great. Don't try and force it.

  • blackattack Orem, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 10:00 a.m.

    This editorial is so devoid of compassion that it makes me sick. I hope he is not CEO of the Utah Hospital Association for long bc hospitals should strive (and many do) to help the indigent, not waive them off. Didn't Greg Bell retire from lieutenant governor because he did not have sufficient retirement? How can people who are less educated, do not have a pension or an employer that matches 401k contributions, and make far less prepare for their own retirement?

    The fact that he said that a low wage worker is unreasonable to expect an apartment is incomprehensible to me. Does he realize that if you have such low wages that you will need assistance to afford a humble place to live? There are many examples of Companies that oppress the hireling with wages that are some of the most profitable in the world. If they raise wages, the only reason they would need to pass on higher prices to consumers is because of personal greed. It is the elitist attitude that creates the income inequality gap that exists today. The "you just don't work hard enough if you aren't financially solvent."

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    Aug. 17, 2014 11:17 a.m.

    Bell says we are not doing enough to educate girls on "the dangers of premarital sex".

    First of all, Mr. Bell, the danger is not the sex per se but the existence of a pregnancy when the people involved are not emotionally or financially able to raise a child. It shouldn't take a whole lot of research-- ten minutes on your computer, maybe?--to figure out that postponing pregnancy in young couples, married or unmarried, is a whole lot more effective than anything else in reducing the poverty rate.

    And that educating girls in "the dangers of premarital sex" by "abstinence education" is a joke. Abstinence curricula stress the unreliability of condoms in the quaint hope that this will promote abstinence--when all it does it make it LESS likely that the couple will use any contraception at all.

    I have been a landlord since 1967 and, over the years, have carried out 26 legal evictions. Some of them had teenage pregnancies. But 25 of the 26 were smokers.

  • Rikitikitavi Cardston, Alberta
    Aug. 17, 2014 10:10 a.m.

    The best place for government to assist those on the bottom of the income scale is to make post secondary education more affordable. Nevertheless even government cannot light a fire under those who lack initiative and drive. Ever wonder how come some office towers have lights on at night? It's because workers are there cleaning. Not being paid enough? Spend less on needless stuff and get a better job are the two best suggestions.

  • New to Utah PAYSON, UT
    Aug. 17, 2014 5:47 a.m.

    Greg Bell spoke the truth.liberals,Obama's administration has increased the national debt by over
    $7 trillion.This is confiscation of middle class workers effort and redistribution of wealth.Why should people who obey the law, put in an honest days labor subsidize those who don't make an effort to better themselves,receive housing, food stamps,medical care at the expense of others? We should be a generous society but destroying the middle class which is the backbone of America by over taxing is not the solution.

  • mattrick78 Cedar City, UT
    Aug. 17, 2014 12:37 a.m.

    "A specious, dishonest question. No one in favor of workers being paid a fair wage is talking about anything more nor less than that, and you know it. Nice try."

    What is exactly is a "fair" wage anyway? The market determines the wage. If a potential employee thinks the wage is un-fair they have the freedom to go work elsewhere.

  • mattrick78 Cedar City, UT
    Aug. 17, 2014 12:34 a.m.

    "We should not emulate the rigid and brittle government of Czarist Russia, should we?"

    To imply that the socio-economic conditions in the United States are anywhere near or are trending towards Czarist Russia is a stretch. Clearly there needs to be some sort of balance between providing for the poor and needy without sapping their incentive to provide for themselves in some form or another.

  • Brer Rabbit Spanish Fork, UT
    Aug. 16, 2014 7:41 p.m.

    Greg Bell as a State Senator and Lt Governor had his own method, along with other Utah Republican legislators, of suppressing wages for low income, low skilled workers. As a Senator he has supported flooding the low skilled wage market with cheap foreign legal and illegal workers, thereby using the law of supply and demand to make it impossible for these folks to make even a low standard of living. This has forced many of them on to taxpayer funded welfare programs.

    Bell and other republican legislators believe that it is the fault of low income workers that cannot make a subsistence wage because of poor choices, laziness, etc. They seem to believe that this type of low skilled work is fit only for immigrants, legal or illegal. It isn't work that Americans are suppose to do. Require employers to only hire legal labor and reduce work visas, and let's see what this "unskilled" labor is really worth.

    It seems that most Americans believe in the economic laws of supply and demand, except for low skilled labor, that they feel is below their dignity. Flood the market with any product or service and the price will fall.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 16, 2014 4:12 p.m.

    The reasons people create and join civilized societies are many and varied. The poor and weak seek the safety of numbers. The rich and powerful seek the wealth of the labor of people. And there are as many gradations and agendas between those reasons as there are people.

    Business is a function created and allowed by society for the purpose of sharing the good and bad of the society. Business in not the purpose of the society but only a tool that society uses to accomplish the true purpose of society which is the betterment of life for the members as a whole.

    Businessmen have short circuited the purpose of society by measuring the worth of an individual according the his worth to the business profits rather than his worth to the betterment of life.

    Minimum wage is a temporary patch to this problem but is not the cure.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 16, 2014 9:36 a.m.

    @The Educator
    I was pretending that minimum wage workers wages were 100% of the wages (and thus doubling them only gets to 14 dollars for a value meal) to show how ridiculous someone else saying a value meal going to 20 dollars would be. I know full well that workers wages are a much smaller fraction.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 16, 2014 8:51 a.m.

    “Historically, Americans were responsible for their own welfare . . . That all changed with the 1960s' Great Society welfare programs”

    It changed long before that.

    Government-run soup kitchens have existed in America and Great Britain for a couple of hundred years. They were especially evident during the 1930’s Great Depression.

    You must be thinking of other countries . . . Like Russia . . . that had no such government run sites to feed starving people. Because that Czarist regime didn’t have enough common sense, the entire royal family was wiped out and Marxist Communism took over.

    We should not emulate the rigid and brittle government of Czarist Russia, should we?

    I do agree that we have a problem with long-term welfare recipients, and I am not in favor of raising the minimum wage right now. Raising the minimum wage only offers temporary relief. It creates inflation. And the new equilibrium after that inflation makes the minimum wage comparatively small again.

    Still, we need a social safety net. Czarist Russia showed us what can happen when there is no adequate social safety net.

  • Lyn52 Saint George, UT
    Aug. 16, 2014 7:14 a.m.

    The real job creators are those being paid a living wage, being paid $7.25 is not a living wage. Working full time and living in poverty is not what America is about. Crushing unions also crushed the middle class. Right to work for less laws that have been passed in red states are a prime example of corporations behind such laws. Utah passed such a law and Sen Hatch is trying to pass the law nation wide.

  • Vince Ballard South Ogden, UT
    Aug. 16, 2014 6:05 a.m.

    Mr. Bell ignores the the fact that there are three ways to make a living: Crime, Welfare, or Work. Traditionally, and employer paid enough to support his (or her) employees at the poverty level. If this doesn't happen, the government picks up the tab in the form of social benefits. If a person is being paid enough to support themselves and a family of, say four, the government can get out of the welfare business. It should. Ensuring that capital and labor "play fair" with one another is a legitimate government function. Merely supporting people who choose not to work is not. It is Mr. Bells ideas that perpetuate both individual and corporate welfare, and one is as destructive and corrupting as the other.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 11:48 p.m.

    Gotta love it when a RICH millionaire lawyer -- part of the 1% --
    Writes a letter for the Deseret News against the WORKING poor...

  • prelax Murray, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 11:17 p.m.

    Someone posted this in the comments about an article about immigration, a few fact checks later, and I'm going to post it here in my words.

    In the early 1960s the “Bracero” guest-worker program, allowed farms to hire low cost Mexican immigrants instead of American farmworkers. The program was killed by Congress in 1963 on the urging by Cesar Chavez, the farm labor organizer.

    The lack of cheap labor forced farms and food companies to triple the wages paid to Americans. The wages rose from $1.77 per hour in 1965, to $5.63 in 1978. That’s the equivalent of $20.27 per hour in 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since then, farmworkers’ wages has fallen after inflation, amid a huge wave of legal and illegal immigration.

    This is relevant because some in our government have allowed business to use legal and illegal immigrants to depress America's wages. It's time government tipped the scales back to even things out. $15 doesn't seem unreasonable, American farm workers would still be making $5 hour less than their 1978 counterpart.

  • JKR Holladay, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 9:17 p.m.

    Way to go Sen Bell. Say what you think. Even if I don't agree with all of it, the candor is appreciated. Maybe you should be governor.

  • nicholdraper West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 9:05 p.m.

    I'll answer the why $15 and not $25 or $35. The goal of raising the minimum wage is not to make all the wages the same. The goal of raising the minimum wage is to keep up with inflation. The minimum wage hasn't been changed for years, but the price of a McDonalds combo meal has doubled. So the goal is to move the minimum wage up to a more livable amount. Even $15 an hour isn't very much money. Also, the plan is to phase the wage increase in over a few years, so it wouldn't really be the shock it sounds. I am a registered Republican and I along with some other Republicans think it is time to raise the minimum wage again. Realize that raising the minimum wage hurts those on a fixed income the most, meaning retirees. So baby boomers are likely to be the group blocking the increase the most as it will cause more of them to put off retiring.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 5:47 p.m.

    Government is not 'provider' if the minimum wage is increased. Government is protector. By design, business will never truly appreciate staff it doesn't have to.

  • NedGrimley Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 5:17 p.m.

    So twice you call me a liar, and twice you dodge the question.

    In spite of your personal attack, I still think is fair to understand why the line in the sand has been set at $15.00? In previous arguments, not too long ago, it was $10.10. (So, yes, "less than that") If $15 is now the preferred "living wage" or "fair wage" or whatever you want to call it, why is $25 not?

    Call me names, but don't dodge the question.

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 4:13 p.m.

    NedGrimley

    "There's no forced conscription. There are no indentured servants."

    And no on is forcing anyone into the pit the greedy employer digged for his employee, either. Nor is anyone forcing an employee to utter the words, "I'll take the job." But the greedy employer -- who holds the cards, who has the bargaining power -- has no compunction about taking advantage of that empmloyer's words.

    Hence the Book of Mormon's condemnation of those who "dig a pit for thy neighbor," and "take the advantage of the one because of his words."

    "If $15.00 is good, why not $25 or $35?"

    A specious, dishonest question. No one in favor of workers being paid a fair wage is talking about anything more nor less than that, and you know it. Nice try.

  • SLars Provo, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 4:01 p.m.

    Winco starts people out at $11 and hour, even part time workers. And their prices are comparable or less than Walmart.

  • NedGrimley Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 3:31 p.m.

    Anti: Let's be fair and include the rest of my comment for context - "There's no forced conscription. There are no indentured servants. Everyone ASKED for the job and AGREED to the wages when they accepted the job." Thus they made the choice to accept the job and the wage.

    A persons weakness and/or bargaining ability obviously play into an individuals ability to improve his situation, but that is a completely different part of the discussion, and was not the point of the post nor the context of the statement.

    I won't even go into the unfair broad brush inference that every employer bases their wages on an attempt to take advantage of others...

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 3:02 p.m.

    Mountanman

    "If an adult is working for minimum wages, then rest assured either he/she is handicapped or they squandered their youth by getting high and partying instead of developing any meaningful job skills!"

    A lie. For example, STEM industries are firing or refusing to hire well-trained American STEMS, not because they are lazy or unqualified, as you insinuate, nor because fewer workers are needed, but because greedy businessmen are hiring foreigners instead, both legal and illegal, at a cheaper wage.

    This false accusation of laziness is yet another rationalization for dealing unjustly with one's neighbor. Today's workers are the most productive in American history.

    FreelancerA1_1

    "...prices on everything will skyrocket in order to compensate."

    False propaganda. In-N-Out Burger pays their people more yet does not charge a higher menu price. This is because they take their Christianity seriously.

    NedGrimley

    "Everyone who works at an entry level, entry wage job is there by choice."

    A half-truth. They do so becuase of their weaker -- or non-existent -- bargaining power, compared to that of their employers. It's called "taking the advantage of the one because of his words," and "digging a pit for thy neighbor."

  • NedGrimley Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 2:04 p.m.

    Maverick: I see you decided to assume my intent and infer some “desperation” in my question. I could equally assume you are “desperate” because you are unwilling to answer a simple question. Instead you make unfounded assumptions.

    I also see you whipped out the broad brush and immediately accused all republicans of failing to understand basic economics. As if Dems are the only people on the earth with a brain.

    My question had nothing to do with your feared “slippery slope”. It was a very basic question. If $15.00 is good, why not $25 or $35? What is so difficult about that?

    “See, Dems fail to understand basic questions and skirt the issues when attempting to make their point without answering the question…” Not only that, you pulled a typical switcheroo to attempt to change the depth of the argument by switching from “Minimum Wage” to “Living Wage”. Want a living wage job? Go get qualified for and apply for one.

    Schnee: Headaches and medicine as a comparable argument?? Really? Where did that come from?

  • azjohn64 Glendale, AZ
    Aug. 15, 2014 1:58 p.m.

    In Seattle, they just passed a $15/hr min wage law. Already at least one large fast food franchise is testing self ordering/payment stations like HomeDepot and some supermarkets already have. This will allow the location to cut down on employee head count. Once fully implemented the location's payroll with a $15 min wage will be about the same but with less workers. The location will keep the best and let the rest go. The way it always has been and always will be.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 1:48 p.m.

    Wonder: "If only liberals were as wacky as you conservatives seem to think we are. Guess what? We do not think the minimum wage should be $1000 an hour. If we are going to have a minimum wage, why not a living wage?"

    Because if you make every no-skill job in America pay a "living wage" to support a family then you will price a whole lot of labor out of the market.

    If you are a business, are you going to hire a new teenager who is just trying to figure out how to show up on time, work effectively, and perform even basic tasks if you have to pay him/her $15/hour? No. You are going to insist on hiring a worker with a few years experience, has reliable transportation to work, and has already aquired the skills necessary to do the job well from day one.

    So where will all the teenagers and high school dropouts go to find their first job?

  • Red San Antonia, TX
    Aug. 15, 2014 1:41 p.m.

    There is stability in the FAMILY.

    I know it seems silly, but get married. Stay married. No infidelity. Work hard. Life is good.

    All shortcuts = life is good for a little while then it is very bad.

    We have a whole world full of people who took a shortcut.

    Paying that piper is no fun, but how else are they going to learn?

  • Z South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 1:20 p.m.

    Want to incentivize McDonald's into automating most of their production process? Double the cost of their workforce. Then see how fast your mythical $15.00 an hour turns in $0.00 an hour for many of the back-room workers. Sorry, it still isn't a career.

  • A_Chinese_American Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 12:39 p.m.

    I read a lot of comments here. Something is missing from the discussion.

    People argue that that single mom who is lack of higher education and upper work skills deserve $15 per hour livable wage. I can see that as a reasonable request to the employer.

    But, how do you justify your $15 per hour wage by doing just near-zero-skill-required job? Do you see in another side of the world, a lot of colleague educated workers just get $1 per hour or maybe $2 per hour wage?

    My point is, if we raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour (and I personally AGREE, OK) will let United States of America’s national industry competitiveness down in the global. Maybe more minimum wage jobs would be generated inside the national border if we do happened have a border.

    ps, $15/h for near-zero-skill-required job will lead to nothing except 1) greatly greater inflation rate 2) same income gap after 5 to 10 years 3) only politician get the vote and near-zero-skill-required worker will still be the bottom-feeder.

    LOL.

  • BB Santaquin, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 12:39 p.m.

    @Roland Kayser

    Name the wrong Facts.

  • The Educator South Jordan , UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 12:34 p.m.

    "Even if workers wages were 100% of the cost of a value meal (which it's not, otherwise the business would go under due to 0 profit and 0 money to pay all the other costs associated with running a business) a doubling of the minimum wage would only lead to a doubling of the cost of a value meal."

    Where are you getting your information from? McDonald's own stats show that the min wage could double and the price of a Big Mac only increase by a quarter.

    That's not even close to the "double" that you stated.

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 12:26 p.m.

    If only liberals were as wacky as you conservatives seem to think we are. Guess what? We do not think the minimum wage should be $1000 an hour. If we are going to have a minimum wage, why not a living wage? Or do you propose no minimum wage? Another guess what. You can't just sit on your hands for years and collect welfare. You may not remember, but during the Clinton administration, the law was changed and you can only receive cash welfare payments for a limited amount of time. So even if you could just sit there doing nothing as you think so many people want to do, you couldn't do it for long. So your theory of the lazy good for nothing poor is inaccurate. But go on collecting your welfare (I mean Medicare) and disparaging others who receive anything if it makes you feel better.

  • Jeremy234 SLC, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 12:25 p.m.

    Wages are going to fall for everyone over time. There are going to be more and more highly educated people, but more and more jobs will be done by computers. A larger labor market results in lower wages. It's just the way it is.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 12:19 p.m.

    @kiddsport
    "Socrates used a step-by-step logical query to evaluate the strength of an argument. If a $15 minimum wage is good, why is a $20 minimum wage not better? Why not $30?"

    Let's say you have a headache and you have headache medicine. You normally just take one but hey the box says you can take 2 every four hours and you have a bad headache. Do you then ask, why not 4? why not 8 every 4 hours? how about 16? Does determining that taking 16 is bad mean that you shouldn't take 2 instead of 1?

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 12:14 p.m.

    @DN Subscriber
    "It will turn out that liberals are always quite generous spending other people's money, but not so much when it comes out of their pocket."

    Actually, since many are arguing that businesses would just pass the extra costs onto customers anyway we're not spending other people's money and as such you would find that it's liberals who don't care that increasing minimum wages means increases in the costs of products. It's conservatives who complain about the prospect of having to pay more for products if workers are paid better. Liberals are the Costco people, remember.

  • kiddsport Fairview, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 12:12 p.m.

    @marxist- "It says nothing of the kind. As the famous Mrs. Robinson of economics put it, "there is no rational reason to pay someone making burgers 1/3 of what a guy running a power wrench on an assembly line makes."

    Mrs. Robinson can't be too famous. I haven't heard of her, but I agree with her in this sense: the guy on the assembly line makes a larcenous wage because he has a racketeer union backing him up. Unions buy politicians and then collude (as in the IRS union members) to prevent individual citizen groups from asserting the same political influence.

    If free enterprise were truly free, and our borders were secure, perhaps these two workers would be making the same wage.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 12:10 p.m.

    @happy2behere
    "You want $15 an hour for those? Fine. Enjoy paying $20 for your "value meal"."

    Even if workers wages were 100% of the cost of a value meal (which it's not, otherwise the business would go under due to 0 profit and 0 money to pay all the other costs associated with running a business) a doubling of the minimum wage would only lead to a doubling of the cost of a value meal.

  • SLars Provo, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 12:07 p.m.

    Is it the governments job to supply cheap labor to business? No, but they do it anyway.

  • kiddsport Fairview, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 12:02 p.m.

    @humbug- 2 Peter 1:20
    Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. Careful how you wrest the scriptures. Regarding what an employer pays a laborer, Matthew 20:15 says, "Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?"

    As for the mom who became single because her returned missionary couldn't give up adultery, did she not prepare for a career while she was single? They do teach that in Young Women, you know. That's what I taught my daughters.

  • kiddsport Fairview, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 11:49 a.m.

    Let's get something straight- very few jobs actually pay minimum wage. The pool of workers who can only qualify for minimum wage jobs is very large and growing larger every year, especially with the prospect of Obama putting out the amnesty welcome mat. If you don't understand supply and demand, there is no point of discussing the issue with you.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 11:49 a.m.

    @patriot
    You realize that if you work at minimum wage, for 40 hours a week you will make $15,000 a year, before taxes(and while you don't pay federal income tax, you still pay Social Security, Medicare and State Tax) which qualifies you for every welfare benefit that the government provides. McDonalds and Wal Mart have resources that provide step by step instructions on how to apply for benefits in your state. So why are Wal Mart or McDonalds, companies that clear billions a year in profit, but pays so little a working adult can't afford an apartment, not equally bad in your mind to an individual that takes welfare benefit? They wouldn't have employee's without welfare, they are as big of welfare queens as the individuals you despise so much.

  • kiddsport Fairview, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 11:31 a.m.

    @Real maverick- you are confusing the Socratic method with slippery slope. Socrates used a step-by-step logical query to evaluate the strength of an argument. If a $15 minimum wage is good, why is a $20 minimum wage not better? Why not $30? NedGrimley had it right. Also, it's not repubs who don't understand basic economics; until dems wake up to the reality that taxing and regulating businesses to death, there will never be enough economic activity to raise overall wages, which naturally lifts minimum wages due to competition for labor. Australia has a minimum wage of $17/hr and 5% unemployment? They also have very stringent immigration laws and zero illegal immigration.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 11:21 a.m.

    re:one vote

    "keep the economy moving"??? Interesting economics you have there. Raising the wage to $15 means employers will hire LESS employees not more. Less employees means unemployment goes up not down. I think you are going the wrong direction with your math. My son in law own a furnature business and he has said he will lay off if the wage is hiked up. He will have to hire less people with more experience. Is that what you want?

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 11:14 a.m.

    hey why stop at $15 per hour - why not....say $25 per hour? I mean where did this sign carrying kid come up with 15? Minimum wage is not supposed to support a life style - it it supposed to be a stop - gap during college years to get you to the next level. Now I admit the minimum ought to be raised from $8 to $10 which gives a nice bump to kids to keep up with inflation while still allowing employers to survive but $15??? I don't think so. Keep in mind the more employers have to pay the less employees they will hire and the more skill they will require....no free lunch. Sorry Obama folks.

    Hey why not just go get Obama welfare ??? It pays alot more than minimum wage and it doesn't even require work!!!! Of course I have to pay the welfare for you but what do you care - it's free!!!! "Ask not what you can do for your country but instead ask what your country will give you for free (or owes you)" Barack Obama

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 10:34 a.m.

    You conservative are right, minimum wage was an entry level an apprentice pay.

    Unfortunately Big Businesses pay these poverty wages not as entry, but as there regular pay, because workers no longer have a say, since the attack on unions by conservatives, while supporting unions of businesses know as corporations or "people." by fools.

    Why should Americans foot the bill for a company like Walmart who games the system for their owners, with a business model that has more employee's on the public dole, than any other business, that is criminal. Yet totally moral by conservative standards because it's OK to socialize the costs while privatizing the profits int he supply side economic failure they continue to believe in.

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 10:27 a.m.

    Now Vanceone thinks liberal should not be allowed to read the Deseret News. Oh brother.

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 10:10 a.m.

    Where do all the leftists come from that are so, so willing to force others to spend their money? Why are they here, instead of on the Tribune?

    Of course, the Trib did just have to fire people because of --gasp! -- economic realities, i.e. they couldn't afford to pay their staff.

    Liberals here seem to think that being a business owner means you have an unlimited money tree with which to pay labor, and raising wages doesn't hurt anything. What... shortsightedness. Okay, raise McDonalds employee wages. And watch hundreds of thousands get fired.

    Liberalism: leading to unemployment every single time.

  • G-Day-M8 Where is Waldo, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 10:04 a.m.

    @ Marxist continued.

    When I observed my performance and felt the pay I received was just, I continued working but when I felt the compensation was not just, I chose to leave the employment.

    When I left the employment, I took with me the knowledge I gained and became an employer.

    Bottom line -- People have choices, to make of their lives what ever they want. We have a choice to become educated through hard work and sacrifice and sometimes good fortune. We have a choice to instill the drive to vacate the poverty cycle or to remain in it. We have the choice to be acted upon or to act. We have the choice to do any thing we want even in the most dire circumstances.

    No government or employer can remove our right to choose but a government can toss out the bone of ease and compel and force the productive to provide for the indolent.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 10:03 a.m.

    @Mark l
    But you and Mr. Bell are operating under the assumption that all costs at a restaurant are fixed, except the labor. That simply isn't true. Food costs vary throughout the year, I mean, anyone who buys their own groceries knows that. There are caps in the contracts(at least where i've worked) that keep the price from going to far to the extreme, but they vary. Power and natural gas companies have different rates for the summer and winter. Why are we under this delusion that restaurants have all fixed costs, and have no idea how to deal with an increased cost? Trust me, you aren't going to see the price of a value meal double if you doubled the minimum wage, they are such a small factor of a cost of running a fast food joint. A well run store keeps their labor costs to 15%, that means 85% of their costs have nothing to do with paying people, which is why it won't double the cost of your value meal to pay people enough to rent an apartment.

  • FreedomFighter41 Provo, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 9:53 a.m.

    Greg Bell's column can be summarized:

    "Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.

    Greed is good."

  • regis Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 9:42 a.m.

    Excellent thoughts, Mr. Bell. The "Great Society" promised by LBJ in the 60's has turned out to be not quite so great as promised. We don't have less poverty. We have more. We have weakened families dramatically with the result that more and more children grow up in single parent homes with very little hope of breaking free of the cycle of poverty. Big government may have high minded intentions, but the results rarely meet the expectations.

  • G-Day-M8 Where is Waldo, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 9:42 a.m.

    @ Marxist continued:

    I have the choice to do business with my employer the customer or not to do business with him. The customer may have power over me by collusion or dishonesty but he does not have power of my right to choose to do business with him unless I'm compelled by the government to do so. Even then, I can choose to close my doors and move on.

    I have employed many people. Some are extremely talented and exceptional performers and I have compensated them for the level of their value to me. I have also had employees who were less than valuable to me so I fired them. Some were valuable to me at $10 p/h and others at $7 p/h and they were paid accordingly.

    As a business man / employer, I have claim on a fair profit and if by intuition and hard work, I have claim on a wonderful profit.

    As an employee, I have looked at my employment as an asset to my employer. He is taking a risk to hire me and I am under obligation to earn my keep. I agreed to the terms of the contract.

  • The Educator South Jordan , UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 9:35 a.m.

    The immorality in this state is rampant. How can we be all "up in arms" over gay marriage in this state yet excuse the terrible wages offered? This is nothing more than greedy businessmen ripping off their workers. Isn't that immoral? Why is homosexuality so immoral yet greed which causes workers to suffer so excusable?

  • dave4197 Redding, CA
    Aug. 15, 2014 9:27 a.m.

    When workers prop up a business in order for that business to make products and services for its customers, those workers should be paid a living wage. A living wage with which that worker and their family can find shelter, food, clothing, transportation to/from work, medical, maybe more, within the community of that work site. That way the business owners and the customers as a group pay the full cost of those products and services and don't require the taxpayer to chip in for them. Less pay puts the burden on the taxpayer, not the customers or business owners, to fully finance the living cost for those workers.
    Get real, Greg. Low wages let the business owners keep their opulence, much of it undeserved. Low wages let us retail customers buy cheap, it's a contest, a game, without fully realizing that we're pushing some of the cost on to our income tax bills. Getting real means pay the worker enough to live on in the community where the work is.

  • G-Day-M8 Where is Waldo, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 9:27 a.m.

    @ Marxist who said

    The conservatives here are using the "supply and demand" model to explain the current wage at fast food without understanding the assumptions of that model. There are many but the most important is that neither side can force the price of labor, i.e. wage. This is a false assumption. Wages are often not "fair" because employers have market power - the ability to force, often through collusion explicit or de facto, the wage."

    It's all in the perspective from which we view things that are the base our assumptions.

    I see this argument from both an employers and an employees point of view. I have been both at the same time and I have been an employee singularly. As an employer and business owner, I have the customer or consumer as an employer. I'm paid at times a fair price for my services and or goods and at other times I'm not paid even close to fair for my goods and or services.

  • G-Day-M8 Where is Waldo, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 9:12 a.m.

    @ Ronald Kayser 1st post on this thread. Ok Mr Kayser, give us the facts. point out the made up ones you claim are made by Greg Bell.

  • Ifel Of'a-sofa Alpine, Utah
    Aug. 15, 2014 9:10 a.m.

    I assume that the Dickies worker that can't tell sugar from cleaner wants 15 bucks an hour too?

  • Simpe Spectator St.George, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 9:07 a.m.

    Whether or not this guy has his facts straight, he has one thing right. It shouldn't be raised. I have worked with lower income and medicaid people for years now. 99% of them showed a sense of entitlement to everything medicaid offered. They always wanted to know why they had limitations and why they couldn't have more. Not one single person asked if they could work while being on medicaid and open up even more resources. We are teaching people to be lazy. Case and point. If we raise minimum wage, sure maybe it will be the economy...temporarily. But we will see in another 10-20 a new generation of lazy people who feel entitled. If they want a raise they should either seek another job or get their GED. They should be enrolled in a course to learn a skill. Lets make people learn to be self sufficient. I had a friend growing up who had everything given to him by his parents. He is now a grown man with kids who still is living off of his parents. He never learned. Lets change the path and help people help themselves.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 9:03 a.m.

    The conservatives here are using the "supply and demand" model to explain the current wage at fast food without understanding the assumptions of that model. There are many but the most important is that neither side can force the price of labor, i.e. wage. This is a false assumption. Wages are often not "fair" because employers have market power - the ability to force, often through collusion explicit or de facto, the wage.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 9:01 a.m.

    The first question that all the "increase the minimum wage" advocates need to answer is:
    "Why don't You start a company and pay generous wages far above the minimum, since that is such a good idea?"

    It will turn out that liberals are always quite generous spending other people's money, but not so much when it comes out of their pocket. They can start today to give huge tips to every "underpaid" worker they encounter, thus eliminating the opportunity for the "greedy employers" to skim off any of what would be the same as paying ahigher price for the product of service.

    Report back tomorrow, all you liberals on exactly how much of your money you passed out in "tips" to minimum wage workers other than restaurant servers today. Be generous!

  • Invisible Hand Provo, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 8:59 a.m.

    Why do people want to subject themselves to the tyranny of experts? We have a government expert that will tell us what unskilled labor is worth. We had government experts reform our healthcare system, and that is why the woman in the story had her hours cut from 40 to 24, because her employer would have had to pay extra taxes or provide health insurance if she worked 40. People respond to incentives. Some call it greed, I call it human nature. It's not a new phenomenon.

    The only true way to know what the price of unskilled labor should be is to let free people negotiate it in the marketplace. If some people can't support themselves at that level then we should talk about a social safety net, not forcing companies to pay inflated wages that don't represent the value of the labor.

  • humbug Syracuse/Davis, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 8:56 a.m.

    Mr. Bell seems to assume that most low-wage workers are single moms who got pregnant out-of-wedlock during their teenage years. What about the single mom who married a returned missionary in the temple, then 12 years later her marriage falls apart because her husband won't give up his adultery? She now has children to support. Her Bishop is giving her food orders and paying her utility bills. Does she deserve a better wage than our current minimum of $7.25 per hour?

  • flatlander Omaha, NE
    Aug. 15, 2014 8:55 a.m.

    Interesting comments the author made on no welfare before the 60's. LDS started their program in the 30's and it does not require work for assistance. I have seen multiple generations on church welfare with little or no effort to get off and more get on as minimum wage has stagnated and hours reduced. As a society we are going to pay one way or another so should it be part of the welfare system or part of the economic system.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 8:52 a.m.

    RE: JoeCapitalist2

    "The fact that the lady in the article worked for McDonalds for 12 years and was still making minimum wage says volumes about the value she is producing."

    It says nothing of the kind. As the famous Mrs. Robinson of economics put it, "there is no rational reason to pay someone making burgers 1/3 of what a guy running a power wrench on an assembly line makes."

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 8:46 a.m.

    RE: NedGrimley

    "Where should we draw the line in the amount employers are FORCED pay their employees?"

    Where should we draw the line in the amount employers are able to FORCE on their employees who have no other work opportunity?

  • humbug Syracuse/Davis, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 8:44 a.m.

    "For the laborer is worthy of his hire." Quoted from 1 Timothy 5:18, Luke 10:7, D&C 31:5, D&C 84:79. This scripture means that a person who works full-time should not be living in poverty. He should receive a wage sufficient for his needs. Yes, Government does have a responsibility to set an appropriate minimum wage. It's a moral issue.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 8:42 a.m.

    "That said, why stop at $15.00?? Why is that a magic number? Why not $25.00 or $35.00 an hour? Isn't the argument being used to increase forced payment valid enough for much more than $15.00??"

    People have got to pay the bills somehow.

    You can't wage a war against min wage while at the same time cut food stamps so people starve.

    And I see you jumped to the desperate slippery slope argument. Everyone desperate goes to that.

    So let's be clear what the motivation should be: keep raising the min wage until people have living wages. How about that? Until these folks are off food stamps and buy the stuff they produce. See, repubs fail to understand basic economics. When workers have enough money to buy the stuff they produce, the economy actually grows rather than just build speculation bubbles.

    An example of this? Henry Ford, who paid his workers more than others so they could buy his cars.
    Australia. Australia has a min wage of nearly $17 dollars per hr. It also has a 5 percent unemployment rate.

    Why? Because workers actually have enough money to live. Pay American workers living wages now!

  • Curmudgeon Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 8:40 a.m.

    So if minimum wage laws exist for the purpose of keeping working Americans out of poverty, what good is a minimum wage that is so low that it fails to achieve that purpose?

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 8:32 a.m.

    marxist: "Yes, and in the process government "cleverly" shifts the burden of paying employees what they are worth from government (society as a whole) to where in belongs - the employers."

    You are making the assumption that people making the current minimum wage are worth much more than that to their employers, but that the employers are simply exploiting those workers and extracting excessive profits for their own benefit.

    I'm not saying that this kind of thing doesn't happen...it does, but this is not a wide spread practice. If you want to earn $15/hour then you need to provide about $20 in real value per hour of work to your employer. Otherwise, that employer is losing money on you and will go out of business if enough employees are in this situation for too long.

    The fact that the lady in the article worked for McDonalds for 12 years and was still making minimum wage says volumes about the value she is producing.

  • Curmudgeon Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 8:27 a.m.

    Greg Bell and his supporters are arguing, in effect, for no minimum wage at all--free market, laissez-faire economics at its finest.

    As expressed by the Economic Policy Institute: "[N]o employer should be allowed to unreasonably profit by exploiting the lack of negotiating power of low-wage workers. The free market fails to set a fair price when one side holds all the bargaining chips. In another context, this is why laws exist against monopolies. If only one supplier supplies a good, it can charge more than the good is worth because the purchaser is powerless to obtain it elsewhere. Low-wage workers are in the opposite position of the monopolist. They lack the skills that command higher wages, but, because they need to work to survive, they cannot withhold their labor from the market. The monopolist can set the price at almost whatever level it wants, while the low-wage worker must take almost whatever is offered for his or her labor. Minimum wages exist for the same reason that laws against monopolies exist: they deal with situations in which the market fails to set fair prices."

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 8:25 a.m.

    Study after study has shown that you could double the min wage and the price for a hamburger would only go up a few pennies.

    The reluctance to increase the min wage is more of a corporate message to workers than any real economic fear. They want to keep workers in their places. We need a new progressive movement and a Teddy Roosevelt to rally behind.

  • NedGrimley Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    Everyone who works at an entry level, entry wage job is there by choice. There's no forced conscription. There are no indentured servants. Everyone ASKED for the job and AGREED to the wages when they accepted the job.

    That said, why stop at $15.00?? Why is that a magic number? Why not $25.00 or $35.00 an hour? Isn't the argument being used to increase forced payment valid enough for much more than $15.00??

    Where should we draw the line in the amount employers are FORCED pay their employees?

  • FreelancerA1_1 Ogden, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 7:56 a.m.

    I was always taught growing up that minimum wage was not intended for working adults. Instead it is intended for those just entering the workforce or receiving special training. The question I would ask here is do people actually thing that raising the minimum wage will help people out of poverty? I don't. Instead I think it will mean that prices on everything will skyrocket in order to compensate. I worked for many years making just above minimum wage and I am very grateful for those experiences. Instead of changing minimum wage to try and fix problems, how about we try and create an educated society to help people leave the troubles of poverty behind.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Aug. 15, 2014 7:36 a.m.

    Everything in this article is accurate and truthful! It takes courage to tell the truth to people who don't like the truth: No jobs skills = low pay, period! If you want higher pay develop some skills which offer an employer more value and he will have to offer you higher pay for your skills! That's the way it works! The world does not owe anyone a living!

  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 7:34 a.m.

    Bell is absolutely correct. Our society is increasingly faced with a growing number of lazy and slothful people who expect the taxpayers to pay for their every want and need, with little or no effort on their own part.

    Why does anyone think that they can drop out of high school to work fast food jobs and be paid a high wage? High wage jobs are for highly skilled workers, not unskilled workers.

    Contrary to left-wing dogma, there isn't money laying around waiting to be handed out as higher minimum wages. That money can only come from the pockets of hard workers who will have to pay higher prices for everything they purchase.

    There are consequences for actions, and the consequence for failing to get the training and education for a good job is a bad job with low wages. Those who make bad choices must live with the inevitable results.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Aug. 15, 2014 7:14 a.m.

    "Historically, Americans were responsible for their own welfare."

    Not exactly. Talk to anyone who grew up in this country prior to the 50's and they will tell you that individuals always had the support of the communities where they lived. When the farmer's bar\n burned to the ground all the neighbors pitched in to help re-build, because they know the same thing could happen to them anytime.

    Talk to anyone who lived through the Great Depression and you'll find that communities worked together to make life more bearable. Neighbors didn't turn their back on neighbors and say "Fend for yourself".

    We live in a much more diverse and complicated society today than we did back then. Minorities are more visible because in the past they were expected to be discarded or absent from our thoughts. But today they are demanding to be heard, to be accepted as part of society. For American citizens to expect a living wage is not treasonous, criminal or even unreasonable. And a country that has enjoyed the reputation as a model of benevolence should be willing to live up to that standard.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 7:03 a.m.

    It needs to be raised to keep economy moving. Want another 2008?

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Aug. 15, 2014 7:03 a.m.

    As a former lieutenant governor and current CEO of the Utah Hospital Association, I'm assuming Mr. Bell is an educated man. And so I can only conclude that his misstatements are a deliberate effort to deceive us.

    "...the big exception being the hard-won and innovative 1990s “workfare” program, which the Obama administration has essentially waived." This is one of the big lies told by the Romney campaign in 2012 which was refuted by a dozen or more Fact Check Organizations. HHS sent a memo to several governors who requested a waiver (one of which was Mitt Romney while he was governor of Massachusetts) offering to allow them to waive federal requirements, only if their new policies met the standard for welfare to work. But in some circles, old political lies never seem to die, especially if they make a point supporting a weak argument.

    The issue here is not how much a hamburgers will end up costing if McDonald's worker are given a hefty wage increase. More to the point, why do Walmart's workers, and ultimate Walmart's management, rely on government help while Walmart owners, who are already billionaires, pocketed $13B in profit last year?

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    Aug. 15, 2014 7:01 a.m.

    The high water mark the American middle class was in 1973.

    The Reagan "trickle down" legacy of cutting taxes for the wealthy, stomping out unions, and letting the minimum wage erode due to inflation has been an colossal failure.

    When will we stop voting against our own self interests!

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 6:43 a.m.

    Some jobs are just meant to be low wage ones. Not career type ones. High turnover jobs, part time, held largely by young first job people. You want $15 an hour for those? Fine. Enjoy paying $20 for your "value meal".

  • techpubs Sioux City, IA
    Aug. 15, 2014 6:13 a.m.

    There is truth in this article. However, there is more to the current situation than what is stated. One of the causes of the inability to not only survive but also to improve your situation in life are created when people take an attitude that they must have everything immediately. As an example, it took me 3 years to save enough money to purchase our first home computer when others were going into debt to get one right away. That's part of the personal responsibility to separate wants from needs. Cell phones, tablets, big screen TV, etc. are all wants. Another cause is the greedy investor who insists that 5 to 10% profit is not enough and wants costs kept down either by only paying minimum wage or by moving jobs overseas.

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 5:55 a.m.

    Actually, the real "pernicious doctrine" prevailing in today's minimum-wage discussion is that businessmen somewhow are entitled to a worker's labor and to the prime hours of that worker's short lifetime. The Spirit of Slavery is very much alive in this country and in Utah. How typical that an editorial of this type would have NOTHING to say about an employer's moral responsibility to voluntarily pay his worker what he justly has earned and deserves.

    And no way is a full-time worker being paid a fair wage who is not able to afford a lousy one-bedroom apartment. It absolutlely is wrong and it is not the way things used to be.

    Also the notion that higher wages necessarily means higher retail prices is standard, fearmongering propaganda for a greed-based, myopically profit-focused business model. In-N-Out Burger's non-greed-based business model, in contrast -- i.e., higher pay, more expensive ingredients, yet LOWER menu price -- proves the propaganda to be false.

    The real problem is the moral disease of Greed which has an iron grip on the hearts of a large number of America's businessmen today.

  • Mark l SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 4:48 a.m.

    There's no such thing as a free lunch! Someone always has to pay, when the bill comes due. The price of labor is one of the costs of doing business, When costs go up, the business must recover all of its costs, or it will go out of business. This is basic economics, and not that difficult to understand.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 1:23 a.m.

    "Without increasing taxes [by raising the minimum wage], government cleverly shifts the burden to private business to pay workers wages sufficient to have their own apartments." Yes, and in the process government "cleverly" shifts the burden of paying employees what they are worth from government (society as a whole) to where in belongs - the employers.

    You have to admit Greg, government can be pretty "clever."

    Greg suffers from the supply and demand model of wage determination, without understanding the many assumptions which economists make when they presume to use it. The most important assumption is that employers do not have "market power," i.e. the ability to force a wage - they do.

    The late economist Joan Robinson who visited us back in '81 said economics should begin with an assumption of many little monopolies instead of "perfect" competition. She embodied her ideas in her seminal work "The Economics of Imperfect Competition." I don't expect you to read this, Greg, but you get the general idea.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 12:05 a.m.

    Virtually every "fact" presented in this piece is wrong. If you want to make an argument against raising the minimum wage use real facts, not made up ones.