Comments about ‘Greg Bell: New minimum-wage laws — Government as provider’

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Published: Friday, Aug. 15 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

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.

Salt Lake City, UT

"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.

Mark l

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.

Salt Lake City, UT

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.

Sioux City, IA

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.

clearfield, UT

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".

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

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!

Burke, VA

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?

one vote
Salt Lake City, UT

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

Burke, VA

"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.

John Charity Spring
Back Home in Davis County, UT

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.

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

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!

Ogden, UT

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.

Brigham City, UT

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?

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

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.

Salt Lake City, UT

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."

Orem, UT

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.

Salt Lake City, UT

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?

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

"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!

Syracuse/Davis, UT

"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.

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