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My view: The president’s minimum wage mind games

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  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 6:17 a.m.

    The "Employment Policy Institute" is another fake front group created by the PR firm that represents the hotel and restaurant industry. Look it up for yourself. It is, btw, a PR firm that also has worked on behalf of the tobacco industry to try to persuade congress that there is no link between chewing tobacco and cancer of the mouth.

    Here's the indisputable fact: If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation from when I was a teen it would now be well above $10 per hour.

    Moreover, many places in the US have raised their minimum wage significantly above the federal level and seen no negative consequences to their employment and economies.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 6:46 a.m.

    "Employment Policies Institute" What right wing think tank it this? Well, anyway one should understand the the minimum wage under-girds the entire wage structure. American labor has not had an increase in real wages for thirty years. A bump up of the minimum wage would shift the wage structure upward. We desperately need this, as labor and the working class fall farther and farther behind, creating inadequate demand for goods and services. Wage stagnation is one of the reasons for what appears to be a permanent recession.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 6:53 a.m.

    Moreover, stagnation of the minimum wage is how capital has kept the overall real wage fixed or declining for the last 30 years.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Nov. 19, 2013 7:42 a.m.

    All wages should be tied to the free market where a person is paid for the value they bring, what they produce. That's why doctors EARN more money than hamburger flippers! The problem with the government dictating wages is that people are paid for what they didn't earn and that creates Marxist countries like N. Korea, Cuba, the former E. Germany, the former USSR, et al. If we continue to reward low achievement, laziness, bad choices and failure, we will have much more of that at every level in our society as per Detroit, Chicago, New York, et al.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 8:14 a.m.

    The 'Free Market'…

    lead to the Great Depression. In which an Americans income was…

    3 cents an hour.

    Inflation is 3% per year.

    An average American workers raise is, less than 1% per year, if at all.

    Poverty, is by design.

    And people are making up facts, in order to insult the president about trying to change that.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Nov. 19, 2013 8:51 a.m.

    @ Pagan, Have you ever considered why every socialist/communist society in history has eventually collapsed? Like I said, If we continue to reward low achievement, laziness, bad choices and failure, we will have much more of that at every level in our society as per Detroit, Chicago, New York, et al. And there are not enough food stamps in the world to overcome it!

  • DVD Taylorsville, 00
    Nov. 19, 2013 9:53 a.m.

    The minimum wage was made legal during the Great Depression wasn't it? Did the labor situation improve or worsen during the 30-60 years after its establishment compared to the 30-60 years before it? It improved and a viable middle class emerged.

    We've arrived again at a place where we have regions that only offer minimum wage jobs. You can quit one, but your only options are others at minimum wage. But often working full time at minimum wage can still leave you as bad off as if you worked and lived in a company town in the 1890s or in Bangledesh now.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 10:13 a.m.

    So, Mtnmn, please explain to me how the labor market could ever be considered "free." When wage laborers are, by definition, commodities, how can they be free? I spent several years on the faculty of a nationally ranked business school. The students there are still being taught that they are marketable products and must sell themselves to corporations. This definition of the human being, as a resource or commodity to be purchased by a business, is not what I would call freedom.

    If we were really serious about bringing our authoritarian economic system into harmony with our political system and social ideals, we would be promoting increased worker ownership of businesses, so that laborers can actually receive a fair share of the profits they create. Historian Christopher Lasch pointed out that after the rise of the modern corporation, "hardly anyone asked any more whether freedom was consistent with hired labor. People groped instead, in effect, for a moral and social equivalent of the widespread property ownership one considered indispensable to the success of democracy." We still haven't discovered that equivalent.

    Minimum wage is just the tip of this particular iceberg.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 10:33 a.m.

    @Mountanman
    "Have you ever considered why every socialist/communist society in history has eventually collapsed?"

    Every society in history that eventually collapsed collapsed. What about the UK? Canada? France? Japan? Sweden? Germany? Australia? Those are all socialist and doing just fine. Like it or not the US has one of the highest (with Mexico and Brazil) wealth inequalities in the industrialized world. When shown unlabeled pie charts of wealth distribution in Sweden and the US, 92% of Americans said they'd rather live in a country with a distribution like the chart that ended up being Sweden.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 11:16 a.m.

    '@ Pagan, Have you ever considered why every socialist/communist society in history has eventually collapsed?'


    Have you considered that every civilization before the current ones have collapsed?

    Logical fallacy.

    ALONG WITH, the civilizations that did, nothing.

    Churchill said it best.

    'Democracy is the worst form of government, except for everything that came before it.'

    When you have a better idea, you will get support.

    Until then, the adults are trying to work on solutions. Not taking pride in a lack of, solutions.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 12:03 p.m.

    Meanwhile McDonald's hands its underpaid workers (average hourly pay $8.45) a "sample budget" that does not include expenses for food but does include income from a second job while telling them that they just need to become smarter about how they use their money.

    McDonald's CEO, Don Thompson, is getting a $13.8 million pay package, including use of a corporate jet for personal use, free physical exams, financial counseling, and a security detail.

    A worker at Dunkin' Donuts receives $7.86 per hour while their CEO rakes in $950 per hour.

    At Pappa Johns, a worker works for a pathetic $7.18 an hour while the Big Papa draws $1,600 an hour. At Dominos Pizza, the CEO takes home $4500 per hour.

    Because of these low wages, taxpayers pick up a tab of $1.2 BILLION to subsidize workers in the $200 billion restaurant industry as they are forced to use food stamps and other public programs.

    Isn't this the kind of thing the Tea Party should be gunning for?

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 12:24 p.m.

    To "Pagan" you are wrong. The free market did not lead us into the great depression. That was the hand of government. Yes the free market had the crash, but had the government done nothing or at most cut its spending back, we would never have had the Great Depression. In 1919 there was a crash bigger than in 1929, but it was gone and a distant memory by July 1921. The Great Depression was a result in Government intervention in the free market.

  • utahcitizen1 Vernal, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 12:42 p.m.

    What I don't get is why people think they have right to the CEO's money? I've worked minimum wage jobs, but understood that even if the CEO diverted a large proportion of their salary to paying line workers higher amounts of money, the amount they could pay everyone is negligible.The CEO keeps a business running that is giving the minimum wage worker a job and income. They also have skills that the vast majority of minimum wage workers do not have. If the minimum wage worker does have better skills (inherently or gained through education), my experience is that they move up and don't earn minimum wage for long. I think people should be paid proportionate to the amount of income their skill set can bring into a business. Like this article said the MAJORITY of minimum wage workers are young. This suggests most people do not earn minimum wage during the majority of their life, but earn it while they are in the process of improving their skills to deserve more.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Nov. 19, 2013 1:06 p.m.

    @marxist: "Wage stagnation is one of the reasons for what appears to be a permanent recession."

    Current wage stagnation is the result of millions of immigrants (illegal and otherwise) coming into this country to work. Wage levels, in our economy, are mostly determined by the availability of labor. Most immigrants are thankful for almost any level of pay they can get compared to what they earn (if they can even find work) in their country of origin. Obama's 'soft on immigration' policy is the major cause of immigration influx and thus, our current recession.

    @one old man:
    "Because of these low wages, taxpayers pick up a tab of $1.2 BILLION to subsidize workers in the $200 billion restaurant industry as they are forced to use food stamps and other public programs."

    But, if those restaurant workers were to get wage increases the cost of the service/product they provide to the consumer increases. So, its a trade-off of whether the consumer pays in taxes or pays in increased service/product cost.

    Remember, the cost of all goods and services produced is about 80 to 90 percent labor.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 1:29 p.m.

    As the main article points out, this is merely another in a long, long, long series of disingenuous liberal ploys, being being pushed in the hope of gaining partisan political advantage, even thought its inevitable result will be to hurt the very people liberals claim to care about.

    It's maddening that liberals are permitted by uncurious, incompetent media to disingenuously peddle their ideas and actions as "looking out for the little guy."

    Truth is, literally everything they do hurts, rather than helps the little guy.

    Liberals clearly demonstrate their surpassing indifference to the plight of the "little guys" who will lose their jobs, as the direct, predictable, knowing result of this cynical, partisan political tactic.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 2:04 p.m.

    So, to put my earlier comment in different words, we shouldn't really even be having a conversation about "minimum wage." If we were serious about bringing our economic system in line with our political principles and social ideals (the ones both Republicans and Democrats agree upon), we should be having a conversation about "minimum ownership."

    There was a time in this country when government chartered corporations very reluctantly and restricted them to either a term of existence of about 20 years or until they had served the purpose for which they were created. And corporations were created in those days to serve public purposes, not to enrich private citizens. The invention of the railroad and the demands of the Civil War changed all that. Now the tail is wagging the dog. If Lincoln were alive today, he would be forced to rewrite his famous Gettysburg conclusion to read: "government of the corporation, by the corporation, and for the corporation."

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 2:41 p.m.

    @procuradorfiscal
    "even thought its inevitable result will be to hurt the very people liberals claim to care about."

    There have been plenty of minimum wage increases in states and the nation over the past 50 years that there's a large enough sample size for researchers to have determined that the effect of minimum wage hikes on jobs gained/lost is near 0. So uh... who is hurting again?

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 4:25 p.m.

    WRZ - it has been reported that in order to pay McDonald's workers $15 an hour, the price of a Big Mac would need to be raised by ten cents. That number is based on the number of Big Macs sold worldwide.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Nov. 19, 2013 4:32 p.m.

    @Kent C. DeForrest:
    "There was a time in this country when government chartered corporations very reluctantly and restricted them to..."

    I think you're a little confused about the business entity called 'corporations.'

    There are basically three types of business structures... (1) sole proprietorships, (2) partnerships, and (3) corporations.

    Corporations were created as a legal business entity for a couple-a good reasons... to protect owners (stockholders) from being sued (except in rare instances where the corporate veil can be pierced), to spread ownership over a wide population (stockholders), and for business longevity/stability.

    Corporations are a legally created 'person' so that, when legal action is sought against a business the action goes against the corporate entity, not the ownership. Not so with sole proprietorships and partnerships were the owners can be sued and drained of all possessions/assets including their residences.

    If there were no corporations there would be only sole proprietorships and partnerships who would be mostly short lived businesses, disappearing at the death (or whim) of the owners. We need stability and longevity in the business world thus corporations have become an essential business structure in today's world.

  • ConservativeCommonTater West Valley City, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 4:59 p.m.

    The Employment Policy Institute is just another right-wing mutual admiration society that has little credibility.

    per Wiki: According to Source Watch, EPI is one of several front groups created by Berman and Company, a Washington, D.C. public relations organization that lobbies for the restaurant, hotel, alcoholic beverage and tobacco industries.[4][5] It should not be confused with the older, similarly named Economic Policy Institute, which is a liberal think tank advocating for low to moderate-income families in the United States.[6]

    Australia began their minimum wage program about the same time as the U.S. Their economy and $dollar strength is on par with the U.S....yet....as of 2012...

    Most workers are covered by an award, which may vary by employee age, geographical location and industry. For adults not covered by an award or agreement, the minimum wages is A$16.37 per hour, A$622.20 per week; set federally by Fair Work Australia. Junior workers, apprentices and trainees not covered by an award each have a minimum wage level set nationally.[18][19]

    If businesses can't pay a living wage to employees, perhaps they should not be in business.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 5:23 p.m.

    There's no way an opinion from an outfit like the so called "employment policy institute", given their pedigree, is going to favour anything or anyone except the industry side of the equation. DN got the opinion piece it wanted, and it speaks volumes.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 5:28 p.m.

    Yes, I agree with this letter and several other posters.

    We should give all the profits to the CEOs. We should pay all workers as little as possible. Only the rich deserve to be compensated. Government should never intervene. That's socialism.

    So when President Teddy Roosevelt cracked trusts, passed meat packing laws, or stopped a strike by forcing the owner of a mine to negotiate, he was completely acting out of line.

    CEOs have the right and responsibility to exploit as much as possible. Lets get back to the Gilded Age principles. 80 hr work weeks, no breaks, no bathrooms, no regulations, and let the "free market" decide everyone's' wages.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 6:02 p.m.

    The Real Maverick:

    By all means, start up your own business and pay yourself all the profits. Pay your workers as little as possible. See how long you stay in business and have good, motivated workers. Don't come crying when all your workers with any skills go across the street to work for your competitor. That's the free market.

    If we have an economic system where the government plays a small role in enforcing contracts and keeping everyone honest, then anyone who tries to abuse the system will have a smaller, more nimble competitor rise up and steal all their customers and workers away.

    The abuses you describe happen when the strong arm of government makes it too hard for the little guy to compete so the big bad company can get their way free from competition.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Nov. 19, 2013 8:04 p.m.

    "The president’s minimum wage mind games"

    Obama ain't stupid. He's pressing for the minimum wage increase to garner low-information voters for the midterm election. He needs to keep the Senate and would love to control the House as well so he can move the country further along his goal of total socialization. Somebody needs to stop him.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 9:40 p.m.

    'Free Market'

    Look up:

    Great Depression and…

    Financial Meltdown.

    Child Labor laws.

    Have a good day.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Nov. 20, 2013 9:05 a.m.

    To "Pagan" yes, the free market helped us get out of the Great Depression that the government created and kept us in. The free market would have prevented the Financial meltdown because the financial meltdown was due to government intrusion into the banking system and by regulations that required banks to lower lending standars.

    Child Labor laws were started as a result of individuals seeking the protection of children. Those laws have been changed to the point where farms are now going to be more expensive to run.

    As we see through our examples, the free market works quite well. They also show that when government gets involved that things get all messed up and people suffer even more.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 20, 2013 10:52 a.m.

    To "Pagan" yes, the free market helped us get out of the Great Depression…'

    A false claim, from a false person.

    Previous to the great depression, banks had zero insurance. So, if they lost your money, they were NOT required to give it back. Millions were lost.

    Man, do people who comment on this page ever use resources?

    Or is it all, just opinions, on this page?

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Nov. 20, 2013 1:34 p.m.

    To "Pagan" that is nice, but it was the government that created the Great Depression by introducing all sorts of bail out programs, oversight of businesses, price controls, and wage controlls.

    Read the following articles:

    "How Government Prolonged the Depression" - WSJ

    "Contrary to popular myth, FDR prolonged agony of Depression" - DN

    "Great Depression" by Gene Smiley at the Library of Economics and Liberty

    "The Great Depression" Von Mises Institute

    "The New Deal Debunked (again)" Von Mises Institute.

    They all find that it was government that kept us in the depression and made a recession into a depression.

  • Mark B Eureka, CA
    Nov. 20, 2013 2:10 p.m.

    The minimum wage has been raised plenty of times in the last 80 years. When was the results of this action a documented economic disaster? Could Shirt or someone go beyond the level of cliche? Please?

  • Let's Agree to Disagree Spanish Fork, UT
    Nov. 20, 2013 9:42 p.m.

    "The minimum wage has been raised plenty of times in the last 80 years. When was the results of this action a documented economic disaster?"

    What is the unemployment rate now? What is the unemployment rate among teens? What is the national debt? The deficit? Poverty rates? Trade deficit? I could go on and on...

    I say we are seeing an economic disaster now. The economy is a very complex and interrelated system. Liberal micro-managers always think that they can mandate a change in one regard without negative side effects.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 20, 2013 10:02 p.m.

    "The minimum wage has been raised plenty of times in the last 80 years. When was the results of this action a documented economic disaster?"

    What is the unemployment rate now? What is the unemployment rate among teens? What is the national debt? The deficit? Poverty rates? Trade deficit? I could go on and on...

    I say we are seeing an economic disaster now. The economy is a very complex and interrelated system. Liberal micro-managers always think that they can mandate a change in one regard without negative side effects.

    ---

    So in other words you couldn't find any examples.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 20, 2013 10:18 p.m.

    In 1977, the Minimum Wage Study Commission undertook a review of the existing research on the minimum wage in the United States (and Canada). . . In their independent summary of the research reviewed in the MWSC, Brown, Gilroy, and Kohen, three economists involved in producing the report, distinguished between employment effects on: teenagers (ages 16-19), where they concluded that a 10 percent increase in the minimum wage reduced teen employment, most plausibly, from between zero and 1.5 percent; young adults (ages 20-24), where they believed the employment impact is “negative and smaller than that for teenagers”; and adults, where the “direction of the effect...is uncertain in the empirical work as it is in the theory.” Their summary of the theoretical and empirical research through the late 1970s suggested that any "disemployment" effects of the minimum wage were small and almost exclusively limited to teenagers and possibly other younger workers. - Why Does the Minimum Wage Have No Discernible Effect on Employment? John Schmitt

    If you'll notice the numbers in Michael Saltsman OpEd are wrong: "reduces employment for young people by as much as 3 percent."

  • Commodore West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 21, 2013 7:09 a.m.

    Letting the free market dictate the hourly wage is a dangerous idea. The market always seeks to cut costs and instead of viewing labor as the real creators of value, the American market views them as leeches aka costs.

    Certainly, government dictating an hourly wage of $100 is not a tenable scenario either.

    However, allowing the market to use the excess of labor to pit against one worker against another ( you know an unregulated market will do this), that is likewise a recipe for disaster.

    Like many things, we must strike a sensible balance between market socialism (regulation) and market capitalism (no regulation). Hybrid systems exist of this model already exist throughout the world, have better lifestyles for more, have healthier and longer lives, and enjoy more work/life balance. Our current system is heavily skewed towards very little regulation hence why we has such horrid financial/lifestyle disparity between the classes.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Nov. 22, 2013 11:26 a.m.

    To "Commodore" the problem with thinking like that is that you are completely wrong.

    If an employer wants to cut costs by lowering wages, there will be a point that their employees leave and nobody will work for them. There is a slightly higher price point where you have such a high turnover rate that the productivity is diminished and you can no longer run your business effectively.

    You also make a wrong assumption of capitalism. You are confusing it with anarchy, which is no regulation. You also equal socialism with regulation. Both are wrong. Capitalism is ownership of the means of production by the people. Socialism and its cousins are where the government controls the means of production.

    What should be noted is that as nations adopt socialism their growth in GDP is slower than when they are closer to a capitalist system.

    As U2's Bono recently declared. The best system for getting people out of poverty is capitalism. Socialism is only good if you are seeking power.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 23, 2013 12:42 p.m.

    Uh. . . You realize Bono is a singer, not an economist?

    But you have a definition of socialism there, so maybe now you will stop saying we are a socialist country, or that President Obama is a socialist? I doubt it. Its just to easy for your ilk to say. Its too simple. Getting into the complexity of economic thought and peoples belief systems on economics just won't fit on a bumper sticker will it?

    See, that's the thing, one of the things, that is so unattractive about the conservative stance is that their arguments, their thought processes, seem to be developed to fit on bumper stickers. They seem almost incapable of looking at the complexity of an issue.

    For instance, let's look at the ACA, and an argument a lot of conservatives are using right now, they are saying their are people that have never had insurance who have bought it now, but they can't afford it, of the subsidies they were hoping for didn't go through. Okay, that's a problem. But the conservatives don't get that THEIR plan would place them right back where they DON'T have insurance, also. Amazing disconnect.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Nov. 25, 2013 7:38 a.m.

    To "mark" Obama is a socialist or collectivist, whichever you prefer. He is driving the nation closer to socialism, which isn't a good thing.

    As for the conservative plan to get healthcare to those without coverage, they have tried, but thanks to Democrat legislation it has been killed. You see the conservative plan is to let the free market work and get coverage to the masses. The PROGRESSIVE/socialist plan is to have government come up with new regulations to micromanage insurance companies into provinding insurance.

    It is amazing at how socialists disconnect Obama from being a socialist. Your ilk should really learn what socialism is, and how it fails every time.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 4:43 p.m.

    "You see the conservative plan is to let the free market work and get coverage to the masses."

    Yeah, like I said, put us right back to where we were, where these people would still not have insurance. You guys try to argue both sides. You guys complain that people don't have insurance (because of Obama), but then your plan would assure that people don't have insurance. There is an amazing disconnect in the conservative thought process.

    The conservatives really have no form foundation for their arguments, they are all built on sand.

    You can say something like this: "Socialism and its cousins are where the government controls the means of production."

    and then pretend President Obama is a socialist. It is surreal the disconnect from reality you and your ilk have.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Nov. 26, 2013 7:33 a.m.

    To "mark" it is called freedom. People can CHOOSE to buy insurance or not. They have the freedom to run their life as they see fit. The collective knows best how to run your life.

    If Obama isn't a socialist/marxist/collectivist, prove it. The evidence that Obama gives in his own biography shows that he is a socialist. He openly admits that he hung out with marxists, many of his childhood mentors were socialists. He was taught that the collective is important, and that individual freedoms can be sacrificed if there are perceived benefits to the collective.

    Where is your proof that Obama is not a socialist/marxist/collectivist?