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In our opinion: Don't raise the minimum wage

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  • Kralon HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA
    Dec. 9, 2013 12:18 a.m.

    Raising the minimum wage will not have the effect that proponents think. For most service businesses wages are the highest variable cost and to maintain their profitability those services will simply have to do the same amount of work with fewer people. Most profitable businesses that employee minimum wage workers make only 7 to 15% net profit and will have to adjust the employee count to continue being profitable. So, if minimum wage goes up 40% they will have to lay off 40% of minimum wage employees AND ask the remaining employees to do 40% more work.

    I think it is crazy for people to complain that they are not being paid what they are worth. Of course employees are generally not paid what they are worth! Think about it, if a business paid you what you are worth then there is no sense in having you as an employee because you generate NO profit!

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    Dec. 9, 2013 1:10 a.m.

    I'm an American living in Australia and I can tell you that the high minimum wage doesn't work. Most casual workers make $21/hr, but it simply isn't enough. The average cost of living is very high and it still takes two incomes to rent a home, let alone own one. Food is astronomical (for 4 people I spend $1000/month and I don't eat junk), gas is $6/gallon, rent in Sydney averages $2800/month for a 3 bed home, etc., etc. When you raise the minimum wage, you get a corresponding raise in the cost of everything else, so it makes absolutely no difference in buying power.

    Raising the minimum wage simply doesn't work.

  • RichardB Murray, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 1:18 a.m.

    "In market economies, wages are determined by the productivity of labor."

    Sadly, the market has been flooded with legal and illegal immigrants (1 million green cards a year, plus 3.2 million work visas, good for 3-6 years)during a recession when over 26 million were looking for full time work. It's no longer supply and demand, wages have been depressed.

    According to the CRS report for Congress, the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation since it was established in 1938. To equal the purchasing power of 1968 our minimum wage would need to be increased by $2.87 (36%). Australia, France, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and Japan all have higher minimum wages than the US. If we want to close the gap between rich and poor, this would be a good start.

  • Michael Matthews Omaha, NE
    Dec. 9, 2013 4:19 a.m.

    Well... I was hoping for some article that gave some solid reasons for why we shouldn't raise the minimum wage. Unfortunately this one seems to say "because experts say so." Not good enough argument for me.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 6:05 a.m.

    Since you see fit to mention comparisons of the minimum wage from the past, you should also note that the inflation-adjusted minimum wage of 1968 was $10.50 and yet the economy did quite well.

    By arguing to not raise the minimum wage you are in reality arguing to force millions of people to live on incomes so low that they must turn to public assistance programs in order to keep a roof over their heads or feed their children. The government thus has to provide what these workers' wages cannot. You are quite literally using public tax dollars to subsidize corporations who make their money from the labor of low-wage employees.

    Corporate profits, cash reserves, share prices and executive salaries are at record highs, yet the real-world wages of poor and middle class Americans has been declining for decades.

    A national minimum wage of $10 would make a Big Mac cost an extra 25 cents, but would work miracles in the lives of employees.

  • maxjack logan/cache, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 6:18 a.m.

    Minor technicality: The article implied that some states have passed min wages as high as $15/hr. A quick google search showed that Washington had the highest rate of $9.19, but recently Massachusetts voted to increase the minimum wage in their state to $11/hr. So, no states at $15, maybe a city or two.

  • WestGranger West Valley City, Utah
    Dec. 9, 2013 6:26 a.m.

    Symbolic acts of compassion towards the poor and less fortunate has left Europe in an overall disaster and has left the U.S.A. with a stagnant economy for 5 years. Time for a plan that will actually help our country rise as a whole. Enough of the propaganda of division.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 6:43 a.m.

    "But a worker demanding a higher wage is different from a worker proving to his or her employer that his labor is worth more money."

    --

    That's right. The employee doing the actual labor is never worth the money, but the CEO can have his salary doubled or tripled by the company.

    Lets just keep the lowest paid people down at the bottom, shall we?

    This editorial is quite simply, disgusting.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    Dec. 9, 2013 6:50 a.m.

    Raising the minimum wage is a great way to help out low wage workers stay off food stamps and welfare. It also encourages college students to work more so they don't have to drop out of school, or take onerous student loans.

    You would think that conservatives would be all over a plan that ENCOURAGES WORK?

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    Dec. 9, 2013 7:41 a.m.

    Where is minimum wage for business owners since the American dream is to own your own business. On they will have more spending money, Thing is people can earn more than minimum wage without government help. Prices will go up if minimum wage goes up. Raising minimum wage takes money away from a business owner.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 9, 2013 8:02 a.m.

    For more than thirty years, I have owned and operated a business whose purpose it has been to build process control computers that reduced the need for "minimum wage" people in businesses. In 1982, several businesses approached me and told me that labor costs were higher than the value of that labor. I developed electronics that enabled each of their machines to produce 1,500 units per hour instead of 250 units per hour. The electronics cost $6,500 per machine. Labor, per employee, with benefits was $10 per hour at that time. They were paying approximately $20,000 per year per "entry level" employee. The electronics reduced their need for more than 50% of their unskilled labor.

    If the minimum wage is raised, companies will replace unskilled labor with machines. We rent movies from Redbox. We get cash from machines. We buy many things from Amazon. We WILL be using touch-screens computers to order from McDonalds. McDonalds will reduce employees by 50% or more.

    Technology will replace workers when technology is less expensive than wages.

    People need to increase their value if they want higher wages.

  • Jefferson, Thomas Bluffdale, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 8:30 a.m.

    How about it hurts the very people it was suppose to help. The raise in minimum wage has sent the unemployment rate for teenage workers and those on the bottom pay scale through the roof. The tried and true way for making more money is increasing skills. PERIOD. Works 100% on the time. People should be paid whatever the economic value of what they produce is, not some government workers' definition of living wage.

  • mcdugall Murray, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 8:30 a.m.

    In essence the Deseret News board are proponents of Economic Darwinism. The question that the Editorial Board has completely missed is the economic benefits employers have gained by not providing an income that can sustain a modest lifestyle, which forces the employees to enroll in government programs to make up the difference. We as taxpayers are providing a direct subsidy to employers who then pocket the different. No, reasonable, person is suggesting $15/hr is an actual national minimum wage, it's merely a number to begin negotiations, whereas most interested parties would probably settle for 10-12 an hr.

  • Mayfair City, Ut
    Dec. 9, 2013 8:36 a.m.

    As long as we're addressing the need for further higher education to get people our of these "beginner" low-paying jobs,
    we should also address the terrible student debt many end up with, by following the "you need to get higher education" mantra.
    There should be a way to get an education without ending up with the disheartening,unending,inescapable 're-payment of student loans' cash drain on young families.

    I know many young mothers who should and want to be home with their babies and young toddlers, but who HAVE to work to make enough to pay off those albatrosses of debt hanging around their necks. :(

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Dec. 9, 2013 8:44 a.m.

    "....In market economies, wages are determined by the productivity of labor...."
    ______________________________

    That may sound great in theory but it’s a false premise. The minimum wage is very minimum indeed and those who most vociferously oppose raising it are much better paid people who would not want to have to live on it themselves.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Dec. 9, 2013 8:53 a.m.

    Okay. But has the nature of unskilled work changed? Isn't a fast food worker today just about the same as one 30 to 40 years ago?

    Using constant 1996 dollars, the current minimum wage is about $4.87. Throughout most of the 60s and 70s it floated between $6 and $7 (again in constant dollars).

    Why was it okay to pay a much higher minimum wage 30 or 40 years ago than now?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 9:05 a.m.

    I agree the government should not raise minimum wage to $15.00. Employees should raise their skills so they are qualified to make more, or move on to better jobs.

    grocery bagger and other unskilled jobs are not intended to be a career. They are a source of inexpensive help for a business... and a starting place for young unskilled workers who want a place to prove they can handle the responsibilities required to hold a job, and prepare them to hold a better job in the future.

    My first job (Janitor at the Elementary School when I was in Jr High) taught me 2 important things.

    1. How to be responsible and reliable, and willing to work hard.
    2. Convinced me that I wanted to go to college and NOT be a janitor all my life.

    IF we have to pay kids who want to earn gas money the same salary required to support a whole family... many employers will stop hiring kids (who are inexpensive but usually marginally necessary help). So there will be very few after school jobs for kids to start out in.

    People who expect to make bagging groceries or flipping burgers a career... need to rethink that plan.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 9:09 a.m.

    This piece is bunk. Wages have ceased to have any relationship to worker productivity, a fact that even conservative economists admit. It wasn't always so. Up until 1980 productivity increases and wage increases went hand in hand. All of sudden, in 1980 that stopped. Productivity has continued to increase through that entire period, yet wages flatlined. What happened in 1980 that changed the relationship between worker productivity and wages?

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 9:09 a.m.

    If you are going to set the minimum price of labor at some arbitrary value whether that value is $7.25, $10, $15, or $50 then you must also set a corrosponding minumum "productivity level" at some percentage above that.

    If a worker is making $15 an hour, then they must produce about $20 an hour in real value to their employers. No business is going to stay in business if it pays its workers more in salary and benefits than those workers produce. That math only works in government.

  • TMR Los Angeles, CA
    Dec. 9, 2013 9:27 a.m.

    Perhaps if the D-News editorial board were to live on minimum wage for a while there would be a change of position.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 9:36 a.m.

    Since WallStreet has yieled 10,000% earnings on the backs of these very laborers [producers],
    after 35 years, I'd like to see some of this "trickle-down" economics Republicnas keep preaching to us about.

    The only FACTS I see right in front of me --
    is the elimination of the middle class and the growing disparity between the uber-rich and the poor.

    The 1% who now own 85% of everything vs.
    the 99% of the rest of us fighting over the 15% table straps.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 9:37 a.m.

    "Republicans like a minimum wage--the more minimum the better"--Harry Truman

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Dec. 9, 2013 9:45 a.m.

    Random Thoughts on a Minimum Wage:

    1. The minimum wage was first proposed, in the USA, by northern states. As their industries began to migrate south for lower labor costs, the northern states proposed a minimum wage as a means of ending the financial incentive to go south.

    2. People on a minimum wage qualify for food stamps and other government programs. This drives the tax burden up. Raising the minimum wage would end this back door.

    3. Illegal aliens will work for less than American workers. A minimum wage of $12.00 an hour would price illegal aliens out of the market. Many would simply have to go back where they came from.

    4. Raising the minimum wage frequently does not have the desired effect. My grandmother was on Social Security. Every time she got an increase, her landlord increased her rent by the same dollar amount. The land lord got the raise. My father-in-law was in a union in a small town. When the union got a raise, prices all over town went up.

    Let's be creative and address this another way.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 10:13 a.m.

    @Ranch "This editorial is quite simply, disgusting."

    I think the weather is disgusting. Congress should pass a law to change it. (rolls eyes)

    I mean no offense to anybody, but the lack of understanding of simple economics by many of the comments is stunning. Do your kids a favor and teach them basic economics - teach them how the world works. The truth is basically the following, which was stated correctly in the editorial:

    "Congress periodically gives a little by raising the rate, and then inflation takes a little by lowering the real minimum wage."

    That is how it works. Even your most liberal, left-wing Democrat business owner has to adjust his business by these "laws" of economics.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 10:27 a.m.

    Its not McDonalds responsibility to provide enough for someone to provide for a family. Its McDonalds responsibility to pay for the work done. And if someone's work is more valuable than what they are making, there will be another company willing to pay more. If no company is willing to pay more, its because the value of the work provided isn't what people think it is.

    Besides, if a 16 year old high school kid and a 30 year old father of 4 are both doing the same job at McDonadls, why would McDonalds be forced to pay them both a rate at which the man can support 4 people simply because he has a family?

    Go make yourself more valuable and you will get paid more, its that simple.

  • Big Momma St. George, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 10:28 a.m.

    TMR
    Perhaps if they didn't have a college degree. The world doesn't owe anyone a living. Make your own way and stop crying.

  • nonceleb Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 10:36 a.m.

    When Henry Ford doubled his workers wages to $5 a day in 1914, he was criticized by business leaders. Ford said his workers could now afford to buy his cars. He was thinking on a small scale, but when workers are paid more they buy more. The economy is more consumer driven than it is production driven.

    Also overlooked by the article is that the average age of fast food workers is 29.5. The DN denigrates these workers by saying it is just a humble start and that All should get a higher education. For many this is a long-term job and there is nothing wrong with that. We will always need service workers. A minimum wage service worker who makes $14,500 a year and has family cannot afford to go to college.

    Finally, McDonald's made $6.95 billion in profits last year. That is about $16,000 per worker (440,000 fulltime and part-time workers total). McDonald's could easily afford to pay about $3 an hour more. And who knows, maybe they will be able to buy more of their burgers.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Dec. 9, 2013 10:46 a.m.

    Chris B,

    "....Go make yourself more valuable and you will get paid more, its that simple."
    ______________________________

    I wish it were that simple, Chris. But that's not the real world. For every one who makes a success of it by applying himself, there are far more who try just as hard or even harder and can't break the cycle of poverty that keeps them struggling to make ends meet.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Dec. 9, 2013 10:57 a.m.

    Isn't there a file somewhere where we can replay all the same tired arguments from both sides? Must we really pretend this is new or novel, that there isn't evidence on the impact of these actions? Must we really go through this silliness.

    Minimum wage was never intended to be enough for a family of four to live on.... at least anything that would be acceptable by most people. That said, if we aren't going to pay these people enough to live, we need to counter that by making sure they have access to basic services - education, healthcare, and a safe neighborhood to live in.

    We can't have it both ways. We are hopefully a little more evolved than simply survival of the fittest. We don't need to level the outcomes - just the playing field.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 10:57 a.m.

    "A man is only worth what he is willing to work for." That assumes a fair market economy where one can tell the boss to "give this job to someone else (read between the lines)" and find another. Once years ago I saw a guy wearing a hat that said "I wish I had a job I could shove." I laughed.

    There is a scripture that says "the laborer is worthy of his hire" and many don't heed that.

    In my case, where I own the company, I have at times paid my employees more than I paid myself because on certain contracts we made more money and I recognized their worth in producing the services of our contract. I don't know of too many who do that, however.

    I do admit, also, I have a hard time with people who will not do their job and have a gimmie, gimmie attitude. Usually they are the least qualified in the company.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 11:00 a.m.

    The article is right. Raising the minimum wage will not overcome poverty. But it will give a temporary boost to the livelihood of working people. Then only until the businessmen get the prices of goods reset to the new level.

    Wages are controlled by supply and demand. Technology has reduced the demand for human labor and given an advantage to owners that threatens our society. The only way the government can force businessmen to pay more for labor and bring balance back to our economy is to end unemployment.

    If the government would hire every unemployed person at a wage according to their needs and skills, private enterprise would have to match or exceed that amount to obtain the workers it needs. These workers would not be idle, there are billions of things needed by our society.

    The cost of this government program would be financed by a tax on business operations that feed on the American economy. Business would have the choice of hiring all the workers and reducing the tax to zero or paying the tax.

    Full employment could end poverty and stabilize the economy.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 11:04 a.m.

    The only pertinent question is this: Are workers currently receiving the minimum wage being compensated for the value they add? If not, the minimum wage should be raised to the point that they are fully compensated for the value they add to the final product or service. Can anyone dispute what I say?

    The next question is: Is there any reason to believe that workers at the minimum wage are not being compensated for their contributions? Yes, the labor market prevailing at low wage levels is not the "ideal" market recommended by economists. This labor market is dominated by a few large employers, e.g. Wal-Mart, McDonalds, BurgerKing, and the like. They have "market power" - the ability to force a wage. The labor market for low wage labor is not an "ideal" labor market. The buyers in this labor are not "price takers" but are instead price setters.

    The last question is: who makes up the difference between what low wage labor gets and their total contribution to product? Answer: tax payers through assistance programs like food stamps and other consumers through higher medical bills to fund ER's.

    You need to think harder about this.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 11:06 a.m.

    Oh well, I guess the Deseret News editorial board doesn't need a raise since they think it'd just result in higher costs.

  • CougarDem SANDY, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 11:10 a.m.

    I'd like to think that if the minimum wage was raised, all kinds of good things could happen. Parents would not have to work 2-3 jobs to keep a roof over their family's head, and could spend more time parenting and nurturing their children. Perhaps there would be less gang activity and drug problems. Fewer kids would drop out of school and therefore move on to learn valuable trades or get a college education. Perhaps the next generations would then have a step up. Low wage families would depend less on food stamps, welfare, and medicaid because they would be able to feed, cloth and shelter their own. Increased wages would mean increased tax revenue, which would help strengthen and repair schools and get more qualified teachers and basic quality learning materials. I understand many inner city schools throughout our nation lack even the basics. I believe it is never just "us" and "them". We are all citizens of this nation and we cannot ignore poverty.

  • Clarissa Layton, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 11:21 a.m.

    You don't need to go to college to improve your pay. There are many jobs such as plumbers, electricians, and so many others that can pay you much better. You can get this training at your local Applied Technology College. My Uncle Bernard told my mother that he didn't know who would fill his job at Ford because people are just not learning the skill. I think he was a die cutter. Many people go to college and earn degrees that do not have any real world jobs in their area, or at least very few. I was a music performance major until my mother told me that I needed to get a job after college that would help me get a job. I became an educator. I started with low wages, higher than a minimum wage and I had good benefits, but as time went by things improved.

  • informed? Hooper, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 11:23 a.m.

    For me the question is: Why should we pay someone way more money than they earn?
    Let them prove their value to their employer.

  • TMR Los Angeles, CA
    Dec. 9, 2013 11:23 a.m.

    To Big Momma, I have "made my own way," thank you. Might I suggest that you tune in to Dicken's Christmas Carol this holiday season: it may help tame your cursory dismissal of those who for whatever reason have not made their own way. Every time minimum wage is proposed, two reactions ensue: 1) predictions of the economic collapse of the United States; and 2) mean-spirited blaming of the poor for their own condition. May I remind you Big Momma and all you other Scrooges that this economy needs minimum wage service workers. The least we "who have made their way" can do is to support a livable salary on those upon whom we depend for food, services, etc.

  • merich39 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 11:28 a.m.

    We already have an effective minimum wage that his higher than $7.25/hr. If someone makes $7.25/hr and live on their own, they likely qualify for public assistance, paid for by tax dollars. They live off of that combination of their low wages plus public assistance. The cost to society for a McDonalds employee is more than just the $7.25/hr McDonalds pays the employee. The big problem is that those who eat at McDonalds are having the true cost of that food subsidized by taxpayers. It's no different than dairy farmers getting subsidies to keep down the price of milk. The true cost of milk is higher than what is paid at the grocery store. Part of that true cost is paid by all taxpayers instead of just milk drinkers.

    And the argument that increasing the minimum wage will result in layoffs is erroneous too as all McDonalds competitors will be subject to the same minimum wage increases. McDonalds would have to raise prices in order to maintain their profit margins, but so would all of their competitors. The real outcome is that the actual McDonalds customers would be paying the full cost of their purchases with less taxpayer subsidies.

  • informed? Hooper, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 11:30 a.m.

    What I would like to see is all those who are pushing to raise the minimum wage start paying their employees more. Don't wait for it to become law.

  • scrappy do DRAPER, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 11:36 a.m.

    yeah, I think they should lower it so Utah employers can even pay less than they do now, which is not much, of course that would cut into the LDS church budgets, 10% of nothing is nothing

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 11:42 a.m.

    RE: Informed? "For me the question is: Why should we pay someone way more money than they earn?" Please see my response. I argue that workers currently at the minimum wage are not fully compensated for the value they add. That is, they are receiving less pay than they earn.

  • elisabeth American Fork, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 12:02 p.m.

    unbelievably weak argument. It completely ignores the fact that "from 1973 to 2011, worker productivity grew 80 percent, while median hourly compensation, after inflation, grew by just one-eighth that amount. And since 2000, productivity has risen 23 percent while real hourly pay has essentially stagnated.
    According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, median income for working-age households (headed by someone under age 65) slid 12.4 percent from 2000 to 2011, to $55,640. During that time the American economy grew more than 18 percent." The country's wealth has been systematically redistributed to the upper 1% which now holds 40% of it. Extremely loose labor market in which workers out numbers jobs in every single sector indicates that the unemployed are not lazy but the victims of a political process that is owned by the very wealthy.this kind of inequality destroys the economy. Taxpayers subsidize low income jobs in fast food, for example, to the tune of 7 billion a year. Why do I have to pay Wal-Mart employees to compensate for an employer that refuses to cut into their exorbitant profits? More than one in five children's parent get a raise if the minimum wage were increased to $10.10.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 12:20 p.m.

    TMR, why do you use Scrooge as a poor example? Didn't you stay until the end of the play? For goodness sakes, Scrooge repented and changed his ways. But you choose to focus on his stingy ways. Too many fall head-long into that trap. Scrooge ended up being very generous and supportive of his workers and family and started making friends. And NO it WAS NOT the government coercion that forced him to change. Jacob Marley didn't change and it was too late for him. I just love that play because people can indeed change for the better. I suggest you attend the play or read the book again and pay attention.

  • the old switcharoo mesa, AZ
    Dec. 9, 2013 12:29 p.m.

    Agreed, Utah should lower it's minimum wage to $3 an hour and see how that works out. Get the food banks ready for the conservative Utopia.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Dec. 9, 2013 12:31 p.m.

    @VST.... i agree totally with what you say if there were a strong corollary between wages and inflation. But there isn't. The two often behave quit independently of each other. Usually this is explained through the variable of productivity. Revenue per employ ranges wildly by industry, and job function. So simple math precludes that wage increases are negated by increase in cost to live. We see this throughout history.

    BUT... I do agree the system and process is flawed in that we aren't getting to the root of the problem... that certain functions in society have relatively low value. Is there enough value that can be created by having the housekeeper in a hotel performing higher value tasks - can they make the room that much better - that you are willing to pay the extra wage that would be baked into your hotel bill to justify the effort?

    And yet, doesn't that housekeeper deserve to live in a safe house, and have access to health care? Most say no. It is her own fault for doing that job. But if not her - who does that job? That question never seems to get answered.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 1:18 p.m.

    LDS Liberal,

    RE: "Since WallStreet has yieled 10,000% earnings on the backs of these very laborers"...

    The Stock Market doesn't indicate "earnings". It's an index measuring the value of company stock (not the company's "Earnings"). So if the stock market goes up... that does not necessarily mean "Earnings" went up 10000%", it indicates the "Value" of a share of stock in those companies went up (not the companies earnings/profit).

    The people who benefit when the stock market goes up are... people who own stock (not the CEO or employees). IF you have a 401K... you own stock, just like any vilified "One-Percenter".

    ---

    marxist,

    RE: "The only pertinent question is this: Are workers currently receiving the minimum wage being compensated for the value they add"?

    That's NOT the only pertinent question.

    The law of supply and demand is also involved. IF there is an over-supply of minimum-wage workers... the $$$ they can demand naturally goes down, just like anything when theres more supply than demand.

    IF there were LESS minimum-wage workers than needed... they could demand higher wages. It's the law of supply-and-demand.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 1:34 p.m.

    toosmartforyou,

    I think Scrooge would have been a MUCH better play if at the end the Government came in and upped the minimum wage and saved the day. (just kidding, that would be Scrooge written by a Marxist). You make a good point though. Scrooge changed and started caring for his employees and his fellow man because HE changed (not due to a Government mandate).

    Maybe we should focus on actually changing, and not just focus on the government coming in and MANDATING Scrooge pay poor Jacob Marley more.

    ===

    What company is going to be the first to break the mold? Which is going to be the first to VOLUNTARY start paying unskilled workers $15.00/hour?

    Marxist, LDS Liberal, etc, why don't you open a fast food place, or a hotel, or a farm, and pay everybody working there $15.00/hour to set the example for us??

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 2:24 p.m.

    RE: 2 bits "The law of supply and demand is also involved. IF there is an over-supply of minimum-wage workers... the $$$ they can demand naturally goes down, just like anything when theres more supply than demand." OK, but a price (or in this case wage) which comes out of a market is only fair if the market approaches an "ideal" market where there are so many buyers and sellers that no one buyer (or small number of buyers) or seller can force a price. In the case of fast food, for example, there is a relatively small number of buyers of minimum wage labor, so those buyers can force a price (in this case wage). I repeat, the only pertinent question is: Are minimum wage workers being compensated fully for the value they add. Due to the nature of this labor market the answer is certainly no. Of course, one could argue if minimum wage workers are willing to work at the current wage, what's their beef? The answer is they have no choice. What ever happened to free agency?

    If you think they are presently fully compensated you should say why. And this includes you, Deseret News.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Dec. 9, 2013 2:56 p.m.

    This country will continue to deteriorate because as many of you have pointed out, there is no requirement to pay a living wage. Without a mandate, fewer and fewer companies will pay a living wage. Call it whatever you want, good business, corporate greed. As two bits said, as long as supply exceeds demand then there is no need to pay a decent wage.

    Most companies who can outsource to third world companies are doing so with no regard to how it impacts the United States and even less regard for the workers they employ in other countries. For most businesses, the only measurement is profit, which they are entitled to do.

    There are still Americans who will sacrifice a little bit of profit to pay their employees s living wage, but they are few and far between and getting harder to find every day. We will soon have a rich ruling class and a poor working class and that is the goal of those like the Koch brothers who control so much of the financial policy in our state houses today.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 3:13 p.m.

    the old switcharoo
    mesa, AZ
    Agreed, Utah should lower it's minimum wage to $3 an hour and see how that works out. Get the food banks ready for the conservative Utopia.

    12:29 p.m. Dec. 9, 2013

    ==========

    How about doing away with ANY "minimum" wage in Utah.
    Those companies who out-sourced those .12 per hour jobs to Communist China would then move them here.

    And if minimum wage falls to .12 and hour,
    then Middle income wage earners would then be forced to compete for $1.25 an hour,
    And then Top earners would be making only $10 an hour.

    An Ann Ryand dream come true.
    Everyone living like Somalia,
    gang, drugs and prostituition being the only careers left to get ahead....

    An WallStreet could careless...

  • Rikitikitavi Cardston, Alberta
    Dec. 9, 2013 5:03 p.m.

    Minimum wage not good enough for you? Go find a higher-paying job if you are worth more. No one forces you to stay where you are. Eventually, supply of low-paid workers may well dry up then employer is forced by the market to pay higher wages to keep his (best) workers. I know all about this situation. I am an employer in the service industry for 32 years now. The only workers I employ at the state-mandated minimum wage are high school students. They get raises based on merit and performance. Sadly, Alberta minimum is $9.95/hr. (See you at D.Q.)

  • Maverick West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 5:45 p.m.

    Why doesn't congress take action to strengthen the dollar and keep inflation low...seems it would make every dollar us workers make worth more. As Obama increases the National Debt he shoulders our kids with a burden they don't deserve and decreases the value every dollar min wage workers earn. Where is the outcry by democrats? Democrats are supposedly standing up for those who can't do it themselves, but it doesn't seem so in this case now does it?

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 8:53 p.m.

    The answer is: Yes.

  • Phillip M Hotchkiss Malta, Mt
    Dec. 9, 2013 9:09 p.m.

    It's Greed that keeps product prices going up. Both from the owner and the workers.
    Workers want more money so the product price goes up. Owners don't make enough so they increase the price of their products. How about this I will be glad to make 3 dollars an hour. if the price of bread goes down to 10 cents a loaf
    A price of a house should be 10000 dollars, for a 3 bedroom 2 bath home. And so on and so forth. What about instead of asking for more settle for less. Both the consumers and producers if everyone was willing to work on this there would be no need for Government meddling in it. I know this sounds crazy . But think about it

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Dec. 9, 2013 9:41 p.m.

    @Craig Clark

    I am a research engineer for a fortune 50 company. A quick survey around the office found exactly zero people who had never worked for minimum wage.

    They all worked hard, studied in school and produced, and then moved up.

    I am also an employer. If an employee is doing a good job for me and generating revenue then I want to keep them. I do what I have to do, withing reason, to keep them.

    Complainers and trouble makers, and those that think the world owes them a living can't leave soon enough.

  • Commodore West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 10:17 p.m.

    100% disagree with this article! All workers should earn a living wage ($15 an hour). American society will not permit anyone to starve to death or die from life threatening issues without trying to help ( By law you will be treated if you show up with a life threatening problem). We should expect businesses to pay people living wages so they can truly take care of themselves without burdening the system for healthcare (preventative care which is cheaper than reactive care) or other assistance!

  • Commodore West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 10:29 p.m.

    @ TooSmartForYou

    You said, "Scrooge repented and changed his ways. But you choose to focus on his stingy ways. Too many fall head-long into that trap. Scrooge ended up being very generous and supportive of his workers and family and started making friends. And NO it WAS NOT the government coercion that forced him to change."

    Should millions of American workers be forced to wait - and they will wait forever - until Scrooge Walmart, Scrooge McDonalds, and every other Scrooge company miraculously sees the light and decides its time to repent and pay their workers a living wage? No! Governments ( aka We The People) can reduce this inequality now through high taxation and a welfare state ( Sweden) or by requiring CEOs only be paid 20x the amount of their lowest paid workers ( Japan). If you look at Sweden and Japan they are very low on the scale of inequality, yet they use two different methods to achieve that low inequality. It doesn't matter which way you pick, but pick one way and stick to it!

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 10:59 p.m.

    RE: Fred44 "Without a mandate, fewer and fewer companies will pay a living wage." True. Marx predicted that capitalism would reach a stage where capital would become more and more concentrated and wages would collapse (along with profits eventually). This is happening, faster and faster. Marx is sadly vindicated.

  • SlopJ30 St Louis, MO
    Dec. 10, 2013 7:57 a.m.

    Ranch says: "Lets just keep the lowest paid people down at the bottom, shall we?"

    Well . . yes, actually. The way you phrase that, I don't know what you're suggesting. Put the highest-paid people at the top? In the middle? Pay the guy who cuts the grass more than a middle manager who runs part of an essential department? Of course the lowest paid (read: least skilled) people are going to be at the bottom of the pile. That's exactly how it should be. You want to earn more? Acquire an in-demand skill so you can't easily be replaced if you are dissatisfied with your minimum wage salary.

    It's simple supply and demand. There are a lot of people who can serve me french fries competently, so you better take what you can get. There aren't so many who can operate on my heart, develop new technology, or caption live television (which is what I'm studying right now).

  • Million Bluffdale, UT
    Dec. 10, 2013 8:26 a.m.

    Okay, I was happy to see my minimum wage go from $1.60 to $2.00 a long time ago. However, now that I am old and retired I know the dangers of inflation on my fixed retired income. Slow to go up is the smart reasoning for the retired crowd.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Dec. 11, 2013 7:25 a.m.

    Million
    Bluffdale, UT
    Okay, I was happy to see my minimum wage go from $1.60 to $2.00 a long time ago. However, now that I am old and retired I know the dangers of inflation on my fixed retired income. Slow to go up is the smart reasoning for the retired crowd.

    8:26 a.m. Dec. 10, 2013

    ========

    Your "fixed retired income" is in absolutely NO danger of inflation.

    The mean old nasty Government has automatic "fixed" COLA [Cost Os Living Allowances] that automatically adjust based in inflation.

    Minimum wage has no such guarantees,
    and stays the same no matter what the economy is doing.

    This is why the Rich keep getting richer, and the poor keep getting poorer.

    If minimum wage had those COLA adjustments that your "fixed income" has,
    then your paltry $1.60 and hour made would be over $12 an hour in today's dollars,
    and your raise you felt so blessed to get, would be adjusted to $15 and hour.

  • m.g. scott clearfield, UT
    Dec. 11, 2013 1:34 p.m.

    The key to making wages go up is to reduce the number of unemployed. Simple supply and demand. No need for a law regulating wage, the open market would take care of that. If we had an employment rate of say 2 or 3 percent, there would be such a demand on workers that no one, not even teenagers would be paid what the current minimum wage is. Employers would have to pay more, or they would not have any employees to work for them. Simple economics.

  • Brer Rabbit Spanish Fork, UT
    Dec. 11, 2013 3:27 p.m.

    It is too bad that there is even a need for a minimum wage, but under present circumstances this need exists. Income inequality is growing worse. This inequality is not just a matter of a low minimum wage, but a U.S. labor surplus that is especially harmful to the unskilled and working poor. This labor surplus depresses wages and is being caused by a generation of automation, mechanization, off-shoring of manufacturing, and a flood of both legal and illegal foreign labor.

    The labor surplus cannot be reduced by economic expansion and more education alone, even though they would be very helpful. Times have changed and many jobs have been lost forever. In addition to economic expansion, the labor surplus can also be reduced by slowing or stopping the flood of cheaper foreign labor. If the labor market were to tighten wages would increase, due to supply and demand, perhaps making a minimum wage unnecessary. A strongly enforced E-Verify law would go a long way eliminating illegal labor.

    To see the results of a labor surplus caused by flooding the labor market with cheap foreign labor, I suggest reading the 1906 Upton Sinclair muckraking novel, The Jungle.

  • JosephSmith4ever Spanisfork, UT
    Dec. 17, 2013 1:45 p.m.

    Having no minimum wage may be a good idea, if other laws were put in place to ensure that workers are not abused. In Germany and other northern European countries there is no minimum wage, but they do have laws that businesses cannot pay workers an "immoral wage". Given the higher inequality-adjusted human development index of northern European countries compared to the US and other European countries with set minimum wages, such laws may be to the benefit of workers. A business operating in a country with a set minimum wage can say that it is obeying the law by paying workers a (potentially) un-livable wage set by the government. With German-styled wage laws, an un-livable wage would probably be ruled immoral and thus illegal forcing the business to pay a higher wage. I would imagine with no clearly defined "moral" wage, the cost of a lengthy law suite for paying workers too little would probably encourage businesses to pay a wage well above the goal post of what may be legally considered "moral".

  • LelandTC West Valley City, 00
    Dec. 24, 2013 5:23 p.m.

    I like the term liveable wage rather than minimum wage. The problem I see with a minimum wage is that prices have to adjust so the employer can pay the worker. However, you have to consider what the dollar can buy. In 1976, I made $1.65 an hour. At that amount it took me about 30 weeks to buy a low tiered new car. In todays dollars, it would take over 60 weeks. This shows that minimum wage has fallen behind in the case of buying a new car (you have to take into account the new technologies in the car for raising the cost). But other items show a similar loss, just not as drastic. So I believe we are due for a raise of the minimum wage. Going by a liveable wage to keep up with valuations is a fairer system. Key items considered to be necessities would be totalled and the cost to buy them would determine the liveable wage.