Minimum Wage Hurts Us - And Replies

Friday, January 12, 2007

The United States House of Representatives passed a bill that would raise the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour. This action will prove to be another terrible example of the government interfering with free enterprise. However, the politicians absolutely love this opportunity. And why should they not? They have a chance to put their name on a bill that makes them look like the caring, compassionate individual that they are not. The truth is minimum wage laws hurt small businesses and create unemployment.

The federal minimum wage is currently $5.15 an hour. This means, that every worker in America is worth (at least) $5.15 an hour for whatever they do for a living. It could be the paper boy, the person that takes your food order, or it could be a party clown. It does not matter; the government requires that business pay their workers $5.15 an hour.

Let us look at minimum wage laws from a different perspective. Visualize every American worker as a small business. Perhaps my business is a shoe store. My job is to sell as many shoes as possible at a price as high as the customer will pay. I may want every customer to come in and purchase a pair of my shoes for $75 a pair. Unfortunately, due to competition with other stores, and the law of supply and demand, I must now sell my shoes at $50 a pair in order to sell shoes and keep my store open. The customer then takes advantage of my low price and buys more shoes, thus I sell more shoes and I make more money. We are both content.

However, Congress passes a law saying that I must now sell my shoes at $75 dollars a pair. This is a good thing, right? Won't I make more money? I do not think so. The customer that comes to me to purchase a pair of shoes for $50 must now pay $75 for the exact same pair of shoes. The quality of the shoe has not changed. It is not more durable, nor will it make you a faster runner. The customer may not have the extra $25 for those shoes, so he or she may have to wait until the next pay check to afford them, or it could be worse, the customer may decide not to purchase the shoes at all. Because I cannot sell as many shoes I must close my doors. I could not make money and now I have customers that must budget themselves better and perhaps even walk around barefoot.

I understand that is an abstract example, but end result will be quite the same. Businesses will not have the money to "buy" the workers that they may want or need. They will instead be paying their other workers (of the same quality) $7.25 for a service that is worth $5.15 or even less. Minimum wage laws could even result in the "laying off" of workers that are now much too expensive to hire.

Believe it or not, politicians are not stupid. They know how voting to pass a bill such as this helps the working man, shows their compassion, or in other words, gets them re-elected. They know the facts, but they choose to ignore them because they know that it typically leaves only the part-time teenage worker unemployed; guess who is not able to vote? The part-time teenage worker.

Brent Stott (Part-time teenage worker)
Chattanooga
bstott41723@yahoo.com

* * *

I find Mr.Stott's assertion that an effort to mandate fairer wages for workers on the lowest rung of the economic ladder in America is "hurting people" patently ridiculous.

I would strongly suggest that he redirect his energies toward seeking a reduction or elimination of the obscene multi-million dollar bonus and retirement packages being given to CEOs across this land by corporations that, in many cases, steal that money from the retirement and pension plans of their rank and file.

In most cases those capitalist thieves have done less to deserve their millions than the minimum wage worker does to deserve an extra couple of bucks an hour.

Bruce Wilkey
bwilkey@bellsouth.net

* * *

Let's not go off the deep end folks. I can sum this issue up very nicely.

The raise in the minimum wage bill was offered to appease those who would vote in appreciation for it's passing. I don't think I need to elaborate. We all know who will get the credit. The two main groups who will benefit from the incremental increase in the minimum wage rates are those who work under union contract, and those who are rather
unmotivated in seeking a career that pays more. Union contracts addressing wages for their workers are more often than not, based upon the prevailing minimum wage. This increase will result in raises across
the board for most union workers.

Those who work in minimum wage paying jobs, who have a family to support, and expect to do this at such a wage, are not among the smartest of people, now are they? And there is no secret which party these workers, as a general rule will vote for.

At the same time, let's face another reality. If any business that depends or chooses on paying it's workers the minimum wage, and faces any notable setback in profits as a result in this increase, and such a setback will put them out of business, is not exactly being operated very efficiently, and thus should die a natural death. It's a well worn out excuse for not paying people a decent wage for their efforts. The fact of the matter is, if you do not operate a business so that it's survival is assured by other factors that you do control, then there are no guarantees that it will survive in a competitive environment, nor should there be.

I don't make all of my purchasing decisions based on price alone. If I did, then I'd be at Wal-Mart's doors every time I needed something they sell. As it is, I often make my decisions on where to shop, based on criteria like the friendliness of the staff, the availability of assistance if I need guidance on a particular purchasing decision, how long it will take to make my purchase when I am ready to check-out, parking distances from the store, and whether or not I will be fighting crowds while shopping. And let's not forget the quality of the product itself. That's important as well. There are times when a $75.00 pair of shoes is worth it, if they are made better than what can be purchased for a cheaper price elsewhere. Wal-Mart is not my favorite retail establishment, despite their "low, low prices".

In a capitalistic environment, the best that there can ever be, EVERYONE deserves the ability to negotiate the wage they see fit. It makes no matter if you are someone that flips burgers for a living, or if you are placed in the position of overseeing a Fortune 500 Corporation; you should be entitled to make what you can convince an employer that you are worth, and if that amount happens to be millions of dollars...more power to them. That's the way it should be done.

I haven't worked for minimum wage since I was 18 years old. I've attained a record of doing the best that I can on overy job I have ever held, and have many times negotiated my compensation well above what was offered. If I can do it, so can anyone else.

Show me a 40 year old man or woman that is "stuck" in a job that pays minimum wage, and I'll guarantee you that there is some reason why that is the case, and it will always be a result of decisions they have made that places them in that circumstance. Show me a business that will be forced to close their doors as a result in this long overdue change in wage bases, and it will also be plagued with other factors that contribute to the demise of such a business.

Competition is healthy, and even if that means that a business is forced to close it's doors from time to time, then so be it. I don't find however, that what they have to pay their workers, at a minimum wage level, to be a factor that will make or break red ink. Prices alone are
not what draws people in the doors much of the time. If it was, then there isn't a convenience store on the planet that would survive a month.

There are no excuses for some things, but that will never stop people from offering them despite that fact.

Anthony Prova
Alprova@comcast.net

* * *

Twenty-nine states have already deemed it necessary to raise their minimum wage to $7.25 an hour on their own. There hasn't been a raise in this area for eight years.

According to the articles I read, it will be done in stages for three years. It's time and it's necessary, in my opinion. And, in case you wonder, I'm a retired teacher.

Claudette Reve` Armstrong
reve11@webtv.net


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