Las Vegas Sun

August 21, 2014

Currently: 81° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Letter to the editor:

Minimum wage hikes hurt many

I see the fight to raise minimum wages is continuing. I do not understand this. This is bad for citizens and will only make the rich richer. Everything is based on minimum wage.

To raise it will raise rent, utilities, food and all expenses necessary for daily life. If you are on the bottom rung of the ladder, you will make more money, but you will not be able to buy any more than now. If you are above the rung one or two steps, you will not be able to buy what you are paying for now. Raising the minimum wage will increase welfare benefits and food stamp benefits because many more people will live beneath the new living wages. Many of the people who are on fixed incomes, pensions and Social Security will become eligible for food stamps and state help programs.

What we need is a jobs program — get everyone back to work.

We hear so much about protecting small business. This will do the opposite. Get us jobs.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 17 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. I find it very strange that anyone would blame inflation and the cost of living - on minimum wage. Cost of living is connected to many things and will raise whether mimimum pay is raised or not.

    Living wage is important especially in a recession. Why? Because it stimulates the economy. Living wage is important in our community. Why? Because two-thirds of all school children are living in poverty - yes- a large portion of our community lives in poverty. Poverty means a family of four living on 25,000 a year or less.

    When the poor cannot provide for themselves who do you think pays? When people cannot pay for insurance, housing, food - they do whatever they can to survive including use government programs.

    Wouldn't it be better to provide families dignity and a living wage? Rather than oppress them into being working poor? Or worse, unable to work at all. We all pay when families cannot provide for themselves.

  2. I'm not sure how raising the minimum wage is supposed to make "the rich richer" but the solution shouldn't be to make the poor poorer.

  3. Wage floors have the effect of pricing low productivity workers out of the job market. It's a simple matter of supply and demand.

    Typically, the issue of minimum wage has been used merely for political pandering. However, it is becoming increasingly evident that more and more people are unable to earn a livable wage. Sadly, a great many people fail to understand that raising the minimum wage would only make matters worse in the current economic climate.

    Also, the minimum wage issue diverts people from the causal policies that fuel the debate over the minimum wage.

    Issues like giving people a living wage ignore the fundamental problems that are destroying this country's middle class. It's not necessarily the height of wage rates which should concern us. It is exactly the purchasing power of those wages which is the problem.

    Sadly, it is usually capitalism which gets the blame. But the real reason is that capitalism has not been allowed to do what it does best; allocate scarce resources for the greatest benefit to society in the satisfaction of their needs a wants.

    The two-income household, wage stagnation, widening wage gap, massive wealth disparity, erosion of our manufacturing base, huge trade deficits, etc. All of these problems can be traced back to the early to mid 1970's, yet very few are able to make the causal connection. And when it's presented to them, all of the arm-chair economists come out of the woodwork to discredit, discount, and thoroughly bash the idea.

    Almost the entire mainstream of academia has been set up to provide intellectual cover for the status-quo system. Nobel-laureate economists get weekly opportunities to spread their venom of the status-quo to media outlets nation-wide. The masses have been poisoned effectively for nearly a century by this backward, asinine system. So effectively that it has rendered them incapable of critical thought when their theories have been thoroughly exploded right in front of them.

    Keynesianism is the gold-standard for impoverishing a nation.

  4. Since I'm retired, I volunteer here in Canada during our income tax season to prepare income tax returns free for seniors and low income folks.
    It is a real eye opener to see how little income so many people actually receive.
    Canada is light years ahead of America in taking care of our poor. Our welfare system is supplemented with a "rent geared to income" programme to enable many people on welfare to afford their rent.
    Here in Ontario our minimum wage is $10.75 per hour and it permits our working poor to exist at a much better level than America's does.
    Those arguments in this letter and many of the postings advocating keeping the minimum wage low strike me as cruel and misinformed.
    All governments should strive to raise up the standard of living of the lower levels of society. It shocks me how many Americans blame the poor and call them lazy. Your system is abhorrent in so many ways, insanely favouring the rich while castrating the poor and decimating the shrinking middle class.
    That is no way to create and maintain a just society.

    Donald W. Desaulniers

  5. Over the last 35 years the wealthy gained 273% more wealth while working class people got squat. The problems we are experiencing have much to do with disparity and income equality. Henry Ford knew that when he paid the highest wages in the industry. He knew someone had to buy his auto, why not his employees?

    Greed will be the destruction of this great nation and those very wealthy people "hording their gold" will cause it to happen. We will reach a point of diminishing returns and the working class won't be able to afford a pot to piss in. 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck with little or no savings.

  6. Melba.. All due respect, you don't have a clue as to what you're talking about. You could take the minimum wage to zero and you would still pay $3.65 for a gallon gas of and $5 million for a decent apartment in Manhattan. Given a domestic workforce of roughly 150 million people very few work for minimum wage. In 2012 there were about 3.7 million workers working at minimum wage. These few workers have no effect on aggregate prices or unemployment.

    Before the current economic crisis the unemployment rate was below 5% and near the lowest in the nation's history. The minimum wage was roughly the same then as it is now.

  7. The logical conclusion to Ms Siggeirsson's comments is that we should drop the entire concept of a minimum wage and then brace for a spate of falling prices. A suggestion - don't hold your breath while waiting! It would be a LONG wait - for prices to drop. The drop in wages would probably be as close as one can get to instantaneous.

    El_Lobo: I really have to disagree with you about the 7:48 am comment of Mr. Desaulniers. I would classify him as actually being quite charitable toward a poor wayward neighbor.

  8. A minimum wage job does not pay the bills. Two minimum wage jobs never leave enough for to save for layoffs, so that directs people into bankruptcy every seven years.

    Yet, the top 1% is gaining new millionaires and billionaires all the time. The ghost of Trotsky is coming back to haunt the Earth.

  9. The Pain with these Low Wages can be quickly explained by The Walmart effect. Wages are so Low that Taxpayers are saddled with almost One Million in subsidies to workers per Low Wage Supercenter. All the while 400 Families have cornered Half of all Wealth in the U.S. If you still cannot see the problem of low wages - maybe You should give it a go and let us know how you make out.

  10. The best way to increase the minimum wage for yourself is through gaining more experience, skills and knowledge. Unfortunately, to do so (get more experience, skills, and knowledge) you have to start out at the minimum wage. It's not where you start out. It's where you end up.

    Carmine D

  11. Yes we need more jobs for American CITIZENS. Shameful that Obama and company penalize those who seek to employ Americans rather than illegals--exactly opposite of our laws. More than 7 million jobs have been stolen from Americans because Obama and Holder refuse to ENFORCE OUR LAWS. The stolen jobs are bringing wages down, way down.

  12. The minimum wage is MANIPULATED BY THE TAX CODE. You can work part time at minimum and do OK IF you claim a number of dependent children and get all the refundable credits. Some get in excess of $10K back each year although they NEVER PAID IN. Don't you recall the minor media attention to millions of illegals stealing tax refunds by claiming kids not even in the country?

  13. The minimum wage argument is a bit silly. No one lives on the minimum wage. There is a spread between what things cost and what people make. The only families in this country that are accumulating substantial wealth are families making in excess of $250,000 a year.
    The spread is closed through generational wealth transfers, entitlements and crime. The average Walmart worker does make about 13 bucks an hour. But, Walmart loses close to $4 billion a year in inventory shrinkage. Much of it due to employees according to them.

    The average Costco worker makes about $47,000 a year. Theft that Costco is almost nil.

    You can have good wages, rich benefits, and minimize entitlements and crime, or you can have the opposite and have crime be one of the nation's biggest industries. Either way people fill their bellies. Theft of food is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the country, and income-based entitlements are very costly.

  14. El_Lobo: Per your 10:43 p.m.: I DID read Mr. Desaulniers letter. Please re-read mine. In my opinion he WAS being charitable toward the US in his choice of language. He could so easily, and honestly, have been much more nasty - although some of that might not have passed the moderator...

  15. Minimum wage isn't designed to live on, it's a base to measure how far over the wage do we pay the skilled and talented work force. If you're not happy with working conditions and wages at your place of work go to school get training to do something else and quit whining.

  16. Ref 12:54 EXACTLY. Several fast talking non-trusted posters think I'm gonna explain details to them.... When I'm really bored, I might comment but seldom follow up on un-trusted responses.

  17. Wage hikes without PRODUCTIVITY increases are inflationary. Our economy is fluctuating between DEFLATION and inflation while it figures out what's going on. The repeated manipulations have confused our economy. We need to STOP MANIPULATING and let things seek a natural level. And, that means if you don't work, you don't eat--including custodial parents. Whenever we try to give something for free or reduced price, we manip0ulate the economy. Simple math shows there are not enough rich / affluent Americans to pay for the federal government handouts, nor for the wars, so what we gonna do? Stop spending what we don't have.