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Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen



Raising the minimum

The minimum wage goes up tomorrow, to $8.06 an hour.

The wage goes up every year by the consumer price index, or 5 percent, whichever is less. This year that'll be 5 percent.

Whenever this topic comes up, there are those who argue:

- Nobody pays the minimum wage anymore so it doesn't matter what the government sets the minimum wage at.

- On the flipside of that, every time you raise the minimum wage, you kill off a few jobs that employers can no longer afford.

- You can't live on minimum wage, so it should be even higher because everybody deserves a liveable wage.

- On the flipside of that, minimum wage jobs aren't meant to provide a full living. They're meant for teens to earn some bucks, others to supplement their income, so don't deny those people that money by pricing the jobs out of the market.

So I ask you: Are you or is anybody you know making minimum wage? Are they/you trying to make a living with it or a high-schooler trying to save up for a first car? Do you know employers cutting jobs to meet the new wage? Is Vermont doing the right thing by having the fifth highest minimum wage or are we over-extending? Is a 5percent raise at once too much or exactly the right thing in these economic times?

- Terri Hallenbeck

Until such time as we are all willing to pay the "real" cost of whatever we buy, the only way for those at the bottom of the wage scale to survive is via increases to the minimum wage. Greed has many faces. One of those faces, is the consumer who always wants something for less than its "real" cost to produce. Not its "real value", mind you, as somethings have no "real value"; ie a 52" TV screen.
Terri said: "On the flipside of that, minimum wage jobs are meant to provide a full living. They're meant for teens to earn some bucks, others to supplement their income, so don't deny those people that money by pricing the jobs out of the market."

Did you mean to write, "minimum wage jobs AREN'T meant to provide a full living"? The following sentence seems to suggest that.
"Minimum wage jobs aren't meant to provide a full living..." On the contrary no jobs are designed specifically for high school kids and supplementary income, they have become that because minimum wage jobs do not adequately supply a real living. Nonetheless many people are forced to survive on just this type of job as more and more jobs are outsourced to other countries. If the trend continues, minimum wage jobs will be the bulk of those available to most people in this country and there will an even greater difference between the haves and the have nots economically..
The other side of the wage issue is the fact that fewer employers are offering full-time positions; that's been true for a while (benefits issues) so, what's really going on is minimum wage combined with less than full time work schedules.
Yes. And a part of this is health care and the costs employers have to absorb to cover their employees. Single payer health care would take care of this problem for both employer and employee.
You better start looking for some brave politicians - not the statewides that are just gearing up to run for Governor!
I worked a minimum wage job when I started as a teenager and so do my teenagers now. It is a place to start out and learn some things.
Well, that must mean I'm a slow learner; nearing retirement and still minimum wage....
The fact that teenagers work minimum wage jobs does not mean that the jobs were created with them in mind.
That is a logical fallacy. For many people it is not "a place to start;" it is their option. That's the point.
While I agree with the thrust of your post, in this instance, the term "option" implies a choice that doesn't exist.

Outside of Barbara Ehrenreich doing research for "Nickle and Dimed" by working at Walmart, one would be hard-pressed to find someone who chose such work over more lucrative prospects.

Folks do it because it's their only option.
"..it's their only option." Yes. That is what was meant by the post, just not as clearly stated.
Fine. No problem. That's what I thought you meant.

Like I said, I agree with the thrust of your post. I just think it's important to make that distinction.
"As" I said. Not "like" I said.

Look it up.

I think the 8/hr minimum wage has no bearing on anything. The kids I know make at least $10. As a previous poster mentioned, full time jobs have been broken into multiple part time jobs. The real savings is in cost of benefits.

My observation is that we have a bunch of people who work minimally. We have a large body of workers tied to seasonal jobs like construction, ski area jobs, plowing, etc, etc. Some of these people don't work 4-5 months out of the year. These people prove their ability to work, but then live off unemployment and state assistance that is funded by those with year round jobs.

"I think the 8/hr minimum wage has no bearing on anything. The kids I know make at least $10."

Ah, so the "kids you know make at least $10.", eh?

Gee, anonymous anecdotal nonsense. Talk about your gold standards of evidence.

What about the adults, little nameless-nitwit fella, or don't ya know any of them?

If it'll have no bearing, than, clearly, ya won't have any problem with them raising it.

Always a pleasure.
At least he has a job, you disability-nitwit.
Sure, he does, little fella. Sure, he does.

Like your sorry, simple butt, he can't even muster up a name, little nameless-nitwit fella.

Always a pleasure.
"Folks do it because it's their only option."

Only if you are dumber than a bag of rocks. The only people making minimum wage are those who have no ambition or intelligence and have an employer who knows it. To some extent, you could also say that this isn't specific to low wage earners and the characterization could apply to anybody making below market wages for their jobs/skills.
"Only if you are dumber than a bag of rocks.."
Better hope you never get older, or lose your retirement funds or are in a field that suddenly disappears to India or elsewhere....You might also "become dumber than a box of rocks." Oh wait.....
By the way, the expression is a "box of rocks." Just so you know.
"By the way, the expression is a "box of rocks." Just so you know."

Not really. Box and bag are both used.
The point remains that the comment is clueless, cloddy, and classless.
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