COMMUNITY CONVERSATION: Readers discuss minimum wage

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJanuary 20, 2014 

Facebook comments about a Jan. 4 news story headlined "Gov. Jay Inslee calls for minimum wage increase" by Associated Press reporters Mike Baker and Rachel LaCorte:

Jessica J. Jonasson:

"If minimum wage goes up, so will prices and living expenses. Really not worth it."

Monty Cavadini:

"I disagree with the argument that workers need a increase to pay for food and rent. It won't work. If the minimum wage goes up then the price of food and rent will go up also so they will still be in the same boat. Minimum wage jobs are entry level jobs, they aren't meant to be life time jobs."

Michael Marsh:

"Then I want a raise comparable to the hike in the minimum."

Todd Gregory:

"Studies have showed that for current inflation and worker productivity it in reality would be over $18 an hour."

Lynn MacCombe:

"Lovely idea until people who have been working forever to get to that amount start demanding wage increases to compensate."

Becky Campbell:

"Raise it!"

Nichol Fritz:

"I think the state should first make the environment such that businesses can afford these higher wages and not just companies like Boeing. In my town we have a university so wages are kept low and rents are high. Also a warehouse worker is paid much more than a person caring for the elderly. I am afraid you raise the minimum wage and we will see more layoffs with fewer workers doing the jobs of many."

Stephen Trinkaus:

"No, I do not pay all of our employees at least $15 per hour. Entry level in my business is a little over $10 per hour (I'm in the grocery and food services industry). If the minimum wage goes up, then all my competitors would be on a level playing field at the new wage. At that point, I would be able to raise my prices to account for the increase in labor because everyone else would have to do the same and our prices would be no more or less competitive than they are now.

"I know that some people will read this and say, 'See! prices would go up!' Well, they would, but not much. Also, some people will say that I would need to raise my pay scale for all employees if the minimum wage goes up. And that is true, too. However, the amount that prices would go up is quite small, and the benefit of raising millions of people out of poverty is monumentally huge. A study recently showed that if Walmart had to pay its workers $12.50 per hour, and they decided to fund all of that increase through raising prices (which no business would do, but let's just assume the worst here) then they would only have to raise prices by 1.1 percent. I don't know if that percentage would carry through to my particular business or not, but I doubt it would be that different.

"Of all the things I pay for with my hard-earned money, paying 1.1 percent more to bring 21 million people out of poverty (and giving them the income to actually have something left over at the end of the month) is a small price to pay. The government raises our taxes all the time, and so much of that just gets wasted. Plus, with all that money circulating from people getting a boost in their wages, I think most businesses will benefit by selling more products.

"Oh yeah, not to mention how much we pay in taxes for social programs to support minimum-wage earners. I think there would be some savings there too."

Dean Butenschoen:

"So, socialism. By raising to those numbers people will stop working hard. A high schooler working at a grocery store does not deserve a minimum wage of $15, that's almost what a certified teacher makes! So does the raising of a minimum wage raise a teacher's salary? What incentives would make someone work hard to want to advance in a business? Such a bad idea, Washington."

Rachel Ramblr:

"Or how about this, instead of throwing a few cents at the minimum wage, address the systemic issues which stress the middle andworking class: fund the schools, support unions, don't give big banks bail outs, fund Social Security, rent control."

Lynn MacCombe:

"I am curious. If minimum wage goes up to say $15, this would pretty much wipe out Washington state having to pay out for welfare or food stamps because no one would really be eligible for Medicaid or reduced lunches? So then where will the money go? Will the people actually have a say where it goes or will most new lower-middle-class be too busy pan-handling and claiming bankruptcy or losing their homes when the government refuses to help out? See, because a higher minimum wage will put people in a different tax bracket and be just enough to not get help but still money poor like most of us regular middle-class people are now and are not eligible for student loans or anything else. Welcome to the middle class. Sounds like the state has a nice plan."

Susan Baxter-Anderson:

"If minimuim goes up, everyone's should go up. We can't afford that. Leave it alone. It's one of the highest, if not the highest, minimum wage."

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