While I don’t want to vilify Walt Rucinski for his letter claiming that increases in the minimum wage kills jobs (Feb. 16), he is nonetheless, arguably, incorrect.

He cites one “study of studies” from 2008 written by a professor from the University of California, Irvine and an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank. Too bad Rucinski didn’t check two more recent academic studies that refute the study he quotes. See www.cepr.net/documents/publications/min-wage-2013-02.pdf.

When the minimum wage rises, these other studies assert, there is no net effect on employment rates, neither putting low-wage workers out of a job, nor putting more low-wage workers into jobs.

“The most likely reason for this outcome,” according to economist John Schmitt of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in a 2013 study, “is that the cost shock of the minimum wage (increase) is small relative to most firms’ overall costs and only modest relative to the wages paid to low-wage workers.” He writes further, “probably the most important channel of adjustment (to cost shock) is through reductions in labor turnover, which yield significant cost savings to employers.”

An increase of the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour will dramatically help low-wage workers, 60 percent who are women and who bring home on average 46 percent of their household income. Less than 20 percent of minimum wage workers today are teens.

A raise to $10.10 still falls far short of a living wage in Montana however – $13.92 for just a single person. And it doesn’t address the lack of protection from arbitrary employers nor provide for an effective voice on the job.

A raise in the minimum wage is just a down payment on making low-wage work better. The future well-being of our economy and society depends on turning low-wage jobs into good jobs.

Mark Anderlik, Missoula

(42) comments

TheEconomist
TheEconomist

Objective observer - February 27, 2014 10:05 am
Reagan signed minimum wage increase bills in 1980 and 1981.

Jus wundrin: Often in error, never in doubt.
------------------------
It isn't just the conscious disregard for facts that the poster Oh Oh routinely demonstrates with his drive by attacks on history, it's the overweening arrogance and condescension he manages to display even as he is lying constantly about historical facts trying to buttress his often unfathomable personal crusades against various posters.

Objective observer
Objective observer

Attacks on history? Says the guy who said that the minimum wage is the tool of the progressives when the last two minimum wage increases were signed by a Republican president? Those kind of attacks on history? No, YOU attack history when you blindly spew Fox News TALKING POINTS and TRY TO PASS IT OFF AS HISTORY!

TheEconomist
TheEconomist

Oh Oh: "No, YOU attack history when you blindly spew Fox News TALKING POINTS and TRY TO PASS IT OFF AS HISTORY!"

In your usual drive-by shooting of facts, aside from a fact sheet that I referred to from the U.S. Department of Labor that completely shot down one of your false claims, the only "talking points" I have specifically referred to on this thread were to comments made by Chris Matthews.

He works for MSNBC. That's not FOX, in case it needs to be spelled out for you.

You do know how these woefully shallow and continually false commentaries are making you look, don't you?

Objective observer
Objective observer

"on this thread" On ANOTHER thread you did say that the minimum wage is the tool of the progressives. Just because you didn't say it on THIS thread doesn't mean I'm going to let you live it down. "minimum wage is the tool of the progressives is a Faux News talking point and you know it. And it's a lie!

TheEconomist
TheEconomist

Objective observer -
"on this thread" On ANOTHER thread you did say that the minimum wage is the tool of the progressives. Just because you didn't say it on THIS thread doesn't mean I'm going to let you live it down. "minimum wage is the tool of the progressives is a Faux News talking point and you know it. And it's a lie
----------------------------------------------
You mean, from this thread?

Dcmissoula - February 17, 2014 10:34 am
Ah minimum wage. The tool of progressives to control the unfortunate in our society.

You responded to him directly on that point.

Are you referring to the thread where you falsely claimed that Ronald Reagan not only signed two bills increasing the minimum wage, but where you specifically claimed that he signed one of them more than a year before he even became president?

That thread?

Those lies?

But, as also extensively noted, raising the minimum wage has become a standard tool of left wing governments to buy votes. It has been documented for you in Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela in considerable detail, and appears to be one source of the persistent inflation in those countries, destroying the income and savings of the poor as quickly as the politicians can promise more increases in the minimum wage.

TheEconomist
TheEconomist

Objective observer - 3 hours ago
Reagan signed minimum wage increase bills in 1980 and 1981. ...

I guess Ronald Reagan was a marxist.
---------------------------------------------
There are certain posters that really do stand out as complete frauds on these threads.

1) Reagan never signed a minimum wage increase.
2) Reagan didn't take office until January 20, 1981 and couldn't have signed one in 1980.
3) The fact that he didn't sign any minimum wage legislation has nothing to do with the incomprehensible gibberish conclusion that, therefore, Reagan was a Marxist.

Is Oh Oh the shining example of our educational system?

Objective observer
Objective observer

OK, so I was wrong about Reagan. What about all the other times republican presidents signed minimum wage increases. YOU'RE THE GUY WHO SAID THAT MINIMUM WAGE INCREASES ARE THE TOOL OF PROGRESSIVES. Yet R presidents have signed many minimum wage increases into law. The problem is that YOU have NOTHING to defend that statement. NOTHING!

Cato
Cato

Objective observer - February 27, 2014 4:19 pm
OK, so I was wrong ....
------------------------------------
It's a pattern of contempt you show for facts.

It was "necessary" for you to attack Reagan. It didn't matter whether it was true or not, so you just made it up.

glacierdude
glacierdude

Has nothing to do with anything except for the fact that you consciously printed false information in an attempt to sway public opinion. It would have been easier for the rest of us if you would have been big enough to just admit your mistake however then you tried to introduce a BIG BUT suggesting that it was OK for you to do that because the violations had then occurred at the hands of others. This is Saul Alinsky at it's very finest. You must have been indoctrinated early and well. Say it often enough and it will become true.

TheEconomist
TheEconomist

Objective observer -"YOU'RE THE GUY WHO SAID THAT MINIMUM WAGE INCREASES ARE THE TOOL OF PROGRESSIVES."

Wrong again. I did not say or write that.

Can't you get anything right?

Objective observer
Objective observer

You did say it on another thread (we argued about it there) and now you're denying you even said it? Wow.

Sleddintrash
Sleddintrash

So the Feds are gonna raise the minimum wage. Makes sense. They can increase your taxes, print money, devalue the dollar, and get away with it. The difference between government and private sector businesses, is that private businesses can't print money

BR
BR

Private businesses distribute the profits (money), albeit unjustly for the last 30 years.

Lynne McKay
Lynne McKay

You are all right! We won't see the fallout right away, just like Obamacare, but it's right around the corner.

glacierdude
glacierdude

Who wins? The minimum wage worker who now makes more by the hour but gets his hours cut back so he doesn't work AND pays the Obamacare penalty OR is it the minimum wage worker who will promptly lose his job when the increase in implemented. Like the libs are saying now....he might be the winner because now he has more time to spend with his family....in abject poverty. But, hey.....who doesn't love mac and cheese?

Andy B Hamond
Andy B Hamond

This isn't the first time for a minimum wage. It has been around since the Great Depression. With an increase there is a very small temporary dip in total hours worked, but this is always quickly offset by an increase in total national spending and an overall boost to the economy.

America works best with a large middle class, not a large lower class and not a tiny but hugely wealthy upper class.

jus wundrin
jus wundrin

It seems like every time the minimum wage increased, there were somethings I couldnt afford anymore. Do you thing the employers are just going to absorb the extra cost? No, they pass it on to you and I!

America works best when the gubment is just a small part of the equation.

Nice marxist rhetoric though.

Objective observer
Objective observer

"America works best with a large middle class, not a large lower class and not a tiny but hugely wealthy upper class."

“We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share,” Reagan vowed, adding that they “sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10% of his salary—and that’s crazy.”

I guess Ronald Reagan was a marxist.

jus wundrin
jus wundrin

Oo, Reagan was talking about a tax, nothing to do with the minimum wage. Unless you consider raising the minimum wage as an additional tax on businesses to be quickly "re-distributed" to the employees.

Why not? It worked for obamascare!

Objective observer
Objective observer

Reagan signed minimum wage increase bills in 1980 and 1981.

Jus wundrin: Often in error, never in doubt.

Objective observer
Objective observer

Bush I signed a minimum wage increase bills in 1990 and '91, Bush II in 2007 and 2008. Were they marxists?

TheEconomist
TheEconomist

Ideally, and typically, the economy provides the need for workers. Minimum wage is just that: a minimum. It's aimed at entry-level teenagers who require time, attention and training. It's not designed for "single Moms who somehow managed to have three kids by the time she was 20 that she needs to support and can't earn enough to support them." She needs a "living wage," and so wants the Government to impose one, just for her.

It's a nice thought that the Government is the mediator of compelling someone else to pay for her life decisions. As Milton Friedman often pointed out, the process only subsidizes bad decisions.

If the economy is properly functioning, however, there is no need for a minimum wage. Germany built itself from a destroyed nation to an economic powerhouse without a minimum age. Why? Because it wasn't necessary.

When economies begin to fail, then they need politically imposed solutions that keep political parties in power, and especially so when the Government can purchase votes by redistributing cash. Minimum wage is always a concession to some degree of economic failure.

And it is political poison. Those economies which rely on regular "increases" in minimum wage are facing intractable inflation problems.

Why?

Because a key element of society, the poor, need stability, low inflation, and a net return on their earnings and savings that is not corrupted by inflation. That's the only way they can truly get ahead. What happens with regularly increasing minimum wages, particularly those indexed to inflation or to political motives? A key element of the electorate swings from being invested in low inflation, to not caring. Indeed, with annual increases in wages, they become invested in inflation.

To say it poison to a political and economic system is an understatement.

It requires a high degree of political discipline for a society to maintain its economic stability and integrity in the face of politically motivated demands for increases in the minimum wage. It is a political tool, often used by the same architects of the economic conditions that invoke calls for minimum wage raises. They make political capital out of their own economic failure.

Can Reagan, Bush or anyone else NOT sign a minimum wage increase?

As MSNBC Host Chris Matthews admits: this is ALL politics, the Democrats looking to turn attention away from the massive failure of their economic and health care policies:

"They come walk in the door, we would like you to sign this and Peter King is waiting for them. Peter King, does he want to have to sign that? He doesn't want to not sign it. [Congressmen] Pat Meehan, Mike Fitzpatrick, [Jim] Gerlach, these other guys, they're going to say, 'Wait a minute, if I don't sign this, then they'll be able to go out and announce -- the Democrats -- that I, representing a lot of working, middle class families that I've said no to minimum wage.'

"I think it's a great way to screw the other side into doing something you want them to do. And it's a win-win, because if they don't do it, you kill them in November."

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2014/02/22/chris_matthews_minimum_wage_a_good_way_to_screw_the_other_side.html

"It's a great way to screw the other side."

And the US economy.


TheEconomist
TheEconomist

Objective observer - 1 hour ago
Reagan signed minimum wage increase bills in 1980 and 1981.

Jus wundrin: Often in error, never in doubt.
------------------------------------
It is though "Objective Observer" cannot help himself but to fabricate false allegations on every thread. He needs to be exposed for what he is.

Ronald Regan never signed a minimum wage increase.

Oh Oh just made it up.

\http://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/chart.htm

But, "he is never in doubt."

Objective observer
Objective observer

But other Republican presidents did including Bush II who signed TWO minimum wage increases. So much for minimum wage increases being the tool of the progressives which is WHAT YOU SAID!

GaryEG
GaryEG

If the minimum wage is increased, employers will just raise prices to off-set the added labor expense. If the minimum wage is increased by 5% the businesses will raise their prices by 7% thus the minimum wage worker is worse off by 2% than they were before.
The only way increasing the minimum wage and actually help the poorer workers is to also freeze prices(which will never happen.) I am a minimum wage worker and I have yet to see an improvement to my finances because the cost of everything is rising faster than wages. Society must first deal with greed before anything else will truly work.

Andy B Hamond
Andy B Hamond

There are numerous fallacies in your reasoning. One is that the retailer’s only costs are labor. Nothing for overhead, materials, profit? In many businesses, the smallest cost is labor. What about other types businesses? They aren’t all retail establishments selling products on the shelves.

Even though there is an element of greed in society, it will never be eliminated. If left to the whims of business, there would be no minimum wage and you, GaryEG would be making even less money.

To take the politics out of this situation, a living wage must be established, then it must be indexed to automatically increase according to the cost of living. This will still not be totally fair, since the lowest wage earner will always be at least a year behind and never really trying to catch up. But it the best option available at this point.

GaryEG
GaryEG

I never said labor was the only cost. However, if labor costs go up, price are soon to follow. I was not talking politics. Businesses and most business owners are only worried about increasing their own bank account. They care very little about their employees. I disagree with your statement of labor being the lowest cost. Labor is always a big issue for employers. Every business I have ever worked for has always sighted labor cost as one of main it's determining factor for deciding about layoffs. I have lost so many jobs because the person I trained was cheaper to keep than me. Not only because I was making a higher wage but also because the person I trained was not eligible for benefits. It was much cheaper for them to keep the other person instead of me. Every time I have ever taken advantage of the benefits offered I have lost that job within six months because they could save on labor with the less experienced person. Labor cost are a major expense for businesses.

Mark Anderlik
Mark Anderlik

What has happened to you is outrageous but common. Not all businesses share the religious conviction that maximizing profits trumps everything, but way too many do. The purpose of business is to improve the welfare of the community as well as the owners and workers. Government and unions are the only means we have to correct bad business behaviors. This is why you see so much derision and hate expressed by anonymous commentators here towards government and unions. They share the religious conviction that maximizing profits is the most important god, and they worry when their god is challenged as a false idol.

That is not to say that businesses are charities, and that they don't need to make money to stay in business. As a former business owner and business manager I appreciate what it takes for a small business to operate. I also know that labor is the largest cost for most businesses. Businesses absolutely can't operate without labor. And there is no profit, except for what is withheld from the value of the production of labor. This is basic economics.

And it is why Abraham Lincoln said "Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."

glacierdude
glacierdude

GaryEG- You have lost so many jobs for one reason and one reason only, buddy. Look in the mirror. Boy, you have had a rough go of it but as long as you continue to blame your employer you will never have worth in the marketplace.

jus wundrin
jus wundrin

Wow, listening to you three progressives one would think that minimum wage jobs are the only ones available. Even sadder is that you folks think that people are too stupid to have any responsibility, and only a large bloating gubment is the only solution.

Lets just have your benevolent gubment collect all of the wealth, and redistribute it equally. Its worked so well everywhere its been tried!

"To take the politics out of this situation, a living wage must be established"

And who decides what that "living wage" should be? Da gubment?????? Too funny.

skater grandpa
skater grandpa

Andy, are you really the same ABH that used to post comments a couple years ago constantly berating everything liberal and cheering everything conservative? If you are what changed you? Must have been something personal as I've only known one person who ever flipped political beliefs without something that personally affected them.

Mark Anderlik
Mark Anderlik

You missed the point of what these studies show. Employers get a substantial savings for their business, offsetting the cost of raising the minimum wage for its employees, in reduced turnover and in increased business. Some may increase prices, but it is a very small part of what is causing prices to go up.

Montana passed I-151 in 2006 (with 72% and a majority in every legislative district) that raised the minimum wage by $1.00 in 2007 and that raises the minimum wage every January to stay even with the cost of living. Before this passed the minimum wage remained at $5.15 for almost 10 years. During those 10 years the cost of living went up 29%. Clearly the minimum wage had nothing to do with those cost of living increases.

The main problem with the minimum wage is that it is too low to begin with. For a single person in Montana to be able to live decently, without financial help from family, church or government, they need to work 40 hours a week at $13.92. That's why you are not seeing an improvement in your finances.

So its not true that increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 wouldn't help low wage workers - its that its not enough. Add to this that some employers use fear and intimidation to keep their employees quiet and submissive, and that most workers have no real voice on the job to improve their working conditions (and improve the business). Much work needs to be done to make these jobs, good jobs.

GaryEG
GaryEG

I think you missed my point. My point was that raising the minimum wage does little to no good when prices increase faster than wages. The cost of living always increases faster than wages increase, thus why raising the minimum wage will not balance out until the rate for the cost of living slows enough for it to achieve balance. Raising the minimum wage 5% does little good when the cost of living increases 7% or more.
There needs to be a balance.

Mark Anderlik
Mark Anderlik

How do you suggest we get that balance set??

jus wundrin
jus wundrin

...and your just gonna wait around for the gubment to make that happen, right? Heres a novel idea that works: find a better paying job!

What happened to personal responsibility?

GaryEG
GaryEG

You totally missed my point ( no surprise there). I am not advocating for an increase in the minimum wage. I aint waiting for the government to do anything. Note how I said freezing prices would NEVER happen so why would I wait for something that won't happen? that makes no sense. Between my wife and I we make enough and don't need a lot of things. I happen to really like my boss and chose being happy with my boss over making more money and being unhappy with my boss. I don't need the government to help me by raising the minimum wage. Once again your feeble attempt to insult has resulted in you looking like a foolish jerk. On second thought, perhaps it's not just looks.

Objective observer
Objective observer

It's not just looks. He demonstrates who he is every day on here!

Faxnlogicovremotnlhystria
Faxnlogicovremotnlhystria

According to the CBO Walt is correct.
Don't want to make minimum wage? Get more than minimal skills. Put in more than minimal effort.

Mark Anderlik
Mark Anderlik

The CBO is wrong and there is the academic studies to show that. Also in Montana for every living wage job ($13.92 for a single person) there are 8 job seekers. What do the other 7 workers do? Your slam on minimum wage workers is shameful and discredits your anonymous argument.

jus wundrin
jus wundrin

You mean UNION academic studies.

Your comment that people are too stupid to be trusted with their own responsibility is shameful. But something to be expected from the president of the local aflcio.

Good use of emotional rhetoric though.

Why dont you give your union members the option to join or not? Just think of the pay raise in allowing them to keep more of their money than paying your oppressive dues?

After all, fair is fair, right?

glacierdude
glacierdude

Good job, just wunderin' Right on the mark.

TheEconomist
TheEconomist

That's the problem with the proposition that "minimum wage" should be "living wage," which many proponents define, ultimately, as a middle-class life style which the government can command by fiat.

The problem isn't that they appear to genuinely believe that the government should do it, they actually believe that the government can do it: just order that, viola, everyone is "middle class." Well, why not?

Because that proposition removes two key cornerstones of successful societies: 1) the desire for self-improvement and 2) personal economic interest in economic stability and sound economic policies.

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