Letters to the Editor

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PAY: Consider source of opposition viewpoint

Letter by Charles J. Crawford, Tacoma on Dec. 23, 2011 at 12:21 pm with 36 Comments »
December 23, 2011 1:15 pm

A Viewpoint (TNT, 12-23) by Michael Saltsman of the Employment Policies Institute criticizes the increase in the minimum wage for restaurant workers. You correctly identify EPI as a business-funded lobbying organization, so readers need to consider the source.

If you go to EPI’s website, you can see that it does research on the effects of the minimum wage and health-care costs on businesses, primarily restaurants. What the website doesn’t tell you, however, is that EPI is one of several front groups created by Berman & Co., a Washington, D.C., public affairs firm owned by Rick Berman, who lobbies for the restaurant, hotel, alcoholic beverage and tobacco industries.

Berman has also created lobbying organizations like EPI to oppose the smoking ban in restaurants, promote social drinking (in response to Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and to oppose the Americans with Disabilities Act. These single-issue lobbying groups are created in such a way that their corporate sponsorship and the full range of conservative social issues promoted by Berman & Co. can be hidden.

Whether you agree or disagree with Saltsman’s opinion on the effect of raising the minimum wage, you should know that this is just one of a number of issues promoted by Berman & Co. that favors the interests of the tobacco, alcohol and restaurant industries and not the best interests of the consumer.

Leave a comment Comments → 36
  1. tree_guy says:

    Charles, your letter to the editor warns the public that Michael Salzman, who authored a column on minimum wage employees, works for an employer sponsored special interest group. That was noted in the original publication of the column. You conclude that this means the advice in the column is “not in the best interests of the consumer.” In what way do his recommendations not align with the consumers best interests? Your letter could best be described as knee jerk.

  2. In what way does Charles letter qualify as “knee jerk” other than in the mind of a Conservative with an ax to grind on minimum wage?

    Charles explains his position quite well with this – “Berman has also created lobbying organizations like EPI to oppose the smoking ban in restaurants, ….and to oppose the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

    I agree with Charles in the suggestion that smoking in public places and opposition to the ADA doesn’t align with consumers’ interests.

    Maybe someone is using a “hasty generalization” rather than address the entire concern of the letter writer.

  3. tree_guy says:

    The column under discussion doesn’t have anything to do with smoking in restaurants or the ADA. The writer is just trying to obfuscate the author’s intent.

  4. Misunderestimated says:

    For those who favor a “minimum wage,” I can’t help but ask why the minimum wage isn’t $25 per hour? $50 per hour?
    Any minimum wage artificially inflates the price of labor and leads inevitably to fewer entry level jobs.
    Business owners will find ways to reduce labor costs by use of robot labor, or moving production off shore in an effort to stay in business.
    Few people have noticed the disappearance of entry level jobs across the country as minimum wages were established nationwide.
    Unemployment in the Black community is nearly double that of the general population, again in large part to the disappearance of these minumum wage jobs.
    Had we no minimum wage, many labor intensive jobs such as manufactoring tennis shoes, wigs, and gloves would still be done here. By establishing these minimum wages, these jobs are now abundant in Korea, Vietnam, and China, who are glad to have them in order to address their own previous unemployment problems.
    Keep blaming business. Who among you is going to pay $900 for the new Air Jordans made here instead of the $180 Air Jordans made in China???
    It’s called the law of unintended consequences, and it is available for viewing whenever government and do-gooders decide they know what’s best for us…

  5. Misunderestimated
    So you want to turn the US in to one big sweet shop.

    But if we become a nation of wage slaves WHO WILL BE ABLE TO BY ALL THOSE PRODUCTS.

  6. denismenis says:

    Case in point here, as with other letters; Follow the money.

  7. Misunderestimated says:

    xring, what would you set the minimum wage at and why?

  8. tree_guy says:

    The column under review isn’t about sweatshops or as another commenter calls them “sweet shops.” According the Department of Labor a sweatshop is a business which violates at least one labor law. Paying someone minimum wage is not a violation of a labor law nor does it make an employers business a sweatshop.

  9. I just love it when writers point out the elimination of entry level jobs. Just how many managers are there at a restaurant?? The facts are there are few. Go to a fast food restaurant and look at the number of employees and what they are doing. And, then consider the shift managers are one step above the people they manage. If the restaurant manager could find some way to reduce labor costs, the owner would.

    Also, consider the true cost of the hamburger you buy of the value menu for a dollar. Even with a modest minimum wage a family is going to be subsidized with the earned income tax credit, food stamps, medical coupons, subsidized housing. The true cost of the inexpensive food is reflected in higher taxes and government spending.

    And, of course, I expect the onslaught of comments stating high school kids,et al should be working those jobs. Of course, when the kids are in school until 2 PM they can’t work. But, Grandpa Newt has the answer- child labor.

    Frankly, when I stopped at McD’s last night the prices we paid for a value meal were not inexpensive. The place was crowded and the drive through lines were long. Somehow the higher than average minimum wage did not seem to deter sales.

  10. The letter writer exposes the prejudices of the columnist.

    No “obfuscation of the author’s intent”. An LTE writer has just as much right to an opinion as an op/ed columnist.

    To demonstrate the columnist’s political leanings is good investigation.

  11. Henry Ford said it best – “I pay my people well so they can afford to buy my cars” (words to that effect)

  12. Sweatshops:

    Since we are referring to an “ehow.com” statement about the Dept of Labor definition, we should probably note the following:

    “The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) was drafted to protect workers’ rights and establish equal grounds for communication between labor and management. Although it has been amended many times over the years, the FLSA sets the minimum wage and establishes overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards. The FLSA applies to private sector employees and those who work for the federal, state, and local governments. For example, the FLSA sets the 40-hour standard workweek. In a situation where an employee works 44 hours in one week and 36 in the next, the FLSA prohibits employers from averaging the hours into two 40-hour weeks. Instead, the employee must be paid overtime for the four hours excess time worked in the 44-hour week.

    Read more: Sweatshop Labor Laws | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_5471495_sweatshop-labor-laws.html#ixzz1hThCN5e4

    Good for the goose, good for the gander

  13. I would much prefer it if restaurants would pay their wait staff a living wage so that tipping would not be required but only given for excellent service.

  14. tree_guy says:

    Henry Ford said it best – “I pay my people well so they can afford to buy my cars” (words to that effect)

    × Flag comment

    Read more here: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/letters/2011/12/23/minimum-wage-consider-the-source/#comments#storylink=cpy

    So if Henry Ford ran the Boeing Company he would have paid his employees enough to buy a jet airplane? If he ran McDonalds he would pay enough so they could buy a happy meal?

  15. tree_guy says:

    Henry Ford wanted to pay his workers enough so they could buy the cars they built? So if he was building airplanes or ocean liners he would have paid them even more?

  16. maxaction says:

    I’ve been in the restaurant business over 30 years in the Tacoma area. The only people who gripe more than those people who demand we pay a “living wage” are those people who gripe when we’re forced to raise our prices.

  17. I AGREE with Misunderestimated! The minimum wage should be raised to $50 an hour. And, anyone who pays $180 for a pair of Air Jordans is a fool! And Misunderestimated is a great George Bushy kind of name that really says a lot about the person who uses it.

    Way to go M–u–d! (That’s not meant to be anything but shorthand for your screen name.)

  18. crusader says:

    Hello Xring –

    It would be totally cool if we could turn the whole country into one big “sweet” shop. I’m partial to chocolates and caramels myself.

  19. “Henry Ford wanted to pay his workers enough so they could buy the cars they built? So if he was building airplanes or ocean liners he would have paid them even more?”

    Thinking like THIS is what created unions.

    Now, do you want a low paid employee building the airplane you are flying in?

  20. The people that complain about minimum wages are the same that think it’s great for a CEO to make 400 times as much as a worker.

  21. tree_guy says:

    RW98512, it’s not immoral or illegal to pay someone minimum wage. Why do keep complaining about it? If you have an axe to gring why don’t you start a company and pay high wages just like Henry Ford did?

  22. It’s nice when one writer answers himself under another name.

  23. RW – Want to bet $10,000 would rather fly on a plane inspected for safety by the Federal Government or one inspected by the Airline?

  24. RW – Want to bet $10,000 that most people would rather fly on a plane inspected for safety by the Federal Government or one inspected by the Airline?

  25. Oops!
    Change ‘would rather’ to ‘most people would rather’

  26. Misunderestimated says:

    xring, you seem to be avoiding my question.
    What would you set the minimum wage at and why??

  27. Yo, Misunder… what are you asking that question of xring? You already said we should have a minimum wage of $25 and then changed it to $50 per hour.

    I agree with YOU Misunder…. A $50 per hour minimum wage is at least a start.

    Why? you ask,.. because it’s more money, of course! (Silly question!)

    Now, don’t be going back on your word and saying you didn’t say we should have a minimum wage of $50 per hour, because its right there in your DEC 23, 8:09 PM post where you said you couldn’t help but ask why we don’t already have a $50 per hour minimum wage. And I agreed with you, we should. So, how do we make that happen Misunder…?

  28. off topic

  29. Misunderestimated says:

    For you minimum wage supports why stop at $50 per hour?
    Let’s demand $100 per hour….

  30. “RW98512, it’s not immoral or illegal to pay someone minimum wage. Why do keep complaining about it? If you have an axe to gring why don’t you start a company and pay high wages just like Henry Ford did?”

    The next time you complain about public service unions, I’ll ask you why you don’t fix the roads so that taxpayers don’t have to.

    No one said it was illegal or immoral to pay minimum wage. I’m actually amused at your attempt to intimate so, just so that you can throw your standard red herring.

    MINIMUM WAGE. Not the wage for a skilled journeyman worker.

    I see you begrudging the wages of all union workers in the threads where you comment. Are you starting a company to work on high power electrical lines for minimum wage? How about firefighers and police officer replacements that you pay minimum wage? Ferry boat captains for minimum wage? Airline pilots? I’d love to see how many tickets you sell for Minimum Wage Airlines.

    Now, all that being said, minimum wage is nothing more than a starting wage. The argument by the Conservative is that ANYTHING is too much for an entry level worker. Sadly for them, slavery was abolished so the worker HAS to be paid something….unless you can con them with the old “intern” terminology.

  31. Misunder…..let’s lower the minimum wage…and lower the price of petroleum products, beef and other comodities accordingly.

  32. took14theteam says:

    Why don’t we just level set EVERYTHING? Start over.

  33. tree_guy says:

    RW98512, the letter isn’t about skilled professionals, public sector employees, or unionized workforces in general.

    Oh, and as a footnote, did you know that your hero Henry Ford was anti-union?

  34. “Why don’t we just level set EVERYTHING? Start over.”

    That sounds like a massive redistribution of wealth, so everyone has the same amount of wealth, same amount of income, and can “Start over” to compete with each other and see who comes out on top.

    Hmmm! What is the term for that concept?

    Somebody help me out.

  35. One can be anti-union and still be smart enough to recognize the need for pay to equate to buying power in the marketplace.

    If someone says that anti-union companies can’t be smart enough to pay well, they are making a cause for unionism.

  36. M.U.D.
    A simplistic question with no simple answer. What we should be concerned with is minimum compensation = wages + benefits.

    However, IMO the minimum wage in Washington should be:
    $10.08 for those 18 and under and those on ‘work study’ should be (twice the poverty wage and about $2.00 above the current wage.


    $15.90 for all others (twice the living wage for one person).
    In additions there should be a area adjustment provision for those counties where the poverty and living wages are above the state average.

    What would be immoral would be to lower the minimum wage to below the poverty level.

    Where the company smart enough to their workers decent wages, benefits, and working conditions there is no need for the workers to unionize.

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