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Letter to the Editor - Sept. 10

September 10, 2013

Where will minimum wages end?

To the editor:

We need a $15 minimum wage. Got your attention? Yes, the part-time entry-level workers need to be paid $15 an hour despite the fact that this is probably their first job, with no skills, learning to arise in time to go to work. When that wage is put into place from the $7.25 now in effect, those making $10 will want a raise to $17.50. They have developed skills and have some work experience. Those making $15 an hour won’t be satisfied having some trainee making the same as they are after they spent time developing skills, habits, etc. And so on it goes.

Where is this going? It will affect most levels of hourly workers in the nation. Even then, the salaried workers at the lower wage levels will then see that that squirt is making the same as them, and that even the 2-year employee is now making more than them. And they have supervisory responsibility, so they will demand a raise from their present $30,000 a year job ($15 an hour) to, say, $50,000. Yes, the unintended consequences. So the minimum wage will affect not only the lowest–paid worker, but possibly 75 percent of all workers. 

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What does all of this do to product and service prices? Labor costs average approximately 40 percent of a product’s cost, so businesses will increase prices to offset their increase in costs. Costs for delivering the meat and buns will go up. Or they will reduce staff and look to automation to perform duties that were once performed by a person and we are back where we started.

The minimum wage is an entry-level wage. It wasn’t intended to support a family. Improve your skills, education, quit complaining, get off the couch, out of your rut and off the minimum wage.

Marc Scott
Hagerstown

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