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Council mulls a minimum wage hike

Original post made on May 2, 2014

On Tuesday night all but two members of the City Council expressed interest in raising Mountain View's minimum wage, possibly working with neighboring cities to bring the sort of increase seen in San Jose to more of Silicon Valley.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 2, 2014, 10:13 AM

Comments (29)

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Posted by Geek
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 2, 2014 at 10:29 am

Hope my child will spend the extra pocket money wisely.


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Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 2, 2014 at 2:22 pm

A raised minimum wage may help a little bit. But just like special low-income housing, relocation assistance, etc it's really just a bandaid. The real problem is that the city council won't allow property owners to meet the housing demand by building more homes.


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Posted by Huh?
a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 2, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Is there any economist anywhere who would argue that raising the minimun wage in just one (small) city is a solution?

And who are we even helping? Many (most?) MV workers don't live here, and many of the people who live here don't work here.

Can council get some professional advice from someone before they go do something crazy? Sometimes it's hard to even believe I'm reading these things.


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Posted by George
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 2, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Shouldn't we FIRST... debate the wisdom of such an policy before we start to figure it out how to do it ?..... or are we to assume that it is a GOOD idea first ???


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Posted by Waging
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 2, 2014 at 3:10 pm

Well, I only read the Mountain View voice headlines before commenting on the issues so I can be on a level playing field as the other commenters, so here goes.

"The real problem is that the city council won't allow property owners to meet the housing demand by building more homes. "

Ah, yes..the beating of the "supply side economics drum". If we only make the rich richer, then they will throw the poor loaves of bread! Everyone wins!

"Is there any economist anywhere who would argue that raising the minimun wage in just one (small) city is a solution? "

That is so true! Mountain View is standing alone! Oh, wait..that's not true, is it? San Jose is moving ahead, the state is moving ahead, Sunnyvale is looking at it.. Can't Mountain View please be absolutely last in everything we do? Birthplace of silicon valley? yes, but now we don't have to be creative...we did our part!

"And who are we even helping? Many (most?) MV workers don't live here, and many of the people who live here don't work here."

That's true! All those minimum wage MV workers can't afford to live here, so who would we be helping? Oh..yes...maybe if their wage was higher, they could consider living here!!!

"Can council get some professional advice from someone before they go do something crazy? Sometimes it's hard to even believe I'm reading these things. "

That's right...MV Council just makes up things without consulting staff, businesses, City Attorney or residents...Oh wait..they DO actually do that, but that information was not available in the MV Voice's headline, so I didn't know it....





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Posted by to: Huh
a resident of Gemello
on May 2, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Does it matter if it is Mountain View people who are working and getting the minimum wage?

It is a right or wrong decision here. Do you think anyone that commutes to Mountain View could afford to live on the wage they are getting now? Even if they live in Sunnyvale

I think assuming that we should do it ONLY if it helps our own city citizens is the CRAZY idea.


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Posted by DC
a resident of North Whisman
on May 2, 2014 at 4:37 pm

I have many co workers who cant live in Mtn View and they make well over $30 / hour. At $15 there will be plenty of workers who will commute to Mtn View. I think the rest of us will just commute to Sunnyvale to spend our dollars.


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Posted by Jean Valjean
a resident of North Whisman
on May 3, 2014 at 6:52 am

In 1968, a person making minimum wage could support a family of three. 88% of all minimum wage earners are adults.

How about tying the minimum wage any individual company must pay to their CEO's compensation, instead of an arbitrary number? Try applying a percentage of CEO compensation to each company at, say, 5%. If the bottom line workers are paid 5% of what the owner/proprietor/CEO gets, it saves "Mom & Pop" operations from going under due to labor costs and forces megacorporations like McDonalds and Walmart to pay a living wage.

Any company whose employee compensation is sufficiently low as to qualify the employee for public assistance should be subject to taxation to cover the costs of ALL public assistance programs.


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Posted by think
a resident of North Whisman
on May 3, 2014 at 12:33 pm

If minimum wage increases by $3.00 per hour then a 40 hour a week employee will increase his/her wages by $120 (40 x $3.00 = $120) dollars per week. If a small business owner has five employees then the owner will see an increase in costs of $600 in wages ($120 x 5 = $600) per week. I am not including payroll taxes in my simple example, but taxes will also increase the business owner's costs.
Over four weeks approximately one month the cost to the small business owner is $2,400 ($600 x 4 = $2,400). If the owner was clearing a profit of $5,000 per month, then her profit is almost cut in half reducing what she can pay to maintain her lifestyle and/or pay her mortgage, car payment, gas, groceries, etc. The owner will have to raise her prices, lay off workers, and/or accept fewer children/clients. If she is the owner of a daycare center and she decides to raise her prices, then the parents of children at her daycare center will see an increase in the cost of daycare.
The parents of children at the day care center may be owners of lumber, paint, interior decorating businesses, etc., and because their cost of living has gone up they will have to charge more for their products. These products often go into homes, cars, etc., which will increase their costs thus their prices will go up and the endless cycle goes on and on increasing the cost of living.
We are chasing our tails by raising the minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage increases the cost of living which causes us to increase the minimum wage, which increases the cost of living, and so on. When the cost of living goes up the cost of social programs/welfare increases, thus taxes increase, and jobs go overseas. Raising the minimum wage is similar to the story of the old woman who swallowed a fly...
The problem is not the minimum wage, the problem is the high cost of living. In the 1950s and 60s Steve Jobs' parents (a machinist and a bookkeeper) could afford a home in Mountain View and then Los Altos. Today, I don't think they could even afford to rent an apartment because the cost of living is so high.
Rather than raising the minimum wage we need to reduce the cost of living by
1. Limiting the amount a company can deduct to for compensation to $100,000 per employee, annually. Companies, Wall Street firms, sports teams, Hollywood movies, etc., should be not able to deduct more than $100,000 per employee, annually. Companies, Wall Street firms, sports teams, Hollywood movies, etc., would be less likely to pay huge salaries if they had to bear the full cost of high salaries rather than shifting the costs to taxpayers through deductions.
2. No more bailouts. The Fed must end the $75/$65 billion (almost $1 trillion annually) a month it is pouring into the economy, which allows investors to use the cheap money to drive up the cost of stocks and homes prices.
3. Long-term capital gains and all capital gains should be taxed at the same rate as all income. Whether your income is passive or active it should be taxed at the same rate. Allowing Wall Street and hedge funds compensation/income to be taxed at the 15% rate is unfair and ridiculous.
4. No amnesty. Illegal immigrants and immigrants in general are driving up housing costs and driving down wages. When millions of US citizens are homeless, jobless, and working poor, why is our government even considering amnesty? Use e-verify and give jobs to veterans and all US citizens.
5. Restore win big and lose big especially for Wall Street and investors. No more bailouts for investors and use the money to back the FDIC and protect depositors. This will prevent runs on banks. We would be much better off right now if we had not bailed out the investors and by bailing out the investors we have created a moral hazard. Investors will continue to take unimaginable risks and drive up housing and stocks as long as they know their investments are protected by taxpayers.


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Posted by RealThink
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 3, 2014 at 5:42 pm

I'm curious. Of all the people that object to raising the minimum wage. How many of you would like to see the minimum wage abolished?

If we follow the logic that the minimum wage drives up prices and increases unemployment, then the converse must be true: Lowering the minimum wage would bring prices down and reduces unemployment. If we allow employers the option to pay as little as $0.00/hour, then the economy would be boosted, prices would drop, etc... Or, if we take that further and let employers *charge* their employees for their job, then that should make the economy even better?

Let's hear from the peanut gallery now...


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Posted by napolean
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on May 3, 2014 at 8:23 pm

Increase wages to $10 an hour.
Build more affordable apartments or lower rent prices to a reasonable amount in comparison to what the lower class of people are making.
The low income residents of mountain view deserve a chance to flourish alongside mountain views new growth. We cannot leave our working class behind. By enriching our people, our city will thrive.


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Posted by Susanne
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 3, 2014 at 10:07 pm

When I went to the day worker center I was told the price for weeding was $15.00 per hour. I was not given any other price range. These are people with no education and from Mexico. Therefore , I personally think we can all expect the $15.00 an hour as a good starting salary for all our workers. May God, milk is up to 3.39 to 4.19 a gallon and bread to over 3.00 dollars a loaf.Our beautiful Mountain View is now a 2 party system. The rich and very poor common people. The American dream of chicken in every pot is no more. Our dreams have become nightmares for families with 3 or 4 children. Poverty is in our own backyard. Lets just try and get rid of the greed and try and help each other to stay in this beautiful valley.


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Posted by Concerned Biz Owner
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on May 4, 2014 at 9:34 am

Think....please declare yourself so I can vote for you when your run for City government. Your ideas are rock solid.
As an owner of a small biz, it is tight enough now, to get through a month's bills. SBA, etc. is already killing an entrepreneur's dream of running their own shop by NOT lending financial assistance to those who are collecting taxes for the government. Come on, now!
When Covered California went into effect, I had to completely stop offering health insurance to my employees as an effort to stay alive. Monthly premiums increased over $1300 a month. On top of paying top dollar for rent and insurance (here, there and everywhere), I just had to do it. I see now that Obamacare is essentially making employers (who already pay taxes up the wazoo and generate tax dollars for the City, County and State) foot the insurance for the uninsured. Isn't it enough that most non-working or low-income people are ALREADY receiving government assistance? I already feel like an ENABLER because I DO pay taxes and earn an HONEST living. Get people working and putting more into an already failed system! Don't get me started on illegal immigration and having "American" babies.
Anyhow, back to the subject. I am completely in accord with paying people an honest living. Just as I earn my wages. HOWEVER, I can tell you that I, myself have set standards for myself so that I can be my own boss. I have shown due cause for my ability (a.k.a. merit) to offer others employment. When someone comes to work for me, they are offered what I call a competitive wage for what I can afford. WHEN that person shows strengths and aptitude for promotion he/she is given an increase. Let me reiterate.... increase bases on merit!
The small business owner will have to work more hours than a God-given day has to offer AND then raise prices just to be sustainable. Smart Mountain View citizens will surely trot over to neighboring cities to buys goods. This seems like a no-brainer; apparently 5 out of 7 DON'T!
Please council, take a moment to think about the fiscal impact this will have on the mom-n-pops. Consider this...perhaps create a higher minimum wage maybe $12, only to "huge" companies, not just across the board.
Those employers who are publicly traded or have more than 100 employees can handle this crushing increase with more susceptibility and fiscal digestion than a small-town business owner. All-for-one...In this case....isn't and shouldn't be ONE-FOR-ALL!
Let's get a show of hands for those who support our community. NOT those who have never ever owned a business or who have an ulterior motive of... wanting the FAME of making a Gung-Ho game-changer move to make Mountain View an even bigger map-dot!
I'm in favor of building lower income housing, or perhaps offering a subsidy to those who are struggling. Life is tough. Keep on, keeping on. Business owners do it EVERYDAY.
Council, please remember that we are counting on you to make decisions in the best interest of the citizens, not your "altruistic" favor to do good to those who can't make it or who aren't willing to try harder. That last comment isn't a generalization, but rather a point that I'm trying to make about paying people by MERIT.
This July we're going to $9, then $10 Jan 2016. Let's put a lid on it, Council and grab life (your community's life...business owners included!) by THE HORNS.
Take it easy and let this $10 an hour increase happen and then possibly reconsider. Why sell the cow before the milk...or however that goes.
Let the people of Mountain View shop IN Mountain View, after all that is who you represent, RIGHT?


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Posted by RealThink
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 4, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Notice that neither 'think' nor 'concerned business owner' have answered the simple question: "Do you believe in a minimum wage at all?"

Why?

Because if they had their way, they would pay their employees ZERO. Or more likely, charge them for the privilege of working.

It's interesting to note that in states that have raised minimum wage, the economy flourished. Why? Because someone on the lowest end of the economic spectrum spends every dime they have! It makes sense, right? Buying better clothes for their children, better food, etc.. Contrast that with enabling the higher ends of the economic spectrum..what happens? They *may* spend a bit more, but most likely they will not. They will save. Maybe diversify their investments by buying into the next #1 economy: china.

That is why I and most economists believe that healthy raises to the minimum wage actually *benefits* the economy.

And, don't forget..the minimum wage has actually GONE DOWN, since it wasn't indexed to inflation. Raising it is just keeping it at around the same level.

So..anyone going to answer it? "Do you believe in a minimum wage at all?"


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Posted by I'm not an Econ Major
a resident of another community
on May 4, 2014 at 7:02 pm

So I don't believe in price controls. The argument that without a minimum wage, the wage rate would go to zero is silly. There is no price floor for most goods and the price does not go to zero. Buyers want to pay as little as possible and sellers want to get as much as possible. Mutually beneficial trade lead to prices that are acceptable to both parties. Price controls lead to shortages or surpluses that lead to miscommunication and the misallocation of resources. The minimum wage affects minorities the hardest which is one reason they have higher unemployment rates.


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Posted by Sara
a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 4, 2014 at 11:08 pm

Increasig the minimum wage will not pay for the increases in rents - not even close. Minimum wage earners will not own or rent in Mountain View much longer.


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Posted by Supply and demand
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 5, 2014 at 1:44 pm

I see a bunch of ignorant comments, especially from realthink.

All the winning about minimum wage, let supply and demand handle it.

If an employer doesn't pay enough, then don't work there. or only work there until you can find better. If the employer doesn't pay enough, then there won't be anyone to hire, so he will have to raise the pay he offers.

The Govt needs to stay out of peoples businesses.


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Posted by RealThink
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 5, 2014 at 2:04 pm



The commenter "Supplu and Demand" has succinctly summarized the ultra-right wing that is controlling the Republican Party.

What he wrote :"The Govt needs to stay out of peoples businesses. "

is their core philosophy.

Let's see what happens when the "Govt" gets into people's business:

Slavery abolished
Women's Suffrage: right to vote.
Federal courts forcing state governments to prosecute and convict murderers of African Americans in the Deep South.
Building of the interstate freeways
Building of the internet

The list goes on...

It's important to listen to these people, but many if not most are fundamentally flawed and cannot be reasoned with. They wish to return to the "good ole days" where it was really only good for a very few people.

Is there anyone a bit more educated that can explain why abolishing the minimum wage would benefit our nation?


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Posted by Steve
a resident of another community
on May 5, 2014 at 3:10 pm

The law of supply and demand rules this universe, regardless of what any government says. It is less an economic law than it is simple analysis of human behavior.
Raise the minimum wage, and those who find themselves relegated into unskilled positions will face increasing competition for their jobs. The greater the increase in wage, the stiffer the competition will become. Those who fall below par will become unemployed and unemployable. Instead of contributing to society, they will become a burden upon it.
Logically, raising the minimum wage will be at best inaffective, at worst, counterproductive. But we don't need logic, we'll set economic policy based on emotion instead.


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Posted by RealThink
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 5, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Steve, thank you for your thoughtful comment.
You did not address the reduction or elimination of the minimum wage. What are your thoughts on that and why?


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Posted by @realthink
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 5, 2014 at 4:34 pm

What communist country did you arrive from? It's quite obvious you have no idea what supply and demand is.


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Posted by RealThink
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 5, 2014 at 9:02 pm

I came from America... You know, the place that abolished slavery? I can't believe you are calling me a communist because of my anti-slavery sentiment.

It's funny to read "supply and demand" from someone who obviously doesn't understand it. Your reasoning is faulty... Min wage increases have been associated with economic booms, not implosions. Look at the data and not your. "Logical"!deductions .

If you were to live in a 100 pct fully implemented supply and demand society, then you would be very, very unhappy.


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Posted by Don
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on May 6, 2014 at 12:33 am

The main Councilperson behind this issue, Margaret Abe-Koga, is just looking for publicvity to run for her next political office. She did not care about the plight of minimum wage workers or anyone else in all her years in offices.


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Posted by 4min_wage
a resident of another community
on May 6, 2014 at 10:59 am

I agree the wage should be raised. However, let's make one thing clear, the US is not creating poverty we are importing poverty, we have more poverty because poverty walks over our border everyday. Hiring day workers takes money out of the hands of legitimate businesses and people who are in this country legally-that actually creates more poverty. When I pay someone who has a legitimate business 50.00 and hour to do a job that I could get a day worker for $15 to do that creates poverty for the legitimate business worker. I've done the jobs that illegal workers do and have been compensated at a higher wage. I would not be able to do that job here in the bay area because here illegal workers undercut me, what I charged 30 and hour to do they charge 10 and pay the illegal worker 7.

Supply and demand? We have an endless supply of workers who will do you job for less.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of another community
on May 6, 2014 at 2:49 pm

The jobs at the lower end of the skill spectrum should be viewed only as stepping stones to more gainful employment, or light duty fill-in for those not needing a full salary. They were never intended to be a viable career option. It's a tragedy when an otherwise intellectually competent adult accepts such a position in lieu of more gainful employment. Setting an artificial minimum wage only increases that tendency, depriving those inexperienced and just entering the workforce of their opportunities.
An artificial minimum wage damages society and the very worker it intends to protect.


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Posted by Joe Hill
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 6, 2014 at 3:22 pm

But CEO compensation can't go high enough. Look at all the wonderful things those CEOs do: all the jobs they've created in China, India, Pakistan, the Phillipines, Indonesia, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Vietnam! LET'S FRACK CALIFORNIA! It'll be more fun than smoking in a fireworks factory!

Yeah, it's just terrific that Jeff Bezos is worth 28 BILLION dollars and treats his bottom line workers like serfs.

Welcome to the New Feudalism, rich technocrats! Enjoy it while you can, it won't last.

Silicon Valley is the next Detroit.


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Posted by 4min_wage
a resident of another community
on May 6, 2014 at 4:49 pm

"The jobs at the lower end of the skill spectrum should be viewed only as stepping stones to more gainful employment, or light duty fill-in for those not needing a full salary. They were never intended to be a viable career option. It's a tragedy when an otherwise intellectually competent adult accepts such a position in lieu of more gainful employment. Setting an artificial minimum wage only increases that tendency, depriving those inexperienced and just entering the workforce of their opportunities".--Says who? There are a lot of people who have been displaced out of the work force by illegal labor and either are on welfare or working several minimum wage jobs. Just because something wasn't "intended" does mean that things haven't changed and that we are not waking up to a new reality. A lot of mom and pop stores have been displaced by big box stores. Not everyone is going to go to college, what jobs do you think they should be doing?

It's interesting because I see that a lot of jobs have been created here in Silicon Valley for the educated class and minimum wage workers, isn't that what most voice readers are usually carrying on about? Too many jobs?


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Posted by Greg Coladonato
a resident of Slater
on May 18, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Greg Coladonato is a registered user.

The Swiss just rejected a proposal to raise the minimum wage to ~$25. Smart move: Web Link


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Posted by Fairpay
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 20, 2014 at 4:48 am

An increase in the minimum wage would be an excellent move for the economy. I love that mtn view stays on the forefront when it can.

Sure, it wouldn't allow a single adult to suddenly afford a 5000/month apartment, but there are a lot of people on the threshold--barely scraping by. This would directly help them. The rest would benefit indirectly.


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