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City seeks minimum wage comments

Original post made on Aug 28, 2014

The Mountain View City Council has opened an online forum asking residents for input on the city proposal that would raise the minimum wage in Mountain View.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 28, 2014, 12:52 PM

Comments (52)

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Posted by In a capitalistic society you get what you earn
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Aug 28, 2014 at 2:24 pm

In a capitalistic society you get what you earn and I don't think burger flippers should make as much as electricians.

If you don't like your wage, go somewhere where you do. That is the beauty of a capitalistic society, no one forces you to work where you don't want to or can't make the money you think you are worth.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of another community
on Aug 28, 2014 at 2:34 pm

To paraphrase 'Bluto' Blutarski: "This calls for someone to make a really stupid and futile gesture... and we're (Mtn View City Council) just the ones to do it!"


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Posted by NoNeckJoe
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 28, 2014 at 2:43 pm

I sure get the argument as to why people think raising the minimum wage HAS to result in less jobs...but that just hasn't been the case. See below (and read the full article if you are open minded enough to re-consider that what "common sense" tells you...may actually be wrong (!!).

---

"Most of you probably think that the $15 minimum wage in Seattle is an insane departure from rational policy that puts our economy at great risk. But in Seattle, our current minimum wage of $9.32 is already nearly 30 percent higher than the federal minimum wage. And has it ruined our economy yet? Well, trickle-downers, look at the data here: The two cities in the nation with the highest rate of job growth by small businesses are San Francisco and Seattle. Guess which cities have the highest minimum wage? San Francisco and Seattle. The fastest-growing big city in America? Seattle. Fifteen dollars isn't a risky untried policy for us. It's doubling down on the strategy that's already allowing our city to kick your city's ass."

Read more: Web Link


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Posted by Old Mountain View
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 28, 2014 at 3:23 pm

I'm sorry to say "you get what you earn" is not a fair statement. Not everyone has the luxury of pursuing a trade or professional career. I have lived in Mountain View all my life and have never left it. Thanks to Google and Facebook and other giants, there is massive housing demand and so there is a housing shortage not to mention the greediness of the landlords making their exorbitant profits off rents. I work as administrative assistant and earn a decent salary, I raised my three daughters, now grown, as a single mother and did just fine until now with the housing situation out of control. Not to mention the beautiful quiet town that Mountain View (or should I say Googleville) use to be is no longer. Mountain View is almost no longer for the middle class but the "haves" and "have nots."


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Posted by Nikonbob
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 28, 2014 at 3:51 pm

@NoNeckJoe...Hold it right there...You're being way too logical and fact based for most of the posters here. They'd much rather rant with the latest 'truths' they've learned from the Book of Beck & Rush. They know that little Pablo over there could go get him one of those high paying Google jobs and feed his family right, if he wasn't so darn lazy!

Get out of here with all that liberal crazy talk!


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 28, 2014 at 4:00 pm

I always laugh at the anti-minimum wage crowd. Invariably, these people can be classified into several categories:

1) Poorly educated middle-classers that have built a life and/or raised a family thanks to having good wages due to the efforts of unions, minimum wage laws and anti-slavery statues/rulings. They shake their fists at them, but pocket the money. These guys would be living paycheck to paycheck and begging food on the side without government intervention and unions.

2) Wealthy conservatives that have benefited from government programs, employment protection laws and the like. But, they have theirs now, so are trying to minimize taxes. Greedy little buggers aren't they?

If you think about it, what is the minimum wage? It is a number above ZERO that an employer can pay their employee. What is the term for a job that pays ZERO? Yes, that's right folks. SLAVERY. So, an anti-minimum wage dimwit is effectively wanting to roll back the 13th Amendment. Don't agree? What about the sweat shops in the 20th century? 18 hour days at pennies an hour.

Economic studies have proven time and time again that modest raises to the minimum wage have ALWAYS resulted in economic surges in and around the affected areas. But, but, but how can this be? Well, a person who is making minimum wage is spending ALL of their income in the local economy. If they receive some money on top of that...guess what? They spend it. That benefits EVERYBODY. That's "trickle-up economics."

Contrast that with giving more money to the wealthy. Since they have plenty of money to live on already, giving them extra doesn't necessarily mean they will spend it. So, the economy doesn't grow. The theory in "Trickle down economics" is that they WILL spend it and that will create more jobs. Nice sounding theory, right? However, the reality is that the wealthy will only invest if there will be a return on that investment. If there is not going to be a healthy ROI, then they'd rather hold on to that extra money. In fact, if there is going to be a ROI, then they would much rather NOT USE THEIR OWN MONEY, but would rather finance it, which they could do at any time (outside of a major recession of course).

Let's lead the way and follow :) other top rated cities. Bump up the wage please!


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Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of another community
on Aug 28, 2014 at 4:55 pm

The minimum wage is a tax on employing low skill workers. If you like kicking black teenagers in the teeth, then by all means, increase the minimum wage.


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Posted by Total BS
a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 28, 2014 at 5:05 pm

"Economic studies have proven time and time again that modest raises to the minimum wage have ALWAYS resulted in economic surges in and around the affected areas. But, but, but how can this be? Well, a person who is making minimum wage is spending ALL of their income in the local economy. If they receive some money on top of that...guess what? They spend it. That benefits EVERYBODY. That's "trickle-up economics.""

Totally false. Most peer reviewed economic journal articles studies show just the opposite. Small changes in the MW lead to little or no job losses, but can also lead to reductions in hours. Where does this increase in income come from but from higher prices or reductions in someone elses income. Most pro MW people believe in free lunches and upward sloping demand schedules. If true, they should win the Nobel prize for finding a market where demand schedules are upward sloping. Its pure nonsense to suggest that higher prices lead to more use of an input. Employers always have the option of paying higher wages if they think it will lead to increased output.


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Posted by More Total BS
a resident of North Bayshore
on Aug 28, 2014 at 5:13 pm

"The fastest-growing big city in America? Seattle."

Not according to Forbes

"Texas dominates the rest of top 10 with four other metros, in addition to Austin. Mexican border community McAllen ranks No. 3, while Dallas (No. 5), Houston (No. 9) and San Antonio (No. 10) also made the cut. All are expected to have annual job growth of at least 3.5%. The only places outside of Florida and Texas to make the cut for the top 10 metros for job growth are Greeley, Colo. and Raleigh, N.C., which ranks first on our annual look at the Best Places for Business and Careers."


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Posted by NoNeckJoe
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Aug 28, 2014 at 6:37 pm

@More Total BS -



Web Link


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Posted by NoNeckJoe
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 28, 2014 at 6:43 pm

I know this requires just a little more thought and suspect most that disagree won't read the article...or change their mind even if they do but FWIW:


"It makes perfect sense if you think about it: If a worker earns $7.25 an hour, which is now the national minimum wage, what proportion of that person's income do you think ends up in the cash registers of local small businesses? Hardly any. That person is paying rent, ideally going out to get subsistence groceries at Safeway, and, if really lucky, has a bus pass. But she's not going out to eat at restaurants. Not browsing for new clothes. Not buying flowers on Mother's Day."



Read more: Web Link


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Posted by Doug Pearson
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 28, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Good for you, NoNeckJoe!

I've never understood how raising the income of the poorest workers is supposed to make the economy fail or, as Joseph E. Davis put it, it's like "kicking black teenagers in the teeth."

Of course, raising the minimum wage will increase the wage cost of some employers but the increased income of businesses generally will more than offset that. And, yes, to the extent that black teenagers are currently earning less than the proposed minimum wage, more of them will benefit from a wage increase than will lose their job because of it.

And, as for in a capitalistic society you get what you earn, that fantasy of capitalism--the wage earner and employer have equal power in setting the wage--only works if the wage earner is part of a strong union.


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Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 28, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Like most things in economics, changing the minimum wage has unexpected and complicated effects. There is anything but a consensus among economists on this issue: Web Link

The radio show Planet Money recently ran a good episode about the Valley Fair mall not far from Mountain View. Half of the mall has one minimum wage and the other half a different one. This presents a good test case for what minimum wage does, and the episode is an enjoyable 5min listen: Web Link


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Posted by Fidel
a resident of Castro City
on Aug 28, 2014 at 10:32 pm

Yes. City employees should all be paid 10 dollars, fifteen cents per hour.


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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of another community
on Aug 28, 2014 at 10:53 pm

@In a capitalistic society you get what you earn.

You think $15 an hour is a lot of money?

What planet are you from?


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Posted by Total. BS
a resident of North Bayshore
on Aug 29, 2014 at 6:40 am

@y NoNeckJoe,

You cliaimed Seattle and SF had the largest job growth last year. Your web site refers to population growth not job growth. There is a big difference. It also doesn't mention SF as number two. So what's your point?


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 29, 2014 at 2:46 pm

The minimum wage, by definition outlaws jobs. It makes it illegal to hire someone for less than the minimum wage.

It doesn't mandate that employers pay more for existing jobs, it doesn't mandate that hiring continues.

If a business has enough profit or enough pricing flexibility to pass this cost onto customers, it can continue to stay in business. If it doesn't, it has to cut back or shut down.

What is often missed is the unseen effect - jobs that would have been created that no longer have. If two adjacent cities have different minimum wages, and if this actually makes a difference on a business' bottom line, it will open in the cheaper city, creating the jobs there.

I always like to ask - if the minimum wage doesn't hurt jobs, why stop at $15 or $20? Why not $50?

The fundamental problem is that cost of living is rising faster than wages, and forcing wages higher accelerates cost of living going up, since, as I mentioned earlier, businesses must either raise prices (affecting the cost of living for customers) or reduce profits (cutting the buying power of their owners). We need to fight cost of living increases, at the local and Federal level - monetary policy, housing policies, anti-development mentality.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 29, 2014 at 2:48 pm

To be clear - I forgot to add that the minimum wage doesn't mandate that employers keep all of their employees working at the current hours. Clearly, it forces existing jobs to increase pay, or cut the job. That's why I meant by it not mandating paying more for existing jobs, since the jobs can go away.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of another community
on Aug 29, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Let's stop pussyfootin' around. Who could live here on $10/hr? $15 wouldn't even do it. Let's make it significant enough to make some difference! How about $25.00 per hour.
Who here is devoid enough of common sense to believe that would have no negative impact on entry level employment?


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Posted by Govt. interferance
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 29, 2014 at 4:06 pm

The govt. needs to stay out of local economics. This is quite clear by the way it runs its organization, ie the post office, VA administration, etc...


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Posted by Zero?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 29, 2014 at 4:13 pm

I assume that those of you opposed to a minimum wage hike would like to see the minimum wage eliminated completely?


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Posted by UC Davis Grad
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Aug 29, 2014 at 4:47 pm

@Zero?: Oh heck yeah. If you listen to the libertarian wing of economic "thinking" (and I use the term loosely), their belief is that there should be NO regulation of wages. So if your wage leaves you destitute, that's your own fault.

Never mind, of course, that those who put out this line have never faced hardship in their entire lives.


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Posted by myob
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 29, 2014 at 7:57 pm

You can't pick and choose bits of "libertarian" economics to set up straw men, assuming everything else is unchanged.

Free market economists argue for market based allocation of resources, including jobs and their wages. The general argument is that individual actors in an economy are better at efficiently allocating resources than central planners, who suffer from the problem of being unable to calculate proper prices for things, since this is impossible to calculate a priori - it's an emergent property of human interaction. If you mandate incorrect prices, you sabotage an economy by unbalancing it. The Soviets used the Sears catalog to set relative prices of local goods, but even that didn't work since no two economies are alike.

So, in a more efficient, more productive economy, the minimum wage would be less relevant. However, we've not had an economic system that free market economist would call free in at least 150 years. Free market economists, just like their authoritarian counterparts, want to see humans prosper, but they differ in their proscriptions. Authoritarians want to control behavior with incentives for what they perceive as good, and penalties for what they perceive as wrong, and once people are living according to their plan, they micromanage economics to reward those who play by their rules. The free market guys give far too much credit to the honesty of businessmen, but their approach is one geared towards improving efficiency and allocation of scarcity. The thing is, it's a lot easier to fight against corrupt businessmen than it is to fight against corrupt governments, so I'll pick free market wishful thinking over authoritarianism anytime.

In an economy where so many people's inflation adjusted incomes are destroyed by stupid politicians, the minimum wage is an important issue.


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Posted by Econ fan
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 29, 2014 at 9:12 pm

@ by myob, a resident of Cuesta Park

Let me guess. You never took an economics class or flunked out of one

You have no clue about what defines free or open markets. It's not about memorizing a textbook


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Posted by Answer this question
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 30, 2014 at 10:46 am

Wow. There are certainly some geniuses of economics on this thread. Still waiting for an answer to my question:

"I assume that those of you opposed to a minimum wage hike would like to see the minimum wage eliminated completely?"

If that question is too difficult for you, let me pose it a different way.

Currently, the law reads that an employer cannot set an hourly wage of $0.00/hour to their employees. Would you like to see this law eliminated?


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 30, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Hey, "Total BS"-- What you said in reaction to "Observer" (far above) is Total BS!

Watch the movie "Inequality for All" and learn. Most libraries have this so you can borrow it at no expense and hang on to your precious $$, since that appears to be a large motivator for you.

You could learn from doing this too, "Resident."


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Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Aug 30, 2014 at 7:38 pm

There should be an increase in minimum wage for large corporations with workers in Mountain View (like Walmart, McDonands, and Google whom contracts their cleaning and security) because it's dishonest to the broader public if workers qualify for public assistance (food stamps, Medicaid) because of low wages, all the while their employers report high profits. This results in a public subsidy of very wealthy companies. Yet, I hope there is not a wage increase on local small businesses. Such a local protection can play a small role in helping MV retain its dwindling local businesses.

See BusinessWeek "Fast-Food Wages Come With a $7 Billion Side of Public Assistance"
Web Link


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Posted by Econ fan
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 30, 2014 at 10:12 pm

@Answer this question,
11 hour

"Currently, the law reads that an employer cannot set an hourly wage of $0.00/hour to their employees. Would you like to see this law eliminated? "

Yes but it makes no difference. We don't let govt set prices for apples. If buyers coulld set the price at zero, who would supply goods or labor at a zero price. You could argue just the opposite. Why don't sellers set the price to infinity to buyers. Competitive markets (whether for products Or labor) are constrained by both sides of the market. Buyers would like to buy at the lowest price and sellers would like to sell at the highest price.

So even if some employers set wages to zero, who would be willing to work for zero wages. Volunteers or interns? Even so they would voluntarily chose to work for free. Most people wouldn't. Labor markets for low skilled labor are competitive and exchange is voluntary. Why would you be upset at some people choosing to work for free or at the best wage they can accept? Would you ban volunteer work, interns or even council work since they claim to work 160 hours per month for $500.

So it seems like you would support minimum prices for all goods, like apples? I wouldnt .


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Posted by DC
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 30, 2014 at 10:13 pm

A 10% increase = 10 % more work per worker. Mc Donalds does not raise it't prices so the same work load does not change.

However if you want to keep your skilled worker you have to give them a raise thus If you have a limited work force like Seattle or SF or Mtn View you will need to pay them more eventually. There is no need for this type of control.

Unless you consider the tip wage workers. A raise in waiter staff wages can lead to food price increase. Self server everyone?

The study needs to determine who are the MIN wage earners in Mtn View


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Posted by Min Wage Supporter
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 31, 2014 at 12:42 am

Econ fan, Thank you for having the guts to answer the question I posed: "Currently, the law reads that an employer cannot set an hourly wage of $0.00/hour to their employees. Would you like to see this law eliminated? "

Let me respond individually to the points you made. I'm going to slice and dice your quotes for clarity, but will try to leave the meaning intact.

Point: People are Apples!
You wrote:
"Yes but it makes no difference. We don't let govt set prices for apples. "
"So it seems like you would support minimum prices for all goods, like apples? I wouldnt."

"Competitive markets (whether for products Or labor) are constrained by both sides of the market. Buyers would like to buy at the lowest price and sellers would like to sell at the highest price."

So, a person is an apple, huh? A person can be traded back and forth just like a piece of fruit? Well, historically, there is small (hopefully shrinking) subset of this society that would like to return to the dark days of our country and do so, but we have this silly thing called the US Constitution, which specifically says that people are not fruits (or at least not property). Here are some other key differences:
1. An apple does not select it's consumer (employer).
2. An apple does not have dependents (families).
3. An apple does not have an emotional life.

Most apples are traded on large agricultural markets. Like most farm products, the individual farms combine their products and it goes into a distribution network. Very, very efficient. It probably doesn't even cost a penny to "relocate" an individual apple from Washington State to New York City. Relocating a *person* across the country will cost hundreds to thousands of dollars.

So, what does this mean? How does it apply to this conversation about minimum wage? You wrote, "Competitive markets (whether for products Or labor) are constrained by both sides of the market." It is more accurate to say that only applies to competitive markets that are also EFFICIENT. A large commercial agricultural apple marketplace is both competitive and efficient--agreed. But the differences between a piece of fruit and a living, feeling human being are so vast, that employment is hardly neither efficient, nor competitive. (Some would argue that it IS competitive, but I would suggest that their opinion is tainted with the silicon valley experience. While recognized top talent can command "competitive" prices, most of the rest cannot. In fact, that is a key reason why so many tech workers are being imported. If the market was efficient and competitive, then it wouldn't be so difficult to fill those slots, but I digress--we are discussing the minimum wage issue...)

Your Point: People will never accept a starvation level wage--certainly not zero dollars/hour! And, even if they do, so what?

What you said:
"If buyers coulld set the price at zero, who would supply goods or labor at a zero price." and ""So even if some employers set wages to zero, who would be willing to work for zero wages. Volunteers or interns? Even so they would voluntarily chose to work for free. Most people wouldn't.""

On the surface, this makes perfect sense! Who would take a job where they weren't paid? Well, how about someone who needed health benefits? There are some retired folks who have enough to feed, clothe and house themselves, but have had to take a menial job simply to keep benefits going. But, let's go back a bit in history. Companies would offer their employees a place to stay (a bunkhouse or a small shack) next to the company. They would get promised a pay, but then would get expenses deducted. In some cases, the "employee" would end up with a mounting debt to their employer! So, they were lucky to get a 0.00/hour job--instead, it was more like -$4.00/hour job!

"Labor markets for low skilled labor are competitive and exchange is voluntary. Why would you be upset at some people choosing to work for free or at the best wage they can accept? Would you ban volunteer work, interns or even council work since they claim to work 160 hours per month for $500."

The minimum wage generally does not apply to true volunteer work. Why should we care? Because the lower the wage in a menial job, the more hours they will have to work to make ends meet. They will not have time to care for themselves, their families and will have an extremely difficult time to seek education and job skills to lift themselves out.

Thanks again for responding. Having a discourse on this subject is very important to our country (and city!).

By the way, even if Mtn View were to raise the minimum wage to $10/hour, that is still less than it was when the law was enacted 40 years ago! It really should be indexed with inflation, but it was not. So, this is not raising the minimum wage, but merely an attempt to catch up somewhere near it's original level.


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Posted by econ fan
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 31, 2014 at 7:49 am

I never said apples and labor are the same good. Both are traded in markets and a laborer rents his services rather than selling some of his resources. But the point is that both markets are competitive though they may have geographic limitations. There are many buyers and sellers.

You example of seniors supports my point about voluntary exchange. They have unique reasons that govt bureaucrats ignore and pass a one size fits all constraint. I know that volunteer work is exempted, but why should it? Wouldn't volunteer work compete with paid work and lower market wages?

Also you never answered my question regarding price controls on other goods. why wouldn't you support minimum price laws (like some agricultural price supports) to make sure some poor sellers also get sufficient income.

Prices are better determined voluntarily in an open market system by mutually beneficial exchanges than by fiat from bureaucrats that have insufficient information on market participants.


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Posted by Justin
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 31, 2014 at 2:36 pm

@Zero?
"I assume that those of you opposed to a minimum wage hike would like to see the minimum wage eliminated completely?"

There is an alternative to the minimum wage that has at least gotten some qualified support from libertarians: Web Link.


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Posted by Fed-up
a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2014 at 8:59 pm

To be candid, we are getting tired of third world aristocrats (Wealthy New immigrants },telling us how lucky we are for making $10 an hour.because where they came from, that is what you would earn in a month. So our response is: "If you made $10 a month, how in the heck were you able to buy your house in the states for 2.5 million, all cash?


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Posted by people fan
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 1, 2014 at 10:22 am

econ fan,

I never said that you said that apples and labor are the same good. However, there are fundamental differences such that what might hold true for one, does not make it true for the other. A commercial apple grower has access to an EFFICIENT MARKET, while a job seeker does not. That is such a fundamental difference, the comparison fails right there. Without an efficient market, inequities are not only possible, but actually mandated. ("Greed is Good")

You go on to write, "I know that volunteer work is exempted, but why should it? Wouldn't volunteer work compete with paid work and lower market wages?" Well, you write with confidence, yet your words betray a lack of knowledge. The definition of "volunteer work" has been defined to protect labor. For example, Google does not have any volunteers at their headquarters trimming trees? Why? Well, the rules state that a for-profit company cannot have volunteers. It must be a registered non-profit. However, it goes further…A registered non-profit must pay certain "volunteers" if they are performing duties that are not charitable in nature. (general office work and administration, for example)

You asked: "Also you never answered my question regarding price controls on other goods. why wouldn't you support minimum price laws (like some agricultural price supports) to make sure some poor sellers also get sufficient income."
I think you answered your own question. There are already price controls on some "goods" like food. Why? To prevent the collapse of critical resources in our country. Can you imagine what would happen if the wheat industry collapsed in our country??? Disaster. If wheat is considered an important enough resource to preserve, why wouldn't the same consideration be given to OUR PEOPLE? Look back in our history and notice how the free market has failed to protect our weakest.

You close by writing, "Prices are better determined voluntarily in an open market system by mutually beneficial exchanges than by fiat from bureaucrats that have insufficient information on market participants."

Again, I would suggest you change that to: "Prices are better determined voluntarily in an EFFICIENT open market system by mutually beneficial exchanges than by fiat from bureaucrats that have insufficient information on market participants." Since employment is not by nature EFFICIENT, then this statement does not apply. (Note, there have been attempts to make employment efficient like Amazon's mechanical turk, but it has had no significant effect. Maybe someday?)

By the way, this is the danger of lay people pulling sound-bites out of news articles, scholarly papers or whatever. General statements like "Prices are better determined voluntarily…" It reads like authoritatively sound science, but these excerpts are merely conclusions taken out of context. You would then need to show that the assumptions in the paper match the conversation at hand.


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Posted by USA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 1, 2014 at 9:42 pm

Just for once, I would like to hear the people demanding $15/hr tell us what they have done to improve themselves and what they have done to earn $15.


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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of another community
on Sep 1, 2014 at 10:20 pm

@ USA

" Just for once, I would like to hear the people demanding $15/hr tell us what they have done to improve themselves and what they have done to earn $15."



1. Have you priced admission for community college lately?
One class will run you about $300 per quarter. At #10 an hour ..after paying rent, gas, ect...there is not a whole lot of money left over for self improvement.

2. There are plenty of menial jobs out their that should pay well above $15 an hour, however this list would be to long.

Hey USA you really think $15 an hour is a lot of money? Yea, you convinced us that you are from another planet!


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Posted by Econ fan
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 2, 2014 at 6:09 am

First of all you did say that that I said an apple is a person. I didn't. You also fail to understand the distinction between efficiency and competition. . Many experimental economic studies show that markets reach equilibrium price and quantity with limited information. Labor markets are competitive. Economists rarely describe labor markets as non competitive when referring to low wage jobs.

You also fail to state how govt price controls improve the outcome from open labor markets.

You also state that your support price controls on certain goods. Most empirical studies show huge mis-allocation of resources from these price supports. Also most subsidize wealthy farmers. Your claim that wheat market failure would be disasterous is silly. There are many countries that grow wheat and there are lots of substitutes. Markets would figure out how to respond.

You state a lot of opinions without providing cogent arguments or empirical evidence. I can show you more examples of govt intervention screwing markets up than you can show where govt price controls improve outcomes. Are you old enough to remember the wage and price controls imposed by president Nixon or the price controls on gasoline? Huge lines and shortages
were created.


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Posted by Min Wage Supporter
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 2, 2014 at 10:14 am

Econ fan,

I think I've explained my points sufficiently. It sounds like you fundamentally disagree with the community helping our lowest skilled workers and will attack anything that disagrees with that world view.

I do agree that low-skill labor markets are competitive, but the competition is only one direction. Workers compete for the limited positions available by:

1) Who you know: Family, friends of family, friends of friends, etc.. get hired first.
2) Salary is as low as possible. No union? Then it's minimum wage. No minimum wage, then it would be much, much lower.

It also seems that you are only interested in issues in your own lifetime. (gas lines for example) The labor rules we are discussing actually came from earlier in history and they bode study. Why do we have a minimum wage? Why do we think that the core food industries we have should stay in place and not completely trust a "free market" to protect us?

The examples you raise *may* be a consequence of price controls, but you fail to point out all of the times that our economy was *saved* because of these mechanisms. Ever hear of the Great Depression? You might want to read up on sweat shops, indentured servitude, price fixing, etc... Those were all done by trusting the "free market". There is a stop sign a few blocks from my house. The other day, someone blew through it and almost hit a pedestrian. Obviously, the stop sign failed to stop the automobile, so I suppose we should get rid of it? We wouldn't do that, right? Why? Because it performs good by avoiding disaster on a daily basis.

Fortunately, we live in a free society that can choose to impose regulations to balance the benefits of a "free market" with the protections that keep us from dying off as a people. I think one of the attractions of a true "free market" is it parallels the rationale of Darwinism in order to improve the organism. Unfortunately, what has been conveniently forgotten is that Darwinism is a multi-generational process that requires a lot of die-off. Even if one were OK with the horror of mass poverty (in order to improve future generations), we live in a democracy, so the people will simply vote to end the truly free market.

You wrote, "Most empirical studies show huge mis-allocation of resources from these price supports. Also most subsidize wealthy farmers"

Yes, that is the problem of the free market. Did you ever see Wall Street? Remember, Gordon Gecko saying, "Greed is good." Wealth tends to accumulate with the wealthy. You need money to make money. Say it how you will. With lowering taxes on the wealthy, the bush tax cuts have created even more inequities so anything that benefits businesses in general (like subsidies) will benefit the largest companies the most. That is just how it is. Sometimes the "natural price" of a commodity is so low that these large farms may just allow their fields to go fallow, which would devastate large sectors of our economy that rely on those core goods.

Anyway, I think I've explained this to you multiple times. If you don't want to consider the points I've raised, that's fine. That's your right.

For the rest of us, we will make decisions that benefit our country as a whole.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Econ fan
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 2, 2014 at 1:44 pm

I will keep this short. Your comments are off base and show your lack of understanding basic economics. Your comment about price controls and free markets are absurd. Price controls are not part of free markets so you can't blame the free market for misallocations when they are imposed.

The effects of the great depression were not saved due to price controls.

Competition requires employers and employees bidding between each other. Your response that it requires only sellers is nonsense.

Your other examples of failed free markets are nonsense. Again showing your lack of basic economics.

I am the one that wants to help low wage workers by giving them the freedom to work unhindered in the marketplace. You are the one that wants to hurt them by restricting their employment opportunities. You claim to know what's best for them by restricting their basic human freedoms to rent their labor services in a free and open labor market. I don't know what's best for another person, so I let them freely choose what best for them.

I answered your question about wages in a free market. You just won't accept my answers. No problem. We can have different opinions.


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Posted by steve
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 2, 2014 at 2:37 pm

If the minimum wage were raised, then businesses hiring low skilled workers will do one or more of the following:

1) Reduce hours
2) Eliminate positions
3) Find alternatives
4) Raise prices

They will generally avoid #4 as much as possible. None of the above will ultimately help the low skilled worker.

On a city level, we have small businesses who may simply not be able to absorb the additional cost pressure that raising the minimum wage will impose on them - think of businesses like Eva's Market.

At the end of the day, the minimum wage is an artificial mechanism for increasing the price of a unit of a resource above the rate at which the market is naturally willing to pay. Markets have an uncanny way of reverting to equilibrium e.g. increase the price of a good or service above the price that the market is willing to pay and either demand will fall or an alternative will be found.


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Posted by fair wages
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 2, 2014 at 2:51 pm



How about the low salaries that our illegal Mexicans working for big business here in the bay area are getting. They get paid under the table to clean tables and our bathrooms and wipe our floors. They need a big pay raise, i don't see anyone fighting for that. The big companies hire these types of jobs out to other companies to do their dirty deeds.

Who does your janitorial services?


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Posted by Jason
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 2, 2014 at 3:51 pm

'econ fan' is either unknowledgeable about employment economics or is simply one of those supply-side Reaganomics types that are trying to bolster the wealthy at the expense of the middle and lower classes. The comparison between a person and an apple is ludicrous, but it is a good litmus test for their true political agenda. It's funny to see that when he got backed into a corner, he just lashed out with ad hominem attacks against the minimum wage supporter.

'steve' seems more reasonable and seems genuinely concerned about the plight of the minimum wage worker and small businesses. Although I'm betting on the ingenuity of small business people to work with the potential increase of a minimum wage. It's amazing how creative people in this country can be in order to succeed.

As it was pointed out earlier, this is not actually an increase, but simply an adjustment to get it to be closer to what it was decades ago. (Inflation adjustments) Ideally, to even stay flat with what it used to be, the wage should be north of $20/hour!



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Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 2, 2014 at 4:24 pm

The minimum wage keeping up with inflation is a complex issue, because except for the upper range of the 1%, most of us have seen our inflation adjusted wages decrease for more than a decade. Wages trail inflation, while assets and housing rise faster, so the owners of equity and housing are who did the best during the downturn, but the rest of us lost buying power. A high minimum wage may price us out of hiring for basic things like gardening, for example.

There's a price above which it's not worth hiring someone for a particular job. We don't know what this price is, but we do know, that on the margin, it creates a disincentive to hire or retain workers. It could be higher than the minimum wage in our wealthy city, in which case employment won't be affected, but businesses' bottom lines certainly will be.

The mention of illegal workers is interesting in this context. As the minimum wage goes up, it creates more incentive to hire people under the table, both to avoid the minimum and other labor regulations.

Someone asked earlier if some of us free market types support a zero minimum wage, and I'll answer that I certainly do. Illegal labor has no minimum wage and finds its market price, which is non-zero. Ask local gardeners what they charge for under the table work - it's in the vicinity of $20/hr, that's much more than the minimum wage.

I think that the compliance and tax costs of hiring someone legally actually pushes down their take-home pay quite a bit, which also drives down real wages.

Rather than increasing the minimum wage, I would repeal laws which make it more difficult and expensive to hire, and I'd repeal any employment and income taxes on the bottom range of the income scale. The top 50% already pay most of the taxes anyway, so remove the disincentives to hire people on the lower end of the scale.


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Posted by Hmmm....
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 2, 2014 at 6:13 pm

I'm always amused to read the rationales given by those that wish to strip us of the safety regulations that keep us safe. It sure does seem logical that if employers could pay their employees less, then they would be able to hire more of them. We could greatly reduce unemployment! Well, what about *under-employment*. Everybody's working, but nobody is making enough to get by....

What happens if we get rid of the minimum wage and hundreds of thousands of people in California go from making $9/hour to $3/hour. Employers say, "take it or leave it." So, suddenly you have a big percentage of our state no longer able to buy much. The businesses they frequent will suffer and will have to change in order to survive. Some already on the brink will close immediately and some will reduce prices. Some will pay their employees even less! At the end of the day, there will be *more* people bidding for jobs (from the expense reducing firings). Well, what do our economic experts say will happen when you have more people bidding? Price drop! So wages will drop again, less spending...that's right folks Recession.

So, it seems that the minimum wage is actually not only protecting the individual, but is also protecting our economy. That is why there are clear instances of local economies *improving* after bringing the minimum wage up.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 2, 2014 at 7:15 pm

Please cite an example of the minimum wage improving a local economy, one where all confounding variables have been isolated and the change is directly attributed to the minimum wage. You won't find one, because so many factors are involved in a local economy's performance, that it's difficult to isolate for that, especially since you're working against the law of supply and demand. On the flip side, the minimum wage destroyed Samoa's economy (Web Link). Here, there is a direct causal link.


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Posted by Samoa?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 2, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Hmmm... Soma started increasing the minimum wage in the 07, but the chicken-of-the-sea didn't close until 2009z. Let's see if we can remember what other "confounding variables" might also account for this. Oh, that's right! The f'ing world economy collapsed in fall of '08!! Value of tuna was cut in half. Sure, blame the govm't....
Its a shame that Clinton bowed to pressure from the free market zealots and allowed financial services industry deregulation. Greed is good, but mortgage backed securities??? Why can we all not learn the lessons of history? Those tuna factory workers might still be employed!


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Posted by make more jobs
a resident of North Bayshore
on Sep 3, 2014 at 11:08 am

Minimum wage for full time employees simply forces employers who want to pay less than minimum wage to break the job in two and give it to two part time employees. So now the low paid workers not only have bad wages, but have multiple jobs to juggle.

The idea that everyone of every salary range should be able to live any place they choose is rediculus. Mountain View has the best weather in the world. It also has a huge pool of extreemly high paying jobs. It is going to be an expensive area to live in, unless we make Mountain View so dense, that high paying jobs move away, giving up perfect weather, to escape urban pressure, and socialized government limitations to their upward mobility.

When the high paying jobs leave, for what ever reason, (cheaper to do in India or China, Automation eliminates the need for high skills, industry changes, capital becomes unavailable) the rent prices will tumble.
When that happens, low skilled workers will fill in the void, making Mountain View no longer the best place to do high tech ventures.

Sprawl happens because people do not want to live a dense urban life style.
Lets stop creating new reasons to sprawl.


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Posted by zero dollars per hour
a resident of Gemello
on Sep 3, 2014 at 11:19 am

Zero dollars per hour is not a job it is a volunteer position. There are lots of people working for zero dollars per hour and even throwing in their own money to make things work. It is interesting how people always want other people to spend more money, but not themselves. It is also interesting to watch political types jump on the band wagon to show themselves as serving the poor. Go open a business and compete the low paying place out of business!

People are entitled to live here, with cheap rents, high wages, cheap or free health care, free customized quality education.... anything else?

Because this burden does not scale down well, it tends to only irritate big business, and crush small business. It is clear these advocates do not own small businesses and do not think they can earn their own way through this world.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Min Wage Supporter
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 3, 2014 at 12:15 pm

If businesses are relying on paying their employees a sub-living wage, I wonder if their business model is sound? I think if business owners focus on creating excellent value for their customers, then the impact of increased labor expenses would be minimized.

When the abolition of slavery was first considered in this country, a lot of business owners stepped forward and claimed it would destroy their operation and bankrupt the country. Strangely enough, the country seemed to recover from this and actually thrive. Thank goodness our elected officials have a moral compass to steer them--it's not all about dollars and cents!


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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of another community
on Sep 4, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Strike at Micky D's
Web Link


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Posted by DUH
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 6, 2014 at 10:42 am

I propose every one in Mtn View should make the same. Pay everyone $20 an hour make rents, food, gas all inline with the pay. You choose a job because you like it not because you get paid more. Who tried that and everyone picked being unemployed?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2014 at 10:08 pm

@ Duh

I doubt you could live on $10 an hour in Mt. View.


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