www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Dress for safety -4/16/2014, 10:09 AM

Does losing due process create inadequacies? -4/16/2014, 10:09 AM

Hate crimes -4/16/2014, 10:09 AM

On with the prom -4/15/2014, 8:57 AM

Newman proud to be in western Kansas -4/14/2014, 8:57 AM

Waiting on revenue estimates -4/13/2014, 8:57 AM

Wake up, people, and see the danger we’re in -4/13/2014, 12:03 PM

Patronizing paychecks -4/13/2014, 12:03 PM

Stripping of teachers’ due process worrisome -4/13/2014, 6:11 AM

The Kansas Ministry of Truth -4/13/2014, 6:14 AM

Letterman, Hillary and Jeb: 21st Century symbols -4/13/2014, 6:10 AM

Expensive school bill -4/13/2014, 6:12 AM

How to assist evil -4/11/2014, 9:15 AM

Taxing life away -4/11/2014, 9:12 AM

Lying about Obamacare -4/11/2014, 9:17 AM

The talk radio party? -4/10/2014, 11:04 AM

Term limits -4/10/2014, 11:06 AM

Let's do what we do best -4/10/2014, 11:05 AM

Satisfying the court -4/9/2014, 10:45 AM

Late-night funding fight -4/9/2014, 10:44 AM

‘Farmland’ — art is life on screen -4/9/2014, 10:45 AM

Tradition not changing -4/8/2014, 12:02 PM

Flat as a pancake -4/8/2014, 11:22 AM

Willing to take a bet -4/8/2014, 11:24 AM

Exposure to violence threatens children’s future -4/8/2014, 11:23 AM

Battling MS -4/7/2014, 8:58 AM

Why Renewable Fuel Standard matters -4/7/2014, 9:23 AM

Rites and wrongs of spring -4/7/2014, 9:23 AM

Coming to terms with Brownback -4/6/2014, 2:11 PM

Are 'religious viewpoint' laws needed in schools? -4/6/2014, 2:11 PM

School non-funding -4/6/2014, 2:11 PM

Sex and race equality -4/4/2014, 8:08 AM

Rest of the story -4/4/2014, 8:08 AM

Bank on USPS to save 'bank deserts' -4/4/2014, 8:08 AM

Gambling and government -4/3/2014, 9:51 AM

Not merely water under the bridge -4/3/2014, 9:51 AM

Federal fine -4/3/2014, 9:51 AM

Twister time is here again -4/2/2014, 9:59 AM

School funding battle continues -4/2/2014, 9:59 AM

Watching for the flip-floppers -4/1/2014, 10:09 AM

Will Hays enter the 21st century? -4/1/2014, 10:09 AM

Tax breaks -4/1/2014, 10:09 AM

Hobby Lobby case a slippery slope -3/31/2014, 9:16 AM

Happy birthday, Gloria -3/31/2014, 9:16 AM

Unequal voting -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

Protecting the pollinators -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

Parties, politicians and seeking an advantage -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

Healthy aging -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

Threatened chicken -3/30/2014, 11:37 AM

As temperatures rise, pay attention to stored grain -3/30/2014, 3:49 PM

Bizarre arguments and behavior -3/28/2014, 10:06 AM

In your dreams -3/28/2014, 10:06 AM

Against the wind -3/28/2014, 10:05 AM

Discovering the salt of the earth -3/28/2014, 10:05 AM

Entrepreneurship key to economic growth -3/27/2014, 8:36 AM

Kansas goes Kremlin with arrests, secrecy -3/27/2014, 8:36 AM

Get ready for Arbor Day -3/26/2014, 2:03 PM

Reading between the lines -3/26/2014, 2:02 PM

Switching parties -3/26/2014, 1:53 PM

Putting a price tag on damages -3/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Privately piercing, serious sacrifice -3/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Autism bill passes House -3/25/2014, 10:13 AM

United stance -3/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Legislative session getting down to the end -3/25/2014, 10:12 AM

Taxation bill involving livestock successful -3/25/2014, 10:12 AM

STARBASE Day hits Topeka -3/24/2014, 10:13 AM

Judging based on accomplishments -3/24/2014, 10:14 AM

Who speaks for the voiceless? -3/24/2014, 10:14 AM

Fly Hays -3/23/2014, 1:12 PM

Learning from the candidates -3/23/2014, 1:12 PM

hedy -3/21/2014, 1:12 PM

-3/20/2014, 9:59 AM

Fred Phelps -3/20/2014, 9:59 AM

Is There Wage Stagnation? -3/20/2014, 9:58 AM

Cost of living, wages don't add up -3/20/2014, 4:01 PM

Legislative proposal raises questions -3/20/2014, 4:01 PM

No vote on war -3/19/2014, 3:32 PM

Wonder of St. Fidelis -3/19/2014, 4:01 PM

Protein for breakfast -3/19/2014, 2:58 PM

A pointed comment on guns -3/19/2014, 8:57 AM

Campaign madness -3/19/2014, 2:58 PM

Counting the cost of Kansas' Medicaid expansion -3/18/2014, 9:26 AM

Tax-relief spells a sure vote -3/18/2014, 9:26 AM

Tourney madness -3/18/2014, 9:25 AM

St. Patrick's Day -- The value of Irish humor -3/16/2014, 5:44 PM

Not all things are bad -3/16/2014, 5:44 PM

Supreme Court takes Legislature to school -3/16/2014, 5:43 PM

Parochial education -3/16/2014, 5:43 PM

Governed by rules, not men -3/14/2014, 10:00 AM

More guns: Merrier or scarier? -3/14/2014, 10:00 AM

The war on women -3/13/2014, 9:51 AM

Labeling the education can -3/13/2014, 9:51 AM

Taking exception -3/12/2014, 2:03 PM

Choose wisely in today's society -3/12/2014, 2:02 PM

Budget concerns -3/12/2014, 2:01 PM

Courting judicial changes -3/11/2014, 10:33 AM

House now on home stretch -3/11/2014, 10:33 AM

Value of bitcoins -3/11/2014, 10:33 AM

Medicare trouble brewing -3/11/2014, 10:33 AM

Kansas must change direction to lead -3/11/2014, 10:33 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Minimum wage hit with 31 percent cut

Published on -3/22/2013, 10:27 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

Koch-addict Walter E. Williams is wearing thin this Lenten season -- when we in the Christian nation are called to examine our Christian consciences.

Unless, of course, it's all about getting a pass to eternal life and nothing much else. Well then, social and economic justice, caring for the least of these is all socialist hooey. Jesus was an Ayn Rand every-dog-for-himself, devil-take-the-hindmost, free-market capitalist, right?

Williams, whose column appears here regularly, harps on how the minimum wage is a terrible idea. Recently, he has railed about President Barack Obama's recommendation to raise the federal hourly minimum wage from the current $7.25. Raised to what, you say? Nine dollars?! Oh, my gawd!

When I arrived in this village 50 years ago, the minimum wage was a buck and a quarter. So minimum wages have gone up dramatically, right? Nope. Heard of inflation? Well, to have kept up with inflation, the minimum wage today should be $9.48.

Calculator out. Punching numbers. Jeezus, minimum wage workers have taken a 31 percent cut over 50 years!

Against all odds, say the Astroturf tea party House passes a $1.75 increase to nine bucks. Wonderful? Minimum wage earners would still have a 6.6 percent cut since 1963.

Now then. A $9 minimum wage would generate $18,200 a year gross. But there's groceries, gasoline, rent and utilities. And for a single person, average health insurance is a little over $5,600. And $15,700 for a family of four.

Speaking of health care costs in this greatest of all nations, you owe it to yourself to read Steven Brill's l.o.n.g essay in Time Magazine (March 4) "Bitter Pill: How outrageous pricing and generous profits are destroying our health care." No time to read the 26 pages? At least read an Internet overview by Joanne Conway, MD, chief health care officer, Association of American Medical Colleges. (tinyurl.com/dyjb9f3)

If you're a waitress or waiter who gets more than $30 a month in tips, you can legally be counted by your boss as a "tipped employee." In Kansas, you may start at $2.13 an hour. You'll have to report any tips. If you don't take in enough to get to $7.25, well, the boss is supposed to pony up. I say supposed to.

Five states, all in the South, have no minimum wage standard. Four have minimums less than the federal $7.25 (Georgia and Wyoming are the lowest at $5.15). Nineteen states do exceed the federal minimum, but 11 are well under $8. Washington State has the highest hourly minimum wage at $9.19.

A 50-ish man in Hays recently wrote Readers Forum about the "Good Old Days" he remembered so well. For him -- assuming he started paying attention at age 10 -- that means 1970 to now. Old, old timer? Does he remember the days when you paid for the hamburger? You figured the boss paid her at least the federal minimum wage. If you left a tip, it wasn't wages, but a thank you for the coffee refill or the nice smile. You knew she was a college kid, or a single mom and could use the extra change. That kind of reason.

(Yeah, waitresses are mostly female, some weary grandmas along with not a few single moms. But there are plenty of males on minimum wage.)

In October 2011, I clipped from the HDN a 150 word AP story: "Study: The rich getting richer." It was relegated to the bottom right corner of page 7. Lucky to get that much space, I guess.

When Walter Williams pontifipees about how raising the minimum wage is a terrible idea, he never fails to promote it as a job killer.

He either doesn't get it, or he doesn't care. It's not a raise. It's acknowledging and belatedly making amends for a 31 percent cut while the rich kept getting richer.

Walter also doesn't get that if minimum wage earners got nine dollars an hour, they'd have just a tad more to spend in our consumer-driven economy. Maybe more groceries for the kids. Maybe a baby sitter so's Mom can enroll in a community college class. Maybe new shoes and a nice shirt for Dad and a full-tank of gas for the old Chevy. He'll look better when he applies for the new job -- if he could get a day to look. The shoe salesman or the grocery store might hire another helper or give somebody a bonus or pay a little better.

Things like that never occur to Walter E. Williams. He figures if we keep making the rich richer, that's the answer. He's got friends in this government of, by, and for the plutocracy. Well, I think it's Williams who's overpaid.

Bob Hooper is a fourth-generation western Kansan who writes from his home in Bogue.

celtic@ruraltel.net

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos