Letter: Author of minimum-wage letter living in different world - East Valley Tribune: Letters To The Editor

Letter: Author of minimum-wage letter living in different world

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Posted: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 2:30 am

Wayne Whitlock of Glendale, your ‘Wayne’s World’ is apparently not the same world the rest of us have to live in, I’m thinking. Here are a couple things you probably should take a moment to ponder upon:

Did you ever notice prices have been going up pretty regularly all your life? Probably because the managers, office workers, engineers, lawyers, doctors and CEOs have all seen their wages rise, which contributes to the price of goods and services rising too, right? That’s just basic economics, Wayne!

But you seem to feel that those at the bottom of the ladder are just not worthy of seeing their pay go up even though the price of goods and services continuously go up year after year? Really? Simply because they are just students saving up for college or trade school. What about all the 30- and 40-year-olds needing a second job at Pizza Hut to make ends meet. What about all the 50-60-year-olds forced to work at McDonald’s to pay off their medical bills or because the good-paying job they had for 25 years was just shipped to China?

Wayne, let me ask you this: Do you think the price of college or a trade school or medical care or even the expense of raising a family has remained the same as it was in 1980 or 2000? How about the price of a car to get to work now and maybe to school later? Do you think the price of a good used car is still the same as it was in 1980 or 2000? Probably not, right?

So what you are telling us is that you believe it’s OK if we make it even harder for young people to get through college or trade school just so the price of your next hamburger or pizza doesn‘t cost you 25 cents more? Apparently so from your recent letter to the editor. Anyone else think that maybe that hurts America and our future when young people are finding it harder and harder to work their way through college?

Now Wayne, let’s put these ideas of yours to bed once and for all with a few facts from Costco, Sam‘s Club and Wal-Mart.

Did you know that “an average Costco worker made about $45,000 in 2011”, according to Fortune. That’s compared to an average of about $17,486 per year for a worker at comparable Wal-Mart-owned Sam’s Club. And apparently the extra pay pays off. Costco makes more than $10,000 in profits per employee, while Wal-Mart takes home about $7,400 per worker, according to the Daily Beast. In addition to offering its workers high pay and the opportunity to unionize, Costco also provides a benefit many of its competitors don’t: health insurance for part- and full-time employees.

Costco reported a profit of $537 million last quarter, up from $394 million during the same period last year, according to the Wall Street Journal. The healthy earnings report comes just six days after CEO Craig Jelinik urged lawmakers to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Costco pays a starting minimum wage of $11.50 per hour, Wayne.

One last tidbit to chew on. When you give a $250,000 raise to a corporate CEO making $4.6 million per year, probably a good chunk of that is going to end up in his Swiss or Cayman Islands bank accounts. But minimum-wage workers spend everything they earn, so giving them more money to spend instantly puts more money into our economy. And that creates new jobs all across America!

Now doesn’t that sound like a better world than your world, Wayne?

Rod Livdahl


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