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Impact of higher state minimum wage would be all negative

Thursday, February 7, 2013
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Impact of higher state minimum wage would be all negative

Re the Feb. 3 Viewpoint, “Higher minimum wage would have big impact on New Yorkers”: I won’t disagree with the headline because it will have a big impact on New Yorkers, just not in the way the writer thinks.

Mr. Davidson, and those who favor the minimum wage, [should] read two noted professors of economics, Thomas Sowell and a Rose and Milton Friedman senior fellow at Stanford University — not exactly a right-wing bastion — and Walter E. Williams of George Mason University.

Both have written extensively about the failure of the minimum wage. Read Sowell’s “Living Wage Kills Jobs” at www.NewsAndOpinion.com and Williams’ “Minimum Wage, Maximum Folly” at http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/wew/articles/fee/Mar07.pdf.

I summarize some of their salient points:

The minimum wage increases unemployment especially for those unskilled young people of which minorities — particularly blacks — are disproportionally affected. This is fact, not opinion, based on research. Mr. Davidson says: “Businesses will find ways to defend profit margins.” Oh, yes, they will by increasing prices.

But it won’t be just for the actual dollar amount of the minimum wage increase, because an employer’s mandated fringe benefits will also rise. On average they equate to roughly 30 percent of an employee’s wage. So that $1.50 per hour increase in minimum wage means a $1.95 per hour increase in the employer’s cost.

Mr. Davidson and other proponents of this increase, such as Gov. Cuomo and Mark Dunlea of Hunger Action Network of New York State, seem to think that all people who work for minimum wage work full-time. That is ludicrous, but let’s just go with it to prove my point. The imaginary 40-hour minimum wage worker would see a $60 per-week increase in pay, but the employer would see an increase in costs of at least $78 per minimum wage employee — not to mention the fact that many employers who pay their employees something below the new minimum would have to increase those employees’ pay to catch up.

Mr. Davidson and other proponents continue with many fallacies. First, not too many people who work in minimum wage jobs have to support a family. Second, they act like people who work in minimum wage jobs never get a raise. Third, these proponents act like minimum wage workers are perpetually stuck in those jobs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most of those minimum wage workers go on to earn average incomes in a few years and higher incomes later on. There are very few minimum wage workers who work full-time. Most are part-time students who will go on to adult careers.

Mr. Davidson is under the mistaken impression that a higher minimum wage will lead to higher tax collections for the state. That is wrong. Even if these minimum wage workers were working full-time, they would not have to pay any state income taxes, or federal income taxes, for that matter. They still would be a drag on our society as far as receiving government benefits.

And the untold story by the “living wage” advocates is this: Many governments, particularly local governments, including libraries, have minimum wage workers. All this adds up to is higher costs for governments and higher taxes for everyone.

The evidence is clear: A higher “living” minimum wage will cost consumers more, taxpayers more, increase unemployment, and probably increase crime. Let the market decide what is an acceptable rate to pay employees. A true market without government interference will find the right level.

John Gaetani

Glenville

What kind of stunt was that skeet-shooting pic?

My wife and I want to thank you for the picture of President Obama shooting skeet [Feb. 3 Gazette]. I couldn’t stop laughing for five minutes. It is unbelievable that a news agency could be scammed into printing the picture.

The shotgun the president is shooting has a removable, knurled choke tube in the top barrel. Skeet is a short-range game and does not require frequent choke changes. It appears that this gun is a sporting clays gun and not set up for the second shot, as found in many skeet stations.

Wow, that gun sure throws a lot of smoke out of the barrel! That would be indicative of black powder, which hasn’t been used in modern shotguns for about 100 years. Modern target shells use smokeless powder. A little too much theatrics here for reality.

When people fire a 12-gauge shotgun, they will experience some muzzle jump and a little recoil. Our president seems to be impervious to the physics of recoil. He is truly a man of steel.

Skeet, sporting clays and trap are shotgun shooting games that require 25 or more shots to complete a single round. Shooters typically wear a shooting vest or carry a shell pouch on their hip to carry the loaded shotgun shells and empties.

I guess that a Secret Service agent runs out to pick up the shells and hand the president new rounds. Notice no shooting vest or shell pouch.

Tom and Neila Nowicki

Galway

Jefferson never said what writer alleged

The Feb. 2 letter claiming to quote Thomas Jefferson regarding the end of democracy and taking from others needs correction.

First, searches of online versions of collections of Jefferson’s writings have failed to turn up any such words by him. The earliest identifiable use of the phrase is in a 1986 book written by an author using the name John Galt, an Ayn Rand character.

Moreover, while Jefferson clearly believed in limited government, he was more worried about banks and corporations than the poor as threats to the nation by taking money earned by others. In a 1816 letter to George Logan (see his handwritten letter at the Library of Congress website), Jefferson wrote, “I hope we shall ... crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which are already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and to bid defiance to the laws of their country.”

One might also note that as a slave owner, Jefferson apparently had no problem personally taking from some who worked, to give to those who at least did not work with their hands.

Robert V. Wells

Schenectady

Hillary defender either in denial or has amnesia

Your [syndicated] cartoonist [Feb. 4 Gazette] is either a selective memory sufferer or a recent (how rare) graduate of the public school of propaganda!

How dare the Republican critics [knock Hillary over the embassy attack in Benghazi]? When hubby darling (Bill) wasn’t with another woman, he routinely dismissed the previous unsuccessful bombings of the World Trade Center as misguided individual acts of criminal activity, and refused to take custody of [Osama] bin Laden when it was offered him.

On her watch (where was she?), Benghazi went down while the prez was campaigning in Vegas. And the excuse was over a video?

Terry Hurlburt

Schenectady

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