Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 12, 2005

Raising the floor for wages helps business, labor

It was disappointing to read that some businesses take a short-sighted view and oppose a minimum wage increase ("Minimum wage rise is OK'd by Md. Senate," April 7).

This really should not be a worker vs. employer issue. We all benefit by having a stable work force that earns a decent wage for a hard day's work, just as we all benefit by having a thriving business community that provides quality jobs as well as goods and services for our residents.

Right now, a person working full-time at the minimum wage earns just over $10,000. That's for a whole year's work. Surely no one believes that $10,000 a year is a decent wage that can support a reasonable and safe standard of living.

And we don't have to guess what will happen if we increase the minimum wage. We already know, because 13 states have already beaten Maryland in raising their minimum wages.

Minimum wage workers will benefit from the raise. It will allow them to purchase more vital goods and services for their families, pumping more income into the economy that will benefit local businesses.

With more income, minimum wage workers will be less reliant on government to make ends meet, which will benefit all taxpayers.

For businesses, the additional cost of labor will be offset by revenue gains from increased consumer purchasing power and by the savings from improved job retention and reduced vacancy rates.

Let's save the angry words for an issue that deserves it and raise the minimum wage because it's right for workers and for business.

Jason Perkins-Cohen

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Job Opportunities Task Force.

Higher wages boost labor's productivity

After reading a Sun article on the Maryland Senate passing a bill to raise the state's minimum wage, I was left disappointed that I had to read so carefully to find two or three weak defenses of the minimum wage increase ("Minimum wage rise is OK'd by Md. Senate," April 7).

The article, including the sub-title "Assistance for low-income workers is seen as blow for business interests," could leave a reader with the mistaken impression that a minimum wage increase is detrimental to small business.

Despite what the powerful business lobbies say, more than a decade of research regarding the dozen or so states that have a minimum wage higher than the federal wage shows that a reasonable increase in the minimum wage does not hurt the business community or the consumers of their products and services.

In fact, a higher wage tends to lead to higher productivity and loyalty from low-wage workers.

A look at all of these state wage increases reveals no substantial increase in layoffs or business relocations.

And the fact that the federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour can leave a family with a yearly income of only half the poverty level should embarrass these business lobbies into silence.

Brian A. Hayden

Washington

Abridging the rights of business owners

Why does a business exist ("Minimum wage rise is OK'd by Md. Senate," April 7)? Does it exist to give people jobs? Does it exist to create employment? To provide the government with tax revenues?

Or does it exist as an organized entity to fulfill the owners' goals and intentions to create a product and offer it in exchange for something of value that they desire?

Careful analysis will lead to the obvious conclusion that the last point is the true reason for a business to exist.

And is this not an expression of the "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" described in our Declaration of Independence?

That fact that this basic principle is being and has been violated implicitly for the past 100 years or so is great cause for alarm and concern - especially since the violator happens to be our own government and well-placed, vocal elements of our citizenry.

David Smith

Gaithersburg

Threatening to kill in defense of life

Once again, readers and television watchers are treated to a demonstration that there are many people who love life so passionately that they might kill for it ("Calif. woman charged in Michael Schiavo threat," April 7).

Threats on the lives of judges who ruled against reinserting feeding tubes for Terri Schiavo have been so serious that 24-hour security is needed.

As all could observe a few years ago in the killing of abortion providers, there are indeed American people who love life so greatly that they will kill for it. Some love.

Carleton W. Brown

Elkton

It's not up to judges to change our laws

I must express my disagreement with the editorial "Open season on judges" (April 6), which states, "Law isn't static but organic, living and breathing within a framework that reflects its era."

Nice try. But who says that the law changes to reflect its era? Where is that written?

Laws can be rewritten and the Constitution can be amended. There are, however, strictly codified procedures that must be followed to effect change.

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