What Our Readers Think: Minimum Wage

New bill would increase minimum wage in New York by $1.25 an hour, then peg it to inflation.

This week, Patch asked readers what they think about a new bill, co-sponsored by New York State Assemblyman ., I-Sag Harbor, that would the third-highest rate in the U.S.

Readers had a lot to say on the subject and most were in support of the legislation.

wrote, "ABSOLUTELY!!! It should be much higher than $8.50 per hour, in fact. That is hardly a living wage. Everyone wants people off of welfare and social services, then make it possible for them to earn a wage that will support them!"

added, "Yes! A paying job is a paying job, and for that we should definitely be thankful. But the reality is that the cost of living in the Hamptons is much higher than other places. Minimum wage as it is now is, at best, barely getting most people by. These are hard economic times, and I'm sure the businesses really don't want to be paying their employees more than they have to, but a small increase would help a lot of people."

said, "Yes raise it. Also why are food service people be paid below minimum wage? Their employer should pay them the minimum wage and tips would help them to afford a better life."

offered: "When I first heard about the idea through a comment by Sheldon Silver as a business proponent I was not sure. But then I read his reasoning which was no one who works full time should be poor. I have no problem with people making a lot of money but it just does not seem fair after putting in 40 hours a person can still be below the poverty level."

wrote, "Absolutely. As a man who shops regularly at the supermarket, I can attest that the cost of living for food has increased 25 percent in the last 2 years. Politicians do not shop for food, their maids do it....and we pay for it....."

If you have something to add to this conversation, leave your comments below.

Jack February 06, 2012 at 07:07 AM
Tom, I live in Northport. The only people I know working for minimum wage in the trades are kids out of high school who are learning a trade and currently have no skills. Those same kids are still living with Mom & Dad until they develop their trade to get their license and then making real money. I have family that are home builders and I can tell you that anyone with skills are making good money today in my area is in renovations or additions. Like someone else has already said, you shouldn't be dumb enough to start a family if you are leaning a trade (instead of college) and earning minimum wage. Also, if you have skills and you are only getting minimum wage from a builder then its time to get your license if you don't already have one and leave for better pay. The issue in my town is the lack of minimum wage jobs for the kids here. Increase the minimum wage and that only make those jobs even more scarse. Tom if you have friends that are older and are still getting minimum wage then they haven't prepped themselves (apprenitice) properly. Again no plumber, electrician, carpenter I know is making minimum wage. If they do then their is an issue with their work. Talent and experience in those jobs pays good money.
Mary Beth February 06, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Diana16, minimum wage earners should not be allowed to start families? Seriously?
Monforte February 06, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Check out this post, it helps humanize the minimum wage issue in NYC. From your coffee guy, to your local newspaper distributor, these are the faces of NYC's minimum wage: http://www.thirteen.org/metrofocus/news/2012/02/everyday-people-nycs-minimum-wage-earners/
Jack February 06, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Mary Beth, I suggest you re-read my post. I said "you should not be dumb enough to start a family if you are leaning a trade and earning minimum wage". This is a free country and no one is going to force you not to make bad decisiions. Instead it's all about choices or should I say good choices and starting a family that you cannot support is poor planning and I'll even say abusive if you cannot provide for them.
Mary Beth February 06, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Firstly, my reply was to Diane16 - she must be your alter ego. Secondly, there is no difference between what you said and what I interpreted. Maybe instead of trying to diminish minimum wage earners by calling them "dumb" and accusing them of abuse you should join in the effort to try to raise them up.
Jack February 06, 2012 at 08:00 PM
(Mary Beth & Diane 16, Please excuse previous mis-directed post). I am far from diminishing them. When I say dumb I refer to "dumb decisions". We all make them including the President of the United States. We probably were all minimum wage earners at one time of our lives. You really don't think that it's irresponsible to start/raise a family by the proposed head of household on the minimum wage. Even if they bump the minimum wage up $2.00 it won' be long for a family of four to be on government assistance and in that case you have put your family at risk which is abusive. Don't you understand "personal responsibility". Before starting a family you need to get an education or develop a trade and once you have a proper income then you start a family. That's the prudent thing to do. Your thought process is why we have so many broken families who are in the cycle of poverty.
Mary Beth February 06, 2012 at 08:22 PM
"Your thought process is why we have so many broken families who are in the cycle of poverty." I cannot believe you actually made that comment. If you are so concerned with "Personal responsibility" then stop telling others what they should do and worry about yourself. Your comments pertaining to minimum wage workers show an astonishing bias against struggling families, many of whom did not start off as minimum wage workers but whose jobs were shipped overseas by Republican presidents starting with Reagan and carrying right through to GW and republican congress people who are only concerned with the top wage earners. The cycle of poverty is not worsened by those of us who care for the poor, but by those who do not.
Jack February 06, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Total nonsense. You really don't know what you are talking about and I will start off with Obama's "Jobs Czar", and CEO of GE, Jeff Imelt who has sent both technolgy and thousands of jobs to China and at the same time paid NO Corporate tax. In addition, I'm not telling anyone what to do. I only have added my personal opinion to this article. I do have three grown children and have given them this direction of "wait until you are ready". Would you tell your children to do differently? Lastly, I'm in the ever shrinking garment trade doing sales which I do not recommend to anyone. I have been with several companies that have gone belly up with no thanks to this "president" (in regards to the last company) but I have a marketable "trade". I will NEVER work for minimum wage. That said I have taken a major hit in income recently but not to minimum wage level. Anyone that has a trade (carpenter, plumber, electrician, etc...) or an education with experience will never work a minimum wage. They are too valuable. My three kids that are all in their 20's all worked since they were 14 and they never worked a minimum wage job. You are a typical liberal who wants to expand government by spending tax dollars on people who if they planned their lives properly would not be in the state they are in. Mary Beth, you and others like you are the problem.
Diana16 February 06, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Mary Beth - Seriously, there was a time when people had children when they could afford them.....do you know what it costs to raise children these days? Minimum wage does not cover the cost for one person, not to mention a family! What are you thinking? Get a good job, save some money, buy a home, be financially responsible and then think about the family. Otherwise you end up with three kids on welfare and food stamps. WAKE UP!
Diana16 February 06, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Jack - Touche, from your "alter ego"! Glad to see someone is AWAKE!
Mary Beth February 06, 2012 at 11:01 PM
As is typical of the anger on the right, always blame the other guy and always resort to puerile name calling. What once made Anerica great is we looked out for our neighbors and now so many refuse to see things outside of their own limited biases and instead resort to hatred and bias. Thankfully these voices, although they are often the loudest, do not speak for the majority
Jack February 06, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Mary Beth, Again pure nonsense and actually lies on your part on your above post. Shame on you. There was no "anger, name calling, hatred, bias", Mary Beth even though that may make you happy. I gave you plain common sense and that annoys you. You didn't answer my earlier question. Would you counsel your children to begin a family on minimum wage and not wait for a more supporting income?
Mary Beth February 06, 2012 at 11:52 PM
"You are a typical liberal who wants to expand government by spending tax dollars on people who if they planned their lives properly would not be in the state they are in. Mary Beth, you and others like you are the problem." That's not angry name calling? this article is about raising the minimum wage and you have turned it onto a biased attack on millions of people who may have no choice but to work minimum wage jobs. This is not about "taxpayer dollars" this is about helping those who have not been as fortunate as you and your sons. Your anger is misplaced, your bias unfounded. I am grateful to see that, at a a time when corporate profits are the highest ever, the majority of people posting here favor a modest increase in minimum wage. It is long over due. Good night
Jack February 06, 2012 at 11:57 PM
LOL...you are right the word "liberal" is a vile, nasty word. I would feel exactly the same as you if I was called a liberal. My heart felt apolgy...LOL & LMAO. Oh and sorry about my anger.....LOL
Concerned Citizen February 07, 2012 at 01:41 AM
My take on Minimum Wage.... The current level is sufficient if we apply an equal distribution of the rate on a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) scale. So what does that mean? Simply put.. Two persons getting minimum wage... one lives in the Mid West the other in New York. Each drives the same car that takes 20 gallons of fuel to fill the car each payday. The Mid West person pays $3.00 per gallon, The New York person pays $4.00 per gallon. The Mid West person pays $60.00 to fill the tank, the New York person pays $80.00 to fill the tank. Under the present system the Mid West person earns the same rate as the New person or $290 per week. Yet the Mid West person only spends 20.6 % of their check to fuel the car while the New York person spends 27.5 % to fuel their car. Applying a COLA would offset the difference in percentage and provide an equal amount of buying power for both the Mid West and New York person in which the percent for the fuel coming out of their paycheck would be equal. Instead of widening the gap of who fares better, we should focus on both having an equal percentage of buying power per dollar.
Jack February 07, 2012 at 02:33 AM
I think you are forgetting who this increase of the minimum wage is for. As I read the article it is a NY State proposition only. Setting aside the silly accussations of anger and bias from MB I don't see many heads of households working at minimum wage. I'm in sales and I have traveled all over NY State and have customers from Buffalo to Long Island. I have never met any "head of household" working at the minimum. We know kids work these jobs and some 2nd income member of families in NY but I know from store owners I work with who are having tough times that if the minimum wage goes up they will let be forced to cut their teenage help or go off the books with these workers. The only people you will hurt are the kids who are already hurting for he lack of jobs. This increase will make it worse. How many people on this thread no ANY "Head of Household" that is working a minimum wage job?
Tom Hensler February 07, 2012 at 02:58 AM
Must be nice to live in such a perfect little world Jack. Have a nice life.
Jack February 07, 2012 at 03:12 AM
(Why do people who can't earnestly debate need to be sacastic.) Tom, I take it that you would prefer the increased minimum wage that will increase the unemployment of young kids/students (already 32%) and costs to small businesses who employee these young people in NY State over the "heads of households" working at minimum wage which I do not believe exists. Please correct me with facts and not silly remarks.
Concerned Citizen February 07, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Jack, as an accomplished businessman who travels the state, I am certain you have run into a class of people that are indeed "Head of Households", who are earning minimum wage salaries. I believe you may have overlooked them. They can be seen in department stores, grocery stores, fast food restaurants etc.. You see them all the time, they are your mothers, fathers, aunts, and or uncles, they are Senior Citizens; reduced to meaningless jobs to make ends meet, Long shunned by the business world as being too old, out of touch and unable to compete, they are cast aside into retirement. So I beg to differ with you and will turn the tables on you, show us the facts you purport to be true that there are no "Head of Household" making minimum wage and qualify your statements with verifiable facts. Minimum Wages should be controlled at the federal level not the individual states. It should be distributed on a regional basis using a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). In New York for example... a person in Buffalo (one of the lowest cost of living areas in NY) should not receive the same minimum wage as a person in East Hampton(one of the highest cost of living areas in NY). By applying a COLA to the minimum wage both employees would see that same buying power dollar for dollar. Again I will say... It should be a Federal Minimum Wage, consistent with the cost of living for the area in which the employee resides.
David D'Agostino February 07, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Very well stated, Concerned Citizen. I do, however, believe that all minimum wage workers deserve an increase, but, given a choice between COLA and a position like Jack's, I will take the former.
Jack February 07, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Great points CC. I would like to know the answer to how many "Head of Households" actually are working at minimum wage. Maybe we can all try to find this out. I admit that I don't meet any "H of H workers at "mom & pop" shops that I work with that work at minimum wage. I do see many making about $10.00 per hour. Shopkeeper know that they will loose good help if they pay the minimum and they don't want to hire someone, take the time to train them only to see them leave because of paying the minimum. That's why I don't believe that any decent worker is making more than minmum wage. If someone can show actual facts I would change my point of view. Right now I don't think they exist and I'm much more concerned about these "Mom & Pop" Stores that are getting their heads beat in by this economy and cannot afford the increased costs. In addition, part time jobs to students will be lost as stores will cut back on help due to this required increase. In addition, the higher mimimum wage to part time student workers will be added to the product they sell.
Tom Hensler February 08, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Hey Jack- Concerned Citizen pretty much hit the nail on the head. But I get the feeling that if God himself came down and told you that your thinking was judgemental and insulting that you would tell him that he was wrong. I have an uncle who worked hard all his life for a great company and made good wages until he was pretty much forced to retire. He lives on SS and a minimum wage job at Home Depot to make ends meet. There are MILLIONS of Americans just like him across this country. I wish I could introduce you to him so that you could tell him face to face that there are no decent workers making more than minimum wage. He is a far more decent man that you ever will be.
Walter Noller February 08, 2012 at 10:33 AM
The shame of it all is we look to the government to set a standard by which companies that can well afford to pay more are more than are willing to oblige with the rules, those companies struggling, for whatever reason, look to alternate methods to pay to get work done. we still have far too many with responsibilities working extra jobs just to keep creditors from knocking and too few jobs that actually pay in accordance with the cost of living. Our economy on the East End of Long Island is distorted due to the tourist trade and there are few jobs that don't fall into the category of "service related". Too much of our economy is at the mercy of those who come to play 10 weeks out of the year. I only wish I could agree with the idea the "kids" won't find work, but reality is, look at who is really working the jobs that, at one time, were the one's done after school by kids. If there was ambition to work, you would see lawns cut and leaves raked by kids. We've created a generation that would rather play on the computer than go out and get some honest dirt under their nails. That work has become a cottage industry done by "others". All that said, if "minimum wage" is a necessary evil at least have something in place to reflect regional economics. Given that adjustment, I believe it would be a shock what "minimum" is in our area.
Concerned Citizen February 08, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Tom, I am glad you agree with my point of view. I do not however, agree with your approach towards Jack. We all are entitled to our opinions and can voice them freely. When we disagree with someone's point of view, I think it far more reaching to support our claim that to assault the person's character.
Gail Simons February 09, 2012 at 01:35 AM
ANY wage should be intended as a living wage. There are many people who are earning minimum wage who are not "dumb" and are not kids. We need workers from the bottom to the top - and those on the bottom have every right to make a living wage as those at the top. If everyone was "smart" and made it to the top, then who would work the bottom end jobs? Why is it so difficult for some people to understand that we ALL benefit if everyone can make a decent living? And those making minimum wage should have every right to have families, too. If everyone went to college or trade school, who would work the bottom end jobs??? There aren't enough "kids" to take on all of those positions.
Jack February 09, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Tom, you can continue to insult me and say I'm insulting and judgemental (which is not true, re-read my posts) as that indicates you have nothing to bring to the table on this topic. In addition, I spoke to Home Depot in Commack and they wouldn't say how much they would pay exactly until I submit an application on-line but did indicate that they offer a graduated pay scale on your level of knowledge. The application does help direct the applicant to the best opportunity to use your current knowledge and skills and recieve better pay making minimum wage is unlikely. I'm sure a retired man as your uncle has acquired plenty of can-do knowlege for many dept's at Home Depot. That said, I would be happy to meet your uncle who works in Home Depot at minimum wage (if such an uncle exists, which I doubt), just name the place and time and ask him to have his pay stub handy.
Jack February 09, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Gail, I didn't say anyone was "dumb". I said that we all make "dumb" decisions. I apologize for using the word dumb and would like to exchange that word for "bad" [decisions]. I can't imagine how someone who is the "head of the household" in NY could support a family solely on $7.25 per hour and that is the reason I suggested that a person should acquire more education or a working trade to recieve higher pay before taking on the responsibility of a family. I gave the same suggestion to my three adult children. As far as making ANY wage a living wage is a nice idea. What should that be in NY? I would think it would need to be at least twice the current minimum wage to a "head of household" based on the prices of things today. So if you double the minimum wage which in turn will double all wages above minmum wage which then will about double the cost of goods and services provided by companies who have to pay these new additional wages then we are are back where started from. The best answer is still prepping yourself with an education/trade before taking on the responsibilty of a family. As far as not enough kids or family members who supplement the income of the "head of household", I hear there are not enough jobs (32% unemployment of kids/students).
Tom Hensler February 10, 2012 at 03:45 AM
Jack- So now I'm a liar? You continue to astound me with your arrogance! Reminds me of the old saying "you should never argue with an idiot because they will drag you down to their level and beat you with their experience!" So before I get dragged any further I will only repeat what I said in an earlier post- must be nice living in that perfect little world of yours- have a nice life! AMF (that means adios my friend)!
Jack February 10, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Got ya!!
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